Groove Development: 14-08-2018 (2 Bar Quarter Note Based 7/8)

Building up a two bar groove pattern in 7/8 based around a quarter note right hand.

In this lesson you will be learning an oddly timed groove in the time signature of 7/8 through a series of steps. This will start with a simple half time feel groove pattern that builds up to a level 3 or 4 pattern where syncopation is created by forcing a quarter note right hand into the odd time signature. There will be five separate modifications made to this start groove, each of which makes the part slightly more difficult than the previous. 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 3 you add ghosted snares so try applying 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 two bar pattern in 7/8 that would fit nicely into the 'modern metal' genre but would fit well in many other styles. The intention is for it to be played at a slightly higher tempo and works really well when applied after a double time section. Ghosted snares and sixteenth kicks are added to the base pattern (shown in step 2) and these help to create a busy half time feel part that sounds great.

You can also 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. You can purchase this for just $2 by clicking the button below.

NOTE that the file size of this pack is 14MB.


Step 1

A relatively basic two bar 7/8 Groove with the right hand maintaining a quarter note feel over the two bars. Note that the first bar has rides on odd numbered counts and the second bar has them on even counts. This will have a feel similar to that of half time in 4/4 but cut an eighth note short. The right hand also gives the groove more of a 7/4 feel but when played under a piece of music In 7/8 it creates some nice counter rhythms. Be careful with the kick placement in the second bar, it can be tricky.

Developing a 7/8 groove


Step 2

To add to the odd, syncopated rhythm created in the previous step, every other right hand is now going to be played on a Ride Bell. This will further emphasize the 4/4 feel we are trying to create over the two bars of 7/8. Note that the right hand pattern doesn't quite fit within the two bars, you both start and end with a ride bell. This step forms the base groove, the remaining steps will involve adding decoration around this part.

The sound created here will be similar to a 4/4 pattern with an eighth note right hand where the Quarter Notes Are Accented.

Developing a 7/8 groove


Step 3

Ghosted snares are added On The '+' Counts after beat 2 in both bars then after the 7 in the second bar. The changing of the right hand placement in the second bar can really mess up the snare placement so take your time and use the MP3s provided to make sure you have the note placement accurate.

Developing a 7/8 groove


Step 4

Next, add a sixteenth kick On The '+' Count immediately after the main snare on count 5 in the first bar. Be careful not to play this too slow, it's a sixteenth note placement not an eighth.

In the second bar, the eighth note kick on count '5' is now Doubled Up to two sixteenth notes.

Developing a 7/8 groove


Step 5

More ghosted snares are added but this time in a slightly unusual way. On that empty '6' count in the first bar, you are now playing a Double Stroke left as sixteenth notes. Focus on the dynamic level of these two notes, make sure they are nice and subtle.

Developing a 7/8 groove


Step 6

Some tonal variation is added in this step with the addition of a Splash Cymbal on the '+' count after beat 3 in the second bar. The intention is for the splash to be positioned somewhere on the left hand side or towards the centre of the kit so that it can be played with a left hand.

This idea also works quite well when applied as a subtle variation on the main groove. You could play the part a few times without the splash then maybe add it in the fourth or eighth bar.

Developing a 7/8 groove