From the radio to the cinema, trap style Hi-Hats seem to be everywhere. As such, having the skill to create these Hi Hat patterns will serve you well (even if you don’t make trap music). Considering this, I thought it would be worthwhile going over some easy patterns to help people get started. The techniques below are demonstrated in my video.
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The first pattern to learn is the sixteens. This is essentially having the Hi Hat playing in 16th notes on every beat. Although this sounds too easy, it is a common and effective pattern that has found its way onto many hit records. This pattern is a great way to get started and can be used as a template for further tricks later on.
The Reload: This classic technique almost sounds like a gun reloading. Put these at the end of a phrase of 16th notes. Convert the last note to 2 32nd notes instead of 1 16th note. (For example, if you had 8 16th notes, you would modify this to 7 and have 2 32nd notes at the end).
Machine Guns: This one can sound like the spray of bullets. In my experience this one works well being placed 2 16th notes before a snare hit. Replace the equivalent of 2 16th notes with 8 64th notes. This will sound exciting but should be used sparingly as it can distract your listeners from other elements in your track.
Money Machines: Similar to the whirring sound of the money machine, this pattern uses triplets to create excitement. I usually add these near the end of a pattern as the triplets create polyrhythms that can make the beat feel like it is slowing down. To create these, set your grid to 1/16 triplet notes and add them to your pattern where you think sounds best.
All of these techniques can benefit and be elevated by pitching your hi-hats so that they rise and fall with your music.
Although I recommend taking these Hi-hat patterns much further and creating something new, remember not to overcomplicate your patterns at the expense of your song. The above techniques, although simple, will ensure your Hi-hat patterns are familiar and pleasant for your listeners. Remember: