The Hi-Hats are a very expressive part of the drum kit. There’s a lot you can do with the Hi-Hats to add a little sizzle to your basic grooves. Open Hi-Hat notes can be heard in songs from any style of music. It’s a great way to add some character to a simple groove pattern and make it sound more upbeat. That’s why we hear it in grooves that have a dancing pulse.

One of the first things a drummer should do with the Hi-Hats is to learn how to add open hi-hat notes to a groove pattern. This will get your left foot moving and coordinating with the Bass Drum in different ways. That marks the beginning of your exploration into 4-way independence which means drumming where both hands and both feet are involved.

In this lesson we’ll be playing open hi-hat notes (marked with an “o”) on the off-beat of each beat. There’s a reason for this approach and that is to pay attention to when you close the Hi-Hats. When we play the open Hi-Hats off the beat, it means we’ll be closing them on the beat; 1, 2, 3 or 4 (marked with an “+”). I’m going to show you 4 different variations and we’ll try each one with a different groove pattern so that I can show you some of the tricky footwork that you’ll encounter.

Download the PDF: Hi-Hat Variations #1 (Open Hi-Hat Exercises)

Your mission is to download the PDF and practice each variation with all of the groove patterns provided. Mastering these exercises will give you a higher musical sense by enabling you to add some hi-hat sizzle to your groove playing.

  • Open Hi-Hats are played on the off-beat of 4. In this case, the Hi-Hats are always closed together with the Bass Drum on the downbeat (beat 1).

  • Open Hi-Hat is played on the off-beat of 3. Notice the Hi-Hats are to be closed together with the Snare Drum on beat 4.

  • Open Hi-Hat played on the off-beat of 2. Notice that there is Bass Drum when the Hi-Hats are being opened as well as when they are closed (beat 3).

  • Open hi-hat is played on the off-beat of beat 1. Notice that in this case, the Hi-Hats are being closed together with the Bass Drum AND the Snare Drum.

The recommended tempo range is 50 and 120
Tempo: 50 bpm

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