Finish The Fill #17

Welcome to another Finish The Fill installment! This week’s drum fills all start with a simple 8th note pattern, but how will they end?

Finish The Fill #17

Where to start?

Eighth note drum fills are often neglected by drummers. We love to play with faster subdivisions and flashier ideas, but the humble 8th note fill often sounds more musical and is easier for your casual, non drumming, listener to catch on to. This week’s fills all start with these 4 notes:

We have an open hi-hat and bass drum combination on beat 1. The right hand then moves over to the floor tom on the “&” of 1 – the hi-hat closes simultaneously. On beat 2 we find a snare drum with the left hand and on the “&” of two we have the high tom being hit with the right hand. Simple. You can also play these 4 notes starting on beat 3 to create a short simple bar ending fill that sounds great.

What Happens Next?

Our first ending for this fill uses a little bit of space to create tension and then some 16th note triplets for excitement.

The ending of the fill delays it’s start on until the “e” of 3 to break up the smooth 8th note fill created by the start. Then on beat 4 we have a common 16th note triplet lick just to pick up the energy of the fill.

Our second ending for this drum fill goes for the dramtic ending with 8th note triplets. We have a simple 16th note grouping on beat 3 but then dive into triplets to create the dramatic ending on beat 4.

Up next for our third ending is a simple response to the beginning of the fill. It reverses the order of the tom toms and adds a drag and a few 16ths to augment the fill.

Space, the final frontier. To boldly leave space where no drummer has left space before; That is the mission of our fourth drum fill.

The more rock and pop songs I transcribe, the more 8th note drum fills I come across. While they might not be so much fun to play from a drummers point of view, from a musical view point, they sound great. This fill dares you to leave a whole load of space between the “&s” of 2 and 3. Can you bear the tension and leave the space?

Our final ending for this drum fill is my favourite. We’re adding a nice simple linear 16th note KLRK pattern on beat 3, before a snare drum and floor tom finish off the fill. I play the hi-hat with my left hand on the “e” of 3 and the bell of the ride cymbal with my right hand on the “&” of 3.

The last two fills keep a strong snare drum on beat 2 &.4; together with the bass drum work these two drum fills can feel like a natural continuation of the groove and won’t lose your audience or the band.

How Will You Finish The Fill?

You’ve seen five of my endings for this drum fill, but how will you end it? Spend some time exploring your kit and ideas with this fill.