I'm very new to drums but I've started learning and it's amazing! Right now I'm trying to learn the "Funky Drummer" beat from here:

One example is playing the second opened hihat (as this guys says, it makes it more...funky :D), I can't really feel how to play it. Looking on the notes I'm not sure which one is the sound of closing hi-hat. Guy from the youtube says that people are should put accent on this closing, but looking on the notes, if it is true, then they are on 2&, 3 and 4&. I'm not sure whether it's true, as when I'm trying to play it always sounds...well, not like it should :D

The actual qestion: whether closing hi-hat sound is on 2&, 3 and 4& :)

1 Answer 1


Sounds like you're trying to understand when the hi hat closes and how loud you really have to make it.

The sheet music at 2:23 in the video clearly shows the hi hat closing on & of 2, on 3, and the & of 4.

In terms of making it as loud as the recording, even Clyde Stubblefield doesn't make it that loud in later live performances. It's probably so loud on the recording because of the exact hats he was using and/or the recording techniques used. Make sure you firmly close the hat after keeping it open for the full 16fh note, but don't get too hung up on making a super loud "chick" sound.

Original answer:

Two things here:

  1. You first have to master playing the beat to the point that you can do it without thinking about it, then you should be able to work on the feel without having any distraction from the mechanics of it.
  2. You will never sound like Clyde Stubblefield because you are not him. It's always going to be slightly different. Funk and R&B are the most obvious genres (IMHO) where feel is hugely important so it can be frustrating to never be able to nail the feel on the recording.

What's going on behind the scenes is that minuscule variations in timing and intensity are very important for the feel, and are practically impossible to pin down in order to teach them. You really have to listen and groove with the song and try to audiate the feel and the other instruments while you're playing. Learning to sing while you're drumming helps with getting the feel down. I think this is the hardest thing on any instrument and when you can get the feel (or reasonably close), you know you've arrived.

  • yeah, I do know, but in order to do that I need to be able to repeat that rythm in my head. There is a difference if there are 5 hi-hats sounds between or if there is a "closing" hi-hat and then 4 hi-hats. And right now I'm just a little confused, because I can't hear there "closing" sound, and that changes the approach to playing this song. I know that "in my version" I can play it the way I want it, but I think there will be time to create "own versions". Right now learning by proper example is doing really fine for me.
    – mmmm
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 15:58
  • @mmmm I'm afraid I don't understand what you're asking. Just make sure you close the hi-hat at the right time and then when you can play the beat without thinking about it listen carefully to the recording and try to address the minor differences as best you can. Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 16:02
  • so to make it as simple as possible - is this guy from youtube closing it and you can hear it?
    – mmmm
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 17:19
  • @mmmm Well he's clearly closing the hi hat but his close sound is not as loud as Clyde's on the original recording. How Stubblefield gets that really loud close chick on the hat I don't know. He might have really light hats with the bottom hat at a steep angle and he might be opening them really wide and then stomping down hard when he closes them. Plus the nature of the recording process may have emphasized that sound. I suggest after you've got the beat down you make it your own and put your own vibe into the feel. That's how you own it. Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 17:43
  • @mmmm I just checked out some live Clyde Stubblefield videos on YouTube and his closing "chick" is not nearly as loud in those videos. It sounds just like any other hi hat. I wouldn't get hung up on that closing chick. Just focus on the groove. I love the drum lessons that the guy in the video you posted does, but I think in this case he went a bit too far talking about making the close so loud. Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 17:51

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