ROCK ’N’ JAZZ CLINIC
Part 3: Linear Patterns
by Jost Nickel
1. The right hand plays either single or double strokes.
2. The left hand plays only single strokes.
3. Ghost notes won’t immediately precede or follow
The application of these three rules can produce a variety of results. Here are a few possibilities.There are virtually no rules without exceptions, and breaking rules in music has often led to new developments. In the following exercises, we’ll change the second rule and add double strokes with the left hand on the snare drum. Occasionally playing two ghost notes in a row can be a nice variation for your phrases. Exercises 6 and 7 demonstrate two grooves where the left hand plays singles and doubles.
Next we’ll disregard the third rule, which stated not to play ghost notes before or after snare accents. When you’re starting out with these concepts, following that rule makes the patterns easier to play. Although it can be technically demanding to play ghost notes directly before or after snare accents, it can also sound great once mastered.
I am aware that creating grooves is highly dependent on individual taste. Do not be put off by the fact that there are so many different choices. The aim is to explore one great-sounding phrase and not get lost among all of the possible options.
It’s imperative to adhere to the three rules for a long enough period of time to discover patterns that you enjoy playing. You should have the feeling that you’re still creating exciting grooves and shouldn’t become bored. After that, you’re free to break the rules.
If you’re interested in these concepts and want more linear groove ideas, check out my book Jost Nickel’s Groove Book.
Jost Nickel is a top session and touring drummer in Germany, and he endorses Sonor, Meinl, Aquarian, Vic Firth, and Beyerdynamic.