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Groove is a mysterious word in the drumming community; no one really knows what it means to play the drums with groove. Many drummers strive to play with groove, yet most of them do not even know what this means. There are a few tactics you can include in your everyday drumming to add a “groove” feeling; however to play the drums with groove you must be experienced. Do not let this get you down though! In this article I will explain a few techniques you can incorporate into your playing to give the beat more groove.
Before you can start drumming with groove, you must understand what groove actually is. The literal definition for the term “groove” is: To react or interact harmoniously. This is a very broad definition that means so much in the music world. To react or interact harmoniously means to flow well together. When a drum beat flows well together, you really think to yourself, “man this beat grooves”. So, in theory, playing the drums with groove is basically playing the drums in a smooth, harmonious way that flows very easily. That may not make very much sense right away, but there is definitely a difference from a basic drum beat with groove, and a basic drum beat without groove.
There are a number of ways to add more groove into your drumming. The best way to do this would be to play the drums with more dynamics. When you add in dynamics to your playing, you change the feel of any pattern. Instead of playing a constant monotonous pattern on the hi hats, try changing it up a bit by adding an accent on the one or three count. The same goes for your other voices on the drums like your snare and bass drum. Any drummer can play a pattern with their hi hats, snare drum and bass drum; however, being able to make each voice fit into each other is the tricky part. Most drummers will play the snare drum too loud, or their hi-hats too quiet, thus making it hard for the listener to follow along. You have to find that medium where each drum, cymbal, and kick fit in place. You can learn more about how to play with dynamics with Jared Falk’s video lesson on dynamic drumming.
Another great way to add feel and groove to your beats is by playing ghost notes. A ghost note is a note played at low volume to create more of a feel rather than a sound. When you are playing a basic drum beat, the listener can follow along very easily. Now if you were to add ghost notes to that beat, you will create a feel to the pattern that causes the listener to pay more attention. You can add ghost notes on the snare, bass drum, or other cymbals to add a lot of groove to any basic beat or pattern. A ghost note falls under the same category as dynamics since you are playing at a different volume then the rest of the drum beat. You can learn more about ghost notes and how to play them with Jared Falk’s video lesson on drumming with ghost notes.
Take these few tips to your drum kit and experiment with them. At first, try to incorporate them into your basic beats; once you have that down you can move onto more advanced beats. For further instruction on this topic, you can check out Jared Falk’s video lessons on playing with groove.