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In this lesson we will look at hihat techniques, that only involve the left foot. Many hihat techniques involve using the left foot whilst also using the sticks to hit the hihats, today's lesson looks at techniques that only use the foot - splashing and heel/toe kicking.

Many people don't realize that hihat technique is different from bass drum technique. Whilst some hihat techniques are controlled with the ankle and lower leg, some are actually very small movements controlled with the shin muscle (the long, thin muscle on the outside of the shine bone, on the front of the leg). Today's first technique uses exactly this - the hihat splash.


This is where you tap the top hihat into the bottom one, then release again. This gives you a sustained sound, useful perhaps as a texture in delicate brush playing, or a louder more festive sound in Latin American drumming (listen to Late In The Evening by Paul Simon, to hear a fine example of this by Steve Gadd).

To play a hihat splash, keep the heel of your hihat leg down, and from the hihat up position, quickly tap the foot plate down with an immediate release. If you don't release fast enough, you with get a closed short sound, which is the hihat chick. The release (the "up") movement is controlled by contracting the shin muscle.


If you want a splash sound but with more attack and generally louder, you can employ the heel toe hihat kicking technique. To get the sustained note, kick your heel into the bottom of the foot plate, and to stop the sound play the top of the foot plate with the ball of your foot (the way you normally would for a hihat "chick"). Make sure the heel doesn't come too far up the foot plate or you will produce a weird "not quite splash, not quite chick sound". Check out the video above for styles you can use this technique in.



The Jazz Ride Beat Beginner Jazz Fills The Jazz 9 Fill
The Jazz Shuffle Snare Independence Cross Phrasing In 5's
The Viennese Waltz Snare & Bass Independence Loose Jazz Phrasing
Hihat Splashing & Kicking Fast Jazz Brush Stroke Hihat Stirring