Struggles G&I Section 4

I’ve been struggling with Grooving and Improving Section 4…its driving me insane!

I can play the beat without the backing track, correct timing, correct dynamics, checked the velocities on Ableton.

However, with the backing track, I can’t play straight, my left hand speeds up and I end up playing the hit just after the right hand, so the kick drums sound (and look in ableton) almost as 3 equally spaced hits. I managed just once to get it right by setting AD levels really low but now when i go back I get a mental block and slip back into this incorrect groove. If i play all the hits at the same velocity I can manage the right timing and groove more or less.

Would the advice be to just move on and come back to it after progressing on other areas? Or is there some trick that might help?



First of all, you can skip section 4 completely and move to section 5 without any problems. Every section is a self-contained subject and you’ll be completely fine coming back later.

With that said, if you can share a little video of your playing it would be most helpful for me to figure out where things go awry. When that is more clear to me I might be able to come up with an exercise to overcome that problem.

Let me know!

@carlm I am in G&I Section 4 Purgatory too, but not as far along as you. My non-dominant thumb seems to have other obligations and is always trying to leave the get-together. I just can’t give up though. Grooving is within reach! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

OK perfect thanks. Will try to do that later, a video with and without the backing track.

Yes its partly my non-dominant thumb, partly my brain. :slight_smile:

I would like to add that this thing where you really need a soft hihat and a loud kick drum does not seem to occur that often, so while it’s important to introduce this technique in order for students to get a complete and well-rounded introduction to finger drumming, it is not the most essential skill you’ll need.

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Ok first video where (I think) I’m playing it more or less ok without backing

Video with backing track and timing/rhythm problems

Possibly slightly better attempt.

I hope the sound is sufficient. I usually play with headphones, and didn’t realise how hitting pads makes so much of a racket. I can try to work out a different recording setup if its not clear. The levels of drums vs backing does seem to affect things but not sure exactly what fits best yet.

Thanks for any help Robert

(And yes the pads are coloured to the QFG beat diagrams!! :grinning:)

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Ok, so from what I can see the thing to practice is this >>

There is some movement in your middle finger (or index finger if you’re using that one to hit the hi hat).
You sort of move the thumb and the other finger away from each other.

At first just do it like that and then (but that’s step 2) try and get that thumb down with more of a slap than the middle finger.

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Great thanks. Just tried it out quickly and it feels better to have the non-dominant hand like that. With the backing track, i’m not finding the groove yet, but i’m also not slipping into the bad habit, the HHs are nicely spaced and the kick drums seem in the right places.

Cheers, will try it out in more depth tomorrow

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I don’t color the diagrams 100% the same for every course / lesson. It depends a little on what kit pieces I need and if the colors close to each other differ enough. But most of the time it will be the colors you set there :slight_smile:

From one beginner to another, it seems to me you are not hitting that non-dominant thumb kick squarely on the 1/16th note right before the 3 and at the very end before the next 1. It’s almost sounding like a flam on the 3 and 1 instead of a solid note. I had a heap of trouble with it. I finally got it by saying really loud “A” just before the the 1 and 3 to get that thumb to hit right in that short moment. And I also start the sequence with the non-dominant hand doing a pickup note to get the groove rolling. It ends up sounding like: Ahh one e & a two e & A three e & a four e & A. I’m working on the fill…this month. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Yes thats exactly it. OK thanks for the tip, I’ll try the accented counting, sounds promising.


Thanks for sharing Lynn! I think what you’re describing is a good example of why at some point it’s fine to just move on to another topic after trying for a while. It seems to me that it’s not just the technical aspect of moving the thumb but also just getting a better feel for heavy hits on the afterbeat and keeping the groove going while leaning more on that non-dominant hand.

That I think will get developed over many instances in many lessons and courses on the website. So after trying for some time, the best thing to do is probably to keep going and then to revisit the ‘problem lesson’ later on. You’ll probably have gained the skill you need for free at that point while focusing hard on other stuff.

Feel free to post here on the messageboards and ask me when you’re wondering if you can move on or if you’re truly missing an essential building block that is needed for everything else if you do that.

Its going better - thanks for the advice.

  • Changing hand position with Rob’s suggestion helped, because it feels more natural, and stops the thumb thumping ahead of time
  • Emphasising the A before the 1 helps because it also really focuses that left hand to hit its time mark
  • Another thing that i found helps is that once i got a little into the groove with the backing track and clicks I kind of visualised a metronome in sync with the HH hits and this helped to lock in those equally spaced hats and override any urge for my hands to do something different

So not perfect yet, but way better than before.


Hey all,

Really enjoying the quest so far and the steady progress I’m making!

Not really related to the topic starter’s question, but didn’t want to start a new thread for this question.

I’m happy to say I’m handling the G&I section 4 drum pattern really well, but mostly so in my own pace (which is faster than the backing track). If I play along with the backing track, my groove becomes less ‘loose’ because I really have to focus on playing a slower tempo.

So, a personal challenge for me that I would like to tackle, is to play at a slower pace than my ‘inner metronome’ so to speak :wink: But after a few sessions, I haven’t really made progress on getting used to a slower pace. @Robert_Mathijs, would you say that’s a matter of practice? Or do you have tips for this?

Otherwise a faster backing track in this section would be an appreciated addition :slight_smile:

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Hey Leon, welcome aboard!

First of all, the 'Timestretch player" I link to in every G&I lesson to make the tracks even slower can also be used to make them faster. You will hear that the audio becomes a little weird but if you don’t overdo it it should be very usable to speed up the backing tracks slightly to a tempo that’s more comfortable to you. >> TimeStretch Audio Player -

On that same note, I used to have the exact same problem you’re having right now. As do many other people. Not being able to go slower than the tempo we’re feeling and on top of that to not slowly but surely speed up while we’re jamming along is something that can be trained but it’s one of those long term goals that will take a long time.
Not in the sense of practicing it for hours a day, but more that you have to learn and unlearn certain natural tendencies, and those cannot be overwritten in a few days. You’ll need at least a couple of months before you would truly start to see this problem fading a bit.

So, how do you get to this point of being able to lock in with a tempo and especially tempo’s that don’t feel natural?

Multiple answers:

  • Force yourself to practice and play at (ridiculously) slow metronome tempo’s. This will happen in for example the “Building Fills” course. You’ll see me struggling a bit at 50bpm as well, but by doing the exercises at 50bpm first, the next step op 65 bpm feels nice and energetic and it’s easier for me to lock in.
  • Work with the Gap Click app for all your beats. >>
    In your case I would start of by doing what the creator of the app explains here instead of the more advanced stuff I made another youtube video about: GAP CLICK - getting started - by Benny Greb - YouTube

And besides that, there are even more timing tricks, but I’d start out this way and then maybe if you really want to take your groove to the next level, go and watch 1 lesson in the “Time & Time Again” course and then use the stuff in that lesson while playing your beats. Every video is a different “approach” on how to listen to what you’re playing and over time you’ll use all of those tricks together but the way to go is to just apply one way of listening and playing for a while and then watch another tip and try and approach your beats that way etc.

In the end you’ll have approached playing a beat and grooving from 10 different angles and usually that’s when you’ll slowly start to feel that you’re no longer fighting against the metronome but playing together… It’s a long journey though!

Hope this helped you. Have fun playing!

Thanks for the extensive answer, Robert!

Good to know the Timestretch player can also speed things up. For now I think I will just go by your tip and try to play to very slow tempo’s. I try to practice every day for about 30 minutes, and looking at the progression I have already made in a short time, I’m confident that I will learn to play slow if I just put the practice in.