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The hi hat


I am going to take you through some ideas and exercises using the much neglected HI HAT. On a day-to-day basis I meet many drummers who don't seem to realise how versatile the hi hat really is, and constantly keep the two cymbals welded together! The design of the hi hat was somewhat different many years ago; in fact originally there was a low hat! Time could be counted with the foot by opening and closing the cymbals to produce a distinct "CHIP" sound. In the 1930s someone had the bright idea to lengthen the tube of the stand so you could play the cymbals with the sticks. The "CHIP" sound is still used today in many styles of music (including jazz). It is also very useful if playing a drum solo (check out JOHN BONHAM/LED ZEPPELIN's MOBY DICK DRUM SOLO) and can add a variety of textures to your grooves. I hope you find the following basic exercises useful to get you started. As always use your imagination and come up with something different. Try replacing the hi hat with a pedal mounted wood block, cow bell or an electric foot pedal triggering bagpipes!!

Hi hat independence involves you playing an 1/8 note rhythm using the ride cymbal, whilst playing 1/4 notes with your left foot. Try playing just the hi hat, bass drum parts, and have good solid time before trying to play the 1/8 notes on the ride cymbal over the top.

Exercise 2 uses the same format, but now you play the bass drum on the count of & after two, whilst trying to keep the hi hat playing 1/4 notes in the same place as before.

Same thing again, only you now play the bass drum on the & after three.

Now try playing on the counts of & of two, and & of three (Tricky!)


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