The Schnalle Method: 4 Hi-Hat Stick Tricks

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! Notation Guide

wally schnalle lesson

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  • There should be an accompanying video demonstrating this method.

  • Hi Steve,

    Are you having trouble reading the notation or do you find it hard to visualize the sticking techniques described in the lesson?

  • Unfortunately, I am not a reader so visually seeing and hearing things is my learning modality. At 63, I doubt I could ever learn to read good enough for many of the notated lessons.