WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE TRIPLET LICKS?

NickSchles

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When thinking about classic Rock drummers of the 70s, I tend of think of John Bonham, Neil Peart and Keith Moon. I love all of them yet, invariably, my favourite is Neil Peart, R.I.P. That said, I’ve always loved John Bonham’s massive sound, and his creative use of triplets, be it his shuffles or his triplet licks.

Now, one of the things that's always bothered me about YouTube / Instagram drumming culture is that it’s very focused on licks and patterns. I’m a strong believer in creative application of concepts in order to develop these things ourselves. This because it helps develop our own self-expression / voice. I actually wrote a whole book about it, published by Hudson Music. Check it out here, if you’re curious.

Anyhow, with that in mind, I put together a little drum lesson based on triplets for those interested. It’s an article with 3 PDFs aimed at showing some examples of creative uses with triplets. Of course, as I say to my students, take the ideas and make them their own!

Here's a video with a couple of ideas I've come up with based on that lesson:


If you’re keen, check out the article here.

What are your favourite triplet licks?
 
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Hop

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I like going one direction then reversing, using groups of 2 and 4 (instead of 3's or 6's), using 'Stone' sticking patterns and modulating a given pattern/group.

Forward = L/S R/FT F/B; the reverse variant = F/B R/FT L/S. (also modulate this as 8th/8th-Triplet/16th/16th-Triplet)
As a 6-note group = LRF-FRL (as 8th or 16th note triplets).
As a 12-note group, 3 forward + 1 reverse = LRF-LRF-LRF-FRL (as 8th or 16th note triplets) (this can also be seen as a 'Stone' sticking variant).
As a 'Stone' sticking pattern I'll leave the F/bass as the 3rd note of the triplet but use the notation to drive/reverse the hands = LRF-RLF-LRF-LRF (Left paradiddle) RLB+LRB+RLB+RLB (Right paradiddle sticking).

Groups of 2 = SSB-BSS-SSB-BSS; or the reverse variant BBS-SBB-SSB-BSS (as 8th or 16th note triplets or full modulation).
Groups of 4 using hand-to-hand sticking + alternating feet = SSS-STT-TTB-BBB; reversed = BBB-BTT-TTS-SSS; and stacked as a 24-note group (also modulates well).

Combining 2-plus-4 "sixes" = SSB-BBB or STB-BBB or BBS-SSS or BBT-TSS or the reverse variants... (4-plus-2 orientation).
 

NickSchles

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I like going one direction then reversing, using groups of 2 and 4 (instead of 3's or 6's), using 'Stone' sticking patterns and modulating a given pattern/group.

Forward = L/S R/FT F/B; the reverse variant = F/B R/FT L/S. (also modulate this as 8th/8th-Triplet/16th/16th-Triplet)
As a 6-note group = LRF-FRL (as 8th or 16th note triplets).
As a 12-note group, 3 forward + 1 reverse = LRF-LRF-LRF-FRL (as 8th or 16th note triplets) (this can also be seen as a 'Stone' sticking variant).
As a 'Stone' sticking pattern I'll leave the F/bass as the 3rd note of the triplet but use the notation to drive/reverse the hands = LRF-RLF-LRF-LRF (Left paradiddle) RLB+LRB+RLB+RLB (Right paradiddle sticking).

Groups of 2 = SSB-BSS-SSB-BSS; or the reverse variant BBS-SBB-SSB-BSS (as 8th or 16th note triplets or full modulation).
Groups of 4 using hand-to-hand sticking + alternating feet = SSS-STT-TTB-BBB; reversed = BBB-BTT-TTS-SSS; and stacked as a 24-note group (also modulates well).

Combining 2-plus-4 "sixes" = SSB-BBB or STB-BBB or BBS-SSS or BBT-TSS or the reverse variants... (4-plus-2 orientation).
That's cool, man! You should write a drum lesson with proper notation with that stuff. Maybe supplement it with a video; I'd love to see what you do with that! :)

I spent some time yesterday with the lesson I posted, and came up with these two grooves:

 

Hop

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That's cool, man! You should write a drum lesson with proper notation with that stuff. Maybe supplement it with a video; I'd love to see what you do with that! :)
I spent some time yesterday with the lesson I posted, and came up with these two grooves:
Nice vid, kit sounds sounds great - I like that stacker. I like your concept of using those groups as a linear groove rather than just as fills.

Also thanks for the encouragement, but I don't have the equipment to produce a good sounding vid or notation.
I'm still a dinosaur mostly writing things out by hand in my practice journal (occasionally in PowerPoint like the example below)!

A few years ago I was inspired by some YT vids that got me back into the basics of triplets. Trying to perform some of the exercises surfaced a few issues, so I went way back into the 'fundamentals' of the triplet and created a grid to practice to. The idea was to get the group permutations down singularly, then in any combination.

I wrote the hands on the snare to save from having to write out every sound source permutation - Practicing the grid, I did start on the snare then moved the hands to other sound sources.
I also tend to practice the grid in a vertical form first before making more complex horizontal or mixed H/V V/H patterns. For instance, I'll set a number of beats or measures for each variant/permutation; move from one permutation to the next without stopping (i.e. 1/2/4 beats or measures of A1 --> A2 --> A3 --> A4; , repeat column); then move on to the next column and repeat the cycle.

triplet_grid.JPG

After 'cognitively synthesizing' the vertical nature of the grid, the next challenge was to mix up the horizontal/vertical groups and see them as a bigger group (or taking more note value).
For instance, I wrote in my first reply: "As a 6-note group = LRF-FRL (as 8th or 16th note triplets)." This is simply A2 + B1; the Stone sticking for the L paradiddle is just A2 + A1 + A2 + A2

The grid then becomes a simple resource for creating new patterns to practice, leading to the ability to just spontaneously ad lib patterns that fit whatever duration you want.
It can be expanded further by adding two bass strokes (I like to use double bass and just mentally substitute the 'B' for a hand stroke and R = right foot, L = left foot), but didn't add them in the image to prevent too much information/visual clutter.
 

NickSchles

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Nice vid, kit sounds sounds great - I like that stacker. I like your concept of using those groups as a linear groove rather than just as fills.

Also thanks for the encouragement, but I don't have the equipment to produce a good sounding vid or notation.
I'm still a dinosaur mostly writing things out by hand in my practice journal (occasionally in PowerPoint like the example below)!

A few years ago I was inspired by some YT vids that got me back into the basics of triplets. Trying to perform some of the exercises surfaced a few issues, so I went way back into the 'fundamentals' of the triplet and created a grid to practice to. The idea was to get the group permutations down singularly, then in any combination.

I wrote the hands on the snare to save from having to write out every sound source permutation - Practicing the grid, I did start on the snare then moved the hands to other sound sources.
I also tend to practice the grid in a vertical form first before making more complex horizontal or mixed H/V V/H patterns. For instance, I'll set a number of beats or measures for each variant/permutation; move from one permutation to the next without stopping (i.e. 1/2/4 beats or measures of A1 --> A2 --> A3 --> A4; , repeat column); then move on to the next column and repeat the cycle.

View attachment 502855
After 'cognitively synthesizing' the vertical nature of the grid, the next challenge was to mix up the horizontal/vertical groups and see them as a bigger group (or taking more note value).
For instance, I wrote in my first reply: "As a 6-note group = LRF-FRL (as 8th or 16th note triplets)." This is simply A2 + B1; the Stone sticking for the L paradiddle is just A2 + A1 + A2 + A2

The grid then becomes a simple resource for creating new patterns to practice, leading to the ability to just spontaneously ad lib patterns that fit whatever duration you want.
It can be expanded further by adding two bass strokes (I like to use double bass and just mentally substitute the 'B' for a hand stroke and R = right foot, L = left foot), but didn't add them in the image to prevent too much information/visual clutter.
Glad you dig it, dude! The stacker is a Sabian thing... I can't remember what it was called, but they did some pre-made stackers a couple of years ago and, like a sucker, I went for it. But you get two cymbals that can be used in different ways, so whatever! :)

You don't need crazy equipment to make videos, dude! Just your phone... It's easy as hell these days, just make sure the audio is decent (i.e. discernible). Re putting notation on the video, you can use basic software like iMovie, and I'm sure whatever Windows alternative exists (I think it's called MovieMaker, but can't be too sure).

Anyhow, I like your method! Maybe try spicing up phrases you create by displacing grooves / patterns by 1 eighth note triplet at a time. That should make for more interesting variations! :)
 
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