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Let’s Get Funky: Creating Linear Beats

Jeff Salem

Jeff Salem

Creating Linear Beats

An article by Jeff Salem

Greetings fellow drummers! In this article I would like to show you a unique way of creating your own funky grooves using the “Linear” concept. Linear beats are patterns played in which no limbs line up. In other words, at no point will you have two or more voices played together.

What I have put together for you is what I call the “Linear Alphabet” in 16th notes. The 64 patterns below are all the possibilities you can play four 16th notes between the bass, snare and hihat with at least one hihat being played in each pattern.


Click here to download the pdf exercise sheet


A)-F) are some of my own grooves in 4/4 time I created by combining any four of the 64 patterns. Notice on groove F) I have added the bass drum on beat one with the hihat to give a different feel. Also, you can drop out certain 16th notes creating rests as you see in beats C), E)and F). As a variation, try playing the hihat part on the ride cymbal, cowbell or tom.

Many great drummers like Steve Gadd, David Garibaldi, Rick Gratton, Gary Chaffee (and the list can go on) use this concept. Try adopting this idea into your playing – it will add some creativity and variety to a song!

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