A lot of drummers make the mistake of ignoring their left foot when they are playing a beat. The left foot can give certain parts of your drumming a whole new feel and can be used to great effect, especially if you aren’t playing the groove on the hi-hats.
With the rise of the double-bass pedals, many drummers are forgetting to use the hi-hats to keep timing, and to fill up some sound in the background. What we are left with is very bass heavy drumming with little high ends.
I’ll be explaining why the left foot is still relevant, especially when you are playing grooves. I’ll tell you a few exercises that you can use in order to improve the control of your left foot, and make your drumming sound more original.
The left foot either controls the second bass drum or the hi-hat. If you are playing a groove you are most likely going to have your foot on the hi-hat pedal. The left foot will control whether or not the groove is played on a slushy cymbal, or a closed.
It will also let you break up the beat by adding in open and closed hi-hat rhythms. Being able to keep your timing whilst controlling the left foot is crucial if you are playing a drum beat.
Before the double-bass pedal became popular drummers would always play the hi-hats consistently when they are playing other drums. This gave the drum kit more high end, as opposed to simply the heavy sound of a bass drum.
It also made drumming more rhythmic, and gave the drummer more opportunities to create space, rather than just have a constant sound. Using the left foot pedal on the hi-hats during beats that are played on the ride cymbal or drums is a great way to keep timing and control. And most importantly, it sounds great!
When you use the hi-hat pedal in a groove then you may have issues with the strength of your foot. The best way to improve your speed and strength is to simply play it as much as possible. A great exercise to use is to play the hi-hat pedal when you practice your rudiments.
Whenever you play an accent on a drum then you should close the pedal. This will help you keep timing, control and will improve the overall sound of your playing.
Overall the left pedal tends to get ignored in modern day drumming. If you are playing a groove and you are looking for a way to spice it up a bit, and make it more interesting then learning how to control the hi-hat is essential. Try learning to incorporate the hi-hat pedal into some grooves that you already know.
You’ll be surprised at how different they can sound. It’s not just grooves that can use the hi-hat, it’s drum solos as well. Not every solo needs to have a double-bass pedal to sound fast, and using a hi-hat in the background can give it a lot more character and feeling.
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