Groove Development - 06/02/2018 (1 Bar 4/4 Groove With Cowbell)

Building up a groove pattern using accent placement and syncopation.

On this page you will be learning a groove through a series of steps. This will start with a multi layered syncopated groove that builds up to a complex level 4 pattern involving fairly odd placements of notes. There will be seven separate modifications made to this start groove, each making the groove more difficult. It is also worth noting that each of these steps creates its own perfectly decent sounding groove. In each step a link to the original lesson of the concept applied is provided where appropriate. It would be worth sidetracking and working through these lessons if you either get stuck or don't understand a particular step.

It is very important that you can play the step you are on comfortably at a decent tempo before moving on as any parts you get stuck on are going to appear in all subsequent steps. At the end of the pack you will find the usual helpful links, suggestions for other concepts that could be applied and a set of suggested target tempos.

As an additional exercise, when you have learned the steps as shown below try taking the concepts given and applying them in a slightly different way. For example in step 2 you add and move accents so try applying these in different places. Continue through all steps with any changes you make and write down any ideas you particularly like the sound of.

This particular groove is a one bar pattern based on both a straight quarter note four on the four pattern and a 332 style rhythm.

You can also download a version of this lesson in PDF format. In this pack you also get three sets of eight bar phrases using the final groove as a basis along with audio files in MP3 format of all drum parts. This also includes a drumless version of the backing track for you to play a long to. You can purchase this by clicking the button below.

NOTE that the file size of this pack is 26MB.


Step 1

A simple quarter note groove with an odd kick placement. Make sure the kicks, snares and crashes fall exactly in line on beats 2 and 4.

Developing a syncopated train groove


Step 2

The triangle note heads are the cowbell> and for this groove it will be best placed on your left hand side. All cowbells will be played with the left hand and there are some long 'jumps' to the snare here.

Developing a syncopated train groove


Step 3

Additional cowbells have been added on the 'a' count after beat 1 and the 'e' count after beat 2. The first of these causes a very quick movement from the bell to the snare. I strongly recomend starting this pattern slowly to get comfortable witht those quick one handed jumps around the kit.

Developing a syncopated train groove


Step 4

Add a kick on the 'e' count after beat 1. This is a relatively straight forward step.

Developing a syncopated train groove


Step 5

Again, a sixteenth kick is added in here but this time on the 'e' count after beat 3. This means it falls at the same time as a left hand cowbell and it is essential that these two notes fall exactly in line.

Developing a syncopated train groove


Step 6

In this final step a floor tom is added on the '+' count after beat 2. This is going to fall in line with the cowbell and will be played on the right hand. This is a big co ordination challenge as your left hand has to move one way and the right another.

Developing a syncopated train groove