Like the bass drum, hi hats are usually ignored by drummers. Instead, they focus on their stick control and rudiment practice. This is not a bad thing to do, however you should not ignore the power of feet control and hi hat control. The hi hats are a very powerful part of the drums; there is a lot you can do with them. So before you lock down the hi hats and forget about them, read over this article to learn some key hi hat control techniques. Before you know it, you will be playing with more groove and control then ever before; all because of proper hi hat control!
The hi hats use a unique stand that has a pedal on the floor. This pedal has more uses then just opening and closing the hats. Pressure is key to maximizing the control of your hi hats. If you press down to close your hats, you are putting pressure on the pedal. If you press down harder, you are squeezing the hats together, getting a totally different sound that is much brighter then normal. This technique is used for all sorts of sounds and styles. Being able to control you foot pressure is not as easy as it looks. You have to have control of your left foot, while maintaining your right foot power on the bass drum.
Squeezing the hats is not the only advantage to controlling hi hat pressure. Opening them to certain heights is also a must. Depending on what sound you are looking for and volume you are looking for, you will need to adjust your hat distance. This is all done by foot control on your hats. Try playing a beat with different pressures on your foot to see all the different sounds you can get from your hi hat cymbals. You will be surprised with what you can actually do with them.
Another great technique you should learn is splashing your hi hats. This is great for adding accents and shots to any beat or solo you are playing. Say you are playing a complicated tom beat or pattern on your ride cymbal, and you want to add a hi hat splash or cymbal hit. Well, instead of throwing off your groove to hit a cymbal, simply splash your hi hats together. This is done by stomping your foot on the hi hat pedal. Do not leave your foot on the pedal or you will kill the sound. Practice this at different volumes to get complete control of your hi hats.
The last technique that every drummer should learn is the basic hi hat step. This is something most drummers do already. While playing a beat, learn to keep time with your hi hat pedal. By keeping a constant click with you hi hats, you are able to help maintain the groove of the song, as well as help you stay on time. Not to mention the added sound you get from the hats. In the end, you should be able to play the hi hats with foot control just as easy as you can play them with your sticks. This takes a lot of practice; however it is totally worth it in the end!
Practice your left foot hi hat technique like you would your stick control or your bass drum control. This is what separates the professionals from the beginners. Although you may not see it as beneficial at first, you will definitely notice a huge improvement on your playing in the long run! Once you have this down, check out this blog on Bass Drum Techniques!
Check out our other articles to learn to play drums in new and creative ways.
Do you want to learn drums? Visit LearningDrums.com for more information.