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Back to the Tempo Dispatch Archives
ISSUE #24 \__\__\_______/__/__/ Dec. 5, 1998
TABLE OF CONTENTS: What is in this issue?
1. Feature Article: Playing Perfect Fills:
ALL MYSTERIES SOLVED!
2. Humor: (Another sick Bass Player joke.)
Playing Perfect Ad-lib Fills (rolls)
in Mid-Song, EVERY TIME!
Working drummers do essentially
two things onstage, with the band. We
play BEATS and ROLLS! Even our SOLOS'
are made up of BEATS and ROLLS!
The drummer who dies with the most
BEATS and ROLLS . . . WINS!
WHAT IS A FILL?
A 'fill' is a very short ROLL the
drummer may play on the snare drum,
tom toms or other accessories, to 'FILL'
the dead spots in a song. Usually, we may
play a 'fill' when the vocalist or
singer takes a breath between the
verses of a song.
Sometimes we play 'fills' to add
dynamics as the band goes into the
more exciting parts of a song, like
the bridge, chorus or instrumental
Playing Perfect Fills:
ALL MYSTERIES SOLVED!
In this lesson, I want to help
those of you who may be having
trouble with fills and ROLLS. This
is a very simple lesson, but it
could save years of grief after
you've learned to adapt it to the
songs you'll be hearing every day.
Ad-lib fills, are fills we may
create or invent on our own.
We may do ANYTHING as a fill,
if our TIMING doesn't get lost in the
shuffle . . . . Our fill could be
one note or 100 notes, provided we
never lose track of the (bass drum)
THIS LESSON WILL TEACH YOU TO CONNECT
WITH AD-LIB FILLS IN MID-SONG,
EVERY TIME! NO MISTAKES! EVER!
In a nutshell . . .
IT IS ALL IN THE WAY WE USE THE BASS
DRUM TO 'MARK-TIME' AS WE MOVE FROM
A BEAT, TO A FILL, THEN BACK TO THE
Simply learn to maintain a steady
bass drum to mark-time while playing
every fill! Once this habit has been
established, SOLID TIMING and thundering,
explosive fills will be the end result.
TO BE MORE SPECIFIC:
As we play most beat patterns in
4/4, the bass is 'natural' when
played as half-notes on the counts
of 1 & 3.
If we maintain the bass at a
constant (half-note) tempo . . . and
remember to return to the beat pattern
on a bass note (any bass drum
note) . . . it will always work out.
IN A NUTSHELL . . .
Play a Basic Rock beat with the
bass on 1 & 3. That's the beat you
learned in the 'Drummers Aptitude
Test', (Lesson #1, on Lesson Menu #1.)
Drop your fill. Play ANYTHING, on a
tom or the snare, but keep your
bass constant! Return to the beat
on the next (or any) bass drum. The
bass will always be at the same tempo.
Each bass drum note represents the potential
resumption of the beat you were playing
before the fill.
DO THIS RIGHT NOW!
Play the 8TH 'ROCK' BEAT' we
learned in the 'Aptitude' lesson!
Just get it going and repeat it
over and over . . .
NOW, . . . STOP the hands completely,
but keep the BASS DRUM going.
That 'empty-time' between the bass
drums . . . IS WHERE YOUR FILL WILL
GO! go back to the beat ON ANY
successive BASS DRUM!
You just played a fill . . . but it
was pretty lame! You didn't DO
ANYTHING around the toms or other
drums DURING THE EMPTY-TIME.
NOW . . . DO THE SAME THING AGAIN . . .
but DO SOMETHING during the dead-space,
* Play an IMPROVISED (ad-libbed) FILL . . .
within the DEAD SPACE . . . then return
to the beat.
That's all there is to it! Practice
many types of fill patterns using
this same simple formula. Invent the fills
up, as you go . . . or listen, then
imitate the drummers you'll be hearing
on your favorite recordings.
Actually, ad-lib fills are mixed
assortments of all the standard fills
I'll be teaching you in my 100-lesson course.
No matter what you decide to play as an
ad-lib 'fill', it will end up being a
mixed-bag of different note-value
rolls and stroke-pattern arrangements . . .
OR . . . THE VERY SAME rolls and fills I'll
be showing you in the remainder of
course. In other words, we can mix any
roll-type with any other roll-type.
We can do ANYTHING, and it will ALWAYS
end up being SOMETHING, as long as we
remain in-time with the music.
AD-LIB 'FILL' SUGGESTIONS . . .
Mix ANY note-value type (ie; 8thnotes,
16ths, whatever), with any other note-
value type. (Mix fast notes with
slower notes) . . . but keep one
ear into the recorded music and
return in-time with the recorded
drummer, and the beat of the song.
* Accent certain notes louder than
others . . .
* Rest or leave out notes randomly
as you prefer . . .
* Move to different parts of the kit,
while doing all the above.
IT'S A CORNUCOPIA OF IDEAS!
The choices are endless and THERE
ARE NO MISTAKES, if we maintain our
timing, by . . . MARKING-TIME WITH
THE BASS DRUM, and RETURN IN-TIME,
WITH THE BEAT OF THE MUSIC.
TO GET THE HANG OF THIS . . . You'll
eventually want to LEARN ALL THE
STANDARD, CLASSIC FILLS, in 'half-measure'
segments, as they are taught later in
my LARGE SERIES OF ONLINE LESSONS,
entitled, 'Rudiments, Rolls and Fills'.
In the structured lessons, you'll
learn to play a bass drum note along
with the first note of EACH HALF-MEASURE
FILL SEGMENT, so that the BASS DRUM
will ALWAYS BE CONSTANT, whether playing
a BEAT OR A FILL.
It becomes a HABIT after awhile. We'll
learn ALL THE CLASSIC FILLS, this same
way in the latter, more advanced lessons.
All the lessons of the HOMESTUDY COURSE
are set up with this (bass drum) trick
in mind. As you learn to play the standard
fills (ie; single strokes, double strokes,
8th triplets and paradiddles) the way they
are shown in the lessons . . . your ability
with ad-lib fills will quickly improve even
more. It will become NATURAL HABIT, to
mark-time with the bass drum, no matter
what sort of improvised or ad-lib fill
you may play.
Also, later in the homestudy course,
you will learn to extend all of
the standard fills and a few others,
to ANY LENGTH you choose. These
standard fills may be varied around
the kit, to any of the toms and
stretched to any lengths, using this
same 'half-measure' formula,
marking-time with half notes on
the bass drum.
You'll easily and quickly discover
that your fills may be ANY LENGTH,
(ie; half-measure, whole-measure,
one-and-one-half measures, two-measures
or more.) It is the drummers choice and
it is easy to accomplish, once we 'feel'
the bass drum part and the half-measure
segments of each fill, first. After that,
it's a simple matter of doubling, tripling
or quadrupling and mixing the half-measure
|_________THOUGHTS & GRINS__________|
A drummer and a bass player were walking in the middle
of a forest. Suddenly they saw a hungry tiger barely 10
feet away. The drummer calmly opened his knapsack and took
out his jogging shoes. The bass player said " Hey you
dummy . . . Do you think you can outrun a hungry tiger?"
The drummer replied . . . " I only have to outrun you"
What you don't know is a killer. Take a minute to actually SEE your
future. Reach DRUMMING GURU STATIS in under 2hours, here.
END OF TEMPO DISPATCH #24 December 5, 1998
Copyright Bill Powelson 1994 all rights reserved.