A two bar funk groove in 4/4 with a one handed sixteenth note right hand.
Through this lesson you will learn a two bar level 3 groove appropriate to funk genres that is inspired by part used in the James Brown song 'Funky Drummer'. The complete groove makes use of a one handed sixteenth note right hand with accents and open hi hats with a kick and snare part using subtle syncopation and dynamics. There will be six separate modifications made to the start groove, each of which makes a minor change to the previous part. In each step a link to the original lesson of the concept applied is provided where appropriate, it is worth sidetracking and working through these lessons if you either get stuck or don't understand a particular step. This groove will be particularly challenging on your right hand stamina so I recommend looking through any lessons provided in that area.
It is important you can play the step you are on comfortably at a decent tempo before progressing as any parts you get stuck on are going to appear in all subsequent steps. On the last page you will find a list of helpful links, suggestions for other concepts that could be applied and a set of target tempos.
As an additional exercise, try taking the concepts given and applying them in different ways. For example, in step 2 offbeat sixteenth snares are added so try placing these notes in slightly different places to create further grooves or variations on the given pattern. Continue through all steps with these changes and write down any ideas you like the sound of.
This particular groove is a two bar pattern in 4/4 intended to be played at a moderate tempo in with a funk feel. A lot of rhythmic and dynamic variations are applied throughout so a strong sense of pulse will be very useful.
You can also download a version of this lesson in PDF format. This pack includes an three further variations on the complete groove, counting highlighted changes in each set, three sets of eight bar phrases using the final groove as a basis and MP3 audio files 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 for $2 by clicking the button below.
NOTE that the file size of this pack is 20.8MB.
The starting point for this groove is a simple level 0 style kick-snare pattern with a Sixteenth Note Closed Hi Hat played with the right hand. Within that right hand you then accent every numbered count.
This right hand movement will be very draining on your Stamina and the focus of your practice in this step is to maintain those Fast Hi Hats consistently. Start out slowly, then when note placement is accurate start to build up speed. If you haven't already, read up on the Moeller technique as this will really help here.
Snares are added On The 'a' counts after beat 2 in both bars then on the 'a' after count 4 in the first bar. These all line up with non accented right hands and your focus here should be in getting that placement accurate without affecting the accented notes.
If this kind of movement is unfamiliar or uncomfortable try adding the new notes in in sub steps. So start off by applying just the snare on the 'a' after 2 then when you are happy with that add in the 'a' after 4 and so on.
Kicks are added On The 'e' counts after beat 4 in both bars then on the 'e' after count 2 in the second bar. As in the previous step, these all line up with non accented right hands and your focus should be on getting the kick placement accurate without affecting the accented notes. As three new kicks are added, it could be worth adding them in sub steps like with the snares in the previous step.
Open The Hi Hats on the '+' counts after beat 3 in the first bar and beat 4 in the second. This creates some tonal and rhythmic variation in that fairly solid right hand part. It also gives your right hand a short breather! It my also be worth adding these open hi hats one at a time in sub steps.
Two things are happening in this step. First of all a kick is added On The 'e' count after the '3' of the second bar. Make sure this lines up exactly with the right hand hi hat it is supposed to. The accent from count 3 in the second bar has now been moved to the previous 'a'. This creates some subtle syncopation and makes the part that little bit more interesting.
The bass drum on the '+' after count 1 in the second bar is now Doubled Up to two sixteenth notes.
The prominent feature of the final is groove is added here with the placement of a snare on the 'a' count after beat 3 in the second bar. This is an unusual and potentially uncomfortable movement where two sixteenths are played in a row with the second falling on the backbeat. Focus on ensuring those two snares are placed accurately without affecting the right hand.