Take a rock rhythm on the drum set, a simple 4/4 beat. What do you start it with? The bass drum! That’s right. The order is almost always bass/snare-bass/snare. Millions of people have boogied with that simple and efficient combo.
Are you looking for a new style, something unusual to do? Then reverse the order. Instead of attacking with the bass drum, you dive right into it with the snare. The snare on one. Ha! that changes things quite a bit doesn’t it? I haven’t heard this little variation very often. I’ll include a YouTube link of a song by Sting where the drummer (Manu Katche) plays the snare on “1”. You have to wait for it, though. He does it right there:
Are you still looking for something even more extraordinary? You are insatiable! But, all right. Now let’s suppose you want to explore the weird and the strange. You remember the rock beat: bass/snare/bass/snare. Let’s top it with a nice 8th notes layer, the unavoidable tsi-tsi-tsi-tsi-tsi… Now follow me carefully and watch your step. The next time you begin, you don’t chose the bass drum or the snare, you chose the hi hat, the one that’s in between the bass and the snare drum. Put that hi hat on “1”. Go ahead, try it. Yes, right now, I’ll wait.
Ah! How was it? Pretty cool, no?
Have you played it with a song? Oh, you should! Your world is about to get dizzy. It it very difficult to start on “1” with that hi hat. Your mind will try to place the bass and snare on the pillars of the bar, not on its syncopated counterparts. I understand if you are confused.
And no, I don’t know a famous song that has this kind of variations in it. But if you do, please, leave me a comment. I’ll share it.