Beware of the Chi-Ga-Da!
Exercises for Harnessing a Powerful Funk/Fusion Sticking
by Rich Redmond
The main sticking used in the exercises in this article, RLL, is very popular in funk/fusion playing styles. The hands are split between the snare and the hi-hat. As you’re working through the grooves, drastically differentiate the dynamics between the accented and unaccented notes to make them sound and feel smooth and powerful. Keep the unaccented notes close to the head, and try nailing rimshots on the accents. When executed correctly, the sticking gives you the groove monster that I call the chi-ga-da.
These grooves can be used as the basic beat for an entire song, or they can be peppered onto sections that need more drive and percolation. Try applying the bass drum patterns included here, but any rhythm can be used for the bass drum. Practice the bass drum variations using an even subdivision as well as a swung hip-hop feel. Also experiment with opening the hi-hat in various locations, and try playing the hi-hat part on a rim, the ride, a crash, or a cowbell. Go!
Bass Drum Variations
Rich Redmond drums for country star Jason Aldean, is an award-winning clinician, and is an active session drummer in Nashville and Los Angeles. His recent book/DVD, FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids (coauthored with Michael Aubrecht), is available through Modern Drummer Publications.