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.

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.

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.

Fill Of The Week #35

Here’s fill of the week #35:

Fill of the week #35 was inspired by groove of the week #35. It features the same rhythm. After recording and writing about groove of the week #35, I noticed that the groove was essentially two blocks of seven 16th notes; One block started on beat 1, the second block started on the “e” of 3. Being unable to resist expanding my repertoire of fills featuring 7 note groups, I immediately set to work finding a 7 note group that would sound good with this rhythm. Hope you like it!

If you like seven note groupings check out Fill of the week #19 for a fill that goes over 2 bar lines.

Learn The Fill

The first step in learning any fill that uses groups, is to learn the basic group that you’ll be using. Here’s the 7 notes that make up our 7 note group:

the basic 7 note group RLKRLRL
Get to know the group

So our group this time is R L K R L R L; Practice playing this group smoothly. Count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, Sev while you do it. Once you can produce a evenly spaced 7 notes using just the snare and the bass, then we can orchestrate it around the kit. Here’s our orchestration this for this fill:

7 note group orchestrated
Move the group around

Our final step is to put that orchestration into the fill. As mentioned earlier, we’ve got one group of 7 starting on beat 1 and then another group starting on the “e” of 3. Let’s take a look at that:

the final fill
The finished fill

The tricky part of this fill is restarting on the “e” of 3. If you are not sure of your timing, work with a metronome at 40bpm; count 16th notes out loud as you play the fill. You’ll soon be able to play the fill with accurate timing and then you can speed up the metronome.

Taking It Further

Rather than re-orchestrate the original 7 note grouping, I thought I’d just give you some additional 7 note groups to play with. Please orchestrate all these 7 note groups as you see fit. The more you play with them, the more you’ll be able to use them. Also, try creating your own group of 7 and apply it to this fill.

3 variations
3 ways to have more fun with 7 note groups

Our first variation is the 7 note grouping that was used in Fill Of The Week #19, have you checked that one out yet?

The second variation features a very common 8 note pattern with the last note chopped off – R L K R L K R (put another left on the end to get the 8 note pattern). You’ll have to crash left handed after this fill.

The final variation is the group of 7 split between flat flams between snare and floor tom and the bass drum. This is a powerful sounding fill.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #35. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, just fill out the form on the contact us page.

Fill Of The Week #34

Get a brimful of this drum fill on your way to the corner shop.

This drum fill is taken from the song Brimful Of Asha by Cornershop. The drum fill happens at around 3’33” and serves as a pickup to restart the song after a brief pause. Let’s learn it.

Learn The Fill

This is a fairly simple fill, but don’t let that dissuade you from adding it to your arsenal; often simple fills sound the most musical. Let’s start by looking at the basic rhythm.

The basic rhythm
Brimful of the basic rhythm

Note the sticking pattern that I recommend for this fill. It keeps the Right hand on all the eighth notes and Left hand fills in any 16th notes. This should help your flow while you’re playing this fill.

The two tricky spots on this fill are the first note on the “ah” of four, and, the two 16th notes on the “e” and “&” of 2. Play this fill slowly with a metronome and check your rhythmic accuracy.

Once you are comfortable with the fill then you can orchestrate it around the kit. Here’s the full fill:

the full fill
Drum fill on the 45

Take It Further

The opening two beats of this fill provide a great setup for any fill you want to put over the last two beats. So let’s take this further by varying the ending. Here’s 3 variations:

fill variations
Everybody needs variations for a pillow

Our first variation just adds a simple 16th note fill to the end.

The second variation is also a simple 16th note fill with a slightly different rhythm.

The final variation is a slightly trickier rhythm but still using just 16th notes.

For all of these fills I recommend using the sticking idea discussed for the original fill: Play all the 8th notes with the Right hand and fill in any “e”s or “ah”s with the Left hand.

I suggest you play around with this fill some more and come up with your own variations.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #34. 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 #33

Here’s fill of the week #33, don’t trip-let over it!

Our friend the five note grouping makes it’s return for fill of the week #33. Last time we saw the five note grouping it was on fill of the week #28 where we used it in 16th note triplet form. This time we’re using it in 8th note triplet form and going over the bar line with it. Let’s get to it.

Learn The Fill

Our five note grouping this time is Right, Left, Right, Left Kick. We’re going to play three times, move it around the kit and go over the bar line with it. Our first step is to get comfortable with the basic rhythm. Here it is played between the snare and bass drum.

the basic fill
The basic idea

Take this slow and count out loud as you do it. Make a mental note of where each five note grouping starts in the bar, then, as you play it, check that your right hand is hitting the snare drum on those beats – Beat 1, the “Let” of 2 and, the “Puh” of 4.

Once you have the basic pattern down you can orchestrate it around the kit anyway you like. I chose to progressively move around the toms.

moving it around the kit
Moving it around

Because the fill finishes on the “let” of 1, we can end the fill with a snare/crash combination on beat 2 and drop back into our groove.

the full full
Finished with a crash

Take It Further

You may not always desire to use this fill as an over the bar line fill. So we can easily turn it into a 1 bar fill. Let’s just move the last two notes of the first bar to the floor tom.

one bar of fun
One bar of fun

We can also extend this fill into a two bar fill by adding in two more groups of five.

two bars of fun
Two bars of fun

To extend this fill I’ve repeated the first group and the last group of five. The last group conveniently ends on beat one of the 3rd bar, so naturally, I put a crash on it.

Practicing this two bar fill will also help you to play the 16th note triplet fill from fill of the week #28.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #33. If you’d like drum lessons and you’re in Singapore, send us a message on the contact us page.

Fill Of The Week #32

It’s time to ring the bell on this week’s fill. Ding Ding Ding, Let’s Go!

I thought it would be fun to try and incorporate the bell of the ride cymbal into a fill and, using a RRL sticking, this is what I arrived at.

Learn The Fill

Let’s look at the sticking pattern for this fill first:

basic sticking pattern
Right Right Left, Repeat…

We’re using a 3 note grouping – Right Right Left – played over 16th notes to create this fill. Play this sticking pattern and count 16th notes out loud as you do – use a metronome to keep your time secure. Be comfortable doing this before moving on.

The next step is to get familar with the Right hand part. We’re going to move it to the Ride cymbal where it will play the first note of our 3 note grouping on the body of the cymbal and the second note on the bell of the Ride cymbal. The final Right hand of the fill will be played on the snare drum to complete the fill. Let’s try that.

Hitting the ride
Ring that bell!

Work on getting a consistent sound from the ride cymbal bell, try to hit it in exactly the same spot each time. Note that I am using the tip of the stick to play the body of the Ride cymbal but the shoulder of the stick to play the bell. This gives you a bigger sound from the cymbal, it’s great for when you really want it to cut through.

Our next step is to add in the bass drum. I hit the bass drum together with the Right hand at the start of each RRL group. Let’s give that a bash.

Adding the bass drum
Drop the bass

The final step is to move the left hand around the kit – we’ll also move the final right hand as well. I opted to go Snare, Tom 1, Floor Tom, Snare, Tom 1 with the Left hand and then Floor Tom with the final Right hand. Here’s the full fill:

The full fill
Get that left hand moving!

Take It Further

Let’s change this fill up by altering the bass drum and the ride cymbal parts. We’ll keep the left hand the same, but, if you want to move it around and hit different drums, please go ahead.

Our first two variations move the bass drum around. First, we’ll put the bass drum together with the second Right in our RRL sticking. Then we’ll put it together with both of the Rights to create a heavier sounding fill.

changing the bass drum.
Change up the bass

Our next 3 variations change the Ride pattern from “Body – Bell” to “Bell – Body.” So we’ll be hitting the bell of the Ride cymbal first this time as we work through the 3 different bass drum combinations.

fills featuring ride bell first
First to ring the bell wins

While you are getting used to the “Bell – Body” ride cymbal pattern with the different bass drum patterns, you may want to play the left hand on just the snare – like we did when learning the original fill.

Which combination of Ride cymbal and Bass drum pattern sounds best to you? You’ll probably find you have a favourite. Don’t forget to experiment with moving the left hand around the drums differently too.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #32. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message on the Contact Us page.

Fill Of The Week #31

Here’s a fill from the great Ginger Baker.

This fill is Ginger Baker’s fill from the Cream song “White Room.” He uses variations of this fill throughout the verses of the song. When I first learnt this song I was in a rush, I had over 100 songs to learn in a short space of time and I didn’t pay attention to the fills on the verses; I just noted that I needed to fill every fourth bar on the verses. I paid more attention to the 5/4 introduction and the arrangement of the song.

So off I went and played this song with my band and, for quite a while, I played it my way. Then one night I recorded my band playing the song and I realized that my fills weren’t quite working so I went back and really listened and picked up this fill. Once I brought this fill (and the 16th note triplet fill that ends each verse) into the song, the song just sounded right.

Repeating a fill throughout a song creates a rhythmic motif for the song. Another song which does something similar is “November Rain” by Guns n’ Roses. Matt Sorum plays variations of one fill throughout the whole song – he plays the same fill around 50 times! You know what song you’re listening to just from hearing the fill. Maroon 5’s “She will be loved” also repeats one fill throughout the song.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start learning this fill by looking at the basic rhythm:

This fill is basic
The Basic Fill

This looks like a fairly simple rhythm, however, Ginger Baker tended to swing his 16th notes most of the time. So, just like the 16th notes on Groove Of The Week #31, we need to think of this rhythm more like this:

Swing your basic fill
Swing it!

It’s not quite as easy to read or write the second version, which is why we tend to write it the first way and just give a directive to swing the 16th notes. I would encourage listening to the original song to hear how Ginger swung this fill and try and copy his feel.

The next step is to orchestrate the fill around the kit. The orchestration Ginger chose is fairly simple but sounds great.

Orchestrate and swing it!
Swing it round the toms

The other thing to note is that Ginger added the bass drum on beats 3 and 4. This adds more weight to the fill and keeps the time flow going.

adding the bass drum
Drop the boom

In the song Ginger is playing the groove right up until the moment the fill starts, so let’s just add that back in.

The full fill
The full fill

You’ll also note from my video that I don’t hit a crash after each fill – only on the final one. This fill is played during the verse of the song; Ginger Baker doesn’t want to overpower the singer with a crash after the fill, so he returns straight back to the hi-hat. I’d suggest practicing your fills both ways: hitting a crash after them and skipping the crash and going direct to the hi-hats.

Taking It Further

The obvious way to take this fill further would be re-orchestrate it around the kit. I’ll leave you to imagine ways to do that. Instead, let’s focus on playing the bass drum on the beat under the fill.

A lot of beginner drummers learn to play all sorts of fills around the kit with their hands but never add the bass drum underneath. The bass drum j helps to ground the fill, add more weight to it, and keep the time flowing so the listener and band don’t lose track of the beat during the fill. A drummer that employs this approach a lot is Tre Cool from Green Day.

Try these fills to get started, all fills are played using single strokes – RLRLRLRL etc…

Adding the bass drum to simple fills
Boom Boom Boom Boom

Our first three fills all start on beat 3. The first fill is played just on the snare to get you started. The second fill moves groups of the two around the kit and the third fill is a 3-3-2 fill.

The last three fills are whole bar fills. The first fill just moves groups of 4 around the kit, the second fill is a 6-6-4 fill, the final fill is a 3,3,3,4,3 fill.

When playing the fills pay attention to your accuracy, make sure your bass drum is really together with whichever drum is being hit at the same time. Work with a metronome and focus on keeping the bass drum playing a rock solid pulse together with the beep of your metronome.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #31. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like drum lessons, send us a message on our contact us page.

Fill Of The Week #30

It’s time for fill of the week #30.

I hope you practiced our Fill Of The Week #5 because this fill is a slightly evolved version of that one. Let’s get to learning.

Learn The Fill

The basis of this fill is alternating singles between the right hand and the bass drum. Let’s look at the basic hand and foot pattern:

Basic pattern.
Hand, Foot, Hand, Foot, Repeat…

Note that we change the pattern on beat four to bring the fill to a conclusion. Practice this pattern carefully with a metronome. Focus on the spacing between the notes, keep them evenly spaced.

The next step for this fill is to add in the hi-hat barks. I play this fill with my left hand on the hi-hat and my right on the snare.

add the hi-hat barks
Woof, Woof, Woof…

Focus on closing the hi-hat together with the next bass drum. Play this pattern very slowly until you can play it cleanly every time.

The final step is to orchestrate the right hands around the drums. Here’s the the full fill as I played it:

the full fill
The full fill

Take It Further

If you check fill of the week #5 you’ll find other ways to orchestrate this fill around the kit, so this time, let’s look at changing the ending of this fill. This will give you more options when playing the fill and help you to develop flow around the kit.

3 fill variations
Change it up

Our first fill variation just changes beat four to 16th notes on the snare. I would encourage you to explore all variations of those last four notes as well.

The second variation has us changing the fill from the “&” of 3. It keeps the spirit of the original fill going by incorporating the bass drum with the hands.

The third variation changes things up from beat 3. As with the previous variation it keeps the spirit of the original fill by including the bass drum.

Here’s one variation of the whole fill that you may find useful. I keep the left hand on the snare for this and let the right hand play all the hi-hats.

hi hat variation
Play those hats

We hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #30. If you’re in Singapore and would like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message via our contact us page.

Fill Of The Week #29

Eating fish regularly is good for your health. Playing buckets of fish on your drums is good for your drumming health. Here’s a another fill featuring the classic “bucket of fish” lick.

We last saw the “Bucket of fish” lick in Fill Of The Week #17. I call this fill “The loud bucket of fish” as we’re ending each bucket with a crash. Let’s get to it.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start this fill by looking at the basic rhythm that we’ll be playing.

Basic Rhythm
Just the basics

Play this basic rhythm with a metronome first and make sure you’re playing cleanly and accurately before moving on.

Our next step is to add in the bass drum and the crashes. Let’s look at that.

add in the crashes and bass drum
Bring the noise

Pay attention to your accuracy here, make sure the crashes and bass drum really happen together. To hear it clearly, play the crashes on a closed hi-hat first. The shorter, drier sound of the hi-hat will help you to hear if you are really hitting together with the bass drum.

The final step of the fill is to add in the classic bucket of fish orchestration – Snare, High Tom, Floor Tom, Bass drum. Let’s do it.

The full fill
Three buckets of fish to go.

Take It Further

This is a great sounding fill, but with all the crashes it is rather loud. So our first variation with be the quieter version:

the quiet bucket of fish
The quiet bucket of fish

Now that our hands are not playing with the bass drum, we can add a note in between the bass drums to create a slightly busier fill.

the complex bucket of fish
The more complex bucket of fish

Obviously you can orchestrate the additional notes anyway you like, if you want to bring the crashes back play the new notes between the snare drum and crash.

If you’d like a smoother fill, you can add in extra 16th note triplets instead of a 16th note.

the smooth bucket of fish
The smooth bucket of fish

I hope you’ve enjoyed you buckets of fish with fill of the week #29. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like drum lessons, send us a message on the contact us page.