Believe it or not, you can actually get 5 different sounds from your hi hat! Yes, I’m talking about a single hi hat...not multiple!
The majority of drummers that have been playing for a while know about all 5 of these sounds; however, beginner drummers usually only know about one of them...
Completely depressing the pedal on the hi hat, and hitting the outer area of the top cymbal
And to be honest with you, that is the most important of the 5 sounds because it is the one that will be used the most frequently. But that is not to say that you shouldn’t learn how to play the 5 different sounds on your hi hat!
That’s why I decided to write this post; to expose all 5 of the sounds to every drummer out there...from amateur to veteran!
1. With The Pedal Depressed, Hitting The Outside Circle Of The Cymbal
This is the most common way to play a hi hat cymbal because it produces a short and high pitched sound that can be used in a wide variety of songs. It simply involves pressing down on the pedal, and hitting anywhere on the outer circle of the hi hat!
Songs that have fast tempos will usually require you to play this sound on your hi hat because they make use of short (staccato) notes!
2. With The Pedal Depressed, Hitting The Inside Circle Of The Cymbal
I would say that this is a more advanced drumming technique because it requires some skill to pull off. You are going to strike the inner circle of the hi hat while the pedal is pressed down. Most hi hat cymbals have an inner circle that is raised a lot higher than the outer on, which makes this advanced drumming technique a lot easier to accomplish.
With that being said, striking the hi hat in this way will produce an extremely high pitched sound that cannot be produced by any other part of the drum set. It is a distinctive sound that veteran drummers will automatically recognize as being from the inner part of a hi hat!
3. With The Pedal Completely Open
Many drummers don’t strike their hi hat without the pedal being pressed. It is not that this is an advanced drumming technique...it just simply doesn’t produce a sounds that can be pleasantly incorporated into songs!
BUT, hitting the hi hat without the pedal being pressed can be the perfect sound to incorporate into your drum fill!
All that you have to do is completely release the pedal and strike the hi hat! Do that in the middle of a drum fill, and you will really please the audience!
4. With The Pedal Pressed Down Halfway
This is the second most common way to play the hi hat cymbal because it produces a desirable low pitch sound that rings on for about 1 second!
The goal with this hi hat sound is to press the pedal about halfway down...try to stop pressing when the upper and lower cymbal touch! Once you have done that, you can strike the hi hat with the middle of the drum stick to produce a low pitch sound that lasts almost a full second!
This hi hat sound is perfect for jazz songs!
5. Stomping On The Hi Hat Pedal
Many beginner drummers are unaware of the fact that you can actually cause the hi hat to make a cool sound without using a drum stick!
You can either stomp on the hi hat pedal and keep it pressed down or release it really quickly!
Stomping on the pedal causes the two hi hat cymbals to collide and produce a really funky sound that can be incorporated into a wide variety of drum fills. Keeping the pedal depressed after stomping it will cause the hi hat to produce a short sound; whereas, releasing it quickly will produce a sound that rings on for a few seconds!
Not many drummers know that one hi hat cymbal can actually produce 5 distinctive sounds. But drumming is about learning new techniques every single time that you play.
You don’t have to go crazy and try out every single hi hat sound during the next drum session that you have; however, I would highly recommend incorporating at least a few of the sounds during the next time that you play!
Experiment for a bit, and you will surely find new ways to use these 5 hi hat sounds in your drum beats and fills!