Using The Ride Cymbal In A Groove

Along with the hi hat, The Ride is the most commonly used part of the kit for the right hand when constructing a groove. As it is a cymbal, it is notated with an 'x' for a note head that is positioned on the very top line of the stave which would be an 'F' in standard notation. When written as a semi breve or minim a circle is drawn around the 'x' to imply the hollow note head you would usually see, this 'circling' around an 'x' to create different note values applies to any cymbal notation. Various note heads and rhythms on the ride are shown in the bars below:

Examples of ride notation

In terms of positioning on the kit, the ride cymbal will usually be on your right hand side as you sit at the kit. On a 5 piece kit, it will be over the floor tom and on a 4 piece it will be where the mid tom usually is. These most definitely aren't strict rules, they are best positioned where ever it feels comfortable to you.

When playing the ride, you will usually hit it on the 'body' of the cymbal with the 'bud' of the stick. The body is the large flat surface of the cymbal (a cymbal also has a 'bell' and an 'edge') and the 'bud' of the stick is the very tip. When played on the body the ride makes a 'ping' kind of sound. If you hit on the edge or with the 'shoulder' of the stick you will get more of a loud 'crash' sound. All of these different sounds have there own notation on drumscore.

When playing on the hi hat your hands were in the 'closed' position, meaning the right was crossed over the left. When playing the ride you will play in 'open' position. This literally means your hands are open, as in not crossed. This rule applies to any part of the kit positioned on the right hand side.

One of the reasons the ride is so commonly used is because of the variety of sounds you can create from it. As discussed above there are three of these, the body, The Bell and The Edge. The body is the 'standard' general purpose sound. The bell is the very center of the cymbal, the raised bit that looks a bit like a dome where the hole to place the cymbal on the stand is. This tends to be used for accents or louder sections of songs and is notated with a diamond note head. The edge is used for loud crash type sounds and is notated with a bold 'x'. You can see all forms of notation in the notation guide articles linked above. Each of these different areas will be shown in the example grooves below.

On this page I will list all basic groove examples covered in previous lessons using various parts of the ride cymabl, I will include a note in each to save you looking back at the notation guide. After that I will give a quick exercise to practice moving around the kit. For each example both the quarter and quaver note ride hand versions have been shown. These won't really be new grooves, just variations on existing parts.

Groove Example 1

Groove Example 1 played on the body.

Using the ride example 1

Groove Example 2

Groove Example 2 played on the bell.

Using the ride example 2

Groove Example 3

Groove Example 3 played on the edge.

Using the ride example 3

Groove Example 4

Groove Example 4 played on the body.

Using the ride example 4

Groove Example 5

Groove Example 5 played on the edge.

Using the ride example 5

Groove Example 6

Groove Example 6 played on the bell.

Using the ride example 6

Groove Example 7

Groove Example 7 played on the body.

Using the ride example 7

Groove Example 8

Groove Example 8 played on the body.

Using the ride example 8

Groove Example 9

Groove Example 9 played on the edge.

Using the ride example 9

Now you are used to playing on the ride, I'll now give an exercise on switching between the hi hat and ride cymbal. In each of the exercises below you are going to play two bars of a groove on the hi hat followed by two bars on the ride. Make sure when playing this that there are no gaps in timing when switching between the two parts:

Exercise 1

Rhythm of the first groove

Exercise 2

Rhythm of the first groove

That is really all there is to it. You can expand further on this exercise by changing how long you stay on each part for. For example 1 bar on the hi hat and 1 on the ride or 4 on the hi hat and 4 on the ride.


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