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Fill Of The Week #42

Hat, Click, Kick, Repeat – Fill Of The Week #42:

This week’s drum fill takes a common three note pattern – Right, Left, Kick – orchestrates it around the kit and adds some 32nd notes to spice it up. Let’s check it out.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start by looking at the 16th note pattern that’s at the heart of this fill.

The basic pattern
Going Basic

We’re playing Right-Left-Kick four times over 16th notes and then we have 2 8th note right hands to finish off the fill.

Right-Left-Kick is a very common element in linear grooves and fills. Make sure you can execute the pattern above smoothly with a metronome before attempting to orchestrate it around the kit.

Our next step is to orchestrate the pattern around the kit. The right hand will play the hi-hat and the left hand will play the rim click. On beat 4 we’ll add an open hi-hat and then we’ll close it on the “&” of 4 when we hit the bass drum and floor tom together.

Orchestrate the fill
Orchestrate The Fill

Beginner students might want to stop here, that’s already a great sounding fill. However, if you want to play the full fill, then you need to play double strokes with the right hand on the first 4 hi-hats notes.

The full fill
The Full Fill

Take It Further

Right, Left, Kick is one of the most common 3 note linear patterns, let’s look at two of the others using the same orchestration – we’ll also keep the 32nd notes on the Right Hand, but you can play these fills without them also,

Switch It Around

Our first variation uses Kick, Right, Left as the basis for the fill. You may want to play the pattern just between the snare and bass drum at first before you try orchestrating it.

The second variation uses Left, Right, Kick as the basis for the fill. There are other variations you can try:

  • Right, Kick, Left
  • Kick, Left, Right
  • Left, Kick, Right

Note that I always stop the 3 note pattern on beat 4 and then play the floor tom and bass drum together on the “&” of 4.

I hope you’ve enjoyed drum fill of the week #42. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message via the Contact Us Page.

Groove Of The Week #42

This week’s groove is a common groove spiced up with some ghost notes, an open hi-hat, and a 16th note triplet hi-hat embellishment in the style of Gavin Harrison. Check it out.

Adding ghost notes, open hi-hats and hi-hat embellishments can drastically change the feel of a groove. Let’s check out how these things combine to change a basic groove into our groove of the week.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the core of our groove of the week.

The basic groove.
The Core Groove

The first step in turning this into our groove of the week is to add the ghost notes on the snare. Ghost notes are notes – normally played on the snare – that are softer than regular snare hits. Our ghost notes for this groove occur on “ah” of 2 and the “e” of 3 – this is an extremely common placement.

Adding the ghost notes
I Ain’t ‘Fraid Of No Ghosts!

Try playing these notes with the stick about 1 inch (2.5cm) from the head of the snare drum. Just let the stick drop from that height, don’t put any power into them. Practice it slowly at first and try to get a big contrast between the backbeat snare notes on 2 & 4 and the ghost notes. I played rimshots on beats 2 & 4 in the video to get an even bigger contrast.

The next addition to our core groove is the open hi-hat. I placed the open hi-hat on the “&” of 1. Let’s add it in.

Adding the open hi-hat
Open Your Hat

The final step is to add the 16th note triplets starting on the “&” of 4. This week I thought I’d play them in same manner as drum great Gavin Harrison did on the Porcupine Tree song Bonnie The Cat. He plays two rights and then flicks up the left hand to catch the edge of the hi-hat.

On groove of the week #41 I played 16th note triplets in a more conventional fashion – RLL – bringing the left hand up to hit the top of the hi-hat. Gavin’s method is more efficient but slightly trickier. Here’s the full groove:

The full groove
The Full Groove

Taking It Further

Let’s add the same ghost notes, open hi-hat and 16th note triplet hi-hat embellishment to some more basic grooves. Here’s 3 basic grooves:

Basic Grooves
Basic Grooves

Here is those 3 basic groooves with the ghost notes, open h-hat and 16th note triplets added:

Blinged up grooves
Not So Basic Grooves

Often when you hear a complex groove, it’s just a basic groove that has had other elements added to it. Try taking some basic grooves you know and add some of these elements to them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #42. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Fill Of The Week #41

Para-Para-Diddle-Para-Para-Diddle-Para-Diddle. That’s the key to this week’s fill. Check it out:

Fill Of The Week #41 uses the Double Paradiddle and the Paradiddle to create an awesome sounding fill. If you like this fill, we did something similar on Fill Of The Week #27 with the Paradiddle-Diddle. You might want to check that out too.

Learn The Fill

The key to this fill is the sticking pattern. Let’s take a look at it.

ParaparadiddleParaparadiddleParadiddle.
The Basic Pattern

We’re using two double paradiddles and a paradiddle to create this 16th note fill. I like to think of it as Para-Para-Diddle-Para-Para-Diddle-Para-Diddle. We’re starting with the right hand so the sticking is:

R L R L R R L R L R L L R L R R

Try saying Para-Para-Diddle-Para-Para-Diddle-Para-Diddle to yourself as you play it. Most of the rudiments are named so that you can say them while you play them. You might find it helps to get the pattern into your head and your hands.

Our next step is to add in the accents. All of the single stroke Right hands are accents (any “Pa” or “Ra” on the Right) and the only accent on the left is at the start of the Left double paradiddle on the “&” of 2. Here it is accented:

Adding Accents To The Pattern
Adding The Accents

You may want to think of this as:

PAra-PAra-diddle-PARA-paRA-diddle-PAra-diddle

Try saying this to yourself slowly, accent the syllables in bold upper case and say the other syllables quietly. As always, practice playing it slowly with a metronome.

The final step is to orchestrate the accents around the kit. My right hand just plays down the toms: first two hits on Tom 1, next two on Tom 2, and the final hit on the floor tom. My left hand plays it’s only accent on Tom 1. Here’s the full fill:

The Complete Drum Fill
The Full Fill

Taking It Further

I would encourage you to spend time with this fill and re-orchestrate the accents as you see fit. Here’s some other accent patterns for you to try:

Accent variations for the same pattern.
Move Those Accents

All of these variations use the same sticking pattern, we’re just moving the accents. Learn to play the patterns just on the snare drum first and then orchestrate them around the kit yourself.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #41. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #41

Let’s get funky with this week’s groove!

Syncopation is a great way to create funky sounding grooves. This groove only has one bass or snare that’s in a non-syncopated position, however the accented hi-hat solidifies the groove and keeps the beat in the listeners mind. Let’s check it out.

Get The Groove

Let’s start with the basic idea that the groove grew from.

The basic groove
The Basic Groove

This is a very syncopated grooove, the bass drum on beat one anchors the whole groove, after that none of the snare or bass drums are on the beat. Play this groove slowly – 40-50bpm and count out loud as you do it.

To help keep the groove moving forward, to help the listener hear the 1-2-3-4 and, to highlight the syncopation, I added in the accented hi-hat on the beat. This movement on the hi-hat really helps to bring the groove to life.

adding hi-hat accents
Accent Your Hats

I achieve the accented hi-hats by hitting the hi-hat on the edge with the shoulder of the stick and then hitting the top of the hi-hat with the tip of the stick. This should give you two distinct sounds from your hi-hat – one louder and fuller and one softer and weaker.

You may need to spend some time practicing this movement with easier beats until you get it into your muscle memory. Eventually you’ll be able to add it to any groove without really thinking too much about it.

The final thing I added to this groove was a little 16th note triplet flourish on the “&” of 2. I play these notes with a double on the left hand. Here’s the full groove with the sticking indicated.

The full groove
The Full Groove

Taking It Further

When you learn any groove, you want to try adding fills to it. This is a tricky groove to add fills to; I think there are only 2 places to add fills to this groove and have it sound natural. Those 2 places are the “&” of 3 and the “&” of 2. Let’s look at adding fills to these two spots.

Fill Variations
Fill It Up

Our first two fills start on the “&” of 3. The first is a simply played on the snare drum – you can orchestrate this as you wish. The second is an example of the kind of fill you can come up with. This fill ends with a flam on the snare on the “&” of 4 to echo the snare on the & of 4 in the groove.

The last two fills start on the “&” of 2. Again, the first fill is just a simple 16th note snare fill that you can orchestrate as you wish. The final fill is an example of that fill orchestrated. Come up with your own variations.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #41. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Fill Of The Week #40

It’s the first Fill Of The Week of 2020 and, coincidentally, this fill has 20 notes in it. Check it out:

This fill of the week uses 2 beats of 16th notes and then 2 beats of 16th note triplets. I’ve always liked the way moving from 16th notes to 16th note triplets sounds. It adds a lot of energy and excitement to a fill. If you like this fill, check out Fill Of The Week #13 for a similar fill.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start out by looking at the basic rhythm of the fill.

The basic rhythm
The Basic Rhythm

If you’re not already comfortable moving from 16th notes to 16th note triplets, then I suggest you start by counting the basic rhythm along with a metronome playing 8th notes at 40bpm. Focus on the 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &, make sure they line up with the metronome. Once you can count it, then you can attempt to play it.

Now lets orchestrate the first half of the fill. We’re just playing a tom tom on every 3rd 16th note. This is a fairly common pattern, try to accent the toms and ghost the snare a little. You want the tom toms to stand out more than the snare.

Orchestrating the 16th notes
Orchestrating The 16ths

Now we’ll orchestrate the 16th note triplets to create the full fill. We’re going to play the first 3 on the snare, the next 3 on the first tom and then the last 6 are orchestrated between the snare and all 3 toms.

Play the 16th note triplets separately at first and get used to how they move around the kit. Once you’re comfortable with that, then attempt the whole fill.

The full fill
The Full Fill

Taking it further

Whenever you have a fill which is clearly in two halves, the best way to take it further is to keep one half the same and change the other half. Here’s two examples:

2 variations on a theme
A couple of variations

The first fill keeps the 16th note part of the fill the same and then varies the 16th note triplet portion. The second fill varies the 16th note portion of the fill but keeps the 16th note triplets from original fill.

Practicing changing your fills up like this will help to expand your fill vocabulary and your flow around the kit. How many variations can you come up with?

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #40. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #40

Here’s a fun groove that splits eighth note triplets up between the hi-hat and ride cymbal.

Splitting eighth note triplets across different surfaces has always been one of my favourite things to do because you can create so many interesting patterns. This groove simply splits the triplets between the hi-hat and ride cymbal; the addition of the ride cymbal bell adds more rhythmic interest. Let’s learn the groove.

Get the Groove

Our first stop when learning this groove is to be comfortable splitting the triplets between the hi-hat, ride and snare drum. Here’s the basic pattern:

The basic hand pattern
Just the hands

The left hand is splitting its time between the hi-hat and playing the snare drum on beats 2 & 4. For now the right hand is just playing the body of the ride cymbal. Take time getting comfortable playing this pattern before trying to move on – you want this on auto pilot before trying the next step.

Our next step is to add in the bass drum. You may want to start with the bass drum just on beats 1 and 3 before trying the full pattern shown here.

Adding the bass drum pattern.
Adding the bass

The tricky part of this pattern is the 2 consecutive bass drums on the “Let” of 2 and beat 3. The first is with the left hand and the second with the right. As always, play this pattern slowly, count out loud and focus on getting the bass drums to coincide accurately with the hands.

Again, practice this groove until it’s on auto pilot before moving on to the final step.

The last thing to add to this groove is the ride bell pattern. We’re going to alternate the right hand between the body of the ride cymbal and the bell. This adds an interesting colour over top of the groove. You may want to practice just the hand pattern again and then add the bass drum back in. Take it slow.

The Full Groove
The full groove

Taking It Further

Spend some time with this groove and change the bass drum pattern to create new grooves; that’s a great way to expand your abilities. What we’re going to do is look at some ways to change up the bell pattern.

changing the hand pattern.
Ring in the changes

Our first variation reverses the right hand pattern from our original groove – now we play the bell first and then the body of the ride cymbal.

The second variation has us play the first three right hands on the body of the ride cymbal and the last three on the bell of the ride cymbal.

The final variation has the right hand hit the bell of the ride cymbal when the right hand coincides with a bass drum.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #40. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Fill Of The Week #39

Let’s get the paradiddle out for a spin around the kit for this week’s fill of the week!

The paradiddle is one of the most useful rudiments in the drummer’s toolbox. It can be accented and orchestrated in many ways to create musical ideas. The last time we messed with the diddle family was on fill of the week #27, check that one out for more diddle ideas. Let’s see what the diddles have for us this week.

Learn The Fill

There are many members of the paradiddle family; for this fill we’re using the basic Single Paradiddle. Here it is in all it’s glory:

The Single Paradiddle
The Single Paradiddle

Hopefully you can play the single paradiddle already; if not, get practicing! Our first step in creating this fill is to split the hands up; the left hand will go to the hi-hat, the right will stay on the snare.

Single paradiddle split between snare and hi-hat
Split up the hands

Pay attention to your note spacing when you do this, make sure all notes are evenly spaced.

The final step is to orchestrate the right hand between the tom toms and the snare. The right hand makes a journey from Floor Tom to Snare to Tom 1 and then back again from Tom 1 to Snare to Floor Tom. The right hand double stroke of the paradiddle is always played on the snare. Try to accent the Tom Tom notes and ghost the snare drum notes. Here’s the full fill.

the full fill
The fill, the whole fill, and nothing but the fill.

Taking It Further

There are countless ways to orchestrate the paradiddle around the kit, but rather than go into those, let’s take orchestration of this fill and apply it to other members of the paradiddle family: The Inverted Paradiddle and The Reverse Paradiddle.

inverted and reverse diddle variations
Invert and reverse your paradiddles here

We’re sticking with the same idea for these fills – the left hand is on the hi-hat, the right hand plays single strokes on the toms and doubles on the snare drum.

Drum fills, and paradiddles, don’t always have to start right handed though. We can also play paradiddles starting from the left – LRLLRLRR etc. So, here’s three fills starting left handed using our paradiddle variations.

Left diddle fun
Starting with the left

The orchestration is the same, the left hand is still on the hi-hat and the right hand moves between snare & toms. Try out these variations to broaden your fill vocabulary. Remember to crash with your left hand on beat 1 after these fills.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #27. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #39

It’s groove of the week time. Let’s get to it!

Groove of the week #39 features a an interesting rhythm played between hi-hat, snare and the stack cymbal. This rhythm is often heard in drum fills and linear grooves, but this week we’re using it in a more regular groove.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the rhythm the hands are playing.

The basic patten
Getting the groove

Make note of the sticking that we’re using here. The right hand is playing any 8th notes (1 & 2 & etc) , the left hand plays any 16th notes (e ah).

Play this pattern slowly with a metronome. I use a metronome playing 8th notes, I find it helps with the accuracy. Count out loud as you practice!

Now lets orchestrate the hands around the kit. The left hand is going to play the hi-hat, the right hand will move between the stack cymbal the and snare drum. If you don’t have a stack, try moving the right hand to the bell of the ride cymbal or the floor tom or a cowbell.

Moving around the kit
Moving around the kit

The final step is to add the bass drum. The bass drum is played together with the stack cymbal.

The full groove
The full groove

Taking It Further

Now that you’ve learnt to play the groove of the week, the easy way to change it up is to keep the hand pattern the same and change the bass drum. We’ll play the hands just between the hi-hat and snare drum, but if you want to split them up between different surfaces, please do! Here’s three useful variations:

changing it up
Changing up the bass

Pay attention to where the hands and bass drum coincide. We’ve now got some bass drums that occur on their own and some that occur with the left hand. Practice these grooves slowly and count as you play them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #39. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Fill Of The Week #38

Let’s learn how to lose a band in 28 notes or less.

Fill of the week #38 uses a 7 note pattern, we’ve seen 7 note patterns in other fills; try fill of the week #35 for another example.

In this fill, the 7 note pattern is played four times over 16th note triplets, which gives us 28 notes. This creates an over the bar line fill as there are only 24 notes in a bar of 16th note triplets. Let’s check it out.

Learn The Fill

The first step is to get comfortable with the 7 note grouping. Here’s the 7 note pattern and the orchestration we’re going to use for this fill

The 7 note grouping.
7 notes of fun

Our 7 note pattern for this fill is LRLRLRK. The first right is played on the stack cymbal; if you don’t have a stack, play it on the hi-hat instead.

Your first step in learning this fill is to get comfortable playing this pattern smoothly and continuously. Don’t worry about any particular subdivision, just play it repeatedly, counting 1 2 3 4 5 6 sev 1 2 3 4 5 6 sev etc…

Once you can play the pattern smoothly, then we can look to putting it in to a time signature and a subdivision. We’ll be playing this fill in 4/4 and using 16th note triplets. There are 24 notes in a 4/4 bar of 16th note triplets, however, 7 doesn’t go into 24. We could play the 7 note group 3 times and finish within the bar, but it’s more fun to go over the bar line and finish on the & of one of the next bar. Here’s the full fill:

The full fill.
The full fill

Play this very slowly at first – I recommend 40bpm. Use a metronome that can count 16th note triplets – I prefer TempoPerfect by NCH software. Use your ears to help you check in with the metronome while playing the fill. Listen for the bass drum on beat 2, the floor tom on beat 3, the high tom on beat 4 and the snare drum on beat 1. This fill may take some time to master. Go slow and be patient.

Taking It Further

Once your are comfortable playing 7 note patterns over 16th note triplets, then try and create some of your own 7 note patterns. Here’s some suggestions:

fill variations
Change it up

Our first fill variation uses RLRLRLK as the 7 note pattern.

The second fill variation uses RLRKRLK as the 7 note pattern.

The third fill uses KLRLRLR as the 7 note pattern.

Approach all of these in the same manner as before; play the 7 note pattern repeatedly while counting “1 2 3 4 5 6 Sev” and be able to play it continuously. Then put it against a metronome playing 16th note triplets at 40 bpm.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #38. If you’re in Singapore and want a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #38

It’s time to get a little bit latin with groove of the week #38.

This groove is taken from the classic early rock ‘n roll song La Bamba by Ritchie Valens. The song itself is a Mexican folk song, but Ritchie spiced it up and gave us the version we all know and love. Let’s get to learning!

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the pattern being played on the bell of the ride cymbal.

The Bell Pattern
Ring my bell

Like most latin grooves, this groove features a broken rhythm on the ride bell. This can be challenging if you haven’t attempted latin grooves before. Spend some time with a metronome playing this pattern slowly, counting out loud and getting it into your hand.

Now let’s add the snare and tom toms.

Add the left hand
Two hands are better than one

Our left hand will be moving between the snare and first tom. You might want to practice each bar separately at first and then try playing them consecutively. Keep it slow and keep counting.

The final step is to add in the bass drum. For this groove the bass drum is playing just on beats 1 and 3. Again, practice it all slowly, before gradually bringing it up to our target speed of 152bpm.

add the bass drum
The full groove

Taking It Further

Getting the groove is the first step in learning any beat. Once you have learnt a groove, you need to be able to play fills with it and get in and out of it easily in order to be able to use it in a song. Here’s some basic fills to use with this groove. Try not to lose the pattern as you add the fills.

add some drum fills
Fill it in

I suggest playing these fills in a 4 bar pattern: play two bars of the original groove and then add on the 2 bar patterns shown above.

Our first fill goes over the whole of the second bar of the groove.

The second fill starts on beat 2 of the second bar. Note the sticking pattern – LLRLRL.

The third fill starts on beat 3. Again this one also starts with the Left hand – LRLR. I would suggest crashing with the left hand after this fill to give your right hand enough time to get back to the ride bell on beat 2.

The final fill is two notes on the floor tom starting on beat 4. The left hand on the first tom on the “&” of three is just part of the original groove.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #38. If your in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.