Ex 22-29 ghosted snare drum notes
Now we will introduce ghosted snare drum notes to the equation. The addition of ghost notes to a groove has the effect of creating syncopation and a sense of light and shade. When applying ghost notes to a single-handed 16th-note groove the ghost notes will fall in unison with the hi-hat notes.This creates new coordination challenges for most people. To begin with, try to maintain lightly accented eighth notes within the hi-hat pattern in order to release the tension that will inevitably build up in the hand. You will notice that all the ghost notes now fall in unison with the upstroke on the hi-hat. Don’t allow the ghost notes to interfere with the flow of the hi-hat pattern.
In order to make this sound controlled, fluid and dynamic, do not accent the ghost notes. Play them quieter than the backbeat. We can add accents later. Listen to James Gadson on BillWithers’ ‘Use Me’ and Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd St Band’s ‘Express Yourself’ for inspiration here. In particular notice how the hi-hat keeps driving forward regardless of what the kick and snare are doing.
Examples 22 and 23 introduce a single ghost note on the upbeats of 2-‘a’ and 4-‘a’. Make sure that you don’t flam with the hi-hat. In Ex. 24 and 25 we start to add some bass drum syncopation. Keep the hi-hat driving! Examples 26 and 27 introduce a new coordination hurdle – the kick, ghosted snare and hi-hat all fall in unison.Again, beware of flamming. In Examples 28 and 29 we introduce busier bass drum patterns.
Practise these grooves very slowly to begin with (50-60bpm) in order to make sure you’ve got control over your limbs and a degree of dynamic independence. Be patient and record yourself to hear what it sounds like. Then try it a little bit faster.
Example 22 is a simple kick/snare pattern with lightly accented 16ths, Example 23 is a slight bass drum variation We add some ghost notes and bit of bass drum syncopation into Example 24, with a busier bass drum pattern in Ex. 25. Watch out for the three-way unison on the ‘a’ of beat 2 in Example 26.
An extra bass drum note pushes the groove in Example 27 along, while the groove in Example 28 utilises a repeating ostinato on the bass drum.
Finally, the bass drum pattern in Example 29 is a bit more active.