This week’s finish the fill sees us using a rhythm that is commonly used to start fills. As always though, the question is, how will you finish the fill? Here’s some suggestions to get you started!
Where To Start?
Here’s our first four notes for this week’s drum fills:
As you can see we’re playing 1 e a 2 for our first 4 notes. I’ve notated beat 2 as a quarter note here, but you can make it any length you want. In the following examples I’ve used is a 16th note, an 8th note and a quarter note.
I play these first 4 notes using R L L R sticking. I normally play my Right hand on numbers and “&” and my Left hand on any ‘e’ or ‘ah’ notes in the bar. I find this helps my timing and makes my fills flow easier – there are always exceptions though and some ideas require alternative sticking.
What Happens Next?
For my first drum fill ending I employed a common sticking pattern – RLL – and used it to play accents on the toms while ghosting the snare drum. Starting on the “&” of 2 on the floor tom my sticking is RLLRLLRLRL. I ghost the left hand doubles on the snare drum and I crescendo on the last 3 snare drums to give a dynamic shape to the fill.
My second drum fill ending employs a 5 note pattern to create an irregular ending to the fill. Between the “&” of 2 and the end of the bar, there are 10 notes, so I figured I could play a 5 note pattern twice. The pattern I chose is “Hands Bass Bass Hands Bass.” I play double stops on the hands, the left hand stays on the snare as the right hand moves down the kit. I think it gives an unexpected ending to the fill. Experiment with your own 5 note patterns in this space.
From the irregular to perhaps the most regular ending for this drum fill. The first 4 notes of this fill suggest a common three 16th pattern which has us play the first two 16th notes out of every three, like so: “1 e a 2 & a e & 4 e a”. I played the first four of the 3 note groupings – spicing the 4th group up with a 32nd note – and then played 16th notes through beat 4 to give a nice smooth landing.
Endings 4 and 5 both make use of 16th note triplets. Ending 4 starts the 16th note triplets on the “&” of 2 and crescendo up to an accent on beat 4.
Ending 5 leaves some space and starts the 16th note triplets on the first tom on beat 3 before moving down to the floor tom on beat 4. I like to use space in my fills as it creates tension and anticipation. You don’t always have to play every note.
How Will You Finish The Fill?
It’s time to go sit on your drum kit and come up with your variations for this drum fill. Try some 8th note triplets, try coming in on the “e” of 2, include your bass drum in the fill, maybe some crashes or open hi-hats? … there’s still a lot to be done.