By “Tiger” Bill Meligari

Whenever I come across a difficult sticking combination, I write it my notebook. Over the years, I have managed to fill many notebooks with exercises that have helped me (and my students) improve speed, endurance, power, and precision.

This is one of my favorite chops building exercises. If you work on it using the variations suggested under Practice Tips, I’m sure you will see an improvement in your chops as well.

Video Lesson

Refer to the music notation and then watch the video for a demonstration. The key is to start slowly and gradually increase your speed, providing you can play each exercise without developing tension.

Practice Tips
  • Disregard the single quarter-note in the ninth bar and repeat each of the remaining eight bars separately at least four times each before moving on to the next.
  • Create 2-bar phrases from the remaining eight bars and repeat each 2-bar phrase a minimum of four times before moving on to the next.
  • Play the entire 9-bar exercise straight through as written.
  • When practicing on the drums, add bass drum on beats 1, 2, 3, 4 and hi-hat on 2 and 4.
  • For extra study, practice all of the above variations with a left-hand lead.

Stay tuned for Part 2, the conclusion of this lesson, where we’ll add another layer of complexity to help you take your chops to the next level. If you have any questions on this lesson, please leave a comment below. Until next time, have fun and stay loose!