The hi-hat is often taken for granted. You rest your foot on it and it sits there just waiting for you to smack it. But how we smack it can really affect the sound of your groove. It should also be noted that what you do with your foot can be effective as well. But here we deal with the stick strokes. All four examples here contain a pretty generic groove. And Ex. 1 shows a basic approach to that generic groove. Just playing the tip of the stick on the flat of the hi-hat cymbal produces a consistent but unadorned sound. The groove digs in a little deeper when you apply accents on the beat with the shoulder of the stick on the edge of the cymbal. When you reverse those accents and put them on the &’s, as in Ex. 3, the groove typically gets a bit funkier. Open the hi-hat cymbals slightly and play them with the shoulder of your stick for the full-bodied, powerful thrashing groove shown in Ex. 4.
DRUM! music editor wally schnalle is a drummer, composer, and teacher based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has performed with Eddie Gale, Ernie Watts, and the San Jose Symphony Orchestra. itrhymes.com