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In this lesson we will look at the famous Half Time Shuffle. To begin with let's look at what Half Time even means. If it was a regular shuffle, the snare backbeat would be coming in on beats 2 and 4. When you make it half time, the snare back beat comes in half as often (once only), and it comes in half way through the bar (beat 3). This is where the name comes from.

There are many different ways we can play the Half Time Shuffle, let's have a look at the most basic beat first. This is the beat we are trying to play..

Let's look at the RH part first. You want the hihat to really convey the time feel all on its own. To do this, you need to accentuate the downbeat by playing the shoulder of the stick on the edge of the hihats, this will produce a solid, thick sound. Then the 3rd triplet of each beat should be played with the tip of the stick on the top of the hihats (you will need to raise your wrist slightly for this).

Start out practicing this motion very slowly, and make deliberate movements with the wrist in order to get the 2 different sounds. As you speed up the pattern you will need to condense this motion into a smaller movement pattern (the wrist on its own is not fast enough, and employ the Push-Pull Technique. With the accents in place, the RH hihat part should look like this..

From here start adding in really simply rhythms with the bass and snare drum, start by playing beat 1 on the bass drum. Once you can do that, add beat 3 on the snare drum. Together you have your basic beat, which looks like this..

From here you can add in other quarter notes on the bass drum..

And eventually you will want to start adding in 3rd triplets (which will sound like swung 16th notes) on the bass drum as well. Here is a 2 bar phrase..

The next thing to do is add the middle triplet as a ghost note on the snare. Make sure you are dropping the stick from 2cm above the skin, no higher. The patterns will now sound quite busy, especially at speed, so its very important that you remember the following:

1) A large dynamic contrast between the ghost notes and accents on snare drum
2) Make sure every note is perfectly even, do not speed up or slow down. Pick a tempo where you can play everything evenly.
3) Make sure there are no splits or flams in the groove, between multiple voices on the kit. This really kills the goove. Everything must land exactly in the correct spot, in time with the other voices.
The basic groove, would now look like this..

You can see how busy the pattern is even at its most basic level. All the notes in brackets are ghost notes. Remember - SOFT, SOFT, SOFT! The groove will sound monotonous and dense if the soft notes become even a fraction too loud. It's a deceptively hard groove to play for that reason alone.




Quarter Note Rock Beats Linear Beats 1 Grooving On 2 Snares
8th Note Rock Beats Linear Beats 2 7/4 Beats
Busier Rock Beats The Funky Cowbell Beat 7 Stroke Roll Hihat Grooves
Bass Doubles In Beats Paradiddles In Beats Half Time Shuffle
Rock Shuffle Tasty Linear Drum Rhythms Fast Bass Drums
Hihat Gliss Adding The Left Hand Hihat Ghost Notes 1
Cross Sticking Expanding Drum Beats 1 Ghost Notes 2
Cymbal Choking Expanding Drum Beats 2