Removing The Right Hand From A Groove

In this lesson we will be discussing the idea of removing the right hand from a groove. This is a very simple idea and is a great way to build up a part, particularly when you are using the same pattern for a long time. You can find the notation for a lot of simple grooves without the right hand in our Introduction To Grooves lesson series. In that series you are given a new groove on each page and exercise 1 on each page shows the groove without the right hand. In this lesson I will focus on showing you how to use this idea effectively in your playing.

Listed below are ideas for using this concept practically. For each idea an example has been given.

Idea 1 - Use The Concept As A Fill

For this idea you will be applying the concept as the fill section in a short phrase. You could do this by either removing the right hand from the groove used throughout the pattern or you could use a different groove entirely. Either way, this is not generally what you would expect to hear as a fill so can be quite affective. I have shown two examples of this below, one where the same groove is used and one where a different pattern is used. I have used four bar patterns for both examples here but it will work just as well for longer or shorter phrases.

Idea 1 - Example 1

The idea applied as a fill

Idea 1 - Example 2

The idea applied as a fill

Idea 2 - Reverse Idea 1

You could also switch around the structure of idea 1 so that you play without the right hand for the groove then add it back in as a fill. As mentioned above, you could either use the same pattern throughout or switch it for the fill, both have been shown below.

Idea 2 - Example 1

The idea applied as a fill

Idea 2 - Example 2

The idea applied as a fill

Idea 3 - Build Up Your Part

This idea can be heard in the Green Day song Macy's Day Parade. In this song this groove is played through the whole song but through the first verse and pre chorus it is played without the hi hats. This allows the same subtle part to be used throughout but helps prevent it from becoming dull. The example below demonstrates how this could work over a short sixteen bar pattern.

Idea 3 - Example

The idea applied as a way of building up the part

Idea 4 - Remove At Random Points

This time we'll try removing the right hand at random points within a phrase. This works best when it ties in with something else happening in the song such as the guitars dropping out to emphasize a vocal part. Be careful with this one, it may end up sounding like you just dropped a stick or something. Two examples of this idea are shown below.

Idea 4 - Example 1

The idea applied at a random point

Idea 4 - Example 2

The idea applied at a random point


  1. Learn the parts shown above.
  2. Experiment with applying the idea to your playing.


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