Using The Floor Tom As The Basis For A Groove

Learn some new variations on existing grooves that make use of toms.

Continuing with our lessons on varying the right hand, you will be learning how the floor tom can be used as a replacement for the hi hat in this lesson. Any tom can really be used but the floor tom is by far the most common of these. It is notated on the second gap up of the stave, which would be an 'A' in standard notation, and is a standard circular note head. Below are examples of the floor tom in notation:

Examples of floor tom notation

Notating grooves where the right hand plays the floor tom is slightly different. We previously said that grooves are written as two layers of rhythms written together, that doesn't apply in this case as all the notes are very close together on the stave. Splitting these grooves over two voices can become very messy as there are usually rests all over the place.

Using the floor tom instead of the right hand has a much fuller, bigger sound. Because grooves are almost expected to have a cymbal part, using a tom can create a very nice change.

Shown below are all 9 grooves from level 0 rewritten to use the floor tom. The aim here is to familiarize you with this slightly different form of notation and to get comfortable with playing these style of parts. Both quarter and eighth note versions have been shown.


Groove Example 1

A groove based on the floor tom


Groove Example 2

A groove based on the floor tom


Groove Example 3

A groove based on the floor tom


Groove Example 4

A groove based on the floor tom


Groove Example 5

A groove based on the floor tom


Groove Example 6

A groove based on the floor tom


Groove Example 7

A groove based on the floor tom


Groove Example 8

A groove based on the floor tom


Groove Example 9

A groove based on the floor tom


As in other moving the right hand exercises I'll now give a couple of exercises in switching between different parts of the kit. In the exercises below I've used various combinations of hi hats, rides, crashes and floor toms.


Exercise 1

An exercise in moving around the kit


Exercise 2

An exercise in moving around the kit


Exercise 3

An exercise in moving around the kit


Exercise 4

An exercise in moving around the kit


TASKS

  1. Learn each groove shown above upto a tempo of at least 100bpm.
  2. Try to create further examples using the floor tom.
  3. Vary the lengths of the exercises, for examples four bars on each part of the kit.