Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Stick Control patterns for a certain type of funk

 A thing we do here is to rewrite/re-organize existing materials to make them better for practicing certain things. I hate hunting around the page while I practice, flipping pages, dodging things that are no good for what I'm practicing. 

Playing with a loop from a Meters song, I played some Stick Control combinations on the drumset to make a funk texture— I combined all the four-note patterns starting with an R with all of the four note patterns starting with an L. So beat 1 was an R, beat 3 was an L.  

You could just memorize the first thirteen patterns from Stone and figure out the combinations in your head while you play, as I did— or I can write them out so I have something to post on the blog, and maybe a few people will actually do it. Some of these combinations are already in the book, others are not. There are two pages, the first is most useful. 

Play this in 2/2, with the Rs as cymbal + bass drum, Ls as snare drum— with the appropriate hand. I put an accent on the cut time beat 2; or beat 3 if you're counting in 4/4... look, do this: 

I played quarter notes on the hihat with my foot, and played the unaccented snare drum notes pretty strongly— I wasn't ghosting them. It's an ordinary orchestration we do with Syncopation all the time, but it's hard to do this exact thing without using Stick Control-type patterns. 

It's similar to what Zigaboo Modeliste does at times, de-emphasizing the cymbal rhythm. And it's a lesson in a certain un-intricate concept of funk. I like unintricacy in funk. We're playing an 8th note grid, but it's a grid of interlocking parts, which creates a strong groove. To me, groove-wise, plain 8th notes played on a single sound is a weak structure; interlocking parts is a strong structure. You may not play this way all the time, but it sets you up to move some different directions— especially if you're used to playing funk with a repeating cymbal rhythm, or a linear cymbal rhythm. 

Get the pdf


Jon McCaslin said...


Todd Bishop said...

Thanks! It's kind of obvious, but I've never seen it before.