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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.

Fill Of The Week #37

Let’s flam our way through fill of the week #37.

Fill of the week #37 features flams split across drums and some hand foot co-ordination that may be a little tricky. Let’s get learning!

Learn The Fill

Let’s start learning this fill by looking at what the hands are doing. Here’s the basic rhythm that the hands play throughout this fill:

The basic rhythm
The basic rhythm

Play this rhythm carefully with a metronome and get used to the sticking pattern.

Now lets spice it up with some flams.

the basic rhythm flammed
The basic rhythm – flammed

Again, play this rhythm carefully with a metronome.

Next, lets orchestrate the right hand around the kit. Because the flams will be split up, they can be played either as regular flams or as flat flams – where you hit both hands at the same time. Experiment with both ways and find out which sound you prefer.

The basic rhythm orchestrated
The basic flammed rhythm + toms

That fill actually sounds pretty good as it is, but let’s complete the fill with some bass drum to fill in the spaces. Play this fill slowly with a metronome and focus on getting the notes evenly spaced.

Adding in the bass drum
The full fill

Taking It Further

This is a great fill to orchestrate around the kit in as many ways as you can. Here’s a few suggestions:

3 variations on a theme.
Change it up

Our first variation changes the flams that were between snare and tom to flams between crash and tom. This adds a lot of energy to the fill.

The second variation moves the fill down the tom toms, the flams are now played on a single surface.

The final fill creates a tribal sounding fill, with the flams being played between the floor tom and snare drum, and the rest of the notes being played between the floor tom and bass drum.

How many variations of this fill can you think of?

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #37. 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 #37

Let’s spice up our hi-hats with groove of the week #37.

Groove of the week #37 is a simple groove spiced up with some 32nd note hi-hats and some accents. Let’s get to it!

Get The Groove

Let’s start by taking a look at the basic groove that we’ll be spicing up.

The basic groove
Going basic

This is fairly simple 2-handed 16th note hi-hat groove. There’s a little bit of syncopation on the bass drum. Hopefully you can play this groove already.

Our first step to spice this groove up is to add in the 32nd note doubles. I decided to play a double stroke on the right hand every time I hit the bass drum. Here’s what that looks like:

adding in the right hand doubles
Doubling up the right hand.

Play this at a slow speed and focus on playing the hi-hats at an even volume. You may need to spend time working on your double strokes to get each double perfectly even.

The final step is adding in accents with the left hand. For this groove I accented the “ah” of 2 and the “e” of 3. This is a very common place to accent. To get the accents I drop my left hand lower and play the accents with the shoulder of the stick on the edge of the hi-hat. The rest of the notes are played with the tips of the stick on top of the hi-hat. Here’s the full groove:

the full groove
The full groove

Take It Further

Let’s take this groove further by changing up the bass drum pattern. We’ll follow the same pattern of doubling the hi-hats with every bass drum. We’ll leave the accents out for now. If you’d like another groove with hi-hat accents, try groove of the week #36.

3 variations.
Change it up

Our first two variations are just very simple grooves with the hi-hat doubled on all the bass drums.

The third variation throws in some bass drums on the 16th notes together with left hand. However, I only double the hi-hat when the right hand and bass drum coincide – doubling the hi-hat with every bass drum would be a little too much. Try doubling the hi-hat when the left hand and bass drum hit together instead of the doubling the right hand, you might prefer that variation.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #37. 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 #36

It’s time to get groovy with fill of the week #36.

Fill of the week is what I consider to be a groove fill. It mostly keeps the flow of the 8th note hi-hat going and focuses on the snare and bass drum & sounds like a variation on the groove. Let’s check it out!

Learn The Fill

Let’s break this fill down into four easy to digest chunks. Our first chunk spans from beat 1 to the “&” of 2.

the first 2 beats
First chunk of funky goodness

The main feature of this first chunk is the alternating hi-hat / bass drum pattern. The snare drums on beat 1 and the “&” of 2 bookend this portion of the fill.

You may need to spend time practicing alternating your hi-hat and bass drum. Focus on keeping the right hand on the hi-hat on the 8th note & the bass drum playing evenly spaced 16th notes in between them.

alternating hi-hat and bass
Practice alternating hi-hat and bass.

Once you are comfortable with this, try playing the first chunk of this week’s fill again.

Our second chunk is the quad happening on beat 3.

adding in beat 3
Second chunk of funky goodness

For this part of the fill, the right hand will temporarily leave the hi-hat and play the snare drum on beat 3, before returning to the hi-hat to play it together with the bass drum on the “&” of 3. The left hand plays the snare drum on the “e” of 3. Again, you might want to practice beat 3 in isolation first before putting it together with the first chunk.

working on quads
Working on my quads

Once you can put the first two chunks together, then you can add in the third chunk.

adding in beat 4
3rd chunk of funky goodness

The third chunk is simply a very common snare fill on beat 4. Again your right hand needs to leave the hi-hat to play the snare drum on the “&” of four and the left hand plays the “ah” of four.

The fill already sounds complete now. However the 4th chunk adds in an open hi-hat to add little exclamation point to beat 4. I think of the open hi-hat on beat 4 as a controlled crash. It adds a burst of colour to the fill but it’s not as powerful, or possibly overpowering, as a crash would be. Focus on closing the hi-hat together with the snare drum on the “&” of 4. Here’s the full fill:

the full fill
Fourth chunk of funky goodness

Take It Further

The great thing about learning fills in chunks is that you can switch chunks in and out of fills to create new fills. To start with, lets keep the first chunk of our fill and replace the last two with something different.

variations
Change it up

Our first variation keeps the groove fill idea going, using a very common snare and bass pattern under the 8th note hi-hat.

The second variation moves from being a groove fill into a more regular fill.

We can also replace the first chunk of the fill and keep the last two chunks the same.

more variations
Change it all again

So here I’ve used the same two ideas from the earlier variations, but now I’ve replaced the first chunk of the fill with them and reinstated the original fill ending.

Play around with the variations here and create some of your fills of your own using these ideas.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #36. 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 #36

Let’s accent how awesome groove of the week #36 is:

Groove of the week #36 shows how you can take a simple groove, and spice it up using accents. Let’s get to accenting.

Get The Groove

The groove that we’re spicing up with accents is a simple two handed 16th note groove with a sparse bass drum pattern. Let’s check out the basic pattern first.

the basic groove
The Basic Groove

Hopefully you won’t have any problems with that groove. If you do, use a metronome, go slow, and, count. Don’t proceed until you can play this groove easily.

Now lets look at the accent pattern we’re going to apply to the groove. Here it is played on the snare drum:

the accent pattern
Accent Pattern

Learn to play this accent pattern on the snare drum first. As always, go slow and count focus on getting two sound levels – one level for the accents and a softer level for the unaccented notes.

Once you can play this pattern easily, then we can try orchestrating it between the hi-hat and snare. The snare drum will naturally add another accent to the accent pattern. Hit the snare drum at the volume you would usually use when playing a back-beat.

accenting the hi-hats
Accenting The Hats

To get the accents on the hi-hat, I use the shoulder of the stick on the edge of the hi-hat. For the unaccented notes I use the tip of the stick on the top of the hi-hat. Watch how my hands move to in the video to see this in action. Practice this movement until you can do it smoothly.

The final step in our groove is to bring in the bass drum. Here’s the full groove:

Accents on the hi-hat
The Full Groove

Take It Further

Once you have learnt the groove of the week, experiment with the bass drum pattern to create other grooves. Here’s 3 examples.

additional bass drum patterns
Experiment!

After experimenting with that accent pattern, try to find some accent patterns that you like the sound of. Here’s one more pattern for you to try, with two examples with the bass drum added.

additional accent pattern
Create!

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #36. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.