By combining different stickings, rudiments, and accent patterns between the bell or bow of the ride cymbal and the snare drum, we can create unique musical effects. In this lesson we’ll explore what I refer to as “kicked-up bell patterns.” These ride and snare combinations sit well at tempos between 135 and 200 bpm, and they add a nice, warm texture to double bass grooves. The examples in this lesson incorporate straight 16th-note or 8th-note-triplet subdivisions, but you can experiment with other note rates.
Before playing them on the kit, practice these sticking and accent patterns on the snare or a practice pad to get comfortable with the phrases. Start on the snare, then move the pattern to the snare and ride, and then finally add the double bass pattern. Go slowly, and use a metronome to help you build up speed and control. Take note of how different these exercises feel at fast tempos versus medium or slow ones.
In Exercise 1 we’ll alternate between a paradiddle and an inverted paradiddle on the ride, with snare backbeats on beats 2 and 4. The right-hand ride strokes are played on the bell.
Exercise 2 utilizes the same sticking as the previous example, except the left hand plays ghost notes on the snare.
The cymbal pattern in Exercise 3 gives the illusion that you’re playing straight 16th notes on the bell with the right hand.
Exercise 4 combines a mix of paradiddles and inverted paradiddles.
This next example demonstrates a more melodic approach to ride bell patterns.
In Exercise 6, a dotted-8th-note bell pattern gives the groove a polyrhythmic feel that cycles back to beat 1 after three measures.
Now let’s shift the dotted-8th-note bell pattern by starting it on the “e” of beat 1.
In Exercises 8–10 we’ll incorporate triplets.
In Exercise 11, half-note-triplet accents create a polyrhythmic feel while the snare backbeat remains solid on beats 2 and 4.
Next we’ll shift the snare backbeat to line up with the half-note-triplet pulse. This pattern creates a rhythmic modulation, and listeners might hear this pattern as a straight 16th-note double bass groove.
Exercise 13 employs the same sticking as Exercise 11, except the half-note-triplet accent pattern starts on the third triplet partial of beat 1.
In Exercise 14, the backbeat alternates between a straight 4/4 pulse and the modulated, half-note-triplet feel that was introduced in Exercise 12.
I hope you enjoy these phrases as much as I do. Once you learn these examples, write out your own variations. The possibilities are endless. Have fun!
Chris Dovas is a Boston-based studio and touring musician who’s currently studying at the Berklee College of Music. He plays with the metal groups Seven Spires and Unflesh, the latter of which recently released their debut album, Savior.