Fill Of The Week #54

Let’s get flying around that kit.

This week’s drum fill is a simple drum fill that all drummers should know. We’re just moving around the kit with a common rhythmic pattern. We’re just playing it faster than our usual fill of the week; we’re doing it at 140bpm. Let’s check it out.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start off by looking at the basic rhythmic pattern we’ll be using.

The basic rhythm
The basic rhythm.

We’re playing a very common 16th note pattern for this fill. It’s 16th note based and we’re just missing out all the “e” from each beat. Hopefully you can play this already. If you can’t, put a metronome on at 60bpm, count all the 16th notes (1-e-&-ah 2-e-&-ah etc…) and then play along but don’t play on any of the “e.”

Now we have the basic rhythm, lets add a sticking pattern and some bass drum to it.

adding a sticking pattern and bass drum.
Stick it to the bass.

In this fill, the bass drum is playing on the beat. When playing drum fills in a Rock/Pop/Blues setting it’s common to play the bass drum on the quarter note pulse under the fill. This helps to cement the time feel during the fill and adds more weight to the fill. To hear this in action, listen to Tre Cool with Green Day, Liberty Devito with Billy Joel or Mickey Curry with Bryan Adams. Sometimes they’ll even double it up to play 8th notes on the bass drum under the fill.

If you’re playing a more complex fill which involves the bass drum anyway, then you don’t need to play it on the beat.

The sticking pattern for this fill is led by the Right hand; It is playing on the 8th notes (1 & 2 & etc) and the Left hand is playing on the “ah”. This sticking helps with time keeping because your Right hand is keeping a constant 8th note beat and also makes the fill easier to move around the kit. You can use other stickings, such as alternating strokes, but you might not find them as easy to move around the kit.

Now lets orchestrate it around the kit.

The full fast fill

There are many ways to move this pattern around the kit, I chose to play the first four notes on the snare and then move around the toms. I change drum on the “&” of each beat. It’s a simple orchestration but it works. To hear something similar check out Fill of the week #31 which was taken from the song “White Room” by Cream.

The main thing I want you to do with this fill is play it FAST. How quickly can you move it around the kit? Learning a fill isn’t finished when you’ve learnt the sticking and orchestration and can play it at 60bpm. You want to really get to know the fill. Play it with a variety of grooves, try it out in some of your favourite play along tracks, and find out how fast you can play it. Will it possible for you to use it when you’re rocking out at 175bpm or will you need something simpler?

You’ll also find that some fills that sound lame at 80bpm sound awesome at 140bpm. You just need to spend the time to find out which ones are which.

Take It Further

Here are some more simple fills for you to speed up.

Fills to try.
Start your engines

Our first fill is a classic 6-6-4 fill. This can be played with alternating hands (RLRLRL etc). Just be sure to put the bass drum on the beat and not when you change from one drum to the next.

The second fill is another common pattern just moved around the kit. The suggested sticking is RLR RLR RLR RLR. You can try it anyway you like.

The third fill sees us hitting a tom tom every third 16th note. This is quite a common phrasing. Again, pay attention to where the bass drum falls. To make it sound better, accent the toms and don’t play the snare drum too loud.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #54. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.