Fill Of The Week #52

Here’s Drum Fill Of The Week #52:

This week’s drum fill features an open hi-hat and a slightly tricky 16th note rhythm. Let’s learn the fill.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start by looking at the rhythm we’ll be applying around the kit:

basic rhythm
The Basic Rhythm

Start by playing this rhythm slowly with a metronome. Count out loud and pay attention to the sticking pattern. Don’t move on until you are comfortable with the rhythm and the sticking

Now let’s bring in the trickiest element, the bass drum together with the open hi-hat on the “&” of 1.

open hi hat focus
Open Your Hats

When trying to add the open hi-hat in, note that I play it with the left hand; I’ve always liked the way it looks. However, if you’re not comfortable with that then you can play it with the right hand. Note that I close the hi-hat on beat 2; try to get a nice clean close together with the snare drum.

The final step will be to orchestrate the fill around the rest of the kit. Here’s how I orchestrated it.

the  full fill
The Full Fill

Taking It Further

I like to use the snare on beat 1 and the bass / open hi-hat on the “&” of 1 to start fills. Here’s some more patterns for you to orchestrate around the kit:

change it up

With all three of these rhythms, take it slow at first and work with a metronome to ensure rhythmic accuracy. Decide on your own sticking pattern for each one. A good starting point is to play all the 8th notes (1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &) with the right hand and all the other notes (“e” and “ah”) with the left hand. However, the sound you want from the kit should ultimately determine your sticking. Experiment and find what works well for you.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #52. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like drum lessons, please send us a message on the contact us page.

Fill Of The Week #50

Take your hat off to this fill:

This fill is one of my go to fills, I find myself playing perhaps more often than I should. It’s a great sounding fill that’s easy to move around the kit to create something new. Let’s check it out.

Learn The Fill

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

the basic rhythms
Where It All Begins

This is a fairly simple rhythm to play, count out loud and observe the sticking pattern. In the video I play the snare on the “ah” of 4 before I start the fill. If you omit that note, you can start this fill with the left hand instead of the right.

The next step is to bring in the bass drum and hi-hat. We’ll keep the hi-hat closed to start with.

add the bass drum and hats
Adding The Bass and Hats

Just get used to moving the right hand from the snare to the hi-hat and back to the snare. Listen out for any flams between the hi-hat and bass drum.

If that’s sounding good, then add in the open hi-hats. I close the hi-hat on the next snare drum note after I open it.

opening the hi-hats
Opening The Hats

The final step is to orchestrate the final four notes. You can just leave them on the snare if you like them there, I opted to split them between the snare and floor tom.

the full fill
The Full Fill

Taking It Further

This fill is an easy one to re-orchestrate and there are many ways to do it. Try some of these ideas and then come up with your own.

fill variations
Change It Up

On all these variations we’re keeping the rhythm the same and just changing the surfaces we’re hitting. Coming up with multiple ways of playing the same rhythm around the kit will help to increase your fill vocabulary and flow around the kit.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #50. 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 #49

Para, diddle, didle, the cat & the fiddle, here’s a drum fill for you:

This week’s drum fill is featuring the Paradiddlediddle rudiment. The last time we featured this rudiment was on fill of the week #41 where we used it in 16th note form; this time we’re using it in it’s more natural triplet form.

Learn The Fill

Hopefully, you’re all familiar with the paradiddlediddle. Here it is in it’s 8th note triplet form:

The paradiddlediddle
Paradiddlediddle Paradiddlediddle

Our first step in playing this week’s drum fill is to get comfortable playing the bass drum on quarter notes under the paradiddlediddle.

Add The Bass Drum
Drop The Bass

Play this slowly at first and listen out for, and eliminate, any flams between the bass and snare drum. Repeat this pattern many times until you find it really easy. Once you can play this pattern easily, then we can look to orchestrate the paradiddlediddles around the kit.

Here’s the orchestration I used for this fill:

The Full Fill
The Full Fill

Taking It Further

There are many ways to orchestrate the paradiddlediddle around the kit, here’s 3 more suggestions for you:

Change it up.

Our first variation uses the same orchestration for each paradiddlediddle.

The second variation has us playing tom toms in the middle of the fill and the snare at beginning and end.

The final variation brings in the ride cymbal and the hi-hat to spice things up.

I hope you’ve enjoyed drum fill of the week #49. 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 #48

This week’s fill is a bit ruff. Check it out!

This week we’re taking a fairly simple 8th note fill and spicing it up with open 4 stroke ruffs and going over the bar line. Let’s get to it!

Learn The Fill

Let’s start by looking at the basic 8th note fill that we’re going to augment to create this fill. The basic 8th note fill is just a simple group of three 8th notes repeated 3 times. It would look like this:

The Basic Fill

You can play this fill anyway you like: RLRLR, RLLRLL, LRRLRR etc…

All we’re going to do is to make the first two 8th notes part of an open 4 stroke ruff. A ruff is one of the rudiments you should know; a ruff is a short single stroke roll. A 4 stroke ruff consists of 4 single strokes (RLRL or LRLR), the first 3 of which are classically considered as grace notes and are written as such:

Closed 4-Stroke Ruff

This is considered as a closed 4-stroke ruff, the first 3 notes don’t actually have any time value (they don’t land on a specific beat & can’t be counted) and are just played quickly before the main note.

The other version of this is the open 4 stroke ruff where the first 3 notes do have a time value (you can count them). The first 3 notes are normally considered as 16th note triplets in this version:

Open 4-Stroke Ruff

We’re going to use this later version in our fill. Here’s our fill with the 4 stroke ruffs added in:

The Full Fill

I accent all notes from our original 8th note fill & the snare drum notes are now played as rim shots to help them pop more. Take this fill slowly, work with an 8th note metronome and count!

Taking It Further

Whenever you have a fill based on 3 note groupings, you have 2 more permutations of that fill you can play. Here’s the other two permutations on this fill:

Permutate & Conquer

The first variation has the 4 stroke ruff in the middle of the 3 note grouping.

The second variation has the 4 stroke ruff at the end of the 3 note grouping. Note that for the last group I opted to keep the bass drum on the & of 1 as with the other fills. You could replace the bass drum with another snare rim shot if you find it easier. You could also leave out the final four stroke ruff and just play the tom tom on beat 1.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #48. 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 #47

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

This week’s fill is inspired by legendary Toto drummer Jeff Pocaro. Jeff is widely regarded as one of the best drummers ever and had a knack for producing the perfect drum parts for songs. I personally learnt a lot from listening to Jeff’s playing and trying to imitate it. His drum fills often weren’t very busy, but they were very effective musical statements. Most non drummers can sing his fills from the Toto song “Africa. for example. This week’s fill is based on an idea that Jeff used frequently.

Learn The Fill

This fill is based around dotted 8th note phrasing. We’re just playing a flam every dotted 8th note – except at the very end. Here’s the basic rhythm:

The Basic Rhythm
The Basic Rhythm

Play this with a metronome and count all the 16th notes out loud as you do it (1 e & a 2 e & a etc). Focus on getting the first five notes evenly spaced.

Next we’re going to add the bass drum on the quarter note underneath. The bass drum adds a bit more weight to the fill and keeps the time going underneath the fill & provides a nice contrast to the rhythm happening over the top.

add the bass drum
Bring In The Bass

You may find this a little challenging at first. Go slow and count all of the 16th notes until you can get it right.

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

the full fill
Move It!

Take It Further

Once you get used to the dotted 8th note phrasing, you can use it starting on other beats in the bar to create new fills. Here’s some basic rhythms for you to orchestrate.

fill variations
Build Your Fill

Our first variation starts on the “&” of 1. When the last note occurs on the “&” of 4 it’s common to play the “ah” afterwards.

Our second variation starts on beat 2 and gives us a nice 4 over 3 poly rhythm – the snare plays 4 evenly spaced notes in the time that the bass drum plays 3.

Our third variation starts on the and of 2. To round off this fill I opted to play the “&-ah” 4. If you want to stick to the dotted 8th phrasing then just play the “ah” of 4.

The final variation starts on beat 3, you will hear Jeff Pocaro use this phrasing in the song “Africa” just before the second and third choruses.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #47. 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 #46

Here’s this week’s drum fill:

This week’s drum fill is fairly straight forward. We’re playing 16th notes on the snare and throwing in the occasional open hi-hat. It’s a very simple yet effective drum fill. Let’s get to learning!

Learn The Fill

There’s not a great deal to this fill, we’re playing 16th notes on the snare drum and then adding in some open hi-hats. I decided to go with 6-6-4 phrasing for this fill. We’ve used 6-6-4 phrasing before, it always sounds musical. Check fill of the week #27 for another example.

Here’s this week’s drum fill:

6 + 6+ 4 = Music

6-6-4 phrasing means that we’re playing 2 groups of 6 notes and 1 group of 4 notes. Our 6 note group is 1 note on the open hi-hat / bass drum followed by 5 on the snare. Our 4 note group is 1 on the open hi-hat / bass drum followed by 3 on the snare. It’s really that simple!

The main thing to focus on with this fill is getting the open hi-hats to all sound the same. Note that I close the hi-hat together with the right hand when it plays the next snare note. I’m not closing the hi-hat on the next note immediately after I open it. I prefer to let the open hi-hat breathe a little before closing. However you can try closing it together with the left hand on the next note to create a different sound. Alternatively you could not close it at all and let it ring throughout the fill. Whatever you do, try to make it sound consistent.

Taking It Further

We have a lot of notes being played on the snare with this fill. The first thing to do to take this further is to orchestrate those snare notes around the kit. Here’s a couple of ideas:

I Like To Move It, Move It!

Once you’ve explored all the permutations you can think of with that fill, then you can try and do the same with these two variations. We’re still playing the fill RLRLRL and all the open hi-hats are played with the right hand and then closed with the next right hand stroke. Try them out, and then orchestrate them around the kit.

More Ideas To Play With

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #46. 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 #45

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

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

Learn The Fill

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

Basic pattern
The Basic Pattern

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

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

The full fill
The Full Fill

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

Try playing this fill together with Groove Of The Week #45 – it’s also in 7/8.

Taking It Further

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

Orchestration variation
Change it up

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

I hope you’ve enjoyed Fill Of The Week #45. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Fill Of The Week #44

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

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

Learn The Fill

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

The basic 8th note triplet pattern
The Basic 8ths

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

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

Adding the 16ths
Adding the 16ths

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

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

Add  the bass drum
Bring In The Bass

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

The full fill
The Full Fill

Taking It Further

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

Rhythmic Variations
Change It Up!

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

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

Fill Of The Week #43

Here’s drum fill of the week #43:

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

Learn The Fill

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

Basic Accent Pattern
The Basic Pattern

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

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

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

The full fill.
The Full Fill

Take It Further

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

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

Leading With The Left HAnd
Leading With The Left

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

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #43. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Fill Of The Week #42

Hat, Click, Kick, Repeat – Fill Of The Week #42:

This week’s drum fill takes a common three note pattern – Right, Left, Kick – orchestrates it around the kit and adds some 32nd notes to spice it up. Let’s check it out.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start by looking at the 16th note pattern that’s at the heart of this fill.

The basic pattern
Going Basic

We’re playing Right-Left-Kick four times over 16th notes and then we have 2 8th note right hands to finish off the fill.

Right-Left-Kick is a very common element in linear grooves and fills. Make sure you can execute the pattern above smoothly with a metronome before attempting to orchestrate it around the kit.

Our next step is to orchestrate the pattern around the kit. The right hand will play the hi-hat and the left hand will play the rim click. On beat 4 we’ll add an open hi-hat and then we’ll close it on the “&” of 4 when we hit the bass drum and floor tom together.

Orchestrate the fill
Orchestrate The Fill

Beginner students might want to stop here, that’s already a great sounding fill. However, if you want to play the full fill, then you need to play double strokes with the right hand on the first 4 hi-hats notes.

The full fill
The Full Fill

Take It Further

Right, Left, Kick is one of the most common 3 note linear patterns, let’s look at two of the others using the same orchestration – we’ll also keep the 32nd notes on the Right Hand, but you can play these fills without them also,

Switch It Around

Our first variation uses Kick, Right, Left as the basis for the fill. You may want to play the pattern just between the snare and bass drum at first before you try orchestrating it.

The second variation uses Left, Right, Kick as the basis for the fill. There are other variations you can try:

  • Right, Kick, Left
  • Kick, Left, Right
  • Left, Kick, Right

Note that I always stop the 3 note pattern on beat 4 and then play the floor tom and bass drum together on the “&” of 4.

I hope you’ve enjoyed drum fill of the week #42. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message via the Contact Us Page.