'Chain Reaction' Groove

Learn to construct a groove using quarter note open hi hats and 16th note decoration using the Journey song 'Chain Reaction' as an example.

In this lesson you will be learning a groove inspired by the song Chain Reaction by Journey. You can hear the groove right from the start in the video linked. The groove in question is a one bar pattern that has a Four On The Floor kick pattern underneath common time snares. The right hand plays an open hi hat as a quarter note at the start of each bar and ends with two sixteenth notes.

The intention of this lesson is to show how various different groove concepts can be combined to create more interesting parts. The full groove looks like this:

A one bar groove using hi hat decoration

The counting for this groove will be '1 2 + 3 + 4 +a'. All hi hats are intended to played with the right hand however, if you're struggling to get the 16ths at the end of the bar in you could throw in a left hand for the 'a' count.

The full song is played at around 125bpm but the groove will work at any tempo. The purpose of the quarter note open hi hat in this case is to tie in with and accent the longer note at the start of the guitar riff. The two 16th notes 'pre empt' this accent and lead into it nicely. The 'four on the floor' kicks add to the driving bass line and ties the whole groove together nicely.

Similar Grooves

Below I have given some examples of how this part can be varied to create some similar patterns. I have included a note in each example explaining what has changed. Use these ideas to create further grooves. Remember, the idea of this lesson is to show how ideas can be combined so try mixing together some of the new ideas presented below.

Example 1

Add in additional 16th note decoration to the right hand.

A groove based on the Riff Raff groove

Example 2

Add extra eighth note kicks around the four on the floor.

A groove based on the Riff Raff groove

Example 3

Add some 16th note kicks.

A groove based on the Riff Raff groove


  1. Learn all given examples up to a tempo of at least 125bpm.
  2. Experiment with creating your own grooves using the ideas presented.
  3. Try playing a long to the full Journey song.

Finally, I have included a very short piece that combine some of the ideas discussed in this lesson.

A short piece focusing on snare displacement.