Broken Hi-Hat Concepts

Easy Drumming That Sounds Hard

Most rock music is based on the 8th note pulse. Playing 8th notes on the hi-hat all the time is almost a given for every beginner rock drummer. Much like the bass drum and the snare drum, you can use the hi-hat to emphasize parts from different instruments. Vocal, piano and guitar parts, which are usually higher pitched, really benefit from a drummer who’s able to complement their rhythmic output with syncopated rhythms on the hi-hat. With that in mind, Jared Falk designed this lesson to teach you how to free up your hi-hat hand to play whatever 8th note- and 16th note-based rhythms. If you’re a fan of Carter Beauford‘s broken hi-hat stuff, you’re going to love what this free drum lesson will do for your drumming.

The sheet music we provide you with features 15 rhythms based on 8th notes and 16th notes. The idea here is that you permutate the different rhythms while keeping a simple snare and bass drum pattern going at first – bass drum on counts 1 and 3, and snare drum on counts 2 and 4. A permutation is a mathematical term that basically means the various ways you can arrange objects of a given set into a particular order. In a bar of 4/4 time, you can permutate these 15 rhythms into 50625 different broken hi-hat patterns. Trying to play all 50625 hi-hat permutations can be a bit overwhelming. You can if you want to, but we highly encourage you to just randomly pick 4 that interest you and go from there. For more ideas on how to put these 15 rhythms together, watch the free drum lesson “Broken Hi-Hat Drum Beats.”

Once you’re able to play a permutation at different tempos with confidence, you can start messing around with the snare and bass drum patterns. Take different snare and bass drum patterns from our collection of free drum lessons and combine them with the broken hi-hat permutation you’re working on. Check the free drum lesson “Beginner Linear Drum Beats” for some simple but cool snare and bass drum patterns. If you want patterns that are a bit more challenging, then the free drum lesson “Intermediate Ghost Notes” is a great option for you.

You can use this concept for making your own odd-time signature-based broken hi-hat drum beats as well. For instance, you can take 5 rhythms from the sheet music and mix them to create a 5/4 broken hi-hat drum beat. Then, go to the free drum lessons on 5/4 odd-time signature that we have on this website, and combine all the snare and bass drum patterns from them with the 5/4 broken hi-hat permutation you came up with. Another cool way to spice up this concept is to break the hi-hat permutation between two different surfaces, like the ride cymbal and the hi-hat for instance. The possibilities are quite endless with this free drum lesson. Enjoy!