Fill Of The Week #13

It’s time for fill of the week. Here’s lucky number 13:

This fill was inspired by the drum fill intro to “You Could Be Mine” by Guns n’ Roses. The fills use the same first 6 notes, but the GnR fill is over 2 bars, I had to cram mine into 1 bar. I also threw in a little 16th note triplet twist on beat 4 so I could get more notes in.

Learn The Fill

The first step in learning this fill is to be comfortable moving from 16th notes to 16th note triplets. If you haven’t already mastered this, I suggest just playing the rhythm of the fill on the snare drum and counting along. Use a metronome set to count 8th notes.

Be sure to count out loud!

If you are having trouble moving smoothly from the 16th notes to the 16th note triplets, try this exercise:

Listen to the 8th note Tom pattern.

In this exercise the Right hand moves between the floor tom and the high tom on beats 1,2 & 3, then when you move to the 16th note triplets the left hand has to play the high tom on the “&” of 4 to keep the tom pattern going. Listen to the eighth note Tom Tom pattern, can you make it sound even?

Once you can play the basic rhythm on the snare drum, then it is just a matter of moving it around the kit. Here’s the full fill:

Keep counting & work with a metronome.

The speed you can play this fill at will be determined either by your bass drum or the 16th note triplets. Start at 60bpm and aim for 120bpm. You may be able to get it up to 140 – 150bpm with practice.

Take It Further

To take this further, practice changing the last beat. Try these examples:

Simple 16th note ending
16th note ending with flams.
Alternative 16th note triplet ending
32nd note ending

Practicing in this manner helps to increase your fill vocabulary and will allow you to adapt the fill to the musical situation you are in. Do you want more energy? Go for the 32nd notes. Want to keep it nice and smooth? Simple 16th notes are the answer. Want to put an exclamation point on the end of a phrase, go for the flams.

You can also change the melody of the first 3 beats by keeping the hand/foot pattern the same but changing the combination of snare and toms. Here’s two examples.

Melody variation 1
Melodic variation 2

You’ll notice that I like to echo what happens in the middle of the fill, between beat 2 and the “&” of 3, in the 16th note triplets at the end. This helps to to reinforce the melody of the fill further and sounds quite musical.

I hope you enjoy this fill. For a free trial drum lesson in Singapore, send us a message via the contact us page.


Groove Of The Week #13

Here’s groove of the week #13, things are gonna get pretty tricky this week!

This is one of those grooves that just kept evolving and growing, I kept finding more fun things to add to it. Let’s get to work on our 4-way co-ordination.

Get The Groove

First, let’s look at the basic groove. Here’s what I built upon to create this groove:

The basic groove

Hopefully that looks pretty easy to play, but, if it causes you problems, check out Groove Of The Week #11 because it’s almost the exact same beat and I break down how to play it in that post.

Now we’ll look at the 3 elements that we’ll add to this to create the final groove. We’ll look at them separately first before we start combining them.

The first element is the ghosted 16th note triplets. When I play these, I don’t count them, I just feel them between the 8th note triplet pulse and I count the 8th note triplet. Here’s the basic groove with the ghost notes added:

basic groove + ghost notes
Count out loud and feel those ghost notes

Play this beat until you can do it without thinking. Once you’ve got it down, then you can try the next two elements.

The next element is the quarter note ride bell pattern. Here it is with the basic groove.

basic groove + bell
Ring my bell

Once that is comfortable, try adding the ghosts back in:

basic groove + bell and ghost notes
You rang m’lord?

You may want to stop here, this sounds like a pretty good groove already, but, if you want the 4-way co-ordination workout then proceed.

The final element is the displaced quarter note triplet hi-hat. Here it is with the basic groove:

Basic groove with hi-hat foot added
Don’t forget to count & breathe…

Once you have that try it with the other two elements. I suggest doing it separately at first. Here’s the first combination:

basic groove + ghosts + hi-hat
Ghost Notes + Hi-Hat

And the next combination:

Basic groove + bell + hi-hat
Bell + Hi-Hat

Finally, add it all together to get the complete groove.

The full groove
The Full Groove!

Take things slow with this groove. It’s an advanced groove with 4-way co-ordination. Take it step by step, practice it slowly, and eventually you’ll be able to amaze your friends and family with it.

Take It Further

As I was developing this groove, I had a few other ideas before I arrived at the final one. Here’s a few you can try.

First up, start the hi-hat quarter note triplets on beat 1:

full groove with hi-hat displaced
Move the hi-hats back to beat 1

Secondly, play quarter note triplets on the ride cymbal bell – alternating with the displaced quarter note triplets on the hi-hat.

full groove with alternative bell pattern
Hit the ride bell every other 8th note

Finally, switch the hi-hat foot and ride bell from the previous example:

full groove + alternative hi-hat and bell pattern
How much fun can you have with one groove?

I hope you’ve enjoyed the challenge of this groove. Working on your 4-way co-ordination will benefit your drumming no end will allow you to play more complex ideas.

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 #12

Here’s Fill Of The Week #12:

That’s a funky fill! There’s a lot going on. Lets get to it!

Learn The Fill

The first step to learning this fill is to get comfortable with the 16th note hi-hat barks. We’ll start by getting the arm movement correct between the snare and closed hi-hat.

Just hi-hat and snare
Just closed hi-hat and snare.

Next we’ll add in the open hi-hat. Make sure to snap the hi-hat closed on the very next 16th note. Do this as slowly as necessary to make it sound clean and to get a consistent open hi-hat sound – probably 40bpm – 60bpm to start with.

Opening the hi-hats
Snap those hi-hats closed.

After that, lets bring in the bass drum.

adding the bass drum
Bring in the bass.

The final step is to distribute the 16th notes from beats 3 and 4 around the kit.

adding the toms
The full fill.

Take It Further

The easy way to expand on this fill is to keep the first two beats the same and vary the last two beats. Try these variations:

Messing around with beats 3 & 4.

You can also experiment with extending the hi-hat barks throughout the whole fill. Try these variations:

Barking all night long

Practice these variations slowly at first and listen to the quality and consistency of your hi-hat barks.

I hope you enjoy fill of the week #12. If you’re in Singapore and would like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #12

Here’s groove of the week 12:

Groove of the week #12 is a pretty funky 2 bar pattern featuring a 16th note bass drum, 16th note hi-hat embellishments and, those awesome sounding open hi-hats on beats 3 & 4 of the 2nd bar. This groove reminds me of pop-funk grooves that you hear from from artists like Prince or Terence Trent D’arby.

Learn The Groove

The first step in learning this groove is to play a simple version of it with just an 8th note hi-hat pattern. Try this beat first:

The basic beat
Start with the basics

The next step is to add in the 16th note hi-hats in the middle of the groove. Note that the left hand just slots them in between the eighth notes on the right hand. Your right hand doesn’t need to change at all.

Add in the 16th note hi-hats
Embellish those hi-hats

The final step is to add in the open hi-hats at the end of the second bar. Adding an open hi-hat on the beat is not done as often as opening the hi-hat on the off-beats; you may struggle with this if you haven’t tried it before.

To get used to doing it try this exercise. First get the pattern between the bass, snare and pedalled hi-hat.

practice step one for open hi-hats on the beat.
Count and focus on your hi-hat.

Focus on opening the hi-hat on the beat, when you hit the bass and snare, and closing it precisely on the “&”. You should be counting 8th notes – 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & etc.

The next step is to add the right hand on the quarter notes and create the open hi-hat sound.

practice step two for open hi-hats on the beat
Keep counting.

Your focus now should be on the open hi-hat sound and making them all consistent. Make sure to hit the hi-hat in the same manner each time and focus on keeping your hi-hat opening and closing smooth and precise.

When you are comfortable with opening the hi-hat on the beat, try adding it to the groove of the week.

The full groove.
The full groove

Take It Further

The two main things to take from this groove are the 16th note hi-hat embellishments and the open hi-hats on the beat. Try adding these two elements into other grooves.

Here’s the 16th note hi-hat embellishment applied 3 different ways to a simple beat:

Variations with 16th note hi-hat embellishments
Embellish those hats!

And here’s the open hi-hat applied to the same simple beat:

Variations with open hi-hats on the beats.
Open those hats!

Opening the hi-hat on the beat adds a strong rhythmic element to the groove. You can hear it on Squib Cakes by Tower Of Power, Material Girl by Madonna, Walk This Way by Aerosmith and Umbrella by Rihanna to name a few.

I hope you enjoy Groove Of The Week #12. If you’re in Singapore and would like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message via the Contact Us page.

Fill Of The Week #11

It’s time for fill of the week. Lets get to it:

So we’re in eighth note triplet mode again, but we’re spicing things up by using a popular hybrid rudiment – the Herta. Let’s learn the fill.

Learn The Fill

The first step to learning this fill is playing 8th note triplets using a R R L sticking:

8th note triplets played RRL
Count those triplets

Next we can insert the 16th note triplet with the left hand between the two right hands:

RRL triplets with additional left hand thrown in
Keep counting

Note that we don’t need to count the 16th note triplet, just place it evenly between the first two partials of the 8th note triplet.

Our final step is to orchestrate the fill around the kit. Here’s the full fill:

The full fill
Still counting?

In case your still wondering what a Herta is:

The Herta
Don’t Herta Me!

You may also see the Herta written as two 32nd notes followed by two 16ths or as two 16th followed by two 8ths. It’ll pop up in our fill of the week again in the future.

Take It Further

Here’s some simple ways of orchestrating this fill around the kit. Our first variation has us moving the first note of the herta around the kit:

Orchestration 1
Moving the first note around

Our second variation sees us moving the 2nd right hand around the kit:

Orchestration 2
Moving the middle note around

Our final variation sees us adding the bass drum on the last note of the herta:

Orchestration 3
Putting the bass drum on the last note

Put this fill together with Groove of the week #11 and start creating variations of your own.

Hope you enjoyed this fill of the week. For drum lessons in Singapore, send us a message via our contact us page to arrange a free trial.

Groove Of The Week #11

It’s that time of the week where we get groovy! Here’s groove of the week #11:

Groove of the week #11 is brought to you by I’m The Only One by Melissa Etheridge, Dazed & Confused by Led Zeppelin, and, countless Blues Songs. Let’s get into it.

Get The Groove

This beat is based on the eighth note triplet. A lot of Jazz & Blues & early Soul music is based on the eighth note triplet and it’s important to become familiar with it. It was also heard in a lot of pop and rock music from the 1960s and 1970s as the music was heavily influenced by blues and soul music.

Listen to bands like Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Queen, & The Jimi Hendrix Experience and you’ll hear the triplet feel come up quite often. More recently, Duffy, Ed Sheeran, Meghan Trainor and Alicia Keys have had hit songs with the triplet Feel.

Let’s start by counting the triplet Hi-Hat:

Count Out Loud

Next, lets add the bass drum on 1 and 3 and the snare on 2 & 4:

Keep Counting

Once you are comfortable with that basic groove, then you can add the remaining bass drums.

The Full Groove

This is a great sounding groove and one of my favourites to play with a band. Try it out at your next blues jam session.

Taking It Further

A common thing to do with an eighth note triplet hi-hat pattern is to add the occasional 16th note triplet to it. Check out these two examples:

Side order of 16th notes during beats 1 & 3
Bonus 16th notes during beats 2 & 4

Have a listen to “Bring It On Home To Me” By The animals for ideas on where this is used.

Another thing we can do to spice up this groove is add accents to the hi-hat pattern. Let’s start with the basic one:

Accents on the beat

Accenting the main beat helps to drive the groove along even more. Try this one for more fun:

Quarter Note Triplet Accents

Accenting every other note highlights the quarter note triplet and makes for interesting listening. Hear it in action on “Black Velvet” By Alannah Myles. Play the 8th note triplets on the ride cymbal and put the accents on the bell for more fun. Or… try this:

My Head Hurts!

Now we’ve displaced the quarter note triplet accent to create another interesting variation… you can hear something similar to this on the Tears For Fears song “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”. Again try it with the accent on the bell of the ride cymbal for extra fun.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #11. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, let us know on the contact us page.

Fill Of The Week #10

It’s fill of the week time. Here’s number 10:

This is a simple accented 16th note fill that shows how accents can bring life to anything you play. Let’s learn it.

Learn The Fill

There is not a great deal to this fill. It’s 16th notes played on the snare drum and we’re accenting some of them. Here’s the fill.

Fill of the week
Let me hear those accents

Practice this fill slowly at first, really exaggerate the motions and difference between the accented and unaccented notes. Your accented notes want to be as loud as a shout, your unaccented notes should be as quiet as a whisper. Speed it up slowly and try to maintain the different sound levels.

A common problem I hear when people try to learn these fills is they don’t focus on what the sticks are doing & they don’t listen to the sound they are producing. Often the fill sounds flat because the soft notes are too loud and the loud notes are too soft.

To prevent this, play all of the soft notes with the sticks at a 0 degree angle – parallel to the drum, 3 – 5 cm or 1 – 2 inches above it – don’t let them come up any higher than that. Play all of the loud notes from a 90 degree angle – perpendicular to the drum – don’t start them any lower. This should ensure your accented and unaccented notes sound different as you have a lot more time to accelerate the stick when starting at a 90 degree angle as opposed to a 0 degree angle.

As you speed up you may need to lower the accents from that 90 degree angle, but don’t let the soft notes get any higher and make sure there is still an easily discernible difference between your accented and unaccented notes. Focus on what your sticks are doing and the accents will come out naturally.

Take It Further

A simple way to make this fill sound a little fuller is to add the bass drum on the quarter note pulse. This adds more weight to the fill and highlights the contrast between the pulse and the accent pattern more.

Fill of the week with added bass drum

The easiest way to vary an accent pattern is to put some or all of the accented notes on the toms. This can create melodic ideas between the snare and toms. Here’s 3 examples:

Fill of the week with added toms

When you moving from an accented Tom note back to an unaccented snare note, focus on playing the unaccented snare note quietly. Often with this type of fill, the student focuses on playing the accents on the tom toms and completely forgets that most, or maybe all, of the snare drum notes are supposed to be quiet. If you play all of the snare drum notes loud, you’ll drown out the accents on the toms. It’s the Tom Tom melody that we want to hear, not the the snare drum (unless it’s accented and part of the melody.) Try adding the bass drum in on the quarter note pulse to spice these fills up further.

Another good exercise to try that will work on your stick control is to take a pattern that is commonly played around the kit and apply the accent pattern to it. In this first example I take a pattern that everyone has played, four 16th notes on each drum going around the kit, and apply the accent pattern to it.

Common pattern with toms added #1
Four 16th Notes Per Drum

What was originally a very simple pattern to play has now got more difficult. Take your time with it and develop the ability to drop accents into common ways of moving around the kit. It’ll help you to express yourself fully on the kit.

Here’s two more common patterns to try:

Common pattern with toms added #2
Two 16th Notes Per Drum
Common pattern with toms added #3
6-6-4 Fill With Accents Added

Have fun trying out all those variations of Fill Of The Week #10. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the Contact Us page.

Groove Of The Week #10

Here’s groove of the week #10.

This week’s groove is a two handed 16th note groove and it’s basically the main groove from the Simple Minds’ song Alive & Kicking but with accents added to give it a little twist.

Accents added in this manner can bring a groove to life and give it a new feel. Let’s learn this groove.

Get The Groove

The first step in learning this groove is getting the accent pattern correct. Here it is played on the hi-hat:

Count 16th notes while playing this.

Next, lets add the snare drum on 2 & 4. Focus on the accents with the right hand before and after each snare drum hit.

Hit the Snare on 2 & 4 instead of the Hi-Hat

Our final step is to add the bass drum. Here’s the full groove:

The full groove

It you are having trouble with this groove, you may need to practice the groove without the accents first. Try this:

Groove minus accents.

Get the base groove into your muscle memory first and then try adding the accents once you find the base groove easy. You may also want to try the first two examples from the next section as they feature a simpler bass drum pattern.

Taking It Further

Once you are comfortable with the hi-hat accent pattern, try it with different bass drum patterns. Here’s a few to get you started.

Let me hear those accents!

For different take on this, you can try putting your right hand on the ride cymbal and playing the right hand accents on the bell of the ride. You may need to play a little slower as the right hand has a long way to travel between snare and ride bell; Hitting the bell consistently may be a problem to start with.

Ring The Bell!

I hope you enjoyed Groove Of The Week #10. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like drum lessons. send us a message on the contact us page.

Fill Of The Week #9

Here’s fill of the week #9

This is one of the those fills that sounds easy but needs careful practice to play precisely. There is a fill similar to this on Extreme’s Get The Funk Out. During the song it’s played while a horn section plays the same rhythm and it sounds huge. Let’s get into it.

Learn The Fill

Lets take a look at the fill with the counting added.

Count it out!

That’s a lot of “Es” and “AHs” we have to play without any support from the notes in between. The first step is to get comfortable playing all those 16th notes on the “Es” and “AHs”. Try this exercise:

Keep counting!

Work with a metronome at 40bpm and count out loud. I recommend a metronome that can play 16th note subdivisions clearly – such as TempoPerfect by NCH software (it’s free.)

If you can’t play those 16th notes accurately, you can’t play the fill. Keep practicing and counting – it may take a while. Try mixing it up with this exercise to help feel the difference between playing on the 8ths and 16ths:

Still Counting?

If you’ve made it this far, you should be able to play the fill now. While playing the fill, focus on keeping your left hand moving smoothly; it should help get those 16th notes played evenly.

Taking It Further

As the original fill is all played on the snare, the simple way to change it up is to add in some toms:

Add some toms

Another simple way to change this fill up is to add a quarter note bass drum to it. It’ll help to keep the time going and hopefully prevent your bassist from getting lost.

Add some bass drum

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning this fill – take it slow and play with precision. If you’re in Singapore and would like a free trial lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #9

Here’s groove of the week #9:

This week’s groove of the week is brought to you by the song Monsters by Shinedown. I’ve been working on Monsters this week and the groove stuck in my head. You’ll also recognize this beat from chorus of Maroon 5’s This Love, although it’s played about 20bpm faster than this. Let’s learn it!

Get The Groove

The main challenge on this groove is the 16th note bass drum pattern. You may need to spend time just practicing the hi-hat and bass drum part & focus on separating the right hand from the right foot. Keep a nice steady 8th note pulse on the hi-hat and don’t let the right foot interfere with it. Take it slow – 50bpm – and count out loud. I’ve beamed them together to make the relationship more obvious.

Hi-hat + Bass Drum & Counting

Once you can do that, throw in a snare drum on 2 & 4 and you’re all set to rock!

Full Groove + Counting

Taking It Further

If you’re trying to learn the song Monsters by Shinedown then you’ll need this variation on the groove:

Groove of the week #9 + extra bass drum

Adding an additional bass drum on the “ah” of 4 gives the groove a little extra forward momentum. Listen to the song and try to hear where it happens.

If you’re trying to play This Love by Maroon 5, then you’ll need to be able to add an open hi-hat on the “&” of 4, like so:

Groove of the week 9 + open hi-hat

You’ll hear the open hi-hat every other bar in the song. Another variation that you’ll need for the This Love is this one – you’ll hear it at the end of each chorus and during the bridge.

Add some crashes to the bass drum

In this variation the hi-hat is replaced with crashes that copy the bass drum pattern. This is a cool way to create interesting variations on a groove. Substitute the crash for the bell of the ride cymbal or a stack and it creates more options. Try the whole of groove 9 like this:

Ride bell copying bass drum

Try playing 2 bars of the groove normally & then 2 bars with the right hand following the right foot. To hear this idea in action listen to Absolution Blues by Coverdale Page.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Groove of the Week 9. If you’re in Singapore and would like a free trial lessons, send us a message via the contact us page.