Groove Development: 07-08-2018 (1 Bar Half Time 12/8)

Building up a half time ghost note heavy groove in 12/8.

In this lesson you will be learning a half time 12/8 through a series of steps. This will start with a simple 12/8 groove pattern that builds up to a level 4 pattern using a lot of ghosted snares. There will be ten separate modifications made to this start groove and you will find each step increases the difficulty of the part slightly. 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.

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 a very specific open hi hat is added so try applying this to a different point 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 one bar half time pattern in 12/8 that uses a wide variety of concept to create an intricate, busy sounding groove. The part has a strong solid 4/4 swung feel and as such would work really well in a blues song.

You can also 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 that the pack also features an extra step in developing the groove, highlighting of changes in each step and counting marks. You can purchase this for just $2 by clicking the button below.

NOTE that the file size of this pack is 16.3MB.


Step 1

A basic 12/8 Half Time Groove with a swung right hand. This could also be notated in 4/4 using eighth note triplets but I find this way to be less cluttered and easier to read.

Developing a half time 12/8 groove


Step 2

Accents are added to further emphasize the solid '4/4' style feel of the groove. The right hand will have a bit of 'bounce' to it due to the alternating dynamic level. Keep a loose wrist while playing these louder notes, have a look into the Moeller technique as this is great for parts like this.

Developing a half time 12/8 groove


Step 3

The hi hat on the 'a' after count '3' is opened then Immediately Closed on the '4' count by pressing down the left foot. The right hand hi hat on count four is removed to help keep the part more relaxed. Focus here on making sure the left foot on '4' is exactly on the '4' count.

Developing a half time 12/8 groove


Step 4

Still filling in some decoration around count '4', add in two sixteenth note hi hats on the '+' count. These will be played as single strokes.

Developing a half time 12/8 groove

Step 5

The part is currently lacking in the bass drum part so an eighth note kick is now placed on the 'a' after beat 1 and two sixteenth kicks on the 'a' after count 2.

Developing a half time 12/8 groove


Step 6

In the next couple of steps ghost notes will be used to fill in some of the empty counts, giving the part a much busier feel to it. In most steps this will involve placement on the '+' count which falls in between the two right hand hi hats. In this case a ghosted snare is placed On The '+' after count '1'.

Developing a half time 12/8 groove


Step 7

A similar snare placement to the previous step is applied on the '+' after count 2.

Developing a half time 12/8 groove


Step 8

The ghosted snare in this step is still applied on an '+' count, after count '3' to be specific, but the difference here is that there is an accented snare already being played before the new note. This means you will need to move from an accented snare to a ghosted snare over the space of an eighth note with the same hand. Focus on that dynamic shift here.

Developing a half time 12/8 groove


Step 9

A sixteenth note kick is placed right at the end of the bar, just to add a little tonal and rhythmic variation around count 4.

Developing a half time 12/8 groove


Step 10

In this step you will be turning count 4 into a straight run of six sixteenth notes by placing Two Bass Drums on the '4' count. The first of these falls in line with the left foot hi hat used to close that 'a' count open hi hat. Make sure the two feet fall exactly together.

Developing a half time 12/8 groove