SEVEN-FIVE-SIX – those are the magic numbers you need play fill of the week #22. Let’s see those numbers in action.
Fill of the week #22 starts with a group of seven 16th notes then cuts a couple of notes off to make a group of five 16th notes and then repeats the first six notes as 16th note triplets. I think this formula creates quite a musical fill. Let’s learn the fill and then look at how we can apply the formula to create further fills.
Learn The Fill
The main ingredient in this fill is the initial seven note group. We’ve previously looked at applying seven note groupings of 16th notes. Check out fill of the week #19 to get more ideas on what you can do with seven note groupings.
Here’s our 7 note grouping for this fill:
This is a simple group of 7 notes, practice it until you can play it smoothly.
For our 5 note grouping we’re going to cut off the first two notes of the 7 note grouping.
So now let’s put those two groups together.
Again, practice playing these 12 notes nice and smoothly. Count out loud as you do it. Take it slow to start with. Make the transition between the two groups seamless.
For the last beat in the bar we’re going to repeat the first six notes of the 7-note group. However, we need to shift in to the 16th note triplet subdivision to fit them in. Here’s the full fill:
If you are not comfortable moving from 16th notes to 16th note triplets, then check out fill of the week #13 where I give some tips for moving between the two subdivisions.
Taking It Further
Now we have the formula for the fill, we can take any group of the 7 notes and create a new fill. Try these 3 variations.
All these variations use the same basic sticking as our original fill. I find these fill works best with the bass drum as the last note of the group, but you can experiment with different with different bass drum placements.
I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #22. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like drum lessons, send us a message on the contact us page.
It’s time for groove of the week #22, lets get to it!
For groove of the week #22 I thought I’d try to take a classic groove – the Bossa Nova – and put a little funky bass drum twist on it. A kind of bossa nova for the 21st century. Let’s take a look at it.
Get The Groove
Let’s take a look at the groove that inspired this one. Here’s a standard Bossa Nova:
The main features of a Bossa Nova are the rim clicks that give it the melody and the heartbeat like bass drum that keeps it moving along. For groove of the week #22 I thought I’d take the rim click melody and try to re-work the bass drum to make it sound funky.
Lets start with the hands. The first step is to be able to play the rim click pattern consistently against the hi-hat and to be able to count it and sing along with it. Play until it is easy to do and you don’t need to think about it. Here’s the hi-hat and rim click
Now lets add the bass drum into the first bar.
The first thing to note is the bass drum on beat one, just as it is in the standard Bossa Nova. Take care not to flam the bass drum, rim click and hi-hat. Be precise in your playing, get all 3 happening together.
The next 3 bass drums all happen on 16th notes between the hi-hat 8th notes. Play this slowly at first and make sure the spacing is even between the bass and the hi-hats. Count out loud as you’re doing it and work with a metronome.
Now lets look at the second bar.
The second bar has no bass drum on beat one, just a hi-hat. You may feel uncomfortable not playing the bass drum on beat one; the majority of rock/pop beats have the bass drum on beat one & if you haven’t explored outside of that genre yet then this may feel strange to you. With practice you’ll get used to it. Go slow and count. Our first bass drum in this bar occurs on the “&” of one and gives a nice syncopated feel to the groove.
The next 3 bass drums happen on the 16th notes between the hi-hat 8th notes and echo the pattern from the first bar; they just happen slightly earlier in the bar. Again be careful with your note spacing.
The final bass drum hits on the “&” of 4. Once we join the two bars together and repeat the pattern the bass drums at the start and the end will mimic the heartbeat bass drum pattern from the original Bossa Nova.
Now lets join the two bars together.
Again, go slow and count, don’t panic when you get to the middle of the groove and there is nothing happening except hi-hats. Enjoy the space and count.
Our final step is to add in the open hi-hat at the end of the 2nd bar. The open hi-hat is on beat 4 and I leave it open all the way until beat one. I don’t hit the hi-hat on the “&” of 4 on the last bar, so the final bass drum will have to go solo.
For me, the open hi-hat completes the groove and it’s like taking a big breath of fresh air before diving back into the complex business of the groove. It provides a moment of musical space – relief that the tough part is done. You may want to experiment with the open hi-hat though. When I originally developed the groove I was closing it on the “&” of 4 with the bass drum, but it didn’t quite sound right to me. You could also try opening it on the “&” of 4 on the second bar and closing it on the 1. This whole groove is an experiment, so play with it yourself and see what you can come up with.
Taking It Further
The standard Bossa Nova can be played in two ways. Note that in the example I gave above of a standard Bossa Nova, the first bar has 3 rim clicks and the second bar has 2. We can call this a 3:2 Bossa Nova. It’s possible to reverse the order of the bars you get a 2:3 Bossa Nova. This creates a different feel and rim click melody. We can try that with our groove.
Ok… I’m guessing that isn’t going to sound great. Why? Well, we’ve got no bass drum on beat 1 of the first bar, so nothing is really centering the groove. The open hi-hat is now in the middle of the pattern, so our deep breath is in the middle of the chaos rather than providing a moment of calm at the end. So… I think we might need to re-jig it just a little.
The bass drum has moved back on to beat one of the first bar. The open hi-hat has moved to the “&” of 4 of the first bar, providing a little gulp of air before continuing with the complex groove at hand. This groove isn’t quite as funky as the previous version because it lacks the syncopated bass drum on the “&” of 1 on the second bar, but it is quite a cool groove and definitely usable.
Have a play around the Bossa Nova yourself and see if you can create your own version.
I hope this groove of the week inspires you to take a groove you already know & come up with your own version of it.
If you are in Singapore and you’d like drum lessons, send us a message on the contact us page and we’ll arrange a free trial lesson for you.
Wow! That was a lot of notes! I counted 24 in total, and some of them were pretty fast! This is an advanced fill featuring 16th notes, 32nd notes and 32nd note triplets. Lets break it down and have a go at learning it.
Learn The Fill
Let’s start learning this fill by looking at the 16th note skeleton. We’re going play Right-Left-Kick four times and then Right-Kick-Right-Kick to close out the bar. We’re orchestrating it by putting the right hand on the snare and the left hand on Tom 1. Try this slowly at 40-50 bpm and count out loud.
You can use this as a fill in it’s own right, speed it up to between 80 – 160 bpm and it’ll sound great; maybe I’d tweak beat 4 a little, but it is a great sounding fill.
Once you can play this first exercise smoothly with a metronome, then we can look to add in the 32nd notes. So now we’re going to squeeze a right hand floor tom note between the left hand on the high tom and bass drum. Here’s what that looks like:
Play this very slowly – 30 to 40 bpm. Have your metronome set to count all the 16th notes. Listen for the right hand on the floor tom fitting between the 16th note count on the metronome. Count out loud as you do it, none of the floor toms should be with the 16th note count. You may want to sing the fill to yourself as you play it; I hear it as:
“Da” being the right hand on the snare drum, “dada” being the tom notes and “Dum” being the bass drum.
Again, don’t move onto the next step until you can play the first and second steps smoothly with a metronome. Take it slow. This is an advanced fill.
Our final step is to add in a couple of buckets of fish. If you’re not sure what a bucket of fish is in drumming terms, check out fill of the week #17, These buckets of fish are a little faster than the ones in fill of the week #17 though, there we played them as 16th note triplets, here we’re playing them as 32nd note triplets. They are still played the same way – Right-Left-Right Kick – but instead of them being between two eight notes, they are now crammed between two 16th notes. Lets have a look at the full fill.
If you look at beat 4, you’ll notice that the snare and bass drum are where we have played them all along. We just need to cram two tom-tom notes between them. You’ll want to spend some time repeating Right-Left-Right-Kick over and over again until you can play it fast and smooth.
If you’ve managed the other two steps but can get the 32nd note triplet in just yet, that’s ok. We’ll look at some variations for beat 4 in the next section. As a rule, I don’t count 32nd notes, I always just feel them between the 16th notes. If you want to be able to count everything in this fill while you are learning it, then we need to make it a two bar fill and move everything down one subdivision. It’d look like this:
Again, if you’re trying this version, set your metronome to between 60 – 80bpm and work carefully and precisely. Count out loud as you practice it.
Taking It Further
This fill is already pretty epic & sounds great. There’s not a lot to really mess around with. A simple way to alter this fill – and maybe make it a little more user friendly – would be to change the ending. Let’s look at some possibilities.
Our first variation is just nice simple 16th note ending.
If you accent the flam on be 4 and flat flam on the “&” of 4 then you’ll create a strong rock ending to the fill.
Our second variation just adds one more of 32nd note lick and ends with a flat flam on the “ah” of 4.
You can leave out the flat flam if you’re having trouble getting to the crash on beat one after the fill.
Our third variation gives us a dramatic ending with 16th note triplets around the kit.
You can orchestrate the 16th note triplets anyway you like… High Tom- Floor Tom-Kick-High Tom-Floor Tom-Kick might sound good (LRKLRK).
Our final variation brings back the bucket of fish, but this time as a 16th note triplet.
Have fun with fill of the week #21 and see how many ways you can vary the ending.
If you’re in Singapore and you’d like drum lessons, send us a message on the contact us page and we’ll arrange a free trial lesson for you.
It’s Groove Of The Week time, let’s get shufflin’ along.
This week’s groove is one of my favourite shuffles to play. Not an easy one to master, but lets break it down and see what makes it tick.
Get The Groove
There is a lot going on in this groove. Let’s break it down into it’s separate components and then try recombining them to create the groove. Here’s the three separate components of the groove.
Your first step is to be able to play all of the components confidently against a metronome. Set your metronome to count 8th note triplets at 40-60 BPM and play each rhythm on it’s respective instrument. Be careful with the snare drum line – be sure to add in the ghost notes to contrast with the back-beat on 2 & 4.
Our next step is to try the various combinations of the 3 voices. Here they are.
The first combination is the hi-hat and snare, again take it slow and pay attention to the ghost notes on the snare. You may ignore them at first, but once you have the co-ordination and timing down, try to add them in.
The second combination is the bass and snare drum playing an alternating 8th note triplet pattern. Again, add the ghost notes in once you can play the pattern confidently and have a nice smooth triplet rhythm.
The final combination is the hi-hat and the bass drum. Pay special attention to the bass drum notes on the “Puh” partial of the triplet on beats 2 & 4. Make sure they are really in the middle of the other two triplet partials.
Once you can play all three combinations confidently we can look at playing the full groove. As an intermediate step, you might want to try these two grooves. The first groove has the bass and snare drum combination from above with quarter notes added on the hi-hat.
The second groove has the bass drum and hi-hat parts with just the back beat on the snare drum.
You may find these grooves a helpful stepping stone to playing the full groove. Here’s the full groove, good luck!
Take It Further
An easy way to change this groove up is to move the Right-hand to Ride cymbal and play the bell of the Ride on the beat.
A variation that can be very effective, when used sparingly, is to copy the bass drum pattern with the Ride cymbal bell. You’ll hear live blues drummers do this… but not in every song and maybe only once or twice in the song; too much gets annoying.
Practice a 4 bar phrase; 3 bars of the first ride cymbal variation and then a bar of the second variation. Then find a blues jam session and go try it out.
Our final variation is a poweful tom-tom groove. The Right hand plays the shuffle on the floor tom and the left hand notes are split between the snare and the high tom. Check it out:
When playing Tom Tom grooves don’t play the toms too loud. The bass and snare drum (and the rest of the band) should still be heard above them.
I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #21. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.
Start warming your hi-hats up because groove of the week #20 is gonna make them work!
Groove of the week #20 is a busy beat. The bass drum and snare drum are straightforward enough, but the hi-hat is all over the place. Let’s take a closer look and break it down.
Get The Groove
The main thing to focus on for this groove is the hand pattern. Once we get the hands correct, the rest of the groove should fall into place. Here’s the hand pattern played on the snare:
When playing the hand pattern, notice that the Right hand plays all of the 8th notes – 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & – and the left hand fills in the notes around it. This is the most common way of playing this kind of pattern on the kit as it keeps the Right hand playing constant 8th notes which helps with the time keeping function.
Now lets move the pattern to the hi-hat and add in the open hi-hat on the and of 3 and the closing on beat 4.
When playing the above pattern, really pay attention to where you close the hi-hat; get a good solid closing on beat 4 with your left foot.
Our final step is to add in the bass and snare drum. Focus on keeping the hand pattern nice and smooth as you move from hi-hat to the snare. Pay attention to the timing of the last 3 notes and be sure to put each one in its proper place. Here’s the full groove:
Taking It Further
I think the most obvious thing to change when taking this groove further would be the bass drum pattern. Let’s keep the hands the same and play around with the bass drum just a little. Try these variations:
The first of our 3 variations has the bass drum on all 4 beats to give it more of a dance feel.
The second variation adds bass drums on the “&” of 2 and 4 of the first bar and on the & of 2 of the second bar. This bass drum pattern adds a lot of forward motion to the groove, makes it feel like you can’t wait to get to the next beat.
The final variation is the funkiest one. The additional bass drum on the “ah” of 1 and then playing the other bass drums on the “&” of 2 and “&” of 3 make for a funky groove.
The other thing you can change with this groove is the ending. Here are some ideas for changing the last 3 notes:
The first of our 3 variations puts the snare drum on beat four to create a more normal sounding beat and has two open hi-hats to add a bit of colour. You may want to play that final snare with your left hand and let the right hand just handle the open hi-hats.
The second variation just adds a snare drum on beat four. Again, this makes the groove sound a little more normal at the end.
The final variation adds an additional snare on the & of 3 and moves the open hi-hat to the “&” of 4, creating a different feel to the other 2 variations.
Try all the variations out and then come up with some of your own.
I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #20. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like drum lessons, send us a message on the contact us page and we’ll arrange a free trial lesson for you.
Here’s fill of the week #19, be warned we’re going where no fill has gone before… over TWO bar lines!
Fill of the week #19 is a 7-note grouping played over 16th notes. This is a good way to get used to playing 7-note groupings before you try applying them to 16th note triplet or 32nd note fills.
I’d often hear drummers talk about 7-note groupings but when I tried to apply them to a one bar 16th note fill they often didn’t sound right. You can only get 2 and a bit 7-note groups in a bar. I discovered that if I played the group 3 times though it sounded quite nice.
A 7-note grouping played 3 times though gives us 21 notes, which is 5 too many for a bar of 16th notes. If I started the fill on beat 1 and went over the bar line, the fill would finish on beat 2 and that just sounded strange and made it hard to get back into the groove. Therefore, I shifted everything back 2 16th notes so it starts on the “&” of 4 and finishes on the “&” of 1. This allows us to put a crash on beat 2 with the snare drum and get back into our groove easily.
If you’ve never ventured over the bar line before, you might want to check out Fill Of The Week #14 which goes over only 1 bar line with 5-note groups.
Learn The Fill
First of all, we want to get comfortable playing the 7-note grouping. Here it is written out in 7/16 time. You can count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, Sev while playing it.
Try to repeat it without any gaps between the end of one cycle and the beginning of the next. You want to be able to move smoothly from 1 cycle to the next.
Once you can play it 3 times in a row smoothly, then we can put it into 4/4 time. Here is the full fill with the counting and the 7 note grouping clearly marked:
Work with a metronome on this. Don’t bother playing a beat to start with, just focus on starting the fill on the “&” of 4 of one bar and finishing it on the “&” of 1 two bars later – playing smooth 16th notes all the way. Start at 40-60bpm.
I find that taking note of where each group of 7 starts, helps me to check I’m doing it correctly. I should be hitting the High Tom on the “&” of 4 of the first bar and on the “e” of 2 and beat 4 of the 2nd bar.
If this is your first time playing groups of 7 or going over the bar line with a fill, then take your time & go slow and count. ‘
If you want a shorter version of this fill, then truncate the last 3 notes so it becomes a 7,7,4 fill and ends nicely at the end of the bar – like this:
Take It Further
The simplest way to take this further is to just move around the hands around the kit in a different manner. Try these variations:
All of the above variations use the same sticking pattern as the original grouping. Try creating some of your own.
If you are comfortable with 6 note patterns such as the paradiddle-diddle (RLRRLL), double paradiddle (RLRLRR/LRLRLL) or 6 stroke roll (RLLRRL) then try adding a bass drum to the start or the end to create a 7 note pattern. Try these:
The first of the 3 variations above uses the Paradiddle-diddle, the second variation is a cool sound hi-hat/snare/bass fill using the double paradiddle and the final one uses the 6 stroke roll.
While playing with the 6 stroke roll version I also came across RLLRRKK. That’s also a great sounding pattern worth exploring.
I hope you have fun exploring 7-note groupings with fill of the week #19. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.
Here’s Groove Of The Week #19. Let’s see how it stacks up:
Groove of the week 19 is our first groove to feature a stack cymbal. For those not in the know, a stack cymbal is where you take 2 or more different cymbals and stack them on top of the each other to create a new sound.
The stack cymbal I used here featured a Paiste PST-8 16″ Rock Crash, a Paiste PST-5 18″ china and an 8″ Agop splash. The crash was placed upside down on the bottom of the stack, the china then fit nicely on top of it and the splash was placed upside down on top of the china.
Experiment with your own cymbals and see what sounds you can create. If you don’t have a stack, don’t worry, you can still play the groove of the week – just hit the hi-hat or ride cymbal instead of the stack.
Get The Groove
The main feature of the groove is the linear 16th note triplet between the cymbals and the bass drum that occurs on beat 3. Let’s get comfortable with the 16th note triplet pattern first.
Here’s 16th note triplets between cymbals and the bass drum. Work with a metronome at 40bpm and be sure to count and listen to how smooth your triplets are. We want nice even spacing between the notes. Have your metronome set to count either 8th notes or 16th note triplets. You can play the hands on any surface, you may find it easier to have them both on the same surface to begin with. Here I’ve notated it between 2 cymbals – the stack and the hi-hat. If you don’t have a stack you can just play your ride cymbal.
Once we have that nice and smooth, we need to be able to do a short burst on demand. Try the exercise below – play the snare on beat 4 with your Right Hand.
Did your triplets come out nice and smooth? If not slow it down until you can produce them cleanly.
Our final step is to bring in the rest of the groove. Here’s the full groove:
If you don’t have a stack, play both hands on the Hi-Hat during the triplets and play an open Hi-Hat on the “&” of 4. Alternatively play the Right hand on the Ride cymbal during the triplets and hit the bell of the Ride cymbal on the “&” of 4.
Taking It Further
I can’t think of many songs where I would use this groove as the main groove for the song. It’s more of a nice groove variation for when you want something a bit flashy. I’d probably play it at the end of a 4 bar phrase like this:
The main feature of our groove of the week is the 16th note triplets on beat 3. We can mess around with the voicing of the triplets to give us some interesting variations. Here’s a couple of ideas:
The first variation has us playing the triplet between the toms and bass drum. The second has us using the bell of the ride cymbal and the hi-hat. We’re still using the Right-Left-Kick pattern for the triplets.
We can also move the 16th note triplet pattern to beat 1:
If you’re really loving the triplet, you can extend it over two beats like this:
Note that the Right-Left-Kick pattern remains the same, we play the snare drum on beat 4 with the Right hand.
I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #19. If your in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.
You might need a doctor after fill of the week #18. This drum fill is going to herta a lot!
Fill of the week #18 uses a rudiment known as the Herta which we met back in fill of the week #11. In fill of the week #11 we were using the herta in 16th & 8th note triplet form; in this fill we’re using it in 32nd & 16th note form. If you’ve already studied fill of the week #11 then this fill shouldn’t “herta” so bad! If you’re not sure what a herta is, then maybe go study fill of the week #11 first.
Learn The Fill
The first step in learning this fill is to be comfortable with the 16th note sticking pattern that we’ll be using. This will be RRL repeated 5 times with an extra R on the end. Here it is:
Make sure you can play and count this basic pattern before moving on. Start at 50 – 60bpm and count out loud while you’re doing it.
Our next step is to form the Hertas by putting a Left handed 32nd note between the double Rights. Don’t alter your counting, just feel the 32nd note slipping in between the 2 right hands. Count out loud and work slowly.
Working slowly with a metronome at around 40bpm will help you to get comfortable with this rhythm. Use a metronome that can play the 16th note subdivisions for you and count out loud with it.
The final step in this fill is to orchestrate it around the kit. I chose to split the first 4 hertas between the high tom and snare drum and the last one between the mid tom and the floor tom. I finish the fill on the Right hand and therefore crash with my Left on beat one. You can try changing that last Right to a Left and then crash with your right if your more comfortable that way. However it’s good to be comfortable crashing with either hand. Here’s the full fill:
Taking It Further
This fill is already amazingly awesome, but we can tweak it a little. Here’s some simple re-orchestrations.
The first two orchestrations are just moving the hands around. The last two introduce the bass drum into the fun. The third variation is similar to a drum fill John Bonham played on the Led Zeppelin Song “Stairway to heaven” – you can hear it around the 6:20 mark in that song.
I hope that fill of the week #18 didn’t herta too much & that you learnt something from it! If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.
Bam Bam Bam Bam! It’s time to whack that snare drum and drive the band. I first heard a groove similar to this on a Yamaha DD10 drum machine I had back around 1988/9. I think it was programmed beat number 8 – “R&B.” However, this kind of groove has it’s roots in Motown music but has also been adopted as an aggressive rock groove. Check out “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, “Easy Money” by Billy Joel, “New Sensation” by Inxs or “Reach Out I’ll Be There” by The Four Tops to hear this kind of groove in action. Let’s get into it!
Get The Groove
The main star of this groove is the snare, driving the beat forward relentlessly. Playing the snare drum on every beat creates a very aggressive groove. The first challenge this groove presents is playing the bass drum and snare in unison on some of the beats. You want to be able to play these unison notes without any flams. Let’s look at the bass and snare interaction first:
Once you can play the snare and bass pattern without any flams, add in the closed hi-hat. Again, make sure there are no flams between with three voices.
The final things to add to this groove are the open hi-hats every second bar. Open hi-hats often make a groove feel more complete and give you the chance to add a controlled long sound to a beat. Here’s the full groove:
Take It Further
Here’s a few more variations, keeping the snare drum on all 4 beats but varying the bass drum and the open hi-hats.
You want to be careful playing fills with this kind of groove. Often I hear drummers just playing a bass drum & crash on beat 1 after a fill, losing the drive of the snare drum. Play fills that allow you to crash on beat 1 together with the snare. Try these:
I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #18. If you’d like a free trial drum lesson in Singapore, send us a message on the contact us page.