Ninjas! In this lesson we’ll be learning how to play Harder To Breathe by Maroon 5 which was the lead single from the band’s debut album, Songs About Jane. The song was released in July 2002 and peaked at number six on Airplay Monitor, number 31 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart and number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Harder To Breathe features the rock-solid pocket playing of Ryan Dusick. A one handed sixteenth-note groove throughout played on various surfaces to punctuate the different sections of the tune.
Dusick sets things up with a two beat sixteenth-note fill then lays into the sixteenth-note groove played on closed hi-hats. The backbeats are on two and four while the bass drum plays a varying pattern over four bars. One thing to watch for is the unison figure between the bass drum and snare on beat four of the first and third bars. Practice this as much as necessary to line everything up correctly.
For the pre-chorus the right hand moves over to the ride and plays the eighth-notes on the bell. This lifts the track up a notch as does the crash on beat one of each bar.
On the chorus Ryan moves to the rim of the drum which gives those sixteenths and interesting lilt. It’s an idea that seems to work really well for this song. You can play this on the snare rim or any of the tom rims, whichever you think sounds and feels the best.
This tune really is about the pocket so make sure that everything you play lines up well. It’s one of those bread and butter grooves so even when you think you have it down, practice it a few more times to make it even better.
Now Kill It! DN
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