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Fill Of The Week #71

664 – the number of the drummer

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This week’s drum fill uses our old friend, the 6-6-4 phrasing. We’re playing a 6 note grouping twice and then putting a 4 note group on the end. It’s a simple concept, but one that works well and sounds very musical. We’ve seen it before on drum fill of the week #37 and most recently drum fill of the week #46.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start by looking at the basic rhythm and sticking that the hands are playing.

Just the hands

So here we’re playing two groups of 5 and a group of 4 all separated by a 16th note rest. Our groups start on beat 1, the “&” of 2 and beat 4. Note that I start each group with the Right hand and then alternate. Practice this pattern with a metronome and get comfortable with it.

Now let’s bring in the bass.

Snare + Bass = a match made in heaven.

The bass drum fills in the space created by the rests in our original pattern to give us the 6-6-4 pattern. Play this pattern slowly at first and focus on keeping all the 16th notes evenly spaced.

The final step is to orchestrate the hands around the kit. Here’s my orchestration.

Everyday I’m orchestrating

For the groups of six I’m just playing 3 on the snare and then one note on the high tom and one note on the floor tom. The group of four is just a very common four note fill – snare, tom 1, floor tom, floor tom.

Take It Further

There are loads of drum fills you can generate using the 6-6-4 pattern, here’s a few more using this particular pattern with the bass drum on the end of the 6 note groups.

6 6 4 6 6 4 6 6 4

Our first variation plays each group on a different drum.

The second variation includes every drum in all the groups.

The final variation sees our right hand leaving the snare drum to play a tom tom on the third note of each group.

Experiment with this pattern yourself and see what you can create.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #71. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson. Send us a message via the contact us page.

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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #71

The feet do the walking, the hands do the talking.

Due to changes at instagram and facebook, I can’t share the video here right now… so… while I’m working on a solution to that, please click this link to enjoy the video on instagram:

Groove Of The Week #71

This week’s groove is a fun tom tom groove. I’ve taken a fairly simple bass and snare drum pattern, added a quarter note hi-hat with the left foot and then added toms to give the groove some colour.

If you enjoy tom grooves, check out groove of the week #69 for a linear tom groove.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the bass and snare pattern we’re going to be augmenting.

Bass & Snare

We have one 16th note bass drum to worry about on the “ah” of 1. Everything else is on the beat or on an “&”. Play this pattern with your metronome and get confident playing it without the normal help from your right hand keeping time on a cymbal. You might want to count… Now let’s add the left foot.

Bass & Snare & Hats

The left foot is going to be our time keeper for this groove. It’s just pumping out quarter notes to keep everyone in line. Again, go slow and practice this with a metronome… are you still counting out loud?

Our final step is to add in the toms.

Bass & Snare & Hats & Toms

On beat 1 we’re playing a linear idea between the kick drum and the floor tom- KLRK. This almost sounds like a double bass drum being played. I play the left hand first in this combination to give it more time to get back for the snare drum on beat 2. On the “&” of 2 and 3 the right hand is playing the 2nd tom together with the bass drum and for the first bar I’m adding tom 1 on the “&” of 4.

Take It Further

It’s time to try this out for yourself. Here’s some bass and snare drum beats with the hi-hat played by the left foot. Your job is to add in the toms to give them some colour. Think linear. Think layered. Think melodically. Good luck!

Colour between the lines

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #71. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

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Fill Of The Week instagram Tips for students

Fill Of The Week #70

12 / 8 = drum fill of the week #70!

This week’s drum fill, like groove of the week #70 is in the 12/8 time signature. You might want to check out groove of the week #70 for some further drum fill suggestions in 12/8.

Our drum fill this week features flams and bass drums and showcases the way I often combine these two elements in drum fills to create complex sounding fills.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start by looking at the basic rhythm and hand pattern for this fill.

This drum fill is in 12/8; notice how we count it. Each eighth note gets one count and the 16th notes get counted as “and” (&). Play this slowly with a metronome at first. As not all metronomes can count 12/8, I use a metronome set to count eighth note triplets in 4/4. The fill is at 76bpm, you may want to play slower to start with. Beats 1, 4, 7 and 10 should coincide with the main 4/4 beats.

Now let’s add in the flams.

Flammable

The flams simply go on beats 1, 4 and 7.

Now lets throw in the bass drum.

Give it a kick

The bass drum goes before and after every flam and between the last three 8th notes. When I’m playing a 16th note drum fill with flams, I often put a bass drum either side of the flam to keep the 16th note flow going and to give my hands time to prepare for the flam or what follows it. This is especially useful at faster tempos.

Our final step is orchestrate the hands around the kit. Note that I play flat flams on the last three beats with right hand joining in on the floor tom.

A thing of beauty

Take It Further

Anytime learn a reasonably complex drum fill like this, it’s worth spending the time to get as many drum fills as you can out of the pattern. Here’s a few more ideas using the same pattern.

A few ideas more

Our first variation just moves each block of 3 eighth notes onto a a different drum.

The second variation is a similar idea except the change the next tom is foreshadowed on the last 8th note of the previous block.

The final variation has us moving the RLR around between the snare and the toms playing a melody and the final three 8th notes are orchestrated so the right hand moves down the toms.

Now create some of your own.

I hope you’ve enjoyed drum fill of the week #70. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.

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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #70

It’s a 12/8 kinda week…

This week’s groove is in the 12/8 time signature. That means we’re gonna have to count to 12… yikes! I don’t have that many fingers! Normally, when playing in 12/8 we still imply a 4/4 pulse. It’s like we’re playing 8th note triplets in 4/4. We use the 12/8 time signature instead of 4/4 because it makes it easier to write and count these patterns – in 4/4 you’d have to write a whole bunch of 3s over the top of the triplets and trying to count rhythms combining 8th and 16th note triplets isn’t easy. With 12/8, as you’ll see, counting is a lot easier and it’ s faster to write.

Get The Groove

Let’s look at the basic 12/8 groove we’re going to modify to create this groove.

The basic 12/8 groove

Note the counting on the groove. When I count “7” I actually say “sev” and when I count “11” I actually say “lev”. This helps to avoid playing on extra syllables in those words and also shortens them for faster counting.

We’re going to modify this basic groove by adding in some 16th note bass drums, snare drums and hi-hats. We’ll start with the bass drum. The great thing about playing in 12/8 is that 16th notes simply get counted as “and” (&). This makes counting them really easy. Here’s the basic groove with the 16th note bass drums added.

16th note bass drums coming in hot

Play this groove slowly at first. Work with a metronome. To play this groove, I used a metronome counting in 4/4 set to 76bpm. I play three 8th notes per beat, so beats 1, 4, 7 and 10 all line up with the beat on the metronome. You might want to start at 60bpm.

Now lets finish the groove off with some ghost notes and extra hi-hats all played by the left hand.

Left hand getting busy

The left hand is adding ghost notes on the “&” of 5 and 6 and then addition hi-hat notes on the “&” of 11 and 12. Hopefully you’ll find those easy to add in.

Now lets take a look at the groove if it was written in 4/4 using triplets.

It’s so ugly… get it away from me… no no no no no!

Does that look as user friendly to you? I added the standard 8th note triplet count underneath, but how you’d count the notes in between “puh” and “let” I don’t know!

Take It Further

If playing in 12/8 is new to you then you might want to spend some time adding fills to the groove. Drum fill of the week #70 will be a 12/8 drum fill but, here’s some to get you started.

Fills fills fills

Our first drum fill just plays simple 8ths notes in unison on the snare and floor tom starting on beat 10. A classic drum fill that always sounds good. Try extending it back to start on beat 7.

The second drum fill starts on beat 10 again but this time we move 16th notes around the kit.

The third drum fill starts on beat seven and kind of combines the previous two drum fills but modifies both. We play the second drum fill but starting on beat 7 and on the “&” of 9 we play a bass drum instead of a floor tom. This sets us up to play the first drum fill starting on beat 10 but I’ve modified it by putting the bass drum on the & between the unison notes. Give it a go – slowly.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #70. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

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Fill Of The Week #69

It’s bass drum workout day!

This week’s drum fill is based around groups of 7 being played between the hands and the bass drum. Its a fairly simple fill to play but it may help you get used to working with 7 note groups. We’ve previously played a similar idea with 5 note groups on fill of the week #26.

Learn The Fill

Let’s look at the basic idea before orchestration. The 7 note grouping is clearly marked along with the 16th note counting.

Keeping it simple

Play through this pattern slowly at first and count it both ways – using the “1 2 3 4 5 6 7…” count and the “1 e & ah 2 e &…” count. Eventually you’ll be able to feel the 7 note groups within the 16th notes. Note: when I count “7” I count it as “Sev” – it helps to avoid playing an extra note on the “en” of “seven”

Once you have the pattern, you can start to orchestrate it around the kit. I decided to double up the hands, my right hand moves around the kit while the left stays on the snare drum.

The full fill

Take It Further

Once you can play the fill, you re-orchestrate the fill around the kit as you see fit. Let’s look at some permutations of this pattern. Here’s two fills for you to try:

Two permutations

Here we’ve shifted the pattern so that it starts on one of the other snare drum notes in the pattern. I’ve kept the orchestration very simple, once you can play the basic pattern, orchestrate your hands around the kit as you see fit.

We can also start the pattern on the bass drum. Try these two patterns:

Two more permutations

Again, once you are comfortable with the patterns, then orchestrate them as you see fit.

I hope you’ve enjoyed drum fill of the week #69. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

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Groove Of The Week #69

Let’s have some linear fun with tom toms.

This week we’re going linear with a 16th note tom tom groove. The last time we did this was on groove of the week #35, check that one out too.

Get The Groove

When I’m thinking up linear grooves, I often start with the snare and bass drum pattern that I want to work with; then I work on filling in the gaps. Let’s take that approach to this groove. Here’s the basic bass and snare drum pattern for this groove.

Just the bass and snare

Hopefully you can play that bass and snare pattern already. By default I always count all the 8th notes and then add in any 16th notes that I play. I find it helps me to be more accurate with my timing at slower tempos.

Now we’ll start to fill in the spaces. On beat 1, we’ll just add in the floor tom with the right hand on the “e” and “ah” of the beat.

Filling in the space on beat one

For beat two, we’re going to add the floor tom on “&” and “ah” using a Right-Left sticking.

Filling in the space on beat two

For beat 3, we’re going to let the left hand wander up to the mid tom to add some more colour to the groove; the right hand stays on the floor tom. We’ll use a Left-Right sticking for this.

Filing in the space on beat 3

Finally, for beat 4, we’ll copy the rhythm of beat 2, but the left hand will wander up to the high-tom on the “ah” of 4.

Completing the groove.

Taking It Further

Now you’ve learnt the groove, try re-orchestrating it around the kit. You can also try adding bass drums or pedalled hi-hat in the 2 remaining spaces (“e” of 2 and 4). Once you’ve played around with that, try filling in the spaces on these bass and snare patterns.

Three for you to try

Get comfortable with each of these bass and snare patterns first, and then start filling in the spaces. I suggest going one beat at a time like we did earlier. You don’t have to always hit the snare drum with your left hand, if it makes the groove you’re trying to play easier, then use your right hand.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #69. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.

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Fill Of The Week #68

The secret code for this week is RLK… Shh… don’t tell anyone!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CGHKAFJg2pp/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

This week’s drum fill uses one of the most popular patterns in drumming history – Right – Left – Kick. This pattern has been around since the dawn of time and the 16th note triplet version is a rock drumming staple. Our last drum fill to use this pattern was fill of the week #60, check that one out too.

Learn The Fill

To learn this drum fill you need to be comfortable playing RLK at speed. The place to start with this drum fill is eighth note triplets. The key to this drum fill is to be able to play the RLK combination smoothly & consistently.

Triplets, eighth note triplets

Practice playing the RLK combination slowly at first. Start with a metronome at 60bpm and count out loud as you do it. Listen closely to your playing… are you getting 3 evenly spaced notes? When you are finding it easy to do at 60bpm, then increase your speed. Your aim is to get into the 160bpm – 200bpm range. Don’t rush it though, keep those triplets evenly spaced. It may take you a couple of weeks to reach 200bpm.

Once you have reached 160bpm, then we can convert them into sixteenth note triplets at 80bpm. Set your metronome to 80bpm and play your triplets like this:

Triplets, sixteenth note triplets

Because we’ve changed the subdivision, we also change the counting. You may need to slow down to 50 or 60pm to get used to how this feels against the metronome and to get used to the counting. I set my metronome to count 8th notes while practicing this and I focus on keeping my Right hand with the metronome on the 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &.

Now let’s change this exercise to get the rhythm of this week’s drum fill. We’ll play 3 beats of 16th note triplets and then on beat 4 we’ll just play 8th notes with the Right hand.

The rhythm of the fill

The final step is to orchestrate the drum fill around the kit. I opted to play a simple melody with the right hand. The left hand stays on the snare drum. I lower the volume of the left hand and accent the right hand to bring out the melody I’m playing between the toms and the snare.

The full fill

Take It Further

Let’s look at some other ways we can orchestrate this pattern around the kit.

Move it around

Our first variation is similar to original fill in that we’re just moving the Right Hand around the kit and accenting it.

The second and third variations do away with the accent and move both hands around the kit.

There are many more orchestrations possible. Try to find some of your own.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #68. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.

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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #68

Shuffle along and get linear with this week’s groove.

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Shuffle your shuffle until it turns linear…

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This week we’re playing what I call a layered to linear groove. The first bar is a regular layered groove and the second bar is a linear version of it. The goal is to keep the main voices (normally the bass drum and snare drum) the same and then fill in the gaps between them with hi-hats and ghost notes. Check out groove of the week #53 to hear the idea in action with another groove.

Get The Groove

Let’s start of with the easy part, the layered groove. We’re playing a fairly regular shuffle groove.

the basic shuffle groove
Shuffle away

Hopefully you can play that already. If not, check out groove of the week 8 for help developing your shuffle.

So now we’re going make this groove linear. If a groove is linear it means that nothing hits together. To start, let’s strip our layered groove back down to the main elements – the snare and bass drum.

The naked groove - no hats.
The naked groove

Now all we have to do is replace the rests with other voices. I kept this groove simple and just played the hi-hat in all the spaces. Here’s the full linear version of the groove with the sticking pattern outlined for you.

The linear groove
The linear groove

Now we just need to put it together with the layered groove to create the two bar pattern.

The full two bar pattern
The full two bar pattern

Practice this until you can transition smoothly from the first bar to the second. Focus on keeping the bass drum and snare drum pattern sounding exactly the same from bar to bar – be careful with your note placement.

At higher speeds, you may struggle with the transition from the linear groove back to the layered groove because of the 3 hi-hat notes in a row that are required. If you’re struggling, change the last hi-hat note on the right hand to a ghost note on the left hand.

Alternative full groove
Alternative groove

Take It Further

Here’s some more linear to layered shuffles for you to get your teeth into. After playing these shuffles, create some of your own.

3 layered/linear shuffles
Shuffle all day

The first two variations are similar to our original shuffle groove and we’re just using the hi-hats to fill spaces as we did previously.

The third variation has a lot more space in it so I use ghost notes in the left hand to help fill the space as it would be too much work for just the right hand on the hi-hat.

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

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Fill Of The Week #67

The paradiddle returns!

This week’s drum fill uses a very common sticking pattern – a paradiddle followed by an inverted (or inward) paradiddle. This is a very useful sticking for both fills and grooves. If you like this drum fill, check out fill of the week #63 for a similar idea.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start out with the sticking for this drum fill. We’re using a paradiddle followed by an inverted paradiddle. We’re playing this drum fill Left hand lead; hope you’ve been practicing your rudiments starting Left handed!

the basic sticking
The Basic Sticking

To add a bit of character the drum fill, we’re going to ghost the left hand notes and accent the right hand notes to make them pop.

accents and ghosts
Pop Those Accents.

Don’t let the change in dynamics affect your note spacing, keep playing nice smooth 16th notes.

All that remains now is to move the Right hand around the kit. What can you come up with? Here’s my orchestration:

The full fill
The Final Fill

Take It Further

Sticking patterns can really help to improve your vocabulary on the kit and there are many ways to apply them to create drum fills. Here are some further ways to use the sticking you’ve just learnt to create new ideas. Orchestrate them around the kit as you see fit.

Fill variations
Variations On A Theme

Our first variation just accents the sticking pattern differently. See how many ways you can orchestrate this around the kit.

The second variation changes the order of the paradiddles, so now the inverted paradiddle is first and the regular paradiddle comes after it.

The final variation is a displacement of the original sticking. We’ve moved everything one place to the right. The right hand that was on the “ah” of 4 is now beat 1 and the sticking pattern as we originally knew it starts on the “e” of one.

I hope you’ve enjoyed drum fill of the week #67. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #67

Here’s groove of the week #67:

This week we’re augmenting a 16th note bass drum groove with ghost notes, the bell of the ride cymbal and an open hi-hat… too much? Let’s find out!

Get The Groove

Let’s check out the basic 16th note bass drum groove we’ll be building on:

The basic groove
Starting Basic

Hopefully, you can already play this groove, if not, go slowly at first and count out loud; note that we’re playing on the ride cymbal already, and not the hi-hat.

Our first addition to this groove will be the bell of the ride cymbal. We’ll play the downbeats (1,2,3,4) on the bell of the ride cymbal and the upbeats ( the “&”s) on the body of the ride cymbal. Try to get a consistent motion here. If you’re not used to doing this, you may want to practice just the ride cymbal on it’s own at first & then maybe try it with some simpler beats. You want to get it on autopilot.

Add the ride cymbal bell
Adding The Bell

Our next step is to add in the ghost notes. Here’s what that will look like:

Adding the Ghost Notes
Adding The Ghosts

The secret of drumming, as always, is: Go slow & count. If you’re having trouble with this groove, slow it down and count it out.

The final piece of the puzzle is the open hi-hat on the “&” of 2. Yes! You can add open hi-hats to grooves even when you’re playing the ride cymbal. I use my left hand to play the open hi-hat on the “&” of 2 & I close the hi-hat on beat 3 with my left foot. Here’s the full groove:

The Full Groove
The Full Groove

Check out groove of the week #59 for another groove where the left hand plays the hi-hat while the right is otherwise occupied.

Take It Further

Let’s explore the idea of using the left hand to add open hi-hats to groove further. Here’s some grooves to start with.

open hi-hat exercises.
Open Hi-Hat Surprise

For the first variation we’re adding open hi-hats on the “&” of 3 and the “&” of 4 while playing a simple 8th note rock beat. The hi-hat is closed with the left foot on beat 4 and beat 1.

The second variation sees us adding open hi-hats on the “&” of 1 and the “&” of 3. The hi-hat closes on beats 2 & 4 with the snare drum.

Try adding the bell of the ride cymbal on the downbeats to both of these grooves too.

The final groove has us playing the open hi-hat on all the off-beats. The right hand has moved from the ride cymbal to the floor tom to provide a low end groove & the bass drum has got a little syncopated. Good luck!

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #67. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson send us a message on the contact us page.