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How To Make A Groove Feel Great

Raghav Mehrotra  /  UPDATED Aug 22, 2022

Why do some grooves make you feel good, and some just don’t work at all?

Whether you like it or not, says Raghav Mehrotra, your purpose as a drummer playing with musicians is to be the backbone of the band, keep time, and make it feel great.

Here’s how Raghav recommends building grooves that do just that:

Bass Drum

What to do: This is the foundation of your groove, and in many styles you might want to correlate it with the bass guitar because it provides a similar function in a band setting.

First, take into account the style of music you’re playing. In disco, for example (the style in the video), the drums and bass should complement each other. Place the bass drum notes where they won’t clash with the bass guitar. In this particular song, Raghav keeps a solid quarter note going to ground the groove, and occasionally adds one or two extra notes to give it that extra push. The key is keeping it simple.

What not to do: Make the bass drum parts too complex or too dense where they clash with the bass guitar.

Snare drum

What to do: In this track, there’s a synth, guitar, and bass guitar. Raghav decided to use the snare to complement the guitar. He keeps it simple, hitting on 2 and 4 because when people hear disco music and want to dance, they need a solid backbeat to get them moving.

What not to do: Too much subdivision, too dense, or too many ghost notes. When the other instruments are playing a note-heavy riff, you don’t want to compete.


What to do: You can afford to make the hi-hats a little busier because they’ll be at a higher frequency compared to the other instruments in the track. There’s really a fine line between playing whats musical – and what fits the track – and being too complex.

What not to do: Make your hi-hat part too busy or too fast.

The big takeaway here is to play musically and not step on the toes of another instrument. Your drumming can push the track forward but still have its own voice!

Raghav Mehrotra is an incredible young musician who first made a name for himself in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Tony-nominated School of Rock: The Musical, where he performed over 500 shows as Freddy, the drummer. Over the years he has played legendary venues like Madison Square Garden, Winter Garden Theater, Beacon Theater and the Lincoln Memorial. Raghav has played alongside a slew of incredible musicians, including Sarah Brightman, Steve Smith, Slash, Earl Slick, John Wetton, James Genus, Jimmy Haslip, and Vinny Valentino. Besides his hugely successful run as Freddy, Raghav has performed on Good Morning America, at the Tony Awards, Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, Gypsy of the Year, and Stars in the Alley.

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