In contemporary styles the applications of the Afro-Cuban 6/8 are endless, inspiring to play new grooves. In the past, I talked about the reading and interpretation of Ted Reed’s Syncopation, playing counter-rhythms to develop coordination. A series of exercises that will prove your ability, check it out.
Today I’ll talk about the application of this rhythm in a funk/fusion style: adding the backbeat, ghost notes and the dotted eight-note bass drum pattern. The 6/8 cowbell rhythm will be played on the hi-hat, as shown in the figure below.
Starting from this basic pattern, we’ll play various accent combinations on the hi-hat: one-accent combinations and two-accents combinations. Every single bar must be repeated at least 16 times. This will prove to be a serious exercise in accuracy and balance.
The next step is to apply the exercise on the ride cymbal, the accents will be played on the ride bell. To complete the pattern play eight notes on the hi-hat with your left foot.
All the things discussed must be applied in a musical way, improvising with all the material without reading. Try with different tempos and dynamics, the possibilities are endless. Keep on drumming!