All drummers should have a solid sounding country train beat. Whether you are using brushes, Blasticks, or drumsticks, the train beat does come with some built-in limitations outside of a few added notes here and there for fills. One great method is to use the hi-hat with your foot to create sonic and rhythmic subtleties that can add up to a big change for a song. We explore this here in part three of our four-part series on changing the atmosphere of a song on the drum set.

As the hi-hat traditionally matches the snare drum’s off-beat accents in a train groove, this is a good place to start when exploring new ideas. Here is the traditional pattern associated with the basic train groove (Ex. 1)

Ex. 1

Ex. 2 places the hi-hat chick on the downbeats of measure 3 for a stretched-out feel.


Ex. 2

To give the feel of a two-measure beat, splash the hi-hat with your foot on beat 3 and close it on beat 3 in the following measure (Ex. 3).

Ex. 3

Stewart Jean is Program Chair for Drums at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA.