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Fill Of The Week #65

Beats two and three are lava!

Here’s a fill which appears relatively simple, but it’s the notes that are missing that make it tricky; We’re not playing on beats 2 or 3. We’ve done similar things on fill of the week #9, you might want to check that one 0ut too.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start with the basic rhythm & sticking pattern:

the basic fill

It looks easy, but if you try playing at speed, you’ll probably fail. Take this one slow to start with, 50-60bpm. Count out loud and get used to the space between the “&” of 1 and the “e” of 2. Also get used to not playing on beat.

Note the sticking pattern that I use. My right hand plays any numbers (1 and 4) and any “&”s, my left hand plays all the “e”s and “Ah”s. This is the sticking that feels most natural to me, it doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with your own sticking though.

Once we can play the rhythm and we’re comfortable with sticking pattern, then we can orchestrate it around the kit. I went for a simple orchestration for this one. I’m sure you can come up with something more extravagent.

The full fill
The full fill.

Now you can work on speeding it up, try to reach 120bpm. Work with a metronome and keep counting!

Take It Further

Once you’ve finished coming up with orchestrations for the fill of the week, try orchestrating these rhythms as well:

Fill Variations
Fill Variations

Start playing these slowly at first, use a metronome and count. Use which ever sticking works for you – I suggest Right hand on numbers and “&”s and left hand on “e”s and “ah”s.

Once you have a pattern down, try orchestrating it around the kit.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #65. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.

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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #65

Let’s add some colour to our grooves this week.

This week’s groove is a funky 2 bar pattern that’s been spiced up with the floor tom and the rim of the snare drum. We recently looked at adding the rim of the snare drum to our grooves on groove of the week #62; you might want to check that one out too.

Get The Groove

This week’s groove is a two bar pattern. Let’s start by looking at the basic groove for the first bar.

The first bar
Basically Funky

This groove features a funky 16th note bass drum pattern. Hopefully you can play this groove already. If not, play it very slowly with a metronome (40-50bpm) and count along as you play.

The only change we’re going to make on the first bar is to add a floor tom on beat 1. The Right hand comes across from the hi-hat to the floor tom, combines with the bass drum and makes the first note of the bar sound BIG.

The first bar with floor tom added
Going BIG on beat 1

Now we’ll look at the second bar. Here’s the basic groove:

The second bar
Funky basics

The only difference between the first basic groove and this one is that we’re missing a bass drum on beat 3.

Now let’s add in the floor tom on beat 1 again to get that BIG beat 1.

The second bar with floor tom added
Bash that tom

Our final change to the second bar is to spice up beat 3 by playing the rim of the snare drum on beat 3 and the “e” of 3.

the second bar with snare rims addded
Bar 2 complete.

Now all that remains is to put both bars together to create the full 2 bar pattern.

the full groove
The 2 bar groove.

Taking It Further

On groove of the week #62 we explored adding the snare drum rim into our grooves. So now lets explore adding the occasional floor tom into our grooves. Here’s three grooves to try:

floor tom groove variations.
Floor Tom Fun

The first variation sees the right hand moving from the hi-hat to the floor tom on beat 3. It’s sandwiched between two bass drums with open hi-hats. This adds a nice colour change at the low end on beat 3. Be sure to close the hi-hat on beat 3 with the floor tom.

The second variation takes a very common groove and has us play the left hand 16th notes on the floor tom instead of the snare drum. Note that we’re playing the ride cymbal here to make it easier for the left hand to access the floor tom.

The final variation is a linear groove. Your right hand should play the floor tom part and the left and plays the hi-hat and snare drum parts.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Groove Of The Week #65. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

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Fill Of The Week #64

I feel the need, the need for speed.

This week’s drum fill flies by at 12obpm, which doesn’t sound all that fast, but because we’re playing 16th note triplets, it just zooms by. If you like 16th note triplet drum fills, check out fill of the week #38 for more 16th note triplet ideas.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start out by taking a look at the basic rhythm of this drum fill.

The basic rhythm.
Basic Training

Play this rhythm carefully with a metronome. Count out loud as you do so. Aim for a even spaced single strokes.

Now let’s add in the bass drum and crash cymbal.

adding the bass drum & crash
Bring The Noise

Having the crash on beat 2 and the “&” of 3 is very common rock drumming phrasing. Listen to bands such as the Foo Fighters, Blink 182, My Chemical Romance and you’ll hear drum fills with crashes in these positions.

The final step is to orchestrate the hands around the kit. For each group of six 16th note triplets, I went with three notes on the snare, one on the high tom and 2 on the floor tom. You can come up with your own orchestration – you don’t have to keep it the same for each group of 6 notes also. Here’s mine:

The full drum fill
You’re A Top Gun Now

To get the speed up on this, practice the orchestration slowly and repeat it many times. Eventually your hands will be able to move between the drums without thinking.

Taking it Further

As mentioned above, you can easily re-orchestrate the sticking to create your own fills. So, instead of doing that, let’s look at keeping the phrasing the same but changing the subdivision. Orchestrate these ideas around the kit.

drum fill variations

The first of our drum fills just uses 8th notes and may seem a little pedestrian. Try playing it at 180-220bpm. You’ll find it’s a good fill to have when playing at faster tempos.

The second drum fill is the most advanced. We’re using 8th note triplets, but to keep the phrasing the same; the second block of triplets starts on the “&” of 2 and goes over beat 3 – we don’t count beat 3 because we’re not playing on it. I suggest counting this rhythm out against an 8th note metronome before trying to play it.

The final drum fill is probably the most common version of this fill, sixteenth notes. This one shouldn’t cause you any problems and is the most common version of this fill.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #64. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.

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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #64

It’s groove of the week time!

This week’s groove sounds relatively simple, but the coordination required to pull it off may trip you up. We have a busy, accented, 16th note hi-hat pattern, rim shots & ghost notes and, 16th note bass drums to work with.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the basic groove that was built upon to create this week’s groove.

The basic groove
Just the basics.

Note that we’re playing rim shots on beats 2 & 4 already. Hopefully you can already play this groove. Our first change will be to add in a ghost note on the snare. The ghost note will be on the “ah” of 2. Try to get a big contrast between the rim shots (loud) and the ghost note (soft).

adding in a ghost note.
Ghost me.

The star of this groove is the hi-hat pattern, let’s add a basic version of the hi-hat pattern to this beat.

changing the hi-hat
How’s my hat look?

The hi-hat pattern has now changed to playing the first three 16th notes of each beat: 1 e & 2 e & 3 e & 4 e &. This makes the groove sound a lot busier. Play this groove very slowly at first (40-50bpm) and count all of the 16th notes.

Once you can play that then we can add the finishing touches. The first one just adds a bit more movement to the groove: accents on the off beats.

add accents to the hi-hat
Going offbeat.

This is a fairly subtle change. I’m accenting the hi-hat on the “&”s of each beat but it’s not super loud. I achieve this by playing the first two hi-hat notes on top of the hi-hat with the tip of the stick and I play the “&” with the shoulder of the stick on the edge of the hi-hat. The sound is actually generated from the arm movement. If you watch the video closely you’ll see my right arn is moving back and forth. This is a technique most drummers use to add accents to their hi-hats and to make them sound more like a shaker.

The final finishing touch is an open hi-hat on the “&” of 4. I keep the arm movement mentioned above happening so that I get a full sound from the open hi-hat by accenting it as I open it.

The full groove
Your groove is complete.

Taking It Further

You’ve just spend time working on an awesome sounding hi-hat pattern, why not practice it with some more grooves?

Variations on a groove.
Groove is inevitable

The first variation just allows you to get more comfortable with the hi-hat pattern.

The second variation changes up the bass drum pattern.

The third variation adds the “ah” of two back in on the snare drum, but this time it’s not ghosted and has a syncopated bass drum on the “&” of 3.

The final groove challenges your bass drum/ hi-hat co-ordination. Take this one slow.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #64. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.

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Fill Of The Week #63

It’s paradiddle time!

This week’s drum fill features the paradiddle – three of them to be precise. The last time we played with the paradiddle was on Fill Of The Week #39 when we played paradiddles around the kit with a right hand lead. This time, we’re leading with the left hand and using singles on beat 4 to give a comfortable ending with the right hand landing on beat 1 of the next bar.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start by looking at the basic sticking pattern we’ll be using for this drum fill.

The basic sticking pattern.
Just the basics.

Your first job is to get comfortable with this sticking pattern. Because this pattern doesn’t lend itself to automatically restarting (you need to play 2 lefts in a row), I suggest playing this in a loop with a simple groove.

Loop with groove and basic sticking pattern.
Loop it.

If you normally start your drum fills with the Right hand, this might feel strange. Pay attention to the first note; I found that I was starting a little earlier than beat 1 because my left hand is more used to playing on the “ah” of 4 than it is on beat 1. A little bit of focused practice will iron out any problems like that.

Now all that remains is to orchestrate the drum fill around the kit. Here’s my orchestration:

The full fill
The full, glorious, fill.

I just moved the Right hand single strokes around the toms and then played a common pattern for the single strokes on beat 4 to end the drum fill.

Taking It Further

One thing I like to do with drum fills is vary the ending. This helps to increase your fill vocabulary and allows you to tailor the end of the fill to the suit the mood of the song you are playing.

Here’s three suggestions for the end of this fill.

Three variations on the ending
Write your own ending.

Our first variation just moves the final four sixteenth notes around the toms in a different way. There are thousands of variations of that you can put on the end. As an exercise I suggest you play the fill in a loop like the one suggested earlier and try to come up with a different sixteenth note ending every time.

The second variation has us change the subdivision at the end to triplets. This always sounds more dramatic to me.

The final variation adds more energy to the fill with a sixteenth note triplet ending.

Play around with each of the variations and create your own versions.

I hope you’ve enjoyed drum fill of the week #63. Check out the archives for more drum fill ideas. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

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Groove Of The Week #63

Let’s get funky!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CEn6EjcglMK/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

This week’s groove takes a fairly common groove and just drops an unexpected snare in the middle to funk it up a bit. This is something that you might use occasionally when playing a groove to change it up a little. To hear a song where this is done constantly, have a listen to “Tighten Up” by The Black Keys.

Get The Groove

Let’s start off by playing a basic version of this groove.

The basic groove
Keeping it basic.

Hopefully you can already play the basic groove. To change it up, we’re going to move the right hand from the hi-hat to the snare drum on beat 1 of the second bar.

adding in the final snare drum
Snare drum surprise.

That gives us the full groove… however there are a couple more finishing touches we can add… The first one is Rim Shots on beats 2 and 4. This helps to distinguish the back beat from the other snare drum notes.  

adding in rim shots
Hit that rim.

The final finishing touch is an open hi-hat on the “&” of 1 in the second bar.

The final groove.
The final groove.

Taking It Further

We can add this surprise snare drum to other grooves. Check out these variations.

Surprise!

Our first groove sees us doing the suprise snare drum trick twice in a row and then having a more sedate end to the groove.

The second groove does the suprise snare drum on beat 1 of the first bar as well as on beat 3 of second bar. Note that we don’t play a bass drum on beat 1 anywhere in this groove. That might feel strange to you. I added a bass drum on beat 3 of the first bar to help anchor the groove.

The final groove sees us adding the surprise snare 3 times in a row. That might be overkill… I suggest sprinkling it into your grooves occasionally. Have a listen to “Sucker” by The Jonas Brothers and you’ll hear it on the 7th bar of the drum break that starts around the 2 minute mark.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #63. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.

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Fill Of The Week #62

Here’s some fun with fives:

This week’s fill sees us taking a 5 note grouping and spreading it across 16th notes and 16th note triplets to make a 19 note fill. This might not be something you incorporate into every song you play, but it’s a good mental workout. We’ve done work with fives before, check out fill of the week #28 for an example with 5 note groupings over 16th note triplets. You might want to work on that before attempting this one.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start by looking at the basic rhythm of the fill.

The basic rhythm
Going Basic.

The basic rhythm of the fill has us playing 16th notes from beat 1 up to the “e” of 3, and then 16th note triplets from the “&” of 3 up to the end of the bar. This creates a 19 note fill.

Play this basic rhythm with alternating hands on your snare drum to get comfortable with the switch from 16th notes to 16th note triplets. Work with an eighth note metronome and count out loud as you play it. I suggest starting at 40 – 50bpm.

Once you are comfortable playing the basic rhythm, then we can add in the 5 note grouping. Our five note group for this fill is Right-Left-Right-Left-Kick. I like to put the kick drum on the end of the group as it then falls naturally on the beat 1 of the next bar with the crash cymbal. Let’s put the 5 note group into the basic rhythm:

Applying the 5 note group.
Fill Full Of Fives

Practice this pattern very slowly with your metronome. Count out loud as you play it. Make note of where each group starts and ends. Check that your right hand is playing on beat 1, the “e” of 2, the “&” of 3 and the “ta” of 4. Check that your bass drum is on beat 2, the “e” of 3 and the “ti” of 4. You may need to practice this pattern for a while before you get it accurate. Go as slow as you need too to get it right.

Once you can play the pattern, it’s just a matter of orchestrating it around the kit. Here’s my orchestration:

orchestrating the 5 note group.
The Full Fill

Take It Further

When you’ve spent time learning a complicated fill like this, it’s worth exploring as many variations of it as you can to expand your vocabulary. Here’s some additional ideas for you to try:

additional fills.
More Fun With Fives

Our first variation just has us playing 4 notes per surface on the snare and tom toms.

The second variation has us playing a common pattern between snare and toms that just repeats with each group of 5.

The third variation sees us changing the 5 note group to Right-Left-Left-Right-Kick. You may want to practice that just between the snare and kick, like we did with the original pattern, before orchestrating it around the kit.

The final variation sees us playing a new 5 note grouping with the kick drum now on the fourth note of the group: Right-Left-Left-Kick-Left. The left hand does most of the work in this pattern – however it does get to stay on the snare drum. The right hand works it’s way around the snare and toms, the left hand ghosts the two notes before the bass drum and then hits a regular snare (or rimshot even) after the bass drum. Again, take this slow & practice it just between the snare and bass drum first.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #62 – it’s a challenging one! If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

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Groove Of The Week #62

Here’s groove of the week #62:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CETJxsqAsDr/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

This week’s groove is a fairly sparse off-beat hi-hat groove, but to liven it up we’ve added a little bit of snare drum rim action.

Using the rim of a drum to add a different colour to a groove has been done by many artists. For example, you’ll hear it on “Need You Tonight” by INXS, “Song 2″ by Blur,”Harder To Breathe” by Maroon 5 and “Solace Of You” by Living Color.

Get The Groove

Let’s take look at the basic groove that we’re going to change up.

the basic groove
The Basic Groove.

Start by playing this basic groove. Go slow and count, make sure you get everything in the right place.

Now lets add in our first modification. This will be a floor tom and an open hi-hat on the “&” of 4. We’ll close the open hi-hat on beat 1 of the next bar.

adding the floor tom.
Adding the floor tom.

To play this floor tom and open hi hat combination, I uncross my hands and play the floor tom with my right hand and the open hi-hat with my left.

Now let’s add in the final piece of the puzzle, the rim of the snare drum.

the full groove
Adding the rim.

The rim of the snare drum is being played on beats 3 and 3e. I bring my right hand off of the hi-hat to play the rim on beat 3, my left hand plays the rim on the “e” of 3 while my right hand returns to hi-hat for the “&” of 3. There you have the full groove. Enjoy!

Taking It Further

The rim of the snare drum, or any other drum, can be a useful colour to add into your grooves. Let’s have a look at some further examples. Here’s 3 more grooves to try:

3 groove suggestions
Rim of fire.

The first groove takes a fairly common ghost note groove and just moves what would be the ghost notes on to the rim of the snare drum.

The second groove takes a two-handed 16th note groove and moves the left hand down to the rim of the snare drum for all the “e” and “ah” notes.

The final variation is a linear groove with the left hand playing the hi-hat and snare drum parts, the right hand plays all the notes on the rim of the snare drum.

Experiment with your favourite grooves and see where you can add in the rim of a drum.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #62. If you’re in Singapore and would like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

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Fill Of The Week #61

Help Help Help! I’ve displaced my paradiddle-diddles!

Displaced paradiddle-diddles. Yep. That’s a thing! For this drum fill we’re using a displaced paradiddle-diddle sticking. Instead of starting the paradiddle-diddle with 2 single strokes – the “para” – we’re starting it with the double strokes on the last diddle; The paradiddle-diddle is now a diddle-paradiddle. Some may call that an inward or inverted paradiddle-diddle. You could even make a case for it being an inward 6 stroke roll. It doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as you can play it!

For more paradiddle-diddle fun check out fill of the week #27

Learn The Fill

The first step in learning this drum fill is to get the sticking pattern down. Let’s check it out.

the basic sticking
I proudly present the diddle-paradiddle

The sticking pattern starts with a double Right (RR) and then moves into left paradiddle-diddle sticking (LRLLRR) from the “&” of 1 onwards until it gets cut off at the end of the bar. Practice this sticking pattern on the snare or a practice pad until it feels easy.

The next step is to orchestrate the pattern around the kit. I put all of the double strokes on the hi-hat, the left hand single strokes on the snare and the right hand single strokes around the tom-toms. Here’s my orchestration:

the orchestrated pattern
Orchestrate, Orchestrate, Orchestrate!

You might like that pattern as it is, I did. However, I added one more finishing touch which is a bass drum with the first Right in each Right hand double. Here’s the full pattern:

the full drum fill
The full fill

Taking It Further

You are welcome to re-orchestrate this drum fill around the kit in any way you see fit. I encourage you to play with it. While you’re doing that, here’s two more versions of the drum fill to play with.

displaced drum fill variations
Displace, Displace, Displace!

The first version of the drum fill just shifts it all two sixteenth notes to the left so we start with the paradiddle-diddle.

The second version shifts the first version another two sixteenth notes to the left so we get diddle-diddle-para.

Explore both versions & find out which works best for you.

Another thing I like to do with six note stickings is take them over the bar line. Here’s two more versions of this drum fill going over the bar line:

Over the bar line drum fill variations
Somewhere over the bar line, way up high….

The first drum fill starts before the barline on the “&” of 4 and gives us three complete “RRLRLL” cycles. You’ll note that the second bar is the same as the first drum fill from the earlier variations.

The second drum fill starts on beat one, but carries on over the barline to give us 3 complete “RRLRLL” cycles. We can conclude this drum fill with a bass drum and crash on the “&” of 1.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #61. If you’re in Singapore and would like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

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Groove Of The Week #61

Simple. Syncopated. Speedy.

This week’s groove is a syncopated beat with quarter notes on the hi-hat and an open hi-hat on beat one of every second bar. It’s going by pretty quick though at 180bpm. Are your offbeats accurate enough to keep up?

Get The Groove

There’s not a lot to this groove. There are no paradiddles, sixteenth note triplets, 32nd notes, ghost notes etc… It’s just a simple rock beat. However, the speed we’re playing it at may cause a little trouble for some. Let’s look at the groove a bar at a time. First up, the first bar:

the first bar
The First Bar

This is a fairly straight forward bar. The open hi-hat on beat 1 might be new for you. Make sure to open it precisely on beat 1 and close is precisely on beat 2.

Here’s the second bar:

the second bar
The Second Bar

This bar might feel a little strange, there is no bass drum on beat one, this often throws beginner drummers off. Take it slow and count. Go slowly and get the sequence into your limbs… Hi-Hat, Bass Drum, Hi-Hat, Snare Drum, Hi-Hat, Bass Drum, Snare & Hi-Hat together.

Once you can play both bars separately, then you can try the full groove:

the full groove
The Full Groove

Taking It Further

This is the kind of groove I like to jam around with in my practice time. I’ll sit and play it and look for variations and see where I can take it. Just allowing myself to play freely to see what ideas it inspires – often ending up in a completely different groove and feel.

When I’m playing like this I often incorporate what I call Groove Fills. With a groove fill you keep the time going with your right hand, and vary the bass and snare drum. We’re not breaking away from the hi-hat pattern to play on the toms, we’re keeping the momentum of the hi-hat going but changing up the bass and snare. Here’s some examples for this groove:

groove fill variations
Adding a little groove fill.

The first variation sees us just changing the ending. Putting a bass drum on beat 4 and moving the snare drum to the “&” of 4.

The second variation delays the snare drum until the very end of the beat, this creates a lot of tension in the groove.

The third and fourth variations are very common groove fills that work well with this groove and many others.

I suggest you play the original groove 3 times and then follow it up with one of these variations to create a useful 8 bar pattern. Then try and create your own groove fill variations.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #61. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page