“Groove” is probably the most mysterious concept when it comes to drumming. There is no strict definition for what groove or drumming with groove means.
A beat with a good groove could be described as one that goes smoothly with the rest of the music, that transmits energy, which has a flow and a feeling.
There is no recipe on how to drum with groove, and you cannot sit down behind your drum kit and decide to learn how to groove.
Basically, you will have to practice just about anything you learned about – and even seek new ideas to learn – and your “groove” will follow as you gain experience. Still, there are a few ideas that might guide you on your journey to becoming a drummer with a cool groove.
In order for you to be able to play along any music, you must first feel the pulsation of the music. You should first determine the tempo of the music so that you will be able to play the drum accompaniment at an appropriate speed. Also, you have to determine the meter of the music – if these two data are in hand, building a basic beat around the melody you have will not be too hard.
The usual drum kit consists of almost a dozen different parts, all of them producing different sounds. By learning different, usually simple techniques, you will be able to learn a whole range of different sounds on any of the parts.
One of the tasks that you need to complete in order to be able to play these ranges of sounds – and play them in a “groovy” way! – is practicing your dynamics. Dynamics in drumming means the ability to create sounds at different volume and tone levels.
Proper accentuation is also a must in order for you to deliver groovy rhythms. By learning to lay accents on different counts, the same combination – or series – of notes can be played as totally different rhythms.
The most basic beat you probably already are familiar with is the simple 4/4 rock beat with accents on the first and the third count. This beat is also known by many as the “money beat”. Nothing interesting here at first: you play the bass drum on count one, the snare on count three and the closed hi-hat on every single count.
Let’s split this basic beat into two layers: the first layer contains the snare drum and the bass drum. We are not changing anything there, you can even forget about them – you will have to proceed in playing them as you did until now. Then, the second layer contains the hi-hat. This is where the interesting stuff begins: not quite surprisingly, there are more ways to play that simple accompaniment.
Make sure your base is solid: try to keep a steady accentuation. Before playing fancy variations, we have to make sure you are able to deliver this simple beat steadily. That means that you have to hit the same area of the cymbals with the same movement and force. Even though that might sound boring compared to some jazz or jungle beats, it actually is more useful than almost anything you might ever learn.
Then go fancy: by changing the force of your strokes you can create different sounds, and that especially applies to your hi-hat. Combining the different hi-hat sounds into patterns will give your beats incredible vitality.
An example pattern: playing accentuated notes on counts 1&3 is actually easier than playing the hi-hat steadily. However, for something interesting you might want to try playing accentuated notes on counts 2&4 (when you only play the hi-hat) and ghost notes on counts 1&3 (when you also play the snare or the bass). Also, experimenting with opening your hi-hats will only take your groove to a higher level. Good playing!
Have you always wanted to learn jazz drumming but couldn’t find the proper resources to do so? Well, your search is over. With the Jazz Drumming System DVD course, you will instantly improve your grooves and enhance your confidence on the drums.