Blog

Fill Of The Week #45

Groove of the week #45 was in 7/8. Here’s a fill in 7/8 to go with it.

We’re back using our old friend the 5-note grouping for this fill. We’ve used 5-note groupings several times; the last time was Fill Of The Week #33 where we used it in 8th note triplet form. This time we’re going across 16th notes with it. Let’s check it out.

Learn The Fill

We’re playing in the 7/8 time signature for this fill, that means we’ve got seven 8th notes in a bar or fourteen 16th notes. If we divide fourteen by 5 then we get 2 complete groups of 5 with 4 16th notes left over. By making the bass drum the last note of our 5 note group though, we can play 3 complete groups of 5 because the last bass drum note will land on beat 1 of the next bar. Here’s the basic pattern for this fill:

Basic pattern
The Basic Pattern

So our basic pattern is R L R L Kick and because we’re playing in 7/8 we’re counting it 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 & 6 & Sev &. Practice playing this pattern smoothly at slow tempos first.

Our next step is to orchestrate this pattern around the kit. I opted to progressively move the pattern around the kit. I play the first group of 5 between Hi-hat and Snare, the next group between Snare and the First Tom, and the final group between the First Tom and the Floor Tom. Here’s what that looks like:

The full fill
The Full Fill

When you play it with a 7/8 groove and put the bass drum (with or without a crash) on beat 1 of the next bar then it’ll sound you are playing 3 groups of 5.

Taking It Further

Having spent the time to get comfortable playing this five note pattern over 16th notes, you should spend some time orchestrating it around the kit yourself. Here’s some other orchestrations for you:

Orchestration variation
Change it up

All three of these variations use the same 5 note pattern – R L R L Kick. Try creating some of your own. Creating new fills from the same basic pattern is a great way to expand your fill vocabulary. Create as many as you can.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Fill Of The Week #45. 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 #45

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Let’s go!

This week’s groove is a funky 7/8 groove. This is our first foray into odd time signatures with groove of the week. The 7/8 time signature is one of the most popular odd time signatures and is one of the easiest to learn. Let’s learn this funky groove.

Get The Groove

This week’s groove is in the 7/8 time signature. That means we’re counting 7 beats in a bar and each eighth note gets one beat. So we’ll be counting our 8th notes as 1 2 3 4 5 6 Sev and any 16th notes will now be counted using “&”. Note that I say “Sev” & not “Seven” to avoid putting an extra beat on the “en” of seven.

I thought this week I’d show you how this groove evolved. I was going through a worksheet of 7/8 grooves I’d previously written when I came across this groove:

The original groove.
My Inspiration

I thought it was a pretty funky groove but it could sound better with a bit of work done on it. The first thought that popped into my head was to try it with two handed 16th notes. That looked like this:

basic groove + 16th note hi-hats
Adding 16th Note Hi-Hats

I liked that sound of that, but I wanted to feature the three 16th note bass drums in the middle more. So after a little experimentation I found that not playing the hi-hat on beats 4 and 5 gave a funky staccato effect to the groove. That looked like this:

featuring the bass drum
Bringing Out The Bass

But now, the end – beats 6 and 7 – sounded too busy, so I stripped them back to just 8th notes. Here’s what that looks like:

Changed the end of the groove
Stripped Back Ending

Now the groove was really sounding great, but I felt it needed one final touch to complete it, so I changed beat Seven to an open hi-hat and my work was done. Here’s the full groove:

The final groove
A Groove Full Of Funky Goodness

Taking It Further

Whenever you hear a drummer playing a cool sounding groove, it’s often something that started as a simple idea and then evolved the more the drummer played with it. Whenever you learn a groove, ask yourself, “how could I evolve this groove?” Then play with it till you create something you like.

I generally keep the bass drum and snare drum pattern the same as they are the heart of any groove. I’ll play with the cymbal pattern and orchestration and maybe bring in other voices. For the pattern we just played, try hitting a floor tom on beat 7 instead of the open hi-hat. Or maybe make it a two bar pattern, hit the floor tom on the first bar and the open hi-hat on the second.

As with any groove, you need to be able to add fills in. If you’re not so comfortable playing in 7/8 then I suggest you start with these simple fills:

7/8 fills
Fill Time

The first two fills last a whole bar. You’re probably familiar with the 4/4 version of these fills. We’re just chopping the last 8th note off of them.

The third fill goes over beats 6 and 7. That feels like a natural spot for a fill within this groove. Once you’re comfortable with these fills, try to create some of your own.

This week’s fill of the week will also be in 7/8 too. So check that out as well. I’ll add a link to it here once it’s ready.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #45. 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 #44

It’s fill of the week time! Let’s get tripletted!

This week’s fill has an eighth note triplet base, but we’re sneaking some sixteenth notes in to make it sound awesome. We last played a fill like this way back on fill of the week #11. You might want to check that one out after this one. Let’s learn the fill.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start by looking at the basic 8th note triplet sticking pattern we’ll be using for this fill.

The basic 8th note triplet pattern
The Basic 8ths

That sticking pattern looks pretty random. Play it and count out loud. Get used to which hand falls on which beat.

Now if we add in the 16th note triplets, the hand pattern will become alternating single strokes. However, we’ll keep the counting the same, you’ll need to feel the additional notes between the eighth note triplets.

Adding the 16ths
Adding the 16ths

Play the new pattern slowly at first and count out loud. Use a metronome at 60-80bpm.

The next step is to add in the bass drum on all 4 beats. The bass drum helps to add more weight to the fill and grounds it – keeping the pulse of the groove strong.

Add  the bass drum
Bring In The Bass

The final step is to orchestrate the fill around the kit. You can obviously create your own orchestration – and you should – here’s the one I used:

The full fill
The Full Fill

Taking It Further

Adding 16th notes into your triplet fills creates awesome sounding fills. Here’s some more patterns for you to orchestrate around the kit.

Rhythmic Variations
Change It Up!

Practice these slowly at first and count out loud. Be careful with the 3rd variation; the first 16th note occurs between the “Let” of 1 and beat 2. This can feel strange the first time you play it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #44. 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 #44

Here’s a funky shuffle for groove of the week #44.

That’s one funky groove right there. The challenge with this groove is keeping a a consistent shuffle feel in the right hand and placing the bass drum accurately within the groove. Let’s check it out.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at what is happening on the hi-hat.

shuffled hi-hat
Everyday I’m Shuffling

The subdivision we’re working with to create this groove is the 16th note triplet. To create the 16th note triplet shuffle we skip the second and fourth partial of each group of 16th note triplets. We normally count 16th note triplets as 1-ti-ta-&ti-ta-2-ti-ta-&-ti-ta etc. So if you’re counting along, don’t play the hi-hat on the “ti”.

Play this shuffle pattern at tempos between 40 – 85bpm and focus on keeping a consistent shuffle happening. Pay attention to the spacing of your notes.

Now let’s add in the snare drum:

add the snare
Adding The Backbeat

The snare drum is just on 2 and 4 as it is in most of our grooves. Make sure you’re shuffle feel doesn’t change when you add the snare.

The final step is to add the bass drum.

add the bass
Bringing In The Bottom End

The bass drum is playing a funky off beat pattern. All of the bass drum beats, except the first one, land on “ta”. Play this groove slowly at first and count out loud while doing so.

Taking It Further

With any groove you learn, you need to be able to add drum fills to it. With the funk shuffle, it’s natural to stay in the 16th note triplet subdivision for the fills. Here’s a few examples:

fill it up
Fill Fill Fill!

The first two fills are simple 16th note triplet fills around the kit using RLRL sticking. The final fill copies the shuffle feel from the groove before finishing off the fill with a flourish around the kit. Note the sticking on the last fill, it finishes with the right hand on the floor tom = crash after the fill with your left hand.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #44. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message from the contact us page.

Fill Of The Week #43

Here’s drum fill of the week #43:

This week’s drum fill is a 16th note accent pattern. Accent patterns always sound musical and there are many ways you can move them around the kit to create something new. We last messed around with accents on Fill Of The Week #10; you might want to check that one out if you enjoy this fill.

Learn The Fill

The place to start with this fill is with the accent pattern we’re applying to the 16th notes to create this fill. Here’s the pattern:

Basic Accent Pattern
The Basic Pattern

Play this pattern slowly at first and get it flowing. Don’t rush it, make sure to play all the 16th notes with even spacing. Often, when students first start playing accent patterns, they alter the spacing between the notes because of the different stick heights needed to play the accented and unaccented notes.

Play all the accented notes from a high stick height and all the unaccented notes from a low stick height. Really listen to what your doing and try to keep to just 2 sound and height levels and space all notes evenly.

Once you have the pattern in your hands, then it’s time to orchestrate it around the kit. For this pattern I moved the single accents around the kit. These accents happened to fall on beat 1, the “&” of two and beat 4. These are very common places for accents in rock music. For the accents that fall on the snare drum, I use rim shots to make them stand out even more. Here’s the full fill:

The full fill.
The Full Fill

Take It Further

Try re-orchestrating this drum fill around the kit. One accent pattern can give you many different drum fills and is an easy way to expand your fill vocabulary.

Another good practice is to play the accent pattern with the sticking reversed. Here’s the same accent pattern with the sticking reversed:

Leading With The Left HAnd
Leading With The Left

That sounds like a completely different fill to our original fill, but it is exactly the same accent pattern. Experiment with some ideas of your own – Fill of the week #10 might give you some further ideas.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #43. 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 #43

Groove of the week #43 is brought to you courtesy of Matt Sorum.

This groove is taken from the song Double Talkin’ Jive Guns N’ Roses. Matt Sorum uses his bass drum and floor tom to create this powerful low end groove that drives the song along. Let’s check it out.

Get The Groove

The base for this groove is provided by the 16th note pattern between floor tom and bass drum. Let’s start by checking it out:

16th note bass
The Low End

The floor tom is playing eighth notes and the floor tom fills in the 16ths in between. This looks fairly easy to do, but I suggest you try it and record yourself doing so. Are you getting evenly spaced 16ths? Also, how hard are you hitting that floor tom?

To recreate Matt Sorum’s groove, the bass drum needs to be more prominent than the floor tom. Go have have a listen to the song, tell me which one you hear the most. In a situation where the kit is miked up and you have a sound man, it’s easy to do. It’s good to be able to mix it with your own limbs though and is an exercise in control.

Now let’s add the snare. This groove has a double time feel. Meaning, the groove sounds twice as fast as it actually is. The tempo of the song is 98bpm, but because of the snare placement it feels more like 196bpm. The snare drum is played on the “&” of each beat, rather than just on 2 & 4.

To the casual listener the beat is going to sound like this beat being played at 196bpm:

8th note version of the groove
How It Sounds

But it’s actually written & played as this beat at 98bpm:

Full version of the groove
The Full Groove

Taking It Further

There’s two things to practice with this groove. The first is moving between a normal time feel and double time.

Try playing the groove with the snare drum on 2 and 4 with our 16th note floor tom / bass drum pattern. This will create a fake 16th note double bass drum groove that is fun to play.

Fake Double Bass Drum Groove
Fake Double Bass Drum Groove

Once you have that happening, try playing 2 bars of the fake double bass drum groove and then 2 bars of the original double time groove, like this:

Going From Normal Time To Double Time.

The second thing to practice with this groove is adding in the pedalled hi-hat. This might create some co-ordination issues for you. Go slow and practice!

adding the left foot.
Get Pedalling

At first we’re adding the hi-hat on the quarter notes together with the floor tom. In the second variation we’re adding it the “&” of each beat to help reinforce the snare drum. Finally, those with fast feet can try adding the hi-hat to all the 8th notes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #43. 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 #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.