Groove Construction

Part 2: More Snare Displacement

by Jost Nickel

In the second part of this series, we’ll continue to create new grooves by displacing the snare drum. We’ll start with a basic pattern that consists of 8th notes on the hi-hat, snare hits on beats 2 and 4, and a funky bass drum phrase. Here’s the main groove.Groove Construction 1

In the following exercise, we’ll displace the snare on beat 4 to different positions in the second half of the measure, while the rest of the groove remains unchanged. In measure 3, the snare and bass drum play simultaneously on the “a” of beat 3. When that happens, the bass drum can be omitted.

Groove Construction 2

Here’s an interesting way of adding ghost notes to these grooves (or any others). Using alternating 16th notes, the right hand sticks to the hi-hat while the left hand alternates between ghost notes on the snare and the hi-hat.

Groove Construction 3

Now apply that idea to Exercise 1. The sticking remains the same, so the accents on beats 2 and 4 will be played with the right hand.

Groove Construction 4

When we add the ghost-note idea to the displacements in Exercise 2, any accent that falls on an offbeat 16th note will be played with the left hand. Exercise 5 shows all six snare displacement grooves with the ghost-note pattern.

Groove Construction 5

Groove Construction 6

All of the grooves in this lesson have the same bass drum pattern. If you feel like creating more variations, choose a different one-measure bass drum rhythm from Exercises 7–9 and continue as described. Each measure in the following examples can be used to create six displaced groove variations.

Groove Construction 7

Groove Construction 8

If you’re interested in these ideas and want more groove concepts, 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.