In many styles of music, the hi-hat foot is often the least utilized limb. Here are some grooves that use a combination of hi-hat played by hand and the foot.

For Ex. 1, play the hi-hat foot just before the backbeat on the ah of beat 2. For Ex. 2, play it just before the backbeat on beat 4. Ex. 3 adds more syncopation in the bass drum and snare parts.

In Exs. 4–5, we add a busier hi-hat part played with the hand. Ex. 6 moves the hi-hat played with the foot to the e of beat 3. For Ex. 7, play it on the e of beat 1 with an added snare syncopation. Ex. 8 adds some double strokes at the end. Alternating between Exs. 7–8 makes for a great groove.


In Exs. 9–10, we add more hi-hat notes played with the foot. This concept works well in triplet-based grooves like shuffles (Exs. 11–12). 

These grooves will get you started on incorporating the hi-hat foot into your playing. Many of these work on their own as grooves, but you might also use them every two or four bars as a “time fill” to preserve the time feel of the groove.

JOE SMYTH is a founding member of the award-winning Sawyer Brown band, touring the world for the past 37 years. He also teaches drums and percussion at Brentwood Academy in Nashville, Tennessee.