One simple, very effective technique is linear coordination. Through this technique the most ingenious fills may be expressed.

Linear coordination means harmoniously dividing a rhythm on different parts of the drumset, to be played by hands and feet in a uniform, straight pattern. I have written combinations A, B, C, and D, that develop a four-way linear coordination around the drumset. Practicing these exercises will not only improve your vocabulary of drum sounds, it will better your four-way independence.

Linear Coordination 1


Basic Pattern: Take one measure of sixteenth notes with some displaced accents and apply compound sticking to fit the accents. Play with the right hand on the hi-hat and the left hand on the snare drum for a two-way linear coordination. The sound will be one of today’s favorite funk-rock patterns.

Linear Coordination 2

Combinations: The following combinations have been written with the above basic pattern in mind, and provide for fourway linear coordination around the drums. Series A eliminates the last sixteenth note from each note grouping; series B eliminates the third sixteenth note; series C eliminates the second; and Series D the first. For each series, I have written seven patterns so that the linear coordination played incorporates each part of your drumset.

Play the patterns as they are written. M.M. = 80.

Linear Coordination 3

Linear Coordination 4Linear Coordination 5

For more comfortable playing, columns 5 and 6 can be played using the ride cymbal instead of the hi-hat. The sticking may be changed where indicated.

After you feel comfortable with the patterns, play them with the following suggestions for more interesting playing on different parts of the drumset.

Suggestion 1: Taken from A2. Added more bass drum to be played with the open hi-hat.

Linear Coordination 6

Suggestion 2: Taken from A2. Right hand plays on the bell of the cymbal, while the hi-hat is splashed open and closed by the left foot.

Linear Coordination 7

Suggestion 3: Taken from A4. Right hand is played on the cowbell, more notes are played with the bass drum, and the hihat is splashed open and closed by the left foot.

Linear Coordination 8

Apply these suggestions to column 7 and then feel free to play quarter notes, eighth notes or off-beats on the hi-hat, and play the bass drum, where it is not indicated, on straight four. The following examples are a result of mixing note groups as well as the columns.

Example 1: The first group of notes is from C1, the last group is Bl, the second group Dl and the third group Al.

Linear Coordination 9

Example 2: Bass drum and hi-hat added to the preceeding example, and one note is changed to a thirty-second note for a funky feel.

Linear Coordination 10

For some Latin-funk, play a pedal point (consistent) samba rhythm while the hi-hat is splashed open and closed by the left foot.

Linear Coordination 11

We are actually using double pedal-point because the bass drum is kept constant playing a samba rhythm, and the hi-hat is kept constant splashing with the left foot. The arms move in an independent harmony.

Continue working with these studies until you develop a degree of facility for linearly coordinating all parts of your drumset.