The previous lesson titled Ghost Note Basics introduced you to ghost notes and how single ghost notes can be used to create unique and great sounding grooves.
This lesson will build upon that technique by using multiple left hand strokes in a row. We will look at placing ghost notes before and after accented Snare drum notes in order to give you more options for the placement of ghost notes. Its also going to be a great left hand strength builder in its own right as the Snare drum hand is going to have to play more notes than it would otherwise do so.
Ghosting After An Accent
The following ideas will build upon your technique of “ghosting” by introducing the technique of following an accented note with a ghost note.
This technique requires you to be able to play an accented Snare drum note and then, without raising the stick back up (no more than a couple of inches), tap the Snare drum as a ghost note straight after.
In order to accomplish this you will need to be able to stop the stick from bouncing back up after striking the Snare for an accent. The stick needs to stop an inch or two above the Snare and after the accent, simply tap the Snare from its rested position.
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Ghosting Before An Accent
This tends to be harder than ghosting after an accent as the left hand has to play a quiet note and then very quickly strike the Snare loudly for an accent.
I use a technique know as the Moeller technique in order to accomplish this quick and subtle hand movement. Unfortunately, this technique takes a lot of time to learn and master and this is not the lesson to introduce you to it. It is possible to teach your hand how to move from very quiet to loud simply by repeated practice.
The technique requires a snapping of the wrist in order to move the stick from low on the Snare head to a higher position where an accent can be struck.
Ghost notes leading into a strong accent sound really funky as the upbeat before the accented downbeat is played. Have fun with these and take your time.
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Ghosting Before And After An Accent
Now that we know how to ghost before and after the snare drum we can start to mix things up a little and combine the previous ghost note patterns into new and exciting ideas.
These grooves now contain a ghost note before and after the accented Snare drum on either/or Beats 2 and 4 of the bar.
This requires a degree of practice to feel comfortable with as the left hand is now having to play three notes in a row with an accent in the middle. The only way to get used to this is to start very slow and build up your speed over time. It would be a real shame if you rushed the process and started to lose the subtlety of the ghost notes by playing them carelessly or too loud.
These drum beat ideas are a real work out for the left hand so try to keep a loose grip and not play too hard. In order to play these fast the left hand has to be loose and relaxed and the wrist has to be used rather than the forearm.
Again, take your time with these as the ghost notes have to remain quiet no matter what speed you’re playing them at. Speed will come in time with careful practice!
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Mixing Things Up
The last part of this lesson takes everything we’ve learnt so far and mixes it up with varying Bass drum patterns. All of the previous ideas used the same Bass drum pattern and so these grooves change that.
Hopefully you’ll see how and where ghost notes can be used in combination with unique Bass drum patterns. I encourage you to change things around by adding/removing your own ghost notes and bass drums. If you find a pattern you really like then expand on it, this is where you’re learning really begins.
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Well, there you have it. If you’ve been able to use what I’ve given you here then you should really start to see the ghost notes benefit. They really are the drummers best friend in helping to create great sounding and deep pocket grooves.
Their use turns an average drummer into a great drummer (as well as other things of course). Once mastered you will want to use them all the time as they can’t be beat (no pun intended).
You can watch a full free video drum lesson teaching how to play ghost notes by clicking here.
Also, another free video drum lesson teaching how to play ghost notes within a shuffle drum beat is available to view here.
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