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Independent Cymbal Rhythms

Review by Sean Mitchell // November 29 2014
Independent Cymbal Rhythms

If you are looking to develop your ride patterns, or change up the same old tired 1/8th note groove on the hi-hat you have been playing lately, well then Bobby Williams has a great technique book for you. It's called Independent Cymbal Rhythms.

The 40-page book published by Hal Leonard covers techniques you can apply to rock, Latin, jazz, blues, funk, disco and techno. Bobby's intent is that you develop your right hand (or left, for you southpaws) ride/hi-hat prowess by navigating the 500 exercises that he has designed to help your endurance, creativity and finesse. The challenge is to develop both your mental and physical connection in order to harness creativity.

The book focuses the following grooves:

  • 1/4, 1/8, and 1/16 notes
  • Triplet
  • 12/8
  • Alternating hi-hat work
  • Syncopated patterns
  • Hi-hat grace notes

While the exercises are aimed at the more advanced player, an advancing student who has good reading skills and a tendency to be a quick learner would be able to use this book with some guidance from an educator familiar with the book's patterns.

Upon first glance, an advanced player might be inclined to view the book as a little on the simple side, but don't let the book's friendly demeanour fool you! As you progress through the exercises, Independent Cymbal Rhythms will challenge even the most fearless of drummers and push the boundaries of rhythmic artistry. 

A bit about our author, Bobby Williams was born in 1951 in Elmira, New York. He is an accomplished drummer and long-time drumming instructor who published his first book, Independent Cymbal Rhythms, through Hal Leonard. Bobby began drumming at age five and subsequently studied under several notable experts including Sam Ulano, Jim Chapin, Stanley Spector, and Butch Miles. He has been a member of numerous bands, including The Koronas, The Shifters, Them, The End, and The Klassics and has also had the privilege of playing with Guy Lombardo, the Stan Kenton Band, Kay Starr, the Jazz Show Band (aboard the Carnival Freedom), and Legal Vibrations (RIU Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica), among others. Bobby resides in upstate New York with his wife and family.

I have recorded a few of the lessons from the book to give you a sample of what to expect. 


Independent Cymbal Rythms published by Hal Leonard: Lesson 19 pg.7


Independent Cymbal Rythms published by Hal Leonard. Lesson 53 pg. 11


Independent Cymbal Rythms published by Hal Leonard. Lesson 1 pg. 12







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About the Author
Sean Mitchell

Sean Mitchell has been an active participant in the drumming industry for over 20 years. He has studied under Crash Test Dummies drummer Mitch Dorge and Drumming's Global Ambassador Dom Famularo. Sean is also a songwriter and regularly performs with his wife (and singer) Jill Mitchell. Sean proudly endorses Aquarian Drumheads.

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