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Groove of the Month: Ghost Note Funk by Eric C. Hughes

Jan 24, 2022, 08:00 AM by Rhythm Scene Staff

The Ghost Note Funk is an elaboration on a basic rock groove, with the addition of “ghosted” or softer sixteenth note embellishments on the snare drum. Presented are four progressively more complex variations on this groove, each of which could be successfully used in a variety of performance situations.

Ghost Note Funk

Here are a few important things to note:

  • Keep the groove steady and only accent beats 2 and 4 on the snare drum.
  • As you are learning, it is okay to play the ghost notes (those in parenthesis) louder, to get a feel and sense for where they fall.
  • As you progress, think of the snare drum notes on two different levels: accented notes as full strokes and ghost notes like “taps with intent.”
  • For an added variation, add an accent on the hi-hat offbeats (the &’s of the beat) to give the feel a little lift.
  • Feel free to vary the bass drum pattern or add opened and closed hi-hat in spots.
  • Most importantly, relax and have fun!

Here are a few listening suggestions as well, both to get an ear for what this groove should sound like, but also as potential play-along tracks.

  • Any James Brown recordings with Clyde Stubblefield or Jabo Starks
  • Any Tower of Power recordings with David Garibaldi
  • Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady” with Bernard Purdie
  • Average White Band recordings with Steve Ferrone
  • Edwin Starr’s “25 Miles” with Uriel Jones

Eric C HughesEric C. Hughes is the former PAS Drum Set Committee Chair and current Chair Advisor. As Drum Set Committee Chair, Eric understood the importance of quality drum set education for all students. Under his leadership the Drum Set Committee programmed several PASIC drum set clinics and created several drum set education initiatives. Eric is active in the Texas PAS Chapter and recently worked with the Texas UIL Music committee to curate the first ever edition of the drum set category for the Prescribed Music List. He also teaches private drum set and percussion lessons in person and online based out of his Houston, Texas studio. Eric is currently performing full time as drummer for Blaggards, McLemore Avenue, Allen Hill, and other bands in Houston and Austin.

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