Let rock some three-note groupings. These patterns and exercises will improve your improvisational chops and general rhythmic prowess. We’ll start with single strokes, where we accent every third sixteenth note, with a turnaround on beat 4. (Ex. 1)
Now let’s spread this idea out over a two-bar phrase in Ex. 2. Pay attention to the turnaround at the end of the second bar. Ex. 3 applies the sticking I refer to as the “pa- diddle” (RLL) to this two-bar phrase, again, with a turnaround at the end. Voice the accents around the kit once this is comfortable.
The three-note pattern of R L Foot, usually reserved for triplets can also be applied. Voicing this around the kit can get very interesting. Try right hand floor tom, left hand snare for starters, which you’ll see in Exs. 4 and 5.
Exs. 6 and 7 deal with right/left hands on floor and snare while the right foot gets a good workout. Try moving the hands around to other drums and cymbals once this pattern is comfortable.
Practice all examples with a metronome starting at a medium slow tempo. Next time we’ll dive further into this concept and apply some rudiments and other hand/foot combos. Happy practicing!


GLEN SOBEL plays with Alice Cooper. Other credits include Paul Gilbert, Sixx: A.M., Orianthi, Tony MacAlpine, Cypress Hill, and Vivian Campbell. When in L.A., Glen plays sessions, teaches at Musician’s Institute, and does clinics for Mapex, Sabian, and Regal Tip.