In this lesson, I’m going to walk you through one of my favorite grooves from a TesseracT song you probably haven’t heard. The track is called ‘Hollow‘ and it’s a bonus track you’ll have received if you pre-ordered our first record.
The groove I’m going to isolate uses a repeating five-stroke roll pattern, played as straight 16th notes: R L L R L – between the ride cymbal and the snare drum while accenting the snare on the ‘3’ of a 4/4 count. I’ll split the groove up into four manageable steps, starting with just the hands and the metronome, then introducing the right foot on the kick, and finally, fleshing the beat out with a snare accent.
Why is this a useful exercise? If you’d like to get used to working with odd meters while keeping down a solid groove, specifically when working with a five-count, then this is a fantastic groove to sit with. Specifically, it has helped me get my five-stroke rolls to a point of comfort I no longer need to even think about.
To accompany this lesson, I have created a full drum transcription for ‘Hollow’ which you can download below either as a PDF or as a Guitar Pro file.
You can also download all of the exercises for this lesson as a transcription or a Guitar Pro file.
Exercise 1 – Get the hands comfortable
First off, let’s make those hands move comfortably with the first stroke roll pattern against a quarter-note petal-hat count. We’re going to play R L R L L with the right hand on the ride, and the left hand on the snare playing ghost notes. The second ride cymbal hit in each five-count is going to be accented on the bell.
Exercise 2 – Introduce the kick
The kick drum should be easier to introduce than you might imagine as it lands perfectly in time with the right hand each time. It can still provide a significant limb independence challenge though if you’ve not played this ‘feel’ before so remember to start SLOW and build up.
Exercise 3 – Get that snare on the backbeat
Now let’s introduce the snare on the backbeat. This can be a little more of a challenge as it requires us to sometimes change the sticking slightly to keep a nice groove balance with the ghost notes. I’ve also thrown a cheeky heel-toe double in there to spice things up on the third repeat. ALSO, I’ve made this groove repeat after the fourth bar rather than completing the full cycle of five bars.
Exercise 4 – Wrap your brain around sonic differences
Simply hearing a different sound can throw us off sometimes, and in the second version of this beat that I perform in ‘Hollow’, I move between the Stack and the China, for a heavier version of the groove. The pattern is the same, apart from one small 32nd note difference at the end of the 2nd bar of the china groove, but the challenge is in realizing comfort between the two different versions of the same groove.