Drum Lesson: Level-Up Your Grooves With Ghost Notes

Drum Lesson: Level-Up Your Grooves With Ghost Notes


So, in this ghost notes drum lesson, we’re gonna take a look at developing your snare drum phrasing using grace notes to embellish your back beats. We can really enrich the groove of our beats by using nice details on the snare, but we need to make sure that our motion, and timing are spot on! We don’t want these notes to be sloppy as otherwise the impact won’t be the same, and it will have a detrimental effect on the music we’re playing. Our band mates will not be happy with us!

The CORE SKILLS we’re going to be developing with the ideas in this lesson are:


You should aim to explore the accuracy of your strokes, ensuring that the rhythms are clear and performed cleanly.


As you play these grace notes relative to your back beat, you will need to be aware of how to best use technical strokes including rebound strokes, up strokes, tap strokes, down strokes, etc. Smooth motions will have a positive impact on your timing! Check out Jojo Mayer’s Secret Weapons Part 1 DVD, and / or Matt Savage’s Rudimental Workshop book.

Fluidity and creativity

As you get comfortable playing the examples / ideas in this lesson, try playing your own versions of these. A great way to develop different ideas is to play a couple of bars of one, and then change it slightly, then play that alteration for another couple bars again, before changing it again. Also, writing your own versions is another creative way to develop idea, as you won’t be pressuring yourself to come up with stuff on the spot. However, do make sure allocate time to write your ideas down.


The examples provided don’t include bass drums. This is so you can input your own bass drum patterns to the grooves. Maybe try permuting single bass drum notes along the 16th note grid… The world is your oyster. Check out David Garibaldi’s Future Sounds book for ideas on this.


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