Tag Archives: drum fills

paradiddles in 24th notes part 2

This is a quick follow on to the 24th note paradiddles I’ve been having fun with.

Once you’ve really got a good feeling for the odd groupings in 24th notes, you can mess around with them in many ways. The 2 I’ve been focusing on are:

Combinations: I’m working on sticking different groupings together. My current fave is:

double paradiddle, 4 single paradiddles and then a double on the end. Written as a sticking with right hand lead this would be:


The options are endless! It is, as always about what sounds good. I do find that a lot of the combinations with the odd groupings sound kinda cool but are fairly unusable unless you’re playing in Dream Theatre or The Locust. The real challenge is to throw in a fill that complements the song whilst using the odd groupings.

Once I find a combination that I think might work, I move onto

Sound Sources:

First I go through all the classics, such as accents on toms with the rest on the snare, or accents on cymbals with the rest on the snare.

Then I move onto accents on cymbals with the rest on the toms, or playing this as a groove between the hi-hat and snare.

Most recently I’ve put the sticking above together to enable me to show off some rather silly cross sticking and quick cymbal work.

I’m playing the double paradiddle with the accents on 2 different cymbals and the rest on the snare. Then the 4 paradiddles are played with an accent on a different tom each time, starting with the left hand on the high tom then working around down to the lowest. This means that your left hand has cross over to hit the 3rd tom, which looks kinda cool! Finally a loud double on the snare to finish off.

I hope this makes sense, I’ll try to get some video up as soon as I can to demonstrate it.

Have Fun!


Drum fills

Following on from a very nice comment, I started to explore drum fills. It’s not something I’ve thought about in terms of philosophy and approach. They’ve always been something that’s just flowed.

I have of course spent many hours ‘wood-shedding’ certain chops that I like, but rarely plan fills for specific songs in advance. I am more of the opinion that you want to get as much stuff in your toolbox as possible, then let it come out as and when it wants.

However, following the comment I thought I’d have a think and see what came out…

My initial thoughts are something like this.

The type of fill is entirely dependent upon the style of music. It should be at least roughly appropriate and it MUST be musical.

You can think of it in the same way as soloing in jazz. A soloist will often base their improvisation upon the melody of the piece or the chords, stuff that’s already there. Not only does this help the soloist out, but it also ensures that there is a sense of context to the solo, that it fits.

Similarly, use what you already have to create the fill, so focus on the style of music, the beat before and after the fill, the dynamics and feel and make sure that it blends.

Here’s a few basic examples:

  • 8th note rock groove, use 8th note fills! Nothing flashy that will diminish what follows it.
  • 16th note funk groove, go for the 16th notes. Also, blend your sound sources, so if it’s a Jamiroquai style hi-hat thing, base the fill around the hi hat and snare.
  • If you’ve got a latin feel going on, again think about the groove and sounds. I would go for a syncopated thing, probably using a rhythm from within the groove and using the sound sources that are sympathetic, cowbells, cymbals, high toms etc.

Focusing again on making sure that your fill is musical, I often find that the simpler the fill, the more effective it is. The fill is always there to support the music, so be conscious of why you are doing it. Are you lifting the songs into a chorus? Are you helping to reduce the dynamics, or perhaps change the feel? Simply put, a fill should have a purpose.

One last comment, which isn’t entirely original, but does bear repeating. Unless you’re playing fusion, or a clinic, a fill is almost certainly not an opportunity for you to show off your latest, fastest most crazy chops. However great the urge may be (and it often is for me) the audience aren’t going to shower you with praise if you drown out the singer with some badass 32nd note double kick/cymbal mayhem just as the song reaches it’s most gentle moment! I refer you to my first blog about being a drummer. If you really need that kind of attention, start singing! (or get into politics…)

This is just a start really, but I hope it gives you some insight into how I would approach fills.