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13 Must Know Reggae Hi-Hat Combinations

Gil Sharone  /  UPDATED Aug 20, 2022

If you’re looking to get into reggae drumming, look no further than Gil Sharone, the author of the award winning DVD and book on Jamaican Ska, Rocksteady & Reggae drumming entitled Wicked Beats. He has played and/or collaborated with reggae legends Eek-A-Mouse and Lee Scratch Perry, Grammy Award-winning Morgan Heritage, Fishbone, Slightly Stoopid, HR from Bad Brains, Dave Wakeling of the English Beat, and Western Standard Time Ska Orchestra.

In this video, Gil gives you 13 essential hi-hat patterns to get comfortable with. He plays them all over a simple one drop groove but you should also try these variations over a steppers and a rockers beat.

You’ll see how changing just the hi-hat pattern can completely shift how the beat feels:

1. Start with this first variation:

Screen Shot 2019 11 28 at 1.54.40 PM

2. Now straight 8th notes, no accent:

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3. 8th notes with upbeat accent:

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4. 16th notes with accent:

Screen Shot 2019 11 28 at 1.55.08 PM

5. Broken up pattern with a straight feel:

Screen Shot 2019 11 28 at 1.55.18 PM

6. The same broken up pattern with a swung feel:

Screen Shot 2019 11 28 at 1.55.27 PM

7. Another variation with a straight feel:

Screen Shot 2019 11 28 at 1.55.35 PM

8. Now swing it:

Screen Shot 2019 11 28 at 1.55.43 PM

9. This is a shuffle variation with swung 8th notes:

Screen Shot 2019 11 28 at 1.55.51 PM

10. Try this one as an exercise:

Screen Shot 2019 11 28 at 1.56.00 PM

11. This is the straight version of a common beat played often by Grizzly from Steel Pulse:

Screen Shot 2019 11 28 at 1.56.11 PM

12. Here’s the swung version:

Screen Shot 2019 11 28 at 1.56.19 PM

13. This essential pattern sounds like a simplified version of Carly Barrett’s signature style of one drop:

Screen Shot 2019 11 28 at 1.56.27 PM

Don’t forget to play these variations over one drop, steppers, and rockers beats. Click here to download the play along track.

This video is one of eight parts of Gil Sharone’s course “Exploring Reggae Grooves”. If you enjoyed this clip, check out the full course inside Drumeo!

Gil Sharone is an industry award winner and educator/clinician who has played with Marilyn Manson, Stolen Babies, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Team Sleep and more. His work further extends into film and television scores including Deadpool 2, Guardians of The Galaxy 2, John Wick 1, 2 & 3, The Punisher and Kingdom. He co-wrote & performed on songs for DC Comics’ Dark Nights: Metal soundtrack with Tyler Bates and Mike Elizondo. He is also the author of the award-winning DVD and book called “Wicked Beats” based on Jamaican drumming styles.

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