Ghost Note means something differant in the the guitar/bass world. Click the link for info on that.

In drumming however, the basic concept remains the same except you use the ghost notes to aid you in more complex beats/fills.

To make the ghost note idea in drumming more clear, try this on your kit:

Have a seat and get comfortable because it might take awhile to get this technique down. If you're right handed, take your left hand and "bounce" the stick for as long and smoothly as you can. To make this sound impressive, try to get the stick to "bounce" three times a second for two seconds at least.

Assuming you're bounce-master-j and can "single roll" your drumstick all day long, please continue.

Here is where the ghost note idea comes into play. It is very hard to make your stick bounce cleanly and at the same speed for much longer then I suggested above. You want your audience to think otherwise. Try this:

Start your single stick bounce. Get it timed right so that you can, one after another, cause your stick to roll/bouce at a steady pace. (If you followed my time suggestion, you'd go cleanly for 2 seconds, have a slight pause, go for another 2 seconds, slight pause, etc) During the slight pauses between bounces, give your kick a hit. Your kick drum causes the ghost note.

It's really simple when you think of it. The audience your playing for never hears the slight pause between your bounces because of the kickdrum hit. For all they know it's one continuous bounce with a little kick drum for flair! So the pause between your bounces becomes the ghost note.

That's the idea for ghost notes. If you want the above technique to sound even better, hit your crashes along with the kick. Also, some open high hat ostinato works well to aid in the ghost note trickery.

Just another note:

Ghost notes in drumming can also be notes that are played more softly then others.


In the above: The 'x' represents your ostinato, the lowercase 'o' represents a soft snare hit, and the numeric '0' represents a loud snare hit. Practice this until your soft hits and loud hits can be told apart with ease.

Please read my write ups on Linear Drumming and Improv Drumming

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