Drummer Issue 77 – ‘Standstill’ track analysis

TUITION – James Hester

 Groove Vocabulary – Putting it into practice

This month James applies some groove ideas to a track…

We’ll put the triplet subdivision ideas on hold until next issue as this month I’ve teamed up with out sister publication Bass Guitar and put some of the ideas we’ve been looking at into practice.

Standstill with drums

Standstill no drums

Standstill chart

The idea for this track was to create a jazzy drum and bass approach and to utilise loops to inflect a more electronic production over the acoustic instruments. The loops were made up from brush patterns and then processed and layered to create the backing that you can hear at the start.

For me the track mainly comprised of the first section which was played with brushes. I knew that I wanted to create some tension in the piece so I opted to play a pattern with a displaced accent, moving the backbeat from 4 to the & of 3 and ad-libbed the last two beats of the second bar each time.


In the next main section I switched to sticks. I wanted to keep the tension in the groove but leave some more space so I switched the snare displacement to the & or beat 4. Try working on some of the left foot ideas from Drummer 68 – I opted for a splashed hi hat played on beat 1 of the first beat to emphasis the main down beat.



To drive the groove along, try playing various right hand patterns over the top as we looked at in Drummer 68 – Here’s the main ‘theme’ of the groove with a lead hand idea over the top.




Into the end section I decided the track needed a release point in the groove by playing a consistent 2 and 4 backbeat. This helped the tracks pace again, but I kept the rhythm of the bass drum pattern from the main theme.



Whilst there are some other sections in here which are detailed on the chart (for example the half time groove towards the end with the hits), this approach to playing with a theme throughout a track (the displaced tension in the brushes and first part of the main section with sticks, the adding of a layer on the ride/ left foot, the release of the tension but with the bass drum rhythm reference in the end section) all equal a musical and story telling drum part. Listen to the likes of Purdie on ‘Babylon Sisters’ and hear how his drum part tells a story along with the track.

Next month we will begin out look at triplet groove vocabulary.


James Hester



© James Hester 2008