What is Linear Drumming?
Today we’re going to explore a linear pattern on the drum set. For those of you not familiar with the term, linear drumming means that you distribute notes across a rhythm using your limbs such that no overlapping occurs–only one sound source is being played at a time.
RLF RLF RLF RLF RLLF
When I find a drumming pattern I like, part of my process is to delve deeply into it and explore. In this article, we’re going to take one great sounding pattern and go deep, with a 16 exercise exploration. The pattern: RLF, RLF, RLF, RLF, RLLF
By the way, the inspiration for this idea comes from one of my favorite drummers, Glen Sobel, who I saw using something very close to this in one of his massive Alice Cooper drum solos. I was astounded at how great the linear part of his solo was.
How To Mix Things Up
Any linear pattern can yield a large number of different funky grooves as well as soloing ideas, and this one is no exception. Here are a few ways that you can take an idea like this and get different sounding grooves and solo ideas to happen:
- vary the snare accents–split your hands between the hi-hat and snare drum and choose different left hand notes to accent while “ghosting” the unaccented notes on the snare.
- add toms to the groove as in the above by moving your right hand off of the hi-hat to play different toms.
- split your hands up between the ride and snare and vary the right-handed ride notes by sometimes playing on the regular playing surface of the ride and sometimes playing the bell of the ride.
- split your hands between the ride (right hand) and hi-hat (left hand) or put both hands on the hi-hat.
The PDF worksheet for this lesson, “Linear Drumming Idea #1” is downloadable HERE.
Working through the 16 exercises on the PDF should give you some strong control over this pattern and stimulate some new ideas of your own. Have at it!!