Fish anyone? It’s time for a couple of buckets of fish.
Fill of the week 17th features a 16th note triplet lick often known as “Bucket Of Fish.” The 16th note triplet rhythm between the snare, toms & bass drum is often referred to as “bucket of fish” because that’s how it sounds. Let’s go fishing.
Learn The Fill
As always with complex fills, it’s good to get a rhythmic understanding of it first. The easiest way to do this is play the rhythm of the fill on the snare drum and count along with it. Play along to a metronome set to count 8th notes and count out loud.
The next step for this fill is to add in the bass drum on beats 2, the “&” of 3 and the “& of 4 – replacing some of the snare drum notes from above.
The final step will be to orchestrate the hands around the kit and add in the flat flams between the snare and floor tom.
Here it is with the bucket of fish counting.
Taking It Further
Two simple ways to change this fill up are to play flams on the snare drum instead of flat flams between snare & floor tom or to play the crash cymbal instead of the floor tom.
If you’d like more buckets of fish you can add one more on the & of 4.
Note that with this variation you’ll have to hit the crash on beat one of the bar after the fill with your Left hand.
If you really like your fish, then you can try this 2 bar fill:
I hope you’ve had your fill of fish for now. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like drum lessons, send us a message on our contact us page.
Here’s groove of the week #17 – it’s time to go off-beat!
Off-beat hi-hats, ghost notes, open hi-hats… there’s a lot going on in this cool sounding groove. Let’s learn it!
Get The Groove
The first step in learning this groove is to be very comfortable playing on the off-beats. So, if you’re not yet comfortable with playing on the “&” then then you need to start here:
Work with a metronome at 60bpm and count all of those 8th notes out loud and just hit your hi-hat on the “&.” Use a metronome that can clearly mark out the 8th notes for you, I prefer Tempo Perfect by NCH software (spell it all as one word to find it in the app store – “tempoperfect”).
Once we’re comfortable and accurate playing the off-beat hi-hat, we can add in the basic bass and snare drum pattern.
If you’re new to this groove, you may want to stop here and explore it for a while. Get really familiar with it and add some fills etc. It’s a popular groove that’s been used in many songs. Learn to make it feel good.
Once we’re happy with that groove, we can add in the ghost notes on the “ah” of 2 and the “e” of 3. This is probably the most popular of the ghost note placements that we’ll use. These two ghost notes sound great together and have featured in many songs. Try to play them as lightly as you can so they blend in nicely with the hi-hat.
Our final addition to complete this groove is the open hi-hat on the “&” of three. Note that we’re closing it on beat 4 with the hi-hat pedal. Focus on really getting your hi-hat to close perfectly with the snare drum on beat 4 to make this groove sound clean.
Taking It Further
The easiest way to vary this groove is to play around with the bass drum placement. Here’s a few ideas:
The first variation has the bass drum playing on all the downbeats; if you’re try to make people dance, playing the bass drum in this manner will help you do that.
The second variation is just applying a very common bass drum pattern to the groove. The last two variations accent the off-beat idea even more.
I’m a big fan of open hi-hats and they provide another way to change up the sound of a groove. Try these variations:
I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #17. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the Contact Us page.
Not a 16th note or an 8th note in sight on this fill, it’s all triplets; 16th note triplets for excitement and 8th note triplets for drama. Let’s get to work on our triplets.
Learn The Fill
This is a fairly simple fill in terms of co-ordination, but the rhythm may cause problems for more inexperienced drummers. We’re using 16th note triplets and 8th note triplets to create the fill. The first step is to be able to count and play the rhythm of the fill. Here’s the rhythm played on the snare drum with the counting underneath:
Play this basic version along with a metronome set to count 8th note triplets. It’ll help with your accuracy. If you’re still having trouble, you can try playing the last 6 notes with just your Right hand; that way your right hand will be playing a consistent 8th note triplet throughout the fill.
You may find it easier just to count the 8th note triplet and feel the 16th note triplets in between. Basically you’re just counting the right hand.
Once you are comfortable with the basic rhythm, play the original exercise with the alternating hands over the last 6 notes. Once you have that, you can orchestrate your hands around the kit and play the full fill.
Take It Further
The easiest way to change this fill is to re-orchestrate it around the kit. A simple idea is to use a 6 note grouping and repeat it 3 times during the fill. You’ll play it twice fast – over the 16th note triplets – and then once slow – over the 8th note triplets. Here’s a few examples:
Another simple way to change this fill around would be to change the order of the fill so you start with the 8th note triplets and end on the 16th note triplets. Here’s the first variation from above done that way.
These fills work well played against an 8th note feel and an 8th note triplet (12/8) feel. I suggest practicing them against both feels as shown below
I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #16. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the Contact Us page.
What was that?!?! I heard 8th notes, 16th notes, 16th note triplets, 8th note triplets, open hi-hats, closed hi-hats, snare drums, bass drums… and it all sounded funky. Let’s break down groove of the week #16.
Get The Groove
Groove of the week #16 is a pretty advanced groove. The two main elements that make it advanced are the 8th note triplet on the bass drum going against the 8th note hi-hat at the start of each bar, and, the 16th note triplet hi-hat embellishments at the end of each bar.
The easiest of the two is the 16th note triplet hi-hat. Let’s start there. I play these using a double-stroke on the left hand in between the “&” of 4 and beat 1. There are other ways to stick this pattern, but I like to keep the right hand playing nice solid 8th notes on the hi-hat. Here’s the hi-hat pattern with the counting – watch out for the open hi-hat on beat 3 of the second bar & don’t close it until beat 4.
The second element is the 2 over 3 polyrhythm played between the bass drum and the hi-hat. First let’s learn this rhythm between the hands. It’s often taught using the phrase “Cold Cup Of Tea” as shown below. Play your right hand on the small tom and the left hand on the snare.
Work with a metronome playing 8th notes and really focus on keeping your right hand together with the metronome. You may want to try an app like Polynome which can be programmed to play this rhythm.
Once you can play the rhythm with your hands, we can use your left hand to train your bass drum. Add the bass drum to the left hand part like so:
Once you are comfortable with that, try taking the left hand away, but keep the bass drum going:
The last step is to be able to do it on demand. Let’s move the right hand to the hi-hat and just play the triplet bass drum every other beat.
Again, work with an 8th note metronome and really focus on keeping your right hand playing smooth 8th notes.
Once we have these two elements settled, then we can try to put them together to form the full groove.
A good example of a song using the “cold cup of tea” triplet bass drum is the chorus of “Figure 8” by Elle Goulding.
Taking It Further
The main things to take away from this groove are the 16th note triplet hi-hats and the “Cold cup of tea” bass drum. Try adding them in to other grooves.
Here’s more ideas for the 16th note triplet hi-hat; note that the right hand plays the snare drum on beat 2 of the second example and on beat 4 of the third example.
And here’s some more ideas for the 8th note triplet bass drum:
I hope you learn something from groove of the week #16 that you can apply in your drumming. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.
It’s Fill Of The Week Time, let’s check out fill of the week #15:
What? No Tom-Toms? No-Flams? No Crashes? Just Bass, Snare and Hi-Hats? Is this really fill of the week? Yes, it is. Fill of the week #15 is what is known as a Groove Fill. Just a simple variation on the groove that doesn’t interrupt the flow of time. This is one of my favorites.
Learn The Fill
The main feature of this fill is the bass drum on the 16th notes. As long as you can play alternating 16th notes between your right hand and right foot, you should be able to play this fill. If you can’t do that, then this first exercise is for you:
Play this exercise very slowly – 40bpm – and just focus on alternating your right hand and your right foot very smoothly. Once that is happening, we can start to learn the fill.
Here’s the first 6 notes of the fill:
The next 6 six notes of the fill are just a repeat of the first 6 notes. They start on the next available 16th note which is the “& of 2”
Now we’re just left with beat 4 to fill in. For this fill I opted for two eighth notes to finish off beat four. A snare on 4 and a bass on the & of 4. I like this ending as the snare drum ends the fun of the fill in an authoritative manner and the bass drum on the & of 4 indicates it’s time to get back to work. Here’s the full fill.
Take It Further
There are 2 simple ways to change this fill up. The first is to simply move your right hand away from the hi-hat. Try it on the floor tom, for example:
The other simple way to change this fill is to play around with beat 4. I like to keep a snare drum on beat 4, as it fits with the rest of the fill, but what happens after than is up to you. Here’s a few examples:
The first variation is just a flam; simple, but powerful. A great way to put an exclamation point in a song and move onto a completely different section of the song.
The second variation has that flam, but connects back into the groove a little smoother thanks to the bass and 2 snare drums. It keeps the theme of the fill going by using just the bass and snare.
The third variation is just a standard 16th note fill played around the toms. This is just to add a little tom colour to the fill, but it still keeps that snare on beat 4.
I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #15. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.
It’s groove of the week time! Let’s get to number 15:
MORE COWBELL! Gotta love grooves with cowbell in them. I figured that after 14 grooves of the week, it was about time that I hit the cowbell.
There have been many great songs with cowbell parts over the years, some of the the most notable ones being “Honky Tonk Woman” by the Rolling Stones, “Good Times, Bad Times” by Led Zepplin and of course “Don’t Fear The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. That last one was the subject of a Saturday Night Live sketch which spawned the “MORE COWBELL!” shout that you’ll hear anytime a drummer plays a cowbell.
This groove was more inspired by the groove Pat Torpey played on the song “Temperamental” by Mr Big; check out the groove in the introduction and about 2 minutes 24 seconds into the song. I always loved how the cowbell plays a rather irregular pattern. This is my attempt to create something with a similar irregular cowbell pattern.
Get The Groove
This is a complex groove with 4-way co-ordination, but we can break it down into smaller parts and piece it together. The first piece of the puzzle is the pattern the hands are playing. We don’t need to worry about which instruments they are playing yet, just what the pattern is. Most of the groove – from beat 1 up until beat 4 – is just a three note grouping repeated 4 times over 16th notes. The three note grouping is RLR. Here it is played on the snare:
Practice that at 50 – 60 bpm until you are comfortable.
Now lets fill in the last beat of the bar. Beat 4 is the only time in the groove that the hands actually play together. We’ll represent that by a flam on the snare drum for now, don’t flam it when we play the groove though. Then we have a Left on the “&” of 4 and a Right on the “ah” of four. Here’s the complete hand pattern.
Practice the hand pattern slowly until you are confident with it.
Now lets move the right hand onto the ride cymbal & keep the left on the snare.
Now the groove is starting to take shape. The next element to add is the bell of the Ride Cymbal. This is played on the first Right of each RLR group. Thinking “Bell-Snare-Ride-Bell-Snare-Ride etc…” might help you with this.
Take your time getting comfortable with that, you may not be able to learn this groove in one sitting. Our final step for the hands is the moment you’ve been waiting for – adding the COWBELL.
Have a look at where my cowbell is on my kit, you may need to reposition your cowbell to make it accessible to the left hand (or buy another one, you can never have too many cowbells!) If you’re on an electronic kit, then assign tom 1 to the cowbell sound or, if you have multiple zones on your snare drum, then assign the outer edge to the cowbell sound, whichever makes it easier for you. Here’s the full hand pattern:
Now we’ve got the hands working, it’s time to add the feet. The first 4 notes with the feet coincide with the Right hand playing the bell of the ride cymbal. Let’s add those first:
The last two notes on the feet are a little trickier; the bass drum on the “ah” of 3, and the pedalled hi-hat on the “e” of 4. Here’s the whole groove:
Take your time learning this groove, it is challenging. Take it as slow as you need to, 30 – 40bpm. It’s better to go slow and get it right than go fast and get it wrong.
Take It Further
There are a couple of ways we can vary this groove. We can alter the foot pattern and we can alter the ending. Let’s look at changing the foot pattern first.
We’ll keep all the notes in the same place, we’ll just change all the hi-hat notes to bass drum:
I like the pedalled hi-hat on the “e” of 4 in the original groove, so we can add that back in to break up the bass a bit and create another variation:
Moving the bass drum on to beat 4, so it plays with the Bell of the Ride cymbal every time, is also an useful variation:
As with any groove, we want to be able to add fills to it. The most natural place to add fills to this groove is on beat 4. We’ll stop the groove on the cowbell on the “&” of 3 and then fill beat 4. Here’s 3 ideas:
I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #15. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, let us know on the Contact Us page.
Warning! This fill goes OVER THE BAR LINE and should only be used in extreme situations! Let’s check it out.
This fill uses a 5 note grouping that’s played 4 times over 16th notes. That gives a grand total of twenty 16th notes, therefore it’s never going to fit in a bar of 16th notes in 4/4. Luckily for us though, it does allow us to end the fill in a rather cool fashion on beat 2 of the next bar, amazing all our friends and family.
Learn The Fill
The 5 note grouping used in this fill is Right, Left, Right, Kick, Kick or RLRKK for short. Playing just those 5 notes shouldn’t cause you a problem. The tricky part comes when we try to apply it in time. It can feel strange because the 5 note grouping doesn’t always start on the beat.
The first step in learning this fill is to just get comfortable playing the 5 note grouping continuously. Don’t worry about playing in time with a metronome to start with, just get comfortable playing RLRKK 4 times in a row, in an even manner, with no gaps between each group:
R L R K K RL R K K RL R K KRL R K K
You can play this on your legs, on the table at work, on your desk at school, or just between the snare and bass/kick drum (K) on your kit.
Once that is smooth, we can start to look at the orchestration around the kit. All I did was simply move the 3rd note of the grouping around the kit. Here’s the fill with the 5 note grouping spelt out:
So you can see, the 3rd note of each group of five is played first on Tom 1, then Tom 2, then the Floor Tom, and finally, the Snare. The RLRKK grouping remains the same throughout the whole fill.
To practice this fill, set your metronome to 40bpm and have it count 16th notes (I highly recommend TempoPerfect by NCH software) and play along with it carefully. It’s also good to learn this fill with the regular 16th note counting so you know where each group of 5 starts. Here’s the fill with the regular 16th note counting.
Our first group of 5 obviously starts on beat 1, the next is on the “e” of 2, the third on the “&” of 3 and final group starts on the “ah” of 4. Again, try playing it slowly (40bpm) with the metronome and counting the 16th notes aloud and focusing on where each group starts. This will help to solidify your timing.
Use this fill carefully, it can sound cool when done in a solo or drum-break section of a song. You can also use it in situations where you want to accent beat 2 after a fill and not beat one. The whole band should be accenting beat 2 together with you to make it sound good – check out the chorus of “In The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World for an example of a band all accenting on beat 2.
The other challenge with this fill is getting back into your groove after the fill. You can come back in on the “&” of 2 or on beat 3. Here’s some examples to try:
Taking It Further
You’ve just learnt a cool 5 note grouping fill and been told you can’t use it unless your band allows to use it… that sucks… however… with a quick modification, you can use it! Woo Hoo! As shown in the bonus fill on the video, (you did watch till the end right?) you can make this a 1 bar fill very easily. Here’s the 1 bar version:
So we simply play just 3 groups of 5 16th notes and then add a single left hand snare note on the end.
The other way to take this further is to re-orchestrate our 5 note grouping. Here’s two examples:
So we’re still using the RLRKK grouping, we’re just hitting different drums on the RLR part.
Another option is to find other 5 note groups that we like the sound of. Here’s 2 more options:
Our groupings this time were RLRLK and then BKBKK (B = both hands). Explore both of those groupings and see what variations you can come up with.
I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #14. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the Contact Us page.
We’re back to basics this week, this is a great sounding groove with a driving quarter note pulse on hi-hat. Playing just quarter notes on the hi-hat leaves more space for the rest of the musicians to play and feels more angular and aggressive. It’s not as smooth and friendly as your regular 8th note hi-hats.
A master of this kind of groove was the drummer for Free and Bad Company, Simon Kirke. Often you’ll hear quarter note hi-hats when the tempo is fast – 180bpm & upwards – but as Simon Kirke demonstrated, they can sound great at slower tempos too. Check out Mr. Big or All Right Now by Free to hear this (or even Mr. Big’s cover of Mr. Big to hear the great Pat Torpey’s take on this – his drum sound is MASSIVE).
Get The Groove
While this groove appears simple, beginner drummers often have trouble separating their hands from their feet, often the right hand wants to follow the right foot. If this applies to you, slow things right down and count out loud.
The other area that can cause slip ups is the accuracy of the bass drum notes that occur between the quarter note hi-hats. Time spent working slowly & precisely with a metronome will be beneficial. Here’s the groove with the counting spelt out to help you along:
Take It Further
The thing I like most about this groove is the way the bass drum skips beat 3 on the second bar. Our variations on this groove will focus on skipping other beats in the same manner. Here’s 4 variations for you to try:
The other thing we want to be able to do is add fills to this groove. Here we have simple 16th note snare drum fills. Try these first and watch your timing. This can be tricky because of the change in subdivision for the right hand from quarter notes to now playing sixteenths. Work with a metronome and make sure you’re not speeding up here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #14. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, let us know via the Contact Us page.
It’s time for fill of the week. Here’s lucky number 13:
This fill was inspired by the drum fill intro to “You Could Be Mine” by Guns n’ Roses. The fills use the same first 6 notes, but the GnR fill is over 2 bars, I had to cram mine into 1 bar. I also threw in a little 16th note triplet twist on beat 4 so I could get more notes in.
Learn The Fill
The first step in learning this fill is to be comfortable moving from 16th notes to 16th note triplets. If you haven’t already mastered this, I suggest just playing the rhythm of the fill on the snare drum and counting along. Use a metronome set to count 8th notes.
If you are having trouble moving smoothly from the 16th notes to the 16th note triplets, try this exercise:
In this exercise the Right hand moves between the floor tom and the high tom on beats 1,2 & 3, then when you move to the 16th note triplets the left hand has to play the high tom on the “&” of 4 to keep the tom pattern going. Listen to the eighth note Tom Tom pattern, can you make it sound even?
Once you can play the basic rhythm on the snare drum, then it is just a matter of moving it around the kit. Here’s the full fill:
The speed you can play this fill at will be determined either by your bass drum or the 16th note triplets. Start at 60bpm and aim for 120bpm. You may be able to get it up to 140 – 150bpm with practice.
Take It Further
To take this further, practice changing the last beat. Try these examples:
Practicing in this manner helps to increase your fill vocabulary and will allow you to adapt the fill to the musical situation you are in. Do you want more energy? Go for the 32nd notes. Want to keep it nice and smooth? Simple 16th notes are the answer. Want to put an exclamation point on the end of a phrase, go for the flams.
You can also change the melody of the first 3 beats by keeping the hand/foot pattern the same but changing the combination of snare and toms. Here’s two examples.
You’ll notice that I like to echo what happens in the middle of the fill, between beat 2 and the “&” of 3, in the 16th note triplets at the end. This helps to to reinforce the melody of the fill further and sounds quite musical.
I hope you enjoy this fill. For a free trial drum lesson in Singapore, send us a message via the contact us page.
Here’s groove of the week #13, things are gonna get pretty tricky this week!
This is one of those grooves that just kept evolving and growing, I kept finding more fun things to add to it. Let’s get to work on our 4-way co-ordination.
Get The Groove
First, let’s look at the basic groove. Here’s what I built upon to create this groove:
Hopefully that looks pretty easy to play, but, if it causes you problems, check out Groove Of The Week #11 because it’s almost the exact same beat and I break down how to play it in that post.
Now we’ll look at the 3 elements that we’ll add to this to create the final groove. We’ll look at them separately first before we start combining them.
The first element is the ghosted 16th note triplets. When I play these, I don’t count them, I just feel them between the 8th note triplet pulse and I count the 8th note triplet. Here’s the basic groove with the ghost notes added:
Play this beat until you can do it without thinking. Once you’ve got it down, then you can try the next two elements.
The next element is the quarter note ride bell pattern. Here it is with the basic groove.
Once that is comfortable, try adding the ghosts back in:
You may want to stop here, this sounds like a pretty good groove already, but, if you want the 4-way co-ordination workout then proceed.
The final element is the displaced quarter note triplet hi-hat. Here it is with the basic groove:
Once you have that try it with the other two elements. I suggest doing it separately at first. Here’s the first combination:
And the next combination:
Finally, add it all together to get the complete groove.
Take things slow with this groove. It’s an advanced groove with 4-way co-ordination. Take it step by step, practice it slowly, and eventually you’ll be able to amaze your friends and family with it.
Take It Further
As I was developing this groove, I had a few other ideas before I arrived at the final one. Here’s a few you can try.
First up, start the hi-hat quarter note triplets on beat 1:
Secondly, play quarter note triplets on the ride cymbal bell – alternating with the displaced quarter note triplets on the hi-hat.
Finally, switch the hi-hat foot and ride bell from the previous example:
I hope you’ve enjoyed the challenge of this groove. Working on your 4-way co-ordination will benefit your drumming no end will allow you to play more complex ideas.
If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.