Tomas Haake Ghost note Exercises

Tomas Haake uses ghost notes in many of his grooves. They add an extra dimension to the sound and help to drive the groove along. They are a subtlety of his playing that create his unique sound and feel. To help grasp the concept of how he uses ghost notes study the example below.

This exercise only concentrates on the hands. We will play the cymbal pattern on the ride for ease, but Haake would usually play it on a china cymbal or the hi-hat.

Basic ghost note pattern

If you count 16th notes 1 e + a, they fall on the 'e' and the 'a'. Notice there is no ghost notes around the accent snare note - on beat 3. This is because these notes are impractical to play and generally speaking Haake does not play them.

Watch this video of Bleed drum cam. It is a great example of Haake playing the ghost notes.

There are two main things to focus on to play these correctly.

1. Accents

It is important to work on your accents to make it sound right. The ghost notes should be played with light strokes, close to the head, with the arm and the wrist kept loose and relaxed. The accented notes should be a full stroke with power but still relaxed. The contrast between the light strokes and the heavy must be brought out. If you play these ghost all about the same volume as the accented notes it will sound awful. (Believe me - I've heard it.)

2. Layering

If you play these ghost notes in a groove, like Bleed for example, there will many times where a ghost note will land on the same beat as a bass drum or cymbal. Make sure that 'no flamming' occurs. This will also ruin the groove. You have to be very accurate with your hits in order to do this.

Here are some exercises to help build your independance playing ghost notes.

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

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