Left Foot Hi-Hat Development – Groove Workout

A way to develop creativity on the drums is to use the left foot hi-hat to create new rhythmic solutions. Drummers like Steve Gadd, Bernard Purdie, David Garibaldi, and Jason McGerr, to name a few, have experimented a lot with playing the left foot hi-hat to create new memorable grooves. To achieve this, we start off with some exercises to move the left foot hi-hat on a 16th notes groove and on an 8th notes triplets groove. We play various hi-hat combinations with a simple bass drum-snare pattern, in order to focus on balance and accuracy. Every bar must be repeated at least four times, starting slowly at 60 bpm, and moving to the next bar smoothly.

Take your time and once completed the exercises try to experiment, playing the hi-hat part (with sticks) on the ride cymbal, mixing the combinations, and playing new bass drum-snare patterns… experiment and improvise with the material studied. Here below you can download the pdf, let’s groove with your left foot!

left foot hi hat development


Here are some songs where the drummer incorporates the left foot hi-hat in the main groove. For more suggestions, I recommend you listen to Tower of Power songs, with David Garibaldi on drums.

Steve Gadd – 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover (Main Groove)

steve gadd 50 ways to leave your lover groove transcription

Bernard Purdie – Babylon Sisters (Main Groove)

bernard purdie babylon sisters groove transcription

Jason McGerr – Grapevine Fires (Main Groove)

grapevine fires drum transcription

In the following songs, the left foot hi-hat is played as embellishment.


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