Fill Of The Week #6

It’s fill of the week time! Here’s number 6:

This is a cool 16th note fill incorporating flams and the bass drum. When I’m playing flams in a 16th note fill, I like to play the bass drum just before the flam. This gives me plenty of time to set up my flams so I can make them sound big while keeping the 16th note flow going.

Learn The Fill

To learn this fill, we can break it down into smaller steps. Step 1 is to get the Right hand moving correctly. Our Right hand is playing 8th notes between the snare and the toms. The left hand and the bass drum will fill in the 16th notes between these 8ths. Here’s the Right hand pattern:

Right hand part from fill of the week 6
Step 1 – The Right hand

Our next step is to add in the Left hand. This will create the flams on beat 1, the “&” of 2 and beat 4 and, fill in 16th notes on the “&” of 1, “e” of 3″ and “ah” of 4. I’ve included the counting on this one to help you out.

Right and left hand part for fill of the week 7.
Step 2 – Adding the Left hand

Step 2 actually sounds quite good as a fill on it’s own, try it out with some of your favourite grooves. We’re going to take one more step which is to add the bass drum in the spaces. Here’s the whole thing:

Fill of the week 6 - complete with bass drum
Step 3 – The bass drum

Practice this slowly at first at 40 – 50 bpm. You may want to build it up a note at a time. Start with the first 4 notes and then add the next one, and then the next one and so on. If you can play the first 6 notes you have most of the fill already because the next 6 notes are just the same thing repeated and beat four is just the first four notes played on a different drum.

Spotting repeated patterns in fills can help you learn them faster. The phrasing of this fill is 6-6-4. This is a very common pattern employed in 16th note fills. Here’s the fill with the 6 6 4 groupings pointed out:

fill of the week 6 - 664 groupings
Can you see the 6-6-4 pattern now?

Let’s change it up

A simple way to change this fill is by removing some of the bass drums. Here’s the fill with the bass drums only after the flams:

Fill of the week 6 with bass drum after flams only
Bass drum only after flams

Here’s the fill with the bass drum only before the flams:

fill of the week 6 with bass drum only before flams
Bass drum only before flams

Another simple variation is to play on the move the non-flammed notes to different toms – this still gives you the impact of the flam on the snare.

Tom variation
Moving the hands around a little differently

But of course, you can also move the flams around as well:

Tom variation
Move it ALL around

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #6 – play around with it some more and create your own variations.

If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson then use the contact us page to let us know & we’ll arrange it for you.


Groove Of The Week #6

It’s time to get funky! Here’s Groove of the Week #6:

I first remember hearing this kind of funky, syncopated two bar pattern in the chorus of the Billy Joel song Easy Money from the Innocent Man Album. I instantly fell in love with the groove and it became one of my favourite songs to drum to. You’ll also hear this kind of pattern throughout funk music; Cold Sweat by James Brown is another great example of this kind of beat.

Similar to Groove of the week #5, this is a two bar pattern and presents the same challenges. You need to be able to perform the two bar pattern consistently and you need to be able to add drum fills to it.

To work on adding drum fills, use a 4 bar pattern like this:

Fill goes on the 4th bar

Try the groove with a variety of fills – such as the ones suggested in groove of the week #5, any of our fill of the week suggestions or the fills below. The fills for groove of the week 5 all started on the beat, all of these fills start and the “&”. You want to be comfortable starting fills both on and off the beat.

Practice your fills!

Once you are comfortable playing groove #6 and adding fills to it, try keeping the snare drum pattern the same, but changing the 8th note bass drums. Here’s some examples:

Change it up!

Another way to extend your practice with this groove (and any 2 bar pattern) is to reverse the order of the bars – try these:

Hit Reverse!

The last 2 examples of the reversed groove may prove tricky as there is no bass drum on beat one of the first bar. This might throw you off, but it is something you want to be able to do. When playing beats with no bass drum on beat one it is common to play the bass drum on beat one of the first bar when you start the groove and after drum fills. Here’s an example using the 4th pattern from above:

8 bars of fun!

Have fun with groove of the week 6! 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 #5

Here’s fill of the week #5:

This fill has a lot of interplay between the hands and the bass drum, I hope you’ve been working on your co-ordination. Let’s break this fill down into simple steps.

The first step is to get the Right hand movement correct. The Right hand plays the biggest role in this fill and everything else moves around it. Here’s the Right hand on it’s own:

Step 1 – The Right Hand

If you have worked on Fill Of Week #4, then you’ll notice that the right hand is playing the same pattern as that fill. Now we’re playing the pattern between snare drum and floor tom instead of snare drum and bass drum.

Our next step is to add in the bass drum to get the interplay between the right hand and the bass drum correct.

Right hand and Bass Drum part from fill of the week 5.
Step 2 – Add The Bass Drum

Make sure your snare and bass drum notes are evenly spaced – we don’t want any unintentionally swung notes. Work on it slowly with a metronome.

Finally – add the left hand to create the flams on the snare and play the final floor tom note.

Fill of the week 5 complete
Step 3 – Add the Left Hand

Now you’ve got the fill happening, you can try some simple things to vary it. For example, play your flams across 2 surfaces so they become flat flams instead:

fill of the week variation 1. fat flams between snare and floor tom.
Flat Flams played on snare and floor tom

To rock it up even more, play flat flams between snare and crash:

fill of the week variation 2. flams between snare and crash,
Flat Flams played on snare and crash

Alternatively, play the flams on the snare drum and move the other notes around the kit:

fill of the week variation 3. Tom tom notes moved around.
Tom Tom notes moved around the kit

Of course, you could always try a combination of these things:

fill of the week variation 4. flams between snare and crash, tom tom notes moved around.
Flat Flams on snare and crash, Tom Tom notes moved around the kit.

Have fun with fill of the week #5!

If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lessons, contact us through the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #5

It’s time to get groovy! This week’s groove of the week is a simple 2-bar pattern. Here’s groove of the week #5:

I’ve always loved this beat. Skipping the bass drum on beat 1 of the second bar gives this groove a very upbeat feel and adds a certain swagger to it. A song that really shows off that swagger is the rock classic Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf. This groove drives the verses of that song and gives it the rebellious feel needed.

Grooves that are 2 bars in length, such as this one, present their own challenges when playing them. The first challenge is being able to play the whole pattern continuously without changing it. I find that singing the pattern in my head while playing helps me to keep it correct. Record yourself playing the groove for an extended period of time; can you play it for 3 minutes without changing the pattern at all?

The second challenge is adding in drum fills. Normally with 2 bar patterns, drum fills will occur on the second bar. You want to practice adding drum fills to the second bar and then resuming the beat from the first bar. Here’s how I practice adding fills into this beat:

Groove of the week 5 played as a four bar pattern with fills added on the fourth bar.
Add some fills to spice things up!

Obviously, you can change the fills to suit your musical needs, make sure you’re able to play fills starting on any beat of that last bar. For suggestions on fills, head over to our fill of the week section.

If you’re in Singapore, and you’d like a free trial drum lessons, contact us via the contact us page and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

Fill Of The Week #4

This week’s fill is a classic. If you haven’t heard this somewhere I’ll be surprised! Here’s fill of the week #4:

Sounds pretty simple! It is! But it’s one of the most powerful and effective fills you’ll come across. Drummers sometimes get lost in playing busy; hitting as many things as they can, as fast as they can. Often all a song needs is a simple fill to move it along. This fill is a very effective rock music fill really makes a statement.

Where have you heard it? AC/DC’s Highway to hell and Free’s All Right Now spring to mind. But there are countless other rock songs that use this fill. It’s one you need to know.

The main thing to focus on is the flams; Make all your flams sound the same. Focus on getting consistent spacing between the grace note and the main note of the flam. Get that happening and you’ll be ready to rock.

Simple variations of this fill include splitting the hands up across different surfaces or playing the flams on different drums. Here’s 3 simple variations:

Fill of the week 4, flams played on snare, tom 1 and floor tom.
Flams On Different Drum
Fill of the week 4, hands split between snare drum and floor tom.
Left Hand On Snare, Right Hand on Floor Tom
Fill of the week 4, hands split between snare drum and crash.
Left Hand On Snare, Right Hand on Crash

While those variations on fill of the week #4 are very useful, we can create more fills by using displacement. The idea of displacement is to move all the notes in your fill a certain note value (an eighth, a quarter, a sixteenth) to the left or right. The notes on the end that get kicked out of the bar, return at the start or end of the bar depending on which direction you displaced your fill.

Here I’m going to displace fill of the week #4 one eighth note to the right. So beat 1 on the original fill will move to the “&” of 1. The note originally on the “&” of 1 moves to beat 2 and so on and so forth. The note on the “&” of four, prior to displacement, will become the new beat 1. Here’s displacement #1:

Fill of the week #4 displaced by 1 8th note to the right.
Displacement 1: Original fill displaced 1 8th note to the right.

We can keep displacing the original fill by 1 8th note another 6 times to create 7 new fills in total. Here are the other 6 displacements:

Fill of the week #4 displaced by 2 8th notes to the right.
Displacement 2: Displacement 1 displaced by 1 8th note to the right.
Fill of the week #4 displaced by 3 8th notes to the right.
Displacement 3: Displacement 2 displaced by 1 8th note to the right.
Fill of the week #4 displaced by 4 8th notes to the right.
Displacement 4: Displacement 3 displaced by 1 8th note to the right.
Fill of the week #4 displaced by 5 8th notes to the right.
Displacement 5: Displacement 4 displaced by 1 8th note to the right.
Fill of the week #4 displaced by 6 8th notes to the right.
Displacement 6: Displacement 5 displaced by 1 8th note to the right.
Fill of the week #4 displaced by 7 8th notes to the right.
Displacement 7: Displacement 6 displaced by 1 8th note to the right.

If we displaced the last fill one more time, we would end up back at our original fill.

All 7 of these variations are very useful, and of course, you can apply the earlier ideas – flams on different drums & splitting the hands between surfaces – to create more fills. You may have even heard these fills in songs. Displacement number 6 is the basis for the main drum fill in “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns n’ Roses for example.

If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, get in touch with us on the Contact Us Page.

Groove Of The Week #4

It’s groove of the week time! Here’s groove of the week #4:

Here’s one of those grooves that occurs in more songs than you’d think. Having the bass drum on the “ah” of 2 followed by a bass drum on the “&” of three is extremely common. Check out “How To Save A Life ” by The Fray, “Only Wanna Be With You” by Hootie & The Blowfish, or “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” by The Script to hear examples of this bass drum pattern.

As with Groove Of The Week #3, the challenge for beginners is to get the bass drum landing accurately on the 16th notes in between the hi-hats. As always, work with a metronome, go slow (50-60bpm), count, & focus on keeping your hi-hat steady. Here’s the groove with the counting added to help you out!

Groove 4 with counting added
Don’t Forget To Count!

The open hi-hat on the “&” of four may also need attention. Open hi-hats can sound sloppy very easily, focus on not opening the hi-hat until the & of four and closing it perfectly in sync with the bass drum on beat 1.

For more advanced players, try changing the hi-hat pattern to 2-handed 16th notes, this will force you to work on your co-ordination between your left hand and right foot. Are the bass drums on the “ah” of 1 and 2 really landing perfectly in time with the hi-hat? Record it and find out… if you’re having problems, slow it down and really focus on the left hand & right foot accuracy. Be precise with you note placement.

Groove Of The Week 4 with 2 handed 16th notes on the hi-hat
Keep Counting, Be Precise!

If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, you can arrange one on our contact us page.


Groove Of The Week #3

Here’s Groove Of The Week 3:

This is one of my favourite grooves. It just feels great to play and has lots of forward momentum. It really pushes a song along. The most famous use of this groove is probably Europe’s “The Final Countdown” but it’s not the only song out there with this groove.

For Beginners the hard part of this groove is getting the 16th note bass drum on the “ah” of 1 and the “ah” of 3. Often the right hand will want to follow the right foot and they end up playing together.

When trying this beat for the first time, go slow (50 – 60 bpm) and count. Focus on keeping your right hand playing steady 8th notes & try to slot the 16th note bass drum in without disturbing your 8th note hi-hats.

Groove of the week #3 + Counting

For more advanced players, try playing the song with a quarter note hi-hat instead. Like this:

Groove of the week #3 + Quarter Note Hi-Hat

Playing quarter notes on the hi-hat will force you to think more about your bass drum placement. Try playing 4 bars of the groove with 8th notes on the hi-hat and then 4 bars with quarter notes on the hi-hat. Is your bass drum falling in the same place in both grooves? Do the snare and bass drum sound the same in both grooves? Record yourself and find out!

If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, visit our contact us page to arrange one.

Fill Of The Week #3

Here’s fill of the week #3:

That fill might seem pretty busy, it’s only 16th notes, but there is a lot going on. Let’s break it down and approach it one step at a time.

First up, lets look at what the right hand is doing:

Step 1 – Right hand

So the right hand is just playing a simple 8th note pattern between the snare drum and floor tom – snare, snare, floor, snare, floor, snare, floor, floor. Simple!

Now lets add in the left hand

Step 2 – Add the left hand

The left hand is just playing on the “ah” each beat. For the first 3 beats it’s on the high tom and on beat 4 it plays the floor time. This is a nice drum fill on it’s own & doesn’t sound as heavy as the full fill. I use this fill in lighter playing situations. The addition of the bass drum makes it sound heavier and more “Rock.” Let’s add the bass drum.

Step 3 – Add the bass drum

The bass drum just slots nicely in the space left by the hands on the “e” of each beat .

Once you’ve mastered this fill, try and come up with your own variations by moving your hands around the kit differently. Here’s some variations to get you started:

Four Variations

Keep the sticking pattern the same as the original fill when playing these variations (R K R L). Note that the last fill is just the original fill of the week with flams added on the snare drum. Adding flams to a fill can make it seem bigger and heavier again.

If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, just visit our contact us page to arrange one.

Fill Of The Week #2

Here’s Fill Of The Week #2:

This fill uses 3 note groupings over 16th notes. This is a very common way of phrasing drum fills & this fill is a good introduction to it.

In any bar of 16th notes you can have 4 groups of 3 and 1 group of 4 notes. This fill is phrased as 3,3,3,4,3 to make the movement from the floor tom back to the snare drum easy. Here are some variations on this fill that moves the group of 4 around a bit.

Fill of the week #2 - phrased 4 3 3 3 3
Fill phrased 4, 3, 3, 3, 3
Fill phrased 3, 4, 3, 3, 4
Fill phrased 3, 3, 4, 3, 3
Fill phrased 3, 3, 3, 3, 4

Another good thing to practice when playing this type of 16th note fill is putting the bass drum on quarter notes underneath the fill. This helps to add more weight to the fill, makes it feel more complete and it keeps the pulse going so the listener doesn’t get lost (hopefully). Here’s the original fill with the bass drum added.

Fill with bass drum added on quarter notes

Now try adding the bass drum to the other variations.

If you’re in Singapore and you’d like drum lessons, you can arrange a free trial lesson on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #2

Here’s groove of the week #2:

Like Groove Of The Week 1, this is a basic groove that is probably the 2nd or 3rd one that students learn when they first start drumming. It features in so many songs that you really need to spend the time to master it. You’ll have heard it in songs by Green Day, Coldplay, Maroon 5, Imagine Dragon and many many more.

As with all these grooves, make sure you record yourself playing it and focus on playing it as smoothly as possible. Remember that you are laying a foundation for a band to play on top of, if you don’t provide a strong & solid foundation the band isn’t going to sound any good.

This is also a great groove to start experimenting with accenting your hi-hat pattern. Use the shoulder of the stick to create the accent and the tip of the stick to play the unaccented notes. Try it on the on the downbeats…

…. and then on the upbeat

You may find this challenging at first, but it’ll give you 3 very useful variations of the same groove.

If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.