Riding on the Cymbal
If you haven't tried riding on the cymbal yet, it's time to give it your best shot. For some, riding on the cymbal is a little harder than riding on the hi-hat, but if you're patient, you will get the hang of it in no time. Figure 5-5 features twelve beats that use the ride cymbal and the hi-hat foot. These grooves are similar, and in some cases, identical to beats you've seen previously. The big difference is the placement of the hi-hat foot on beats two and four in tandem with the snare drum.
When playing the hi-hat foot, keep your heel firmly planted on the footboard. This will put you in position to use the ankle-heel technique as described in Chapter 4. You want to get a strong “chick” sound when playing these beats. Therefore, you will need to clamp the cymbals together tightly in order to play each note.
Additionally, make sure your bottom hi-hat cymbal is slightly angled so you get a good “chick” sound. If your hi-hat cymbals align perfectly, a muted sound is produced. In order to get a good “chick,” you need to vent the air. Some newer cymbals have holes drilled in the bottom hi-hat. Others have crimped edges so the air can escape. If you don't own these types of cymbals, don't despair. On virtually every hi-hat stand, a small, round knob or screw is found under the cymbals; it screws into the seat cup that holds the bottom cymbal. When you turn this knob, the felt pad and washer, located just under the cymbal, tilt. This allows the cymbals to clamp together in an uneven, slanted fashion. As a result, when you push down on the pedal, air is released and you get a strong “chick” sound. As you play, the “chick” should complement the “ping” of the ride cymbal.
FIGURE 5-5: Rock beats using the ride cymbal and hi-hat foot
Meg White is a self-taught rock drummer who has propelled the unique alternative rock duo The White Stripes since 1997. Using basic rock grooves like the ones detailed in this chapter, White has proven that less is more, most of the time. If you're not careful, multifaceted, “busy” beats can cloud a song. Listen to White's solid drumming on the albums Elephant and Icky Thump.
Before you ride on your cymbal, you should know a little bit more about cymbals. Every cymbal contains the following elements: a center hole, a bow, and an edge. Unless you're using a flat ride, your cymbals will also have a bell. The center hole allows the cymbal to be suspended. The bell is the raised cup found in the middle of the cymbal. The bow is the curved area or main body of the cymbal. It is found between the bell and the edge.
When riding on the cymbal, you will want to play on the bow of the cymbal. You can ride on the bell and the edge of the cymbal, but you should first learn how to get a good sound on the bow. You'll notice that the timbre or tone color of the cymbal changes drastically as you move from the edge to the bell. Where in the bow should you strike? Play in the middle of the timbral spectrum, between the darker tones of the edge and the brighter tones of the bell.