In this study I’ve applied single and double strokes in 32nd-note value to the funk style. Because the rock/funk feel is based on straight 8th notes, the 32nd notes work very well. The tempo is slow (quarter note = 72-80 beats per minute), and the dynamics and feel, as always, are very important. The idea here is to play the backbeat as accents, preferably as rimshots. The surrounding 32nd notes should be much softer (p). The bass drum notes should be loud (f). The right hand stays on the hi-hat, the left hand on the snare drum. Try playing this study with the butt ends of both sticks for a thicker sound.

After developing examples 1 through 10, take one of the studies and alternate it with one bar of simple time (as in 11 and 12), or play three bars of time and then one bar of the 32nd-note patterns (as in 13). The patterns could also be used at the end of an eight-bar phrase as a fill or turnaround.

In order to help develop these ideas into your own style, write out a slow funk groove of your own (a two- or four-bar phrase). Then, write in the 32nd notes in the last bar of your phrase. That way you’ll be thinking your ideas through with the addition of the 32nd notes.

Relax while playing these exercises, and keep in mind that the feel is more important than how fast the patterns are performed.

Funk with 32nd Notes 1

Funk with 32nd Notes 2

Funk with 32nd Notes 3