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!!
Don't miss LEVEL5's next show: 9:30pm on Wed, 2/21/17 at NYC's legendary club, The Bitter End.
"The Sybil EP," the debut from Mark Feldman's LEVEL5, is due for release in 2018, and features Oz Noy and Will Lee.
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