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What Is A Drum Fill: Best Things You Need To Know 2023

What Is A Drum Filll Best Things You Need To Know 2023
  • Max Kuehn

If you’re wondering what is a drum fill, look no further! This article will explain everything you need to know about this important element in music. A drum fill is a short solo played by a drummer in between sections of a song. Drum fills are usually played on the snare drum or tom-toms and often include rolls, flams, and other percussion techniques. Read on for more information!

What Are Drum Fills?

A drum fill is a brief period in a song’s composition in which the drummer is allowed a solo that generally lasts one beat to a full bar. Drum fills are frequently used at the end of sections to signify the start of a new portion of the arrangement.

Drum fills can be a spectacular climax or a delicate transition, depending on the genre, arrangement, drummer’s preference, and skill level.

Drum fills are not strictly solos, but they are a brief period when the drummer is granted artistic license to depart from the song’s primary beat or groove.

When to use your super-fast tom-tom skills and when a few hits on the snare drum would be enough.
The drummer will usually play a pattern around the tom-toms and cymbals before returning to the main rhythm in most drum fills.

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What Are Drum Fills

Drum Fills for Beginners

This simple drum will get you started if you’re new to drumming. Make sure your strokes are evenly spaced. Through the fills, play your kick on the quarter beat.

Drum Fills for Beginners

Exercise 1 is a full-bar fill with two 8th notes on each drum that leads you around the kit.

Exercise 2 is a half-bar fill on each drum with a one-eighth note.

The sparseness of the fill-in Exercise 3 makes it difficult. You must make certain that you give beat four its full value. As a newbie, you may be tempted to hurry through that area.

Once you’ve mastered these fills, try reversing the notes’ sequence, lengthening or shortening the fills, and experimenting with orchestration (voices).

You will gain facility and confidence in your playing after some practice. Take advantage of your metronome to keep yourself on track.

Cool Drum Fills

Here are a couple of beautiful little 16th-note fills to try. Change up your voices and stickings once you’re familiar with them.

Filling Cool Drums

Exercise 1 requires you to use mixed stickings and doubles on your toms. You’ll have plenty of time to return to the snare in this mix. The six-over-four phrase is achieved by placing the kick on the quarter beat.

Exercise 2 teaches you to sweep laterally, and the kick doubles assist you in return to the snare. This fill is enjoyable to use (when you get used to it).

Make sure your bass notes are strong and consistently spaced and that you hit with precision. This is also an example of a linear fill, which we’ll go over in more detail later.

Exercise 3 begins with a vertical sweep and ends with a run around the kit. On the quarter beat, kick the ball.

These interesting drum fills are entertaining, and if you adopt the appropriate posture, they will improve your core. The sweeping motions will present a new technique to get the rebound to work for you as you move from drum to drum. To establish precision, begin cautiously.

Fills for Advanced Drums

You might wish to attempt these advanced drum fills samples once you’ve mastered the beginning fills. It will require some effort, depending on your skill level. Be patient with yourself and persevere.

Fills for Advanced Drums

Tuplets, 32nd notes, and mixed stickings are included. Also, play the kick on the quarters.

The initial two beats of Exercise 1 are in four-beat phrases within a tuplet feel, with the last two beats resolving back to six. Accent the final note of each beat as a separate exercise for an effect I term “fill cleaner.”

Before removing the accent, pay close attention to how your subordinate hand throws the beat to your foot. Your fills should sound and feel more balanced as a result.

Play the 32nd notes as singles or doubles in Exercise 2. As you transition from the floor tom to the hats, the space between the conclusion of beat three and the beginning of beat four is a significant move for your core. Your speed will determine the tempo of the workout on this maneuver.

Exercise 3 is a fill that uses paradiddles for the first and second beats and allows for single or double stroke stickings in the last two beats.

Metal Drum Fills

These fillers are two amusing bars that are excellent for generating tension.

Metal Drum Fills

The first exercise involves a joyful dash around the kit (play the kick on the quarters of the 2nd measure). Begin gently to develop accuracy, then challenge yourself to raise the speed.

The bass is used more in Exercise 2.

Exercise 3 is a triplet-based fill with a rock vibe at the end.

To be effective, a metal drum fill does not have to be note-dense. On these, play around with orchestration.

Linear Drum Fills

Linear Drum Fills

“Gallops” are another term for fantastic drum set fills that are good instances of linear figures (no two notes played in unison). Aim for even, smooth triplets.

Experiment with voices and stick to using these activities as inspiration. Play some of the notes on the rims, ride-bells, and other instruments.

Make use of your metronome! To ensure proper note placement, set up subdivisions (8ths, 16ths, 32nds, tuplets). Begin slowly and gradually increase your speed as you gain experience.

Every Producer Should Be Aware Of These Six Drum Fills.

Here are six legendary drum fills that every producer should know—most drummers will be able to play them for you if you ask them to.

Please pay attention to how this drum fills sound; you’ll hear them in pop, rock, R&B, and other genres.

We’ve put together a free MIDI file of these drum fills, along with a bonus! So go ahead and grab the MIDI pack and include it in your track.

The Motown fill

This is perhaps the most famous fill of all time—such it’s a classic drum that it’ll be recognized by almost every drummer who’s discovered the great groove and feel of Motown playing.

The Motown fill begins with a dramatic six-stroke roll on the high tom, concluding with an emphasized stroke on the snare drum.

The Motown fill appears on sheet music notation and a MIDI roll.

So, as with all fills, if you want to play this fill and have it sound well at all tempos, you must learn the six-stroke roll.

When the arrangement is either turning around or moving into a new part, this is a nice fill to employ near the end of a song form.

To hear how this drum fill sounds in the wild, listen to the Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” or Taylor Swift’s “The Outside.”

Bernard Purdie’s Psssst Psssst Psssst

Here’s a fill that’s influenced by funk and R&B drumming.

Bernard Purdie may not have invented the fill, but he certainly refined it. He’s been included on a slew of legendary records, to the point that you might not even notice.

Because the fill uses the opening and closure of a ringing high-hat, you’ll need to practice your hi-hat pedal play to master the Pssst Pssst Pssst fill.

Because each note of this fill is often played on the off-beats—or the and’s—of two, three, and four, you’ll all need to learn how to play syncopated rhythms.

This fill can be used to highlight an off-beat vocal or guitar part.
This track by The Fearless Flyers, featuring the brilliant Nate Smith, was mostly inspired by this fill—and it includes the splat-boom, which we’ll discuss later in this piece.

Pat Boone Debbie Boone

This drum fill is like the Swiss army knife of drum fills in that it’s used in a wide range of genres, from soulful R&B to harsh rock like Guns and Roses’ “November Rain.”

The basic beat is simple to pick up; this drum fill unique is the phrasing employed between strokes on the snare, high tom, and low tom.

The Pat Boone Debbie Boone in music notation and on the MIDI roll.

This fill is excellent for smooth transitions between sections of an arrangement, and it’s delicate enough to work in quieter, downtempo ballads and more bombastic rock ‘n’ roll or hip-hop.

Changing the toms you strike and adding faster sixteenth notes are also useful ways to bring your flair and character to the drum fill.

It’s delicate enough to work in softer, downtempo ballads just as well as in louder rock ‘n’ roll or hip-hop.


This thick, flavorful filling is both simple and delicious. This is one of those fills that sounds fantastic when played via an extensive PA system at a nightclub.

It usually features the snare and bass drums, which are the two largest instruments in the drum set.

It’s also really simple: two-quarter notes alternate between a flammed snare hit and a bass drum beat—a flam is a two-handed double snare drum hit.

The Ringo 6

Because The Beatles‘ famed drummer Ringo Star utilized it so much in memorable compositions like Come Together, we’ve decided to call this sextuplet pattern played around the toms the Ringo 6.

First, to learn and play this drum fill, perfect your single-stroke triplet skills, then focus on increasing your mobility around the tom-toms.

Try moving around the toms and changing toms with each free group until you’ve mastered the single-stroke triplet—make sure you stay in time and everything flows.

On sheet music and the MIDI roll, the Ringo 6 sounds and looks like this.

The Barker

Travis Barker did not originate this drum fill. Still, he is a master at making this pattern of snappy sixteenth notes travel around the toms hard and fast.

At its core, the drum fill is a group of incredibly 16 fast single strokes that run around the kid, usually with four strokes hitting each drum.

Again, single stroke speed and movement from tom to tom are critical for getting the fill just right.

Try altering the order of the toms you’re hitting to create your patterns for a unique sound.

On sheet music and in the MIDI roll, this is how it looks and sounds in its most basic form.


FAQs About The Definition Of Drum Fill

What Does Orchestrating Fills Imply?

When we talk about drum fill orchestration, we’re talking about the order in which we beat the drums to get the fill we want.

However, there are several other factors to consider. How long does it take to fill? Is it a fill based on rudiments? What is the fill rate? Is there any movement in the fill? Let’s go over each one separately.

How Long Does It Take To Fill?

Drum fills range in length from one beat to two beats to three beats to full-bar fills and extended fills that go beyond a whole bar. If you don’t know what these musical terms mean, think of them as short, medium, long, and extended fills.

All are common, and their functions vary based on where they appear in a song. Module 1 teaches full bar fills in 8th, 16th, and triplet combinations to Drum Ambition members. You’ll learn about 1, 2, and 3 beat fills in Module 2.

Is The Fill Rudimentary In Nature?

Single strokes, double strokes, drags, and flams are the most popular rudiments utilized in drum fills. In order to play these types of fills, you must first learn how to play these rudiments and, more importantly, how to integrate them with basic sticking patterns.

Fidlar focus on the fundamentals at Drum Ambition. We advise you to focus on non-rudimental fills first; otherwise, you risk putting the vehicle before the horse. Module 2 will teach you about rudiment-based drum fills when you’re ready.


Drum fills are an exhilarating experience because they give the audience something to hold onto during the transition from one song to the next. This is accomplished by adding a rhythmic element to the changeover.
So, use your imagination! Study and memorize these drum fills, and then draw inspiration from them while creating the drum fills for your next tune.
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