Who doesn’t like a great drum fill? The thing is, it’s not that easy to play stuff that works. It doesn’t have to be complicated, flashy or fast. Just cool and musical. Yet, that’s exactly the hard part.
I’ve always loved to collect great fills from records, drumming videos and even live concerts, by memorizing one or two ideas at the time or writing them down. So many great drummers to draw from out there!
On the other hand I’ve rarely liked drum fills taken out of a book: they typically sound stiff, mechanical and unmusical, just the opposite of what I heard my favourite drummers do.
That’s why I’ve spent a long time putting together a method entirely focused on a fresh approach to drum fills, called ‘Phrasing & Fills’ and part of the Altitude Drumming Series.
In case you have missed it, you can check out a free excerpt at this link.
Here I’d like to share with you 14 simple fills that are ‘ready to use’ 😉
You can quickly learn them, as their focus is not complex phrasing but direct musical applicability. You can literally try them the next time you play a song and instantly enjoy what they can do.
There are many ways in which drum licks and phrasing can be organized. In this case I’ve decided to include 7 binary fills (based on eighths and sixteenths) and 7 ternary ones (based on triplets and sextuplets), and also work on examples that cover various durations, for best versatility.
Here is the PDF with all transcriptions:
You can also check out the YouTube video demo if you like, by clicking on each pattern in the booklet.
As usual we can apply a number of parameters to these examples. In the demonstrations I’ve played at a pretty slow BPM, to make it easier to figure out what to do.
But they sound amazing at all tempos, and also at all dynamic levels.
So I’d recommend that you experiment with:
To wrap this up, I have an extra assignment for you: transcribe from recordings and learn three new drum fills every week, for a month. If you make this a habit you’ll notice that the musicality of your phrasing will quickly get to the next level.