Here’s some fun with fives:
This week’s fill sees us taking a 5 note grouping and spreading it across 16th notes and 16th note triplets to make a 19 note fill. This might not be something you incorporate into every song you play, but it’s a good mental workout. We’ve done work with fives before, check out fill of the week #28 for an example with 5 note groupings over 16th note triplets. You might want to work on that before attempting this one.
Learn The Fill
Let’s start by looking at the basic rhythm of the fill.
The basic rhythm of the fill has us playing 16th notes from beat 1 up to the “e” of 3, and then 16th note triplets from the “&” of 3 up to the end of the bar. This creates a 19 note fill.
Play this basic rhythm with alternating hands on your snare drum to get comfortable with the switch from 16th notes to 16th note triplets. Work with an eighth note metronome and count out loud as you play it. I suggest starting at 40 – 50bpm.
Once you are comfortable playing the basic rhythm, then we can add in the 5 note grouping. Our five note group for this fill is Right-Left-Right-Left-Kick. I like to put the kick drum on the end of the group as it then falls naturally on the beat 1 of the next bar with the crash cymbal. Let’s put the 5 note group into the basic rhythm:
Practice this pattern very slowly with your metronome. Count out loud as you play it. Make note of where each group starts and ends. Check that your right hand is playing on beat 1, the “e” of 2, the “&” of 3 and the “ta” of 4. Check that your bass drum is on beat 2, the “e” of 3 and the “ti” of 4. You may need to practice this pattern for a while before you get it accurate. Go as slow as you need too to get it right.
Once you can play the pattern, it’s just a matter of orchestrating it around the kit. Here’s my orchestration:
Take It Further
When you’ve spent time learning a complicated fill like this, it’s worth exploring as many variations of it as you can to expand your vocabulary. Here’s some additional ideas for you to try:
Our first variation just has us playing 4 notes per surface on the snare and tom toms.
The second variation has us playing a common pattern between snare and toms that just repeats with each group of 5.
The third variation sees us changing the 5 note group to Right-Left-Left-Right-Kick. You may want to practice that just between the snare and kick, like we did with the original pattern, before orchestrating it around the kit.
The final variation sees us playing a new 5 note grouping with the kick drum now on the fourth note of the group: Right-Left-Left-Kick-Left. The left hand does most of the work in this pattern – however it does get to stay on the snare drum. The right hand works it’s way around the snare and toms, the left hand ghosts the two notes before the bass drum and then hits a regular snare (or rimshot even) after the bass drum. Again, take this slow & practice it just between the snare and bass drum first.
I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #62 – it’s a challenging one! If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.