Modifying the base pulse of a bar of 4/4 to create a heavily syncopated groove.
In this lesson you will be learning a groove through a series of steps. This will start with an odd pattern with a difficulty level of around 1 that will build up to a level 3 groove. There will be five 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 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 from step 5 you start adding in offbeat sixteenth note snares so try placing these in different positions. 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 in 4/4 that replaces the conventional '1 2 3 4' pulse with a syncopated '33334' pulse (see link in step 1). That gives you a heavily syncopated pattern with kicks and snares in uncomfortable places. Within this new pulse, a simple base groove is decorated with offbeat 16ths as you have seen in many other grooves. The full part has a very odd feel that is applicable either as a standard groove part or as a fill in most styles of music.
You can 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. On top of all of that all exercises have counting included 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 18MB.
This groove development path is slightly different in that you are starting with a rhythm rather than a simple groove, much like in the very first grooves covered at level 0. This is a Syncopated '33334' rhythm and this terminology is explained in the linked less.
Use the counting to help with note placement. Note that this rhythm is played on the right hand using an open hi hat and all subsequent steps involve adding to this rhythm rather than altering it.
Start building up the basic backbeat using the syncopated rhythm as the pulse by adding kicks in line with the hi hats on beats 1, the '+' after beat 2 and beat 4. Again, use the counting to help you with this odd note placement. The intention is for the first two kicks to feel like the 1 and 3 in a standard groove.
Two snares are added in on the hi hats between the kicks from the last step. These fall on the 'a' after beat 1 and the 'e' after beat 3. This gives a basic backbeat that is similar to early level 0 grooves but applied over the 33334 pulse. Give these two new snares as much emphasis as you would the backbeats on 2 and 4 in a standard common time 4/4 pattern.
The steps from here onwards all involve decorating that basic pattern and you will be starting off with just a couple of Sixteenth Note Snares to fill in that gap around beat 4. These will be played as single strokes on the '+' and 'a' after beat 4.
Add a Four On The Floor style feel within that '33334' pulse. That means adding kicks under the two snares on the 'a' after beat 1 and the 'e' after beat 3. It is very important that these Notes Line Up exactly to prevent the part becoming sloppy.
Two Ghosted sixteenth snares are added in here. If these were added in a common time feel groove they would be very Standard Placements but because of the 33334 pulse they will feel very odd. Use the counting provided to ensure they fall exactly where they should.
The first falls on the 'e' after beat 1 and the second on the 'a' after beat 3.
Add one more ghosted snare on the 'e' after beat 2. Again, in a common time feel this would be a very natural placement but here it will feel slightly uncomfortable.
A single bass drum is added in this step on the 3 count. This sounds easy but it pre-empts the backbeat that follows it, giving you a run of Two Sixteenth Kicks in a row. The emphasis here should be on the 'e' rather than the '3' to keep that 33334 pulse strong.