Lesson 4: Closed & Open Hi-Hats

What is a Hi-Hat?

Hi-hats are one of the tallest pieces of a drum kit. They make a high ‘tssh’ sound and are featured in almost all modern music where any drums are present. Hi-hats can be hit with a drumstick or operated with the foot pedal, depending on the desired sound.

Closed Hi-Hats

When operated with the foot pedal, the two hi-hat cymbals close together, creating a shortened tss sound. This is the most common way hi-hats are played.

When finger drumming, we recommend you place your closed hi-hat sound on the bottom row of pads, to the right of your snare:

Open Hi-Hats

When hit with a drumstick (assuming the foot pedal is not being pushed), a much longer tsssh sound is made.

When finger drumming, we recommend you place your open hi-hat to the right of your closed hi-hat, on the bottom right pad:

Choke Groups in Maschine

As the hi-hat is a single piece of the drum kit, a long open hi-hat sound should be stopped when the closed hi-hat is pressed (and vice-versa). This can be achieved in Maschine by using the ‘Choke’ function.

Here’s an example hi-hat pattern:

With no Choke Groups set, this pattern sounds like this:

You can hear an unnatural sounding overlap between the closed and open hi-hat hits. If we put the two pads into the same Choke Group, the pattern sounds like this:

Now each time pad 3 is played, it stops the sound on pad 4 and each time pad 4 is played, it stops the sound on pad 3. This gives more of a true and realistic drum sound. Alternating between closed and open hi-hats is an extremely common technique in drumming, so it’s important to get this part set up right.

Here is how to set up your Choke Groups in Maschine:

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