Hi Hat Control Part Two

A Slightly Different Approach


In Hi Hat Control Part One, we took a very common eighth note rock pattern and moved the hi hat openings around to every possible eighth note placement. Efficient and instructive. This time, the approach is to begin with the idea that the most common place rock and pop drummers put the hi hat open sound is on the “and” of beat four. Since that placement is so common in popular music, it makes sense to gain facility with putting an open sound there. So, with that in mind, we vary the beats, but keep the open sound in that one place for the majority of the twenty exercises included on the worksheet.

By the way, why don’t you open up the worksheet and print it out now by clicking on the following link: Hi Hat Control Part Two

By the end of the worksheet, we start to change things up a bunch, just to keep it interesting.

The Closed Note


Note that the left foot closes the hi hat on the eighth note following the open sound (notice the “x” below the bottom line of the staff), and that note does not include an additional right hand on the hi hat. Your right hand (we’re assuming everyone is righty) does not strike the hi hat at the same time that your foot closes it. This may not be agreed upon in general, but I have played this way for a long time, and I prefer this method because it sounds better to me. This is part of what makes opening and closing the hi hat tricky for beginners. This notation is a bit different from what you may have seen in hi hat exercises, and that is the only reason I point this out. The hi hat open sound is indicated by a circle above the hi hat note, as is common in drum notation.

It’s OK to “lean into it,” BUT…


I also think that the hi hat opening sound will sound better when it is created with a bit of an accent….when you use a bit of force. So, lean into it a little, use the shank of the stick and give it a real stroke. “Dinky” strokes using the bead of the stick will probably not sound as good. Get a good teacher to help you evaluate how you’re doing, because these nuances are difficult to evaluate on your own at first. I find that although I am advocating using some force on the open note, the playing of the hi hat is one of the most mis-understood aspects of rock drumming. Too many beginning drummers play the hi hat way too loud relative to the other voices on the kit.