So there you are in the garage with your bandmates ready to learn the new song your guitarist told you he wrote. He turns to you and says, “You play boom boom pap boom boom pap.” You think, “Okay, that takes care of the bass and snare drum, maybe he doesn’t know this is a four-limb instrument.” This is usually the case. We drummers have the responsibility to season that groove just right with our ride pattern. This helps the groove fit the feeling and energy of the tune.
These six examples show some of the many possibilities. There are the standard eighth-notes on the cymbal in Ex. 1. Powerful quarter-notes on the crash cymbal in Ex. 2. The sixteenth-notes on the ride cymbal in Ex. 3 help drive in slower tempos. Ex. 4 shows alternating sticking sixteenth-notes to get that drive at higher tempos with more ease. The upbeat eighth-notes on the bell of the cymbal in Ex. 5 can give the groove a funkier feel. And in Ex. 6 you play eighth-notes on the hi-hat opening it slightly on the &’s of 1 and 3 to get what I call a shoop sound. Try ’em all! You never know what will fit the tune just right until you try it.
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