Right Hand '1 e a' Rhythm In 6/8

A 6/8 groove construction idea that involves playing standard 16th note groupings to create a polymetric feel.

In this lesson you will be taking a standard 6/8 groove and applying a '1 e a' rhythm to the right hand part. This rhythm has been covered in a couple of different forms in 4/4 and the rhythm lends itself nicely to that time signature as the start of each grouping falls in line with a numbered count. However, when you try to play this in 6/8 you will notice that isn't the case. You would expect groupings within this time signature to fall in blocks of threes and sixes, so when applying a four sixteenth note based grouping (such as the 1 e a rhythm) the blocks won't fall nicely with in the bar. This makes for some quite interesting grooves when applied to the right hand. What you essentially end up with is a very basic polymeter, a polymeter being where two time signatures are played together at the same time. The right hand part will be 3/4 and the kicks and snares in 6/8.

At the bottom of the page you will find a list of links to lessons you may find helpful when learning these parts, this includes very similar lessons using other sixteenth note groupings for the right hand. The right hand for the grooves shown on this page looks like this:

The right hand for this groove

So the bar follows the usual 6/8 grouping but is phrased in blocks of two eighth notes. I have included the phrase marking over the top and have accented the start of each grouping to clarify what is happening. I find this rhythm a little more complicated than others because of where the rests and gaps of the grouping fall compared to the feel of the bar.

Listed below are several grooves where this right hand rhythm is used. I have tried to use a variety of construction ideas around this rhythm but remember to use it as a basis for constructing your own parts. As with all grooves where the rhythm of the right hand is important, try to use a voice that has a clear sound. So things like closed hi hats and rides rather than open hi hats and crashes.

Example 1

A 6/8 groove with a 1e a right hand.

Example 2

A 6/8 groove with a 1e a right hand.

Example 3

A 6/8 groove with a 1e a right hand.

Example 4

A 6/8 groove with a 1e a right hand.

Example 5

A 6/8 groove with a 1e a right hand.


  • Using the 2 minute rule, get all grooves up to a tempo of at least dotted crotchets at 120bpm.
  • Create further variations on these grooves.
  • Apply these grooves to a phrased piece as either the groove or fill.
  • .