Groove Development - 15/05/2018

A reggae groove in swing time with 16th note decoration

In this lesson you will be learning a swung reggae groove through a series of steps that starts with a simple level 1 offbeat eighth pattern and ends in a highly decorated version of this start groove. There will be six modifications made to the basic version, each making the groove more difficult. It is also worth noting that each step 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 get stuck or don't understand a particular step. The link in step one refers you to a lesson on the basic reggae groove and is well worth a read.

From step 2 onwards the part is played with swung sixteenth notes. This means that any blocks of sixteenths will be played as if they were a triplet with the middle note missing. A full lesson on this concept and the notation for it is provided in step 2.

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 bottom of the page you will find a list 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 different way. For example in step 2 you start adding offbeat 16th left hands so try placing these at different points in the bar. 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 highly decorated reggae pattern that has particular emphasis on the 'a' counts after beats 2 and 4. Whilst you could play this part under most genres of music it is most suitable to reggae.

You can download a version of this lesson in PDF format. In this pack you also get two 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. On top of all of that all exercises have counting included, an extra modification is made to the groove and all new changes to the groove are highlighted in red. You can purchase this for just $2 by clicking the button below.

NOTE that the file size of this pack is 16.1MB.


Step 1

The first step is a Basic Reggae one drop pattern with an extra bass drum added on the '+' after beat 1. If you are new to this style of groove then the lesson linked below is a good introduction. Note that the snare note is played as a Cross Stick, the second lesson linked below explains how to make this sound.

Developing a reggae groove


Step 2

In this step you will start adding in snares on Offbeat Sixteenth counts. The first thing you need to be aware of is that from this step on, the pattern is played with all Sixteenth Notes Swung. If this term isn't familiar to you read through the first lesson linked below.

The first new snare is on the 'e' after beat 3 and the second is on the 'a' after beat 4. These placements are pretty straight forward, use the MP3 provided if you are unsure of the swung timing.

Developing a reggae groove


Step 3

A third offbeat left hand is added this time on the 'e' after beat 4, giving you a double left movement over the '4 e' counts. Again, remember the sixteenth notes are swung and use the MP3 as reference is you are unsure of the rhythm.

Developing a reggae groove


Step 4

The next two steps are all about decorating the hi hat part and here an extra sixteenth note is added on the 'e' after beat 1. This is right before that original hi hat on the '+' count and both of these strokes should be played on the right hand.

Developing a reggae groove


Step 5

Continuing with Decorating The Right Hand, add another sixteenth note hi hat on the 'a' after beat 2. This follows right after the existing hi hat on the '+' count and, as in the previous step, both of these should be played on the right hand.

Developing a reggae groove


Step 6

Next, you are going to put a bit more emphasis on the very last 'a' count of the bar by adding a kick under the side stick. The most important thing here is the make sure that the left hand and right foot strike at exactly the same time. Have a look at this Accuracy Exercise to help.

Developing a reggae groove