According to the Drumming System, knowing a variety of hi hat techniques is the key to having a variety sounds.
Here are some options.
- Play heel up for a tight, crisp “chic” sound.
- Play heel down. Like playing heel down on the bass drum, you don’t get as a much power. It’s not as crisp as playing heel up. You get a looser sound.
- Get a sizzle effect by playing heel down, with slight pressure on the foot. After the initial attack, let the cymbal ring. The sizzle is almost like a traditional marching band cymbal crash effect.
- For a splash sound, drive your heel into foot plate. If your shoe size is above a 9, it might be more comfortable to turn your foot slightly outward. This splash has more attack than a sizzle.
Splashing can get LOUD!
- The heel toe technique is commonly used in jazz drumming, but can be applied to any style of music. Splash with your heel. Then close the hi hat with your toe. Now repeat (open close open close open close open close).
- When playing with a stick, you’re foot plays such an important role. In fact, many people don’t make the connection between the foot and hand working together.
The sound that you want is controlled by your foot. For example, playing heel up will give you a real tight crisp sound. Heel down will give you a looser sound. If you completely relax your foot, as if you were sitting normally, you will get a much looser sound. If you completely take the pressure off your hi hat foot, so the foot is just barely holding the pedal down, you will get a loud, trashy rock sound.
The Drumming System recommends playing a pattern with your stick and changing your foot pressure. This will allow you to explore the different pitches of your cymbals.
Note: This does not work very well with cheap cymbals. They might invert or break.
Opening and closing your hi-hat can add a whole new depth and dimension to your playing. Not only is it audible, but it’s visual. Other musicians might watch your hi hat foot to help them keep time.
Sometimes rocking your foot while the hi hat is closed will help you and others keep time.
This does nothing sound wise…just helps you lock into the groove. Some drummers tap their heel. This is generally not a good idea, unless your looking for that sound. It will leak through in a recording.
In my own experience, I prefer for the bass player to be next to my hi hat. This is because the bass is a low pitched instrument and the hi hat is higher pitched instrument. If the bass player were on the side of my floor tom, the sound of the bass would harder for me to hear because of they are both low pitched instruments.
Finally, if your hi hat is squeaky, put oil on it.