As we’ve explored in our previous lessons in this series, pocket chops give drummers a way to maintain pocket while sneaking in a little chop. Remember, our job is to protect the groove and make it feel good—we do not want to raise any red flags, or end up getting fired because we had too much ego and just had to throw down at an inappropriate time. With that in mind, here is another sweet little gem of an idea that can allow you to scratch that chop itch from time to time.

The “bottoms up” lick is built between the bass drum, floor tom, and snare drum. Play the bass drum on the downbeat and ah of 3, followed by a quick thirty-second-note on the floor tom just before the snare backbeat on 4 (Ex. 1).

You can add an exit note on the bass drum on the & of 4 to allow more flow within the groove (Ex. 2).

To add more syncopation, the bass drum can be played on the e of 4 immediately following the snare drum on beat (Ex. 3).

To take this idea to the next level, try expanding it into sixteenth-note triplets with some added snare and bass drum notes (Ex. 4). Our same exit notes following beat 4 can also be applied (Ex. 5–6).


Take this small idea and experiment with the use of more toms, side snares, electronics and a variety of cymbal sounds. Have fun and enjoy!

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

Lesson: Linear Half-time Chop (Pocket Chops 3)

Lesson: Sneaky Thirty-seconds (Pocket Chops 2)

Lesson: Slippery Sixteenths (Pocket Chops 1)