'Always' China Accented Groove

A fast two bar pop rock style beat that uses cymbals to accent specific beat, using the song 'Always' by Blink 182 as an example.

In this lesson you will be learning a groove inspired by the song Always by Blink 182. You can hear the groove at around 1:10 into the video linked, which is the bridge between the chorus and verse 2. The groove in question is a two bar pattern that uses cymbals to accent specific points in the second bar. To look at it is quite simple but the song is played at around 160bpm so everything will move very quickly.

The intention of this lesson is to show how cymbal accent placement can drastically change the feel of a groove and spice up otherwise simple patterns. The full groove looks like this:

A one bar groove using accent decoration

Have a listen to the song and try to follow the part a long with that bridge section. As mentioned above, it moves very quickly but it's played four times so there's a few chances to pick it out. WIth fast songs like this it is worth slowing a recording down to allow you to hear the part better. Youtube allows you to do this in the 'settings -> speed' option and software like windows media player has built in plug ins for this purpose.

Have a go at playing the part, starting somewhere around the 110bpm mark. Make sure those china cymbals are played a bit harder to make them stand out. The cymbals at the end and start of the bar will be played together when the pattern repeats and will be played with a right followed by a left. That last snare of the phrase has no ride with it which makes the crash cymbal placement around it a little easier.

Simple Variations

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

The groove has been changed a little here to include a couple of extra bass drums. The china accent has been moved to splashes also.

A groove based on the Reasons groove

Example 2

In this version the right hand has been switched to open hi hat cymbals played as quarter notes. Accents are played on the bell of the ride in the second bar in a slightly differnet pattern.

A groove based on the Reasons groove

Example 3

This time the china cymbals have been moved to toms and a flam has been added to the last snare.

A groove based on the Reasons groove


  1. Learn all given examples up to a tempo of at least 160bpm.
  2. Experiment with creating your own grooves using the ideas presented.
  3. Try playing a long to the full Blink 182 song.