Spicing Up Your Backbeats
by Rich Redmond
The hi-hat foot splash is an under-used voice, especially among younger players. Performing the splash requires getting the ball of the foot and much of the leg involved in the motion. Legendary players like Steve Gadd and Steve Smith are masters of this technique. I practiced splashing the hi-hat on beats 2 and 4 and closing it on beats 1 and 3 for many hours in order to commit the motion to muscle memory, and I use it in all styles. It’s especially useful in backbeat-oriented music, as the splash can sound like it lengthens each snare hit. Practice these exercises slowly with a metronome and focus on accuracy. Use the splash to spice up your backbeats, and have fun!
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.