Quarter Note Triplet Groove Basics

A common time groove based on a quarter note triplet, commonly used by Iron Maiden.

In this lesson you be exploring the basics of basing a standard common time groove on a quarter note triplet which is a construction idea commonly used by the band Iron Maiden. The quarter note triplet will be the 'base rhythm' of the groove so will replace the standard crotchet/quaver pattern you see so commonly. On this page you will learn the absolute basics of the part along with a couple of simple variations in the kick pattern.

We'll start with that base rhythm and to start off with you will play that on the ride and bass drum. The right hand can be really be orchestrated anywhere you like, I just find the ride most comfortable. There will be six of those notes in one bar, like this:

The base rhythm for this groove concept

Spend a moment playing that simple pattern along with a metronome, making sure the right hand and right foot are inline with each other and you're timing is accurate. Next I will show the backbeat snare, which when looking at the notation above isn't obvious. The snares will still be falling on counts two and four, both of which are in the middle of a triplet. To acheive this placement you will be 'splitting' one of the quarter notes in the same way you would split a standard quarter note to create an eighth note. The second note will be split and using some counting will help with the placement. A straight backbeat placed around the hand pattern above would look like this:

The base rhythm for this groove concept with back beat added

Again, spend a moment ensuring the placement of the back beat is accurate. This can be a tough one so take your time and build the tempo up gradually. The next step will be to play around with the kick drum placement a little. Listed below are several ideas for this, all of which involve taking the pattern given above and removing some bass drums. Some of these will sound like the simple Level 0 grooves but playing over a triplet. With all parts it is important that any right hands and right feet played together are exactly in time. Take your time and remember note accuracy is far more important during the learning process than getting a high tempo.


Example 1

A groove based on a quarter note triplet

Example 2

A groove based on a quarter note triplet

Example 3

A groove based on a quarter note triplet

Example 4

A groove based on a quarter note triplet

Example 5

A groove based on a quarter note triplet

TASK

  1. Learn all given example upto a tempo of around 130bom.
  2. Experiment with different combinations of kick pattern.
  3. Use different orchestrations for the right hand
  4. Create some two and four bar grooves using this construction method.