Triplets aren’t just for jazz, blues, and shuffles. In this full lesson, Brian Tichy – who has played with some of the world’s biggest rock bands – talks about spicing up your rock drumming with triplets.
The most important thing to remember is keeping quarter notes going on the hi-hat. It’ll keep you balanced, help with your independence, and improve groove and confidence.
This is a classic drum solo lick with a left hand lead. Left hand rack tom, right hand floor, then kick drum. Make sure your left hand is locked with your hi-hat. Start slow and even, put on the click, then try it at medium and fast tempos.
Here’s that same pattern, but the right hand leads this time.
Now, let’s put exercises 1a and 1b together. Lead with your right, then with your left – get comfortable alternating. It’s important to remember that your feet are basically doing a shuffle. You can even try to combine this exercise with a shuffle beat to get the feel. You can use this to start building solos, and even add the snare in there.
Now, drop your foot in the middle of each triplet. The shuffling is in your hands this time. It might be tricky at first, so again: take it slow and build up speed and coordination. Try just putting in the first kick at first.
Putting an accent on the first note of each triplet will give you some cool dynamics. If you have solid control of your double strokes, you should be able to get this one up to speed more quickly.
Flip the phrase around so the accent is on the last note of each triplet. Start with a double stroke on the left, then accent the right. Again, make sure you lock in the hi-hat with your left hand.
We’re combining some of the phrases we went over earlier. You can also try this in 4/4 with a rock beat. Play the accents on another drum to change up the sound.
Let’s combine the pattern in exercise 4 with the one in exercise 5. There’s a switch on the snare halfway through that forces you to reverse the sticking pattern.
Once you’re feeling comfortable with these exercises, try these other patterns:
This double stroke ‘extension’ is a useful tool to have in your back pocket. Try and make it swing!
Now flip it and work on your left hand. You might throw something like this into the middle of a solo, or you could try putting it together with other patterns as a fill.
Put the last two exercises together and get used to alternating sticking. Try it with singles first to get the motion, then do it with the doubles.
Here’s another sextuplet pattern that uses the skills covered earlier.
Flip that last lick to the left side. Pay attention to that hi-hat!
We’re combining two of the previous patterns, again to lead with your right then lead with your left.
Start with 11c, then end with 10a and 10b.
It may be tough at first to get them to swing, but you can get a lot of mileage out of these triplets. Get that groove and get that feel. Take a page out of Brian (and Bonham)’s book and get groovin’!
About Brian Tichy:
Brian Tichy is best known for his drumming with Whitesnake, Billy Idol, Foreigner, Sass Jordan, and Ozzy Osbourne. Besides substituting for Jason Bonham with Foreigner, he has organized, produced, and played in the drummer tribute “Bonzo, The Groove Remains The Same”, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the death of Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham.
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