Looking for advice on achieving David McGraw (True Loves - Delvon Lamarr) hi-hat sound in this video

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I'm trying to figure how David McGraw is getting the hi-hat sound at the beginning of this song. If anyone could watch the beginning of this video and explain it to me I would be grateful.

It seems simple when you listen but I can't nail the accent.

 

Matched Gripper

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At the very beginning he's just closing the hats with his foot. Not sure what accenting you're referring to. At about 23 seconds he begins playing the hats using a typical Moeller stroke alternating hitting the hats with the tip and shoulder of the stick.
 

JDA

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play the closed hi hat top like a ride cymbal if you're not used to.
so that's-using the tip and the neck- of the stick- none of that heavy (stick) edge playing.
Treat the closed hi hat top nicely. when the foot opens
accents are kinda on the "ands" - pop it with the shoulder of the stick.
1e&da2e&da3e&da4e&da
when he's on the hihat its 16th notes.
when he's on the ride cymbal he's playing 8th notes
1+2+3+4+
 
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Thank you for both answers (especially extra detail from JDA). I thought he was doing the Moeller (or Gordy Knudtson?) type stroke alternating tip and shoulder but when I tried to do it I couldn't get it to groove (hence my comment about accent). Now that both of you have pointed out that is indeed what he is playing I just have to work on it.

BTW, I'm obviously no teacher yet I'm in the lounge :D. I just want to confirm this is a good place to ask a question like mine
 

Matched Gripper

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Thank you for both answers (especially extra detail from JDA). I thought he was doing the Moeller (or Gordy Knudtson?) type stroke alternating tip and shoulder but when I tried to do it I couldn't get it to groove (hence my comment about accent). Now that both of you have pointed out that is indeed what he is playing I just have to work on it.

BTW, I'm obviously no teacher yet I'm in the lounge :D. I just want to confirm this is a good place to ask a question like mine
This is the appropriate forum, but, most people would post this question in the General section because it’s much more active and will likely get more responses. You are also more likely to get conflicting and/or incorrect info there. You are correct that he is using Moeller, but, I don’t see the open/closed technique that GK teaches.
 
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Thanks for confirming this is what I think the best section to ask advice on technique etc. I just have the GK thing on my mind because I've been watching his videos on YouTube. I practice rudiments every day for about 20 minutes (Stick Control) and I've been experimenting with Moeller and Gordy's stroke methods.

I went back and looked at the Gordy's videos. At this point in the video he explains the Moeller wrist based two stroke hit or continous version of it. I think it's what I see Dave McGraw doing. Thanks again for asnswering my question:

 

wolfereeno

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I love Gordy and have been trying to find that flow of his for years! LOL

But don't overthink it at first. It kind of comes naturally as the tempo goes up or you try to play 16ths with one hand and you struggle to keep up. Usually that means playing accents and buying a little momentum for the in between beats. Ringo did it with a side to side glancing to get his strange shuffle feel. Eventually though it evolves into moeller, open/close, etc and that you can spend years on.

Nate Smith here is talking about his left hand ghost notes but watch his right hand.


And of course the funky end result are those amazing nate smith fearless flyer vids.

 
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When I took lessons in the 90's only grip type was discussed. I think watching 80/20 Drummer, Gordy Knudtson and others gets me thinking about how I'm executing drum strokes while practicing. Thanks for the advice on not overthinking it - I have noticed much of it comes naturally although I think I'm already more efficient since I started paying attention to stroke mechanics.

BTW, I'm a fan of Vulfpeck, when I first saw the Fearless flyers I couldn't believe how great Nate sounded on that tiny kit!
 
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One exercise that may help with developing that hi-hat technique is "accent to tap." It may help you develop the motion you are looking for to play that pattern. Here's a good demonstration of the exercise:

 
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Thanks for the link - I'll will do the exercises. I use 3s sticks with my practice pad - they look like what he's using
 

hardbat

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At first I didn't understand the question, but after further consideration, it's actually a great question!

This is a super common technique. Obviously it's just straight 16th notes on the closed hi hat, with every other hit slightly accented. But watch his arm, and then watch his hand. The hand is stroking EVERY note, however the arm is moving up and down half as fast, meaning it is moving downwards on the strong notes and upwards on the in-between notes. That is producing the slight accent. It is also actually making it easier(!) to execute what could otherwise be an exhausting pattern to play for an extended period. This is because the up-down movement of the arm can help make use of the stick rebound to do some of the work for you on the 16th notes. Others have posted videos demonstrating how to execute it, but the fluidity comes from the half-speed arm movement.

This will take some practice not only to be able to execute, but also to build up the endurance to be able to keep it going for an entire song. For the latter, it is extremely important to stay relaxed - the moment a little bit of tension starts, you're sunk.
 
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Hi hardbat,

Do you think he's also doing the shoulder/tip alternating or is just strong hit - lighter hit?

Thanks
 

hardbat

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Do you think he's also doing the shoulder/tip alternating or is just strong hit - lighter hit?
That's also a great question. The technique lends itself to either one because the stick angle is slightly different on every other hit. Specifically, with a slight change in elevation of the wrist, you get either tip-tip or shoulder-tip without really having to change the technique much (the rebound is a bit less on the shoulder, that's about it). Indeed, I can't tell for certain, but it sounds to me like he sometimes hits tip-tip and sometimes hits shoulder-tip.

It's a nice musical contrast when he switches to the cymbal and drops back to straight eighth notes.
 

marc3k

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I'm trying to figure how David McGraw is getting the hi-hat sound at the beginning of this song. If anyone could watch the beginning of this video and explain it to me I would be grateful.
Man since I saw that clip for the first time I was wondering how he's doing those fast 16ths. I've been working on this on and off... but I was not really able to nail it, especially not at that speed. He does the same in many other songs.
If there is a magic trick to do this without putting in a lot of work, I would love to learn it :)
However, I'm pretty sure hardbat is right...

This will take some practice not only to be able to execute, but also to build up the endurance to be able to keep it going for an entire song. For the latter, it is extremely important to stay relaxed - the moment a little bit of tension starts, you're sunk.
 

hardbat

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Yeah, reminds me of playing Pat Metheny's "Last Train Home" every week - I was in a trio and the pianist liked that tune. The drum part is brushes simulating a train nonstop... straight 16th notes at 150bpm with brushes, mezzo-piano. Trivial to play, but after about the seventh minute you start becoming accutely aware of every muscle in your body, as it evolves into a zen exercise in posture and breathing to fend off the cramps trying to sneak in from every corner. The thing is, the tune is so peaceful that it just lingers on for 10 or 15 minutes, and nobody else in the room knows that the drummer is literally dying back there. In an interview, Pat said that it was very difficult for Paul Wertico to play that part, so I didn't feel so bad finding it a physical nightmare to play.
 
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Thanks for all great advice and commentary. It helps to know it's not going to be easy if I don't stay relaxed. Is it better to work at close to those tempos for short periods or practice at the tempo I can keep it up?
 
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The best advice I can give is don't be so quick to give up. Hit the shed. This isn't something you can just nail in a day or in a few practice sessions. It takes a bit of time, dedication, and stubbornness (NO IT DOESN'T!) to train your muscles and work it up to speed. Invest a bit of time into it if it is worth it to you.

You need to use some combination of physics and your fingers. I've seen hardcore drummers power through stuff like this, and that's amazing, but there are techniques from open/close (push/pull), moeller, or using a more basic combination of fingers and rebound. I just use my fingers and rebound. That's me though. Find a technique that works for you.

This tune has a groove as deep as an ocean. It's a bit slower by about 30 bms than the song you posted but it's still clipping along. It's about 3:30 in length.


Once you work that accent/tap exercise up to the speed in the song, go through the song three times each morning doing the following on a hi-hat or a practice pad. Don't play the stops. Just play that pattern through the whole song.

1. Just right hand playing the pattern through the whole song. RrRrRrRr
2. Now, go through the song again and just play the left hand: LlLlLlLl
3. Finally, one more time and play it through with both the right hand and the left hand at the same time. Make sure both hands are even in height and hitting at the same time.

It should take you about 10 minutes and change. Do this once in the morning and once in the evening. If you do this every day for a month, I think you'll see a lot of progress in working up hand speed to play the pattern. Maybe at first you can play for a minute before you have to tap out...maybe in a few days it's two minutes...it's ok. Just keep working at it.

If this tune is too fast, work the exercise up to speed, choose a different tune, or maybe others can chime in with one that's a bit slower. Eventually, you can work your way up to playing along with the clip in the original post.

I hope this is helpful.
 

Matched Gripper

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Thanks for all great advice and commentary. It helps to know it's not going to be easy if I don't stay relaxed. Is it better to work at close to those tempos for short periods or practice at the tempo I can keep it up?
My approach, on all aspects of drumming, is to always start very slowly and increase tempo gradually, only when you can execute in a relaxed, tension free, manor.
 

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In the only days we would record “ I Keep Forgettin’ “ from vinyl to both sides of a 60 minute cassette ( over and over and over ) and play to it all day.
 
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I use software called Video Surgeon 2 (there is also Song Surgeon that has more features) to loop YouTube videos. It has a YouTube download function (almost every time you use it there's a quick automatic update) that pulls in the video. Then you can slow it down and make loops or points it can jump to. I pulled in "I Keep Forgettin" to try playing along.

The interface is pretty dated - they're about to release Video Surgeon 3 that looks better
 


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