I recently posted a fun 1 minute track called The Only Way Out Is Through. It caught some drummers’ attention, so I thought I’d offer a quick breakdown of the grooves that shape the entire piece.
MELODY: INVERTED PARADIDDLE (RRLR LLRL)
The basic melody of the groove is based on the RRLR LLRL Paradiddle inversion, which is sometimes referred to as the Outward Paradiddle. This is because the Diddle is at the beginning of the sticking. Notice I’m playing the R melody on the hi tom.
As the track progresses, two things happen. The first, I add eighth notes on the stepped the hi hats underneath in order to increase tension.
Then, to further add drama, I start alternating the R melody between two sound sources. These are the hi tom, and a little splash stack I made (you can use whatever you have at your disposal if you don’t have a stack). This orchestration has the ostinato, explained in the following section, played underneath it.
The ostinato I’ve used is fairly simple to learn on its own. The feet play a RLL pattern, where I alternate the L between the “slave” pedal of my double bass pedal and the hi hat. In order to more easily play this, I use the heel toe technique in order to make the motion be based on a single “up / down” movement with this foot. This also means that the L foot, as it plays the hi hat pedal, I get a little splash / chick sound from the hats.
THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH: THE TRICKY BIT
Where things get complicated is putting the the hands and feet together. The ostinato is a 3 sixteenth note pattern, which I play under the hands, which play a straight-forward sixteenth note subdivision. As a result, this means that the ostinato works against the hands, and fully resolves every 3 bars.
DOWNLOAD THE FULL GROOVE PDF TRANSCRIPTION HERE
The biggest tip I can give you in order to nail this is to practice the ostinato first, feeling it as sixteenth notes. Get it down so you can play it in autopilot. Practice easier stickings on top of it as you build your coordination. Be patient, and ensure to use the heel toe technique (or similar) in order to minimise the effort to play this pattern. Once you’re comfortable, then start adding the Paradiddle and the orchestration that follows.
A lot of the ideas for this stuff come from my book Concepts, so please go check it out and get yourself a copy! You’ll get hours of fun applying the ideas inside to your playing.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief breakdown lesson.