Fill Of The Week #52

Here’s Drum Fill Of The Week #52:

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

Learn The Fill

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

basic rhythm
The Basic Rhythm

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

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

open hi hat focus
Open Your Hats

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

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

the  full fill
The Full Fill

Taking It Further

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

change it up

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

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

Groove Of The Week #52

Open Hi-Hats, No Bass Drum… are you sure?

This week’s groove is a 2 bar pattern which features a busy bass drum pattern in the 1st bar and then just hi-hats and snare in the second bar. The two bars provide a nice contrast to each other and sounds like two sides of a conversation. Let’s check it out.

Get The Groove

We’re using two handed 16th note hi-hats throughout this groove. Bass drum placement can sometimes be a problem with this kind of groove. Is you bass drum really hitting accurately with the Hi-Hat; are they perfectly in sync? Let’s look at just the first bar.

the first bar
The First Bar

The trickiest part of this first bar for most people is the bass drum on the “ah” of 1 that is together with the left hand on the hi-hat. Playing the bass drum together with the right hand on the hi-hat is something we tend to do from day one of our drumming adventure. Playing the bass drum and the left hand together normally needs a bit more attention.

Play this groove slowly at first together with a metronome and really listen to hear if your bass drum and left hand are really in sync on the “ah” of 1. Don’t neglect the other bass drum notes either, pay attention to all of them. I suggest starting at 40bpm and working your way up.

Now lets look at the second bar. This second bar brings your open hi-hat sound into focus. Let’s check it out:

the second bar
Who stole the bass drum???

This appears to be a very simple groove, but use it to have a really good listen to your hi-hat openings. Do all 4 of them sound the same? Are you closing them accurately on the beat? Are you addressing the hi-hat in the same way each time you hit them? Really try to tune into your hi-hats and iron out any variance in how you play them.

The final step is to put it all together:

the full groove
The Full Groove

When playing the full groove, record yourself and listen for any pushing or pulling that may be going on within the groove. Are you slowing down to fit in the bass drum on the “ah” of 1? Are you rushing through the open hi hat bar? Are the 4 snare drum notes evenly spaced? Make it sound good!

Taking It Further

Here’s a few variations on the second bar to give the groove a different feel.

change it up
Vary Your Hats

Our first variation has us playing an accent on the off beats of the second bar instead of the open hi-hats. It still feels similar to the original groove, but maybe not as noisy.

The second variation has us keeping the hi-hats closed again and playing accents on the “ah” of 2 and the “e” of 3. This is another very common place to accent in a groove.

The final variation has us changing the hi-hat rhythm in the second bar. Play this bar R RL R RL R RL R RL…

Now try come up with some of your own variations.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #52. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #51

Here’s this week’s groove:

This week’s groove takes a funky snare and bass pattern and adds the bell of the ride cymbal and the tom toms to provide some colour. To hear a similar groove in action, check out song “Everlasting Now” by Prince with the late, great John Blackwell on drums.

Get the Groove.

Let’s start by looking at the basic groove we’re playing here.

The Basic Groove

Play this basic groove slowly at first; use a metronome playing 8th notes or even 16th notes to help check the accuracy of your bass drum placement. Record yourself playing it, does it sound good? If you’re having trouble with the bass drum accuracy, then try playing the groove with 8th notes on the ride cymbal, like this:

Get Your Bass Drum Accurate.

Once you have the 8th note groove sounding good, then try playing one bar with 8th notes on the ride cymbal, and one bar with quarter notes on the ride cymbal. Does your bass drum sound the same on both grooves? Concentrate on not changing when the bass drum hits when switching between the two grooves.

Our final step is to add in the left hand on the tom toms. We’re playing the high tom on the “e” and “&” of 3 and the low tom on the “&” and “ah” of 4. Again work slowly on this and use a metronome.

The Full Groove.

Taking It Further

Let’s take this groove further by looking at other ways we can incorporate the tom toms into this groove.

Tom Tom Trouble

Our first groove just has us putting the tom-toms in the spaces on beats 1 and beats 3.

The second groove has us putting the tom-toms in the spaces on beat 1 and beat 4.

The final groove just switches beats 1 & 2 of our original groove with beats 3 & 4 so the toms come at the start of the groove.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #51. 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 #50

Take your hat off to this fill:

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

Learn The Fill

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

the basic rhythms
Where It All Begins

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

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

add the bass drum and hats
Adding The Bass and Hats

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

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

opening the hi-hats
Opening The Hats

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

the full fill
The Full Fill

Taking It Further

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

fill variations
Change It Up

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

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #50. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #50

We’ve reached week #50! Let’s celebrate with some cowbell!

https://www.instagram.com/p/B90ldlEgfm8/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

This week’s groove is a linear groove. The last time we played a linear groove was groove of the week #35. Linear grooves are when we don’t play two surfaces together at the same time. They can present timing and accuracy problems because you’re not playing a consistent ostinato anywhere that all your other limbs can relate to for timing information. Let’s check out this week’s groove.

Get The Groove

I often find the place to start with linear grooves is to build it up one chunk at a time and let your muscle memory remember the pattern bit by bit. Let’s start with the first four notes:

The first 4 notes
The First Four Notes

Our first four notes are Kick, Left, Right, Kick played on the first four 16th notes. Our left hand is on the hi-hat and right hand is on the cowbell. If you don’t have a cowbell experiment with different surfaces; ride bell, floor tom & stack cymbal all work well.

Play these first four notes slowly with a metronome at 50bpm. Are you playing 4 evenly spaced notes? Try using a metronome that’s counting 16th notes. Can you get right on top of the beat so that you can’t hear the metronome? Once you can play these four notes easily, then try adding the next 3 notes.

The Next Three Notes

Our next three notes are Left, Right, Kick and are played on “2 e &”. The left hand will move from the hi-hat to play the snare drum on beat 2. The right hand will play the cowbell throughout the groove. Keep repeating these 7 notes against a metronome until you can play them easily with out much thought.

Our next chunk is six notes in length, let’s check it out:

The next 6 notes
The Next Six Notes

The next six notes are Left, Right, Kick, Left, Right, Left starting from the “ah” of 2 and finishing on beat 4. The first two lefts are played on the hi-hat, the third left is on the snare drum. You may want to play this chunk separately at first to get used to it. You may even want to split it into two smaller 3 note chunks; find what works for you. Keep working with the metronome and listen for how accurate your note placement is.

The final chunk is just three notes. Here’s the whole groove:

The last three notes
The Whole Groove

The final three notes are Kick, Right, Left starting from the “e” of 4. The left hand is back on the hi-hat for this chunk. Now you’ve got the whole groove, repeat it until it’s easy and slowly speed it up.

Take It Further

Let’s look at adding fills to this groove. There are a couple of places that feel natural to add fills. Here’s some ideas:

It’s Fill Time

Our first fill is just four sixteenth notes starting from beat 4. We’re playing these 4 notes left hand lead because the right has to play the cowbell on the “ah” of 3. If you want to add a crash on beat one after the groove then try changing this fill to a left paradiddle (LRLL) so your right hand is free to crash and your left has time to get back to the hi-hat on the “e” of 1.

The second fill is a similar idea just starting from the “&” of 3 after the kick drum on the “e” of 3. We’re going left hand lead again on this one which is always fun because it opens the kit up in a different way. Again for crashing purposes you may want to try this one as a left double paradlddle (LRLRLL).

The final fill is more in keeping with the linear style of the fill and is just Left, Right, Kick, Left, Right, Kick starting from the “&” of 3. Orchestrate it however you like.

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

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

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

Learn The Fill

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

The paradiddlediddle
Paradiddlediddle Paradiddlediddle

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

Add The Bass Drum
Drop The Bass

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

Here’s the orchestration I used for this fill:

The Full Fill
The Full Fill

Taking It Further

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

Change it up.

Our first variation uses the same orchestration for each paradiddlediddle.

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

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

I hope you’ve enjoyed drum fill of the week #49. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #49

This week we’re taking a favourite rock beat and adding a couple of finishing touches. Check it out!

I always find it amazing how just adding a four stroke ruff here and a couple of accents there can completely change the feel of a groove. Let’s learn the groove.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the simple groove that we are changing up. Hopefully you can already play this one:

The basic groove
The Basic Groove

Our first stop in changing this groove up is to add the 4 stroke ruff starting on beat one. This is an open 4 stroke ruff played as three 16th note triplets and an 8th note.

Adding the 16th note triplet
It’s Starting To Get Ruff

I accent the final note of the 4 stroke ruff and play the snare drum on beat 2 with the right hand.

Our final step is to add in one more 16th note and two more accents. We’ll be playing an accented hi-hat on the “ah” of 2 with the left hand and an accented hi-hat on beat 3 with the right hand. Here’s the full groove.

The full Groove
The Full Groove

Take It Further

If you like the embellishments that we’ve made here, then you can try adding them to some of your favourite grooves. Keep the hi-hat and snare drum pattern the same, just change up the bass drum. Here’s some ideas:

Variations on a theme
Change It Up

Try out these four variations and then try to come up with some of the your own.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove #49. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Fill Of The Week #48

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

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

Learn The Fill

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

The Basic Fill

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

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

Closed 4-Stroke Ruff

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

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

Open 4-Stroke Ruff

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

The Full Fill

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

Taking It Further

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

Permutate & Conquer

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

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

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #48. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

Groove Of The Week #48

The Stack Is Back!

I’m not sure where this groove came from. I was messing around with inverted paradiddle grooves and orchestrating them around the kit and some how it morphed into this groove which uses double paradiddles, paradiddles and an inverted paradiddle. It sounded good to me, so here it is!

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the sticking pattern we’re using for this groove.

basic sticking pattern
Back To Basics

Take this slowly at first. Use a metronome and count out loud. Once you’ve got it in your hands and can play it repeatedly without mistakes, then you can move on to the next step.

The next step is to orchestrate the pattern between the hi-hat, ride, and snare drum. We’ll leave the stack and bass drum out of it for now. The left hand is going to play the hi-hat and beats 2 & 4 on the snare. The right hand will be on the ride cymbal. Here it is.

basic sticking pattern orchestrated
Moving Around

Once you are comfortable with that, we can add in the bass drum. The bass drum pattern is fairly simple and plays together with all the Right hand Single Strokes except for beat 3 of the 2nd bar. Let’s put it in.

Adding the bass drum
Bringing The Bass

The final step is to add the stack, if you have one. If you don’t have a stack, use the bell of the ride cymbal instead. The stack is played together with every bass drum.

The Full Groove

Taking It Further

If you’ve been working on grooves based around paradiddles then hopefully this will inspire you to experiment with your orchestrations. You never know what groove you’ll stumble onto. Hopefully you’ll find something you like the sound of.

As always with new grooves, we need to be able to add in drum fills. Here’s three ideas for this one.

drum fills added to the groove.
Time For A Fill

Our first variation just plays the last two notes of the second bar on the snare drum

Our second variation is just a single stroke roll around the kit starting from the stack/bass drum on the “&” of 3.

The final fill uses the stack, bass, and snare drum with a RLLRLLRL sticking pattern.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this groove of the week. 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 #47

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

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

Learn The Fill

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

The Basic Rhythm
The Basic Rhythm

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

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

add the bass drum
Bring In The Bass

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

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

the full fill
Move It!

Take It Further

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

fill variations
Build Your Fill

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

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

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

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

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #47. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.