Half Time Drum Beats
No! You won’t be learning the drum beats provided in this free drum lesson in half the time you would all the other ones. If you want to understand what half-time grooves are all about, you have to give this free drum lesson a try. In the video, Jared Falk shows you how to play ten half-time drum beats. He also explains what half-time is and shows you how it relates to full-time.
The rhythmic feel of half-time drum beats are cut by half. There is no change in the time signature or in the note values used. It’s just the feel that is altered. This feel creates a lot of space in the drum beats and music you play. The snare drum is usually the instrument of the drum set where this is felt the most. This is the result of shifting the snare shot from count 2 on a full-time drum beat, to count 3.
Exercise #1 is a half-time drum beat that is based on the basic 8th note rock groove. To come up with this pattern, we simply moved the snare shot from count 2 of the 8th note rock beat to count 3, and removed the snare shot on count 4 and the bass drum stroke of count 3. Exercise #2 makes you work a little bit on your bass drum independence by adding a bass drum stroke to the “and” of count 2 of exercise #1.
The snare drum and hi-hat patterns from the next two half-time drum beats are played exactly like on the previous exercises. The bass drum is really the only instrument where the patterns vary. Exercise #3 adds a bass drum stroke to the “and” of count 4 of exercise #2. Exercise #4 is basically exercise #2 with the bass drum on the “and” of count 2 shifted to the right by one 16th note.
Exercise #5 builds on exercise #4. They share the same hi-hat and bass drum patterns. It’s in the snare drum pattern that you’ll find a small difference in the form of an extra stroke on the “ah” of count 3. Exercise #6 builds on exercise #5. Here, the snare drum and hi-hat patterns are the ones that are shared between both exercises. The bass drum pattern gets a little more challenging to play due to the extra strokes on the “and” of count 2. This will become clearer when you get to higher tempos.
To work around this, you can learn how to play the slide technique or how to play the heel-toe technique, the most popular bass drum techniques for performing double strokes with one foot. You can still play this exercise at higher tempos without the need to learn a specific technique to do so. Practice this half-time drum beat slowly at first. Play the half-time drum beat for long periods of time and without stopping. This will develop your leg muscles, work on your control and on the stamina needed for playing doubles for longer periods of time. As the tempo increases, your foot’s movement will naturally mutate to a variation of the slide technique.
The first half of exercise #7 is similar to the first half of exercises #2 and #3. It’s in its second half that this half-time drum beat shines through. Starting on count 3, there’s a 16th note pattern played between the hi-hat and the snare drum. In the video, Jared Falk plays count 3 on the snare with his stronger hand instead of using the weaker hand as usual. He does this so he can keep his stronger hand leading when he gets to count 1 of the next bar.
The hi-hat pattern of exercise #8 is once again 8th note based. The bass drum gets a little more syncopated with hits on the “and” of counts 2 and 4, and on the “e” of count 3. The snare drum has an accented stroke on count 3, and ghosted notes on the “ah” of counts 1 and 3, on the “and” of count 3, and on the “e” of count 4. This is a challenging exercise, but if Jared can play it so can you. The first thing you have to look out for is the different sound levels at what you play the snare drum strokes. Keep your stick low when playing the ghost notes, and really accent the snare shot on count 3. Another thing to look out for is the higher level of independence required for performing this half-time drum beat accurately. This is due to the bass drum stroke that’s played on the “e” of count 3, between all those snare hits.
To make this half-time drum beat sound like a million bucks, you’ll have to practice it slowly at first, since you’ll be playing a lot of dynamically distinct notes between hands and foot. So the level of control has to be quite high. Remember, speed comes with control.
Exercise #9 features a 16th note single stroke roll that’s broken between the hi-hat and the snare drum. The snare strokes are to be played as lightly as possible on the “ah” of counts 1 and 3. This can be a bit troublesome to perform, since one of the hands has to quickly move between instruments to play a ghost note. Moving from one instrument to another makes it way harder to play ghosted strokes. Practicing this pattern slowly at first will help you keep those strokes as silent as possible as you speed up. Remember to play the bass drum strokes in unison with the hand strokes. Work on getting very clean sounding unison figures and avoid playing flams between hands and foot.
The last exercise in this free rock drum lesson has a very interesting and challenging bass drum pattern. Just before each count, a 32nd note double stroke is played by the bass drum foot. If you take a look at Jared’s foot while he performs this exercise, you’ll notice he isn’t playing the pedal as he would normally do. That’s because performing a 32nd note double stroke at 100 BPM is not possible with regular heel-up playing, so Jared uses the heel-toe technique instead. You could go for the slide technique instead, which works as good as the heel-toe. With that being said, we encourage you to learn how to play the heel-toe technique or how to play the slide technique.
If you’re interested in developing more half-time drum beats of your own, take most of the drum beats from this website and just move the snare drum pattern one count to the right. Since most snare drum patterns have an accent on count 2, moving it by one count to the right would get the accent on count 3. The free drum lessons “Beginner Tom-Tom Drum Beats” and “Double Bass Drum Beats” are great lessons for you to apply this concept to.
You could also change the hi-hat patterns from these ten half-time drum beats. Experiment playing around with the hi-hat patterns from the free drum lesson “Beginner Opening-Closing Hi-Hats“. We also encourage you to use cross-stick instead of snare shots with all of these half-time drum beats. Check the free drum lesson “Beginner Cross-Sticking” to learn more about this very cool dynamic drumming technique.
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