In this syncopated groove construction lesson you are going to take a sixteenth note '323' rhythm and apply it as the snare part. The right hand will then maintain some kind of steady rhythm whilst the kicks fill in all sixteenth note between those snare strikes to create what can be described as a simple multi layered groove. At the bottom of the page you will find a list of links to lessons you may find useful. Some of the parts can be demanding on your co-ordination so if at any point you find yourself struggling, have a read through some of these. If you aren't sure what is meant by a '323' rhythm a link to a lesson explaining this terminology is also linked at the bottom of this page.
The first half of this page will involve building a base version of the part over a few steps. You will then learn some simple variations to encourage you to build your own grooves using this concept.
The starting point will be the 323 rhythm played on the snare twice underneath straight eighth note closed hi hats. Watch out for the note that falls in between the eighth notes on the 'a' and 'e' counts, an exercise on improving your ability to place notes like this is given at the bottom of the page.
Before moving on, make sure the snare placement is spot on otherwise the part will end up sounding sloppy.
The next step involves filling in all gaps between the snares with sixteenth note kicks. This can be draining on your right foot stamina and a helpful exercise is again linked at the bottom of the page. There is a lot going on in this groove so take your time working through it.
That completes the base groove. The next section of the lesson will involve applying some simple variation to the right hand and kick. Make sure you can play this base groove consistently at a decent tempo before moving on though. The two minute rule (linked below) is very useful for this.
An obvious variation is to switch the right hand to quarter notes. This can make the part more difficult to keep in time as there is a lot less for the kick and snare to 'latch' onto. Keep a '1 e + a...' count going as you play this to make sure that doesn't happen to you. This idea is shown below with the right hand playing on the second crash cymbal.
You could also go the other way with this and play sixteenth notes on the right hand.
Here some eighth notes have been added to break up the constant sixteenths. Adding in some counting will help if you are struggling to get the placement correct.
In this version the right hand is playing at the same time as the snares. This will highlight the '323' rhythm that little bit more.
Similar to the last version, the right hand now follows the bass drums. This gives me emphasis to the notes between the snares which can soften the '323' rhythm.
- Learn the grooves above up to a tempo of at least 120bpm.
- Experiment with creating more variations using the ideas given.
- Use the concept as part of a phrased example.
- Try constructing longer patterns based on this rhythm, such as two or four bar grooves.
- Combine different elements of the grooves given above to create even more construction ideas.