Chunky hi hat.

In order to make music, you need musicians. In order to get some emotions out of music, you will need some important tools. Dynamics could come in handy. But, since I want to talk about the hi hat, we shall explore the subject of power today.

When you play a groove, let’s say a typical rock beat with one bass drum, one snare and 4 hi hats, you can get different levels of power by changing the hi hat. Of course, you can vary between open and closed. That’s a big effect. Grunge music loves that. Dave Grohl is a master at this kind of things. But you can do something else: chunk it.

What I am talking about is hitting the edge of the hi hat with the shoulder of the stick. Not necessarily hard. You can actually play with the exact same force you’ve been using before. But the sound gets thicker. It will give you some contrast compared to hitting the hi hat with the tip of the stick.

You can do some variations with that sound. Not use it for every hit. You can use it as an accent on every down beat. That’s a common variation. It makes the drum beat sound like a steam train. The crowd doesn’t know exactly what’s going on but they can feel it. Their head start to bob and rock, it’s irresistible. AC/DC’s drummer Phil Rudd uses that technique to great effect.

So, let’s suppose that you have a fairly quiet verse and a chorus, and a transition between the two, a transition where the intensity builds but retains the mood of the verse. That would be an ideal place to play the chunky hi hat. Your drums will have the same sound sources but will take up more space, will “push harder”.