How To Accent On The High Hat Of Drums

As a drummer, if you know how to accent on the high hat of drums you can add a variety of different sounds to your playing. The high hat is a versatile instrument in your drum set, capable of producing a range of tones and volumes depending on how you work the pedal.

Accents on the high hat can be performed several ways:

  1. With the high hat closed. Playing with the high hat nearly closed produces a lower tone with less sustain. This provides a sharper, more distinct accent.
  2. With the high hat partially open. Partially open, the high hat's tone becomes higher and rings longer.
  3. With the high hat open. When it is fully open, the high hat provides a clear, brassy tone and a long sustain. Letting the high hat fall closed while the tone is ringing gives a unique sound, as well.
  4. Performing rolls on the high hat. Accents work well within a roll performed on the high hat. The high hat can be opened and closed during the roll for a distinctive additional texture to the sound.


  • The best way to determine what accents on the high hat works best for a particular song or performance is to experiment. Distribute accents across the drum kit using the snare, toms, cymbals and high hat to vary the tones and the sounds. Just shifting one or two accents to the high hat will make a huge difference in how a sequence sounds.
  • Though experimenting with how to accent on the high hat is a great step toward improving your drumming technique, don't forget the basic task of the drummer–to keep the beat. No matter how complex your accents or fills on the high hat become, be sure you still keep that steady, driving beat that will keep the rest of the band on track.
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