It occurred to me the other day that there is one simple rock fill that I’ve been playing for decades, but I have never heard anyone speak about it.
Nor have I ever seen anyone write about it.
Perhaps it’s too easy for anyone to give it any attention.
Over the past few weeks, I have made a point to show this fill to some of my beginner level students. They love it….and here we are, us “experienced” drummers, taking this little ditty for granted.
I would argue that this is one of the first fills a rock drummer should learn. In fact, every drummer with any experience playing rock music has this in their arsenal, I can promise you that.
It’s definitely NOT a show-stopper. And it isn’t supposed to be. In fact, it is the opposite of that. it’s a very simple rhythmic figure that propels the music forward without breaking up the groove.
Here is the PDF: One Simple Rock Fill You Must Know. The fill itself is on beat four of the second measure. It’s just “four-and-ah.” Sticking is indicated.
Put it in your tool box. I am glad to have broken the silence.
Here’s an old favorite of mine. It’s a five note pattern: three with the hands (RLR) and two with bass drum (FF). In this instance, we apply the five notes as 16th notes. The pattern is distributed around the kit like so: Right hand on the snare, Left hand on the hi tom, Right hand on the floor tom, and then two bass drum notes with your foot.
The work sheet contains four different applications of the pattern, each of which is designed for you to play as a fill or a break and be able to begin the next measure of time playing with a right hand.
Note that 1 and 3 are almost exactly the same; the only difference is that the “and” and “a” of “three” are moved from the hi tom to the snare in #3. That small change makes a big difference, but I love the way both versions sound.
In 2, we start the pattern with the foot, but that allows us to gracefully exit with one of my favorite four note 16th patterns beginning on beat “four.”
Finally, in 4, we go over the bar line with a two measure fill. Note that you have to begin the last seven single strokes with your left hand in order to get out of the fill gracefully.
Nasty Lick 47 sounds better at tempos of 130 or higher. Try it as 32nd’s too.
Here’s the PDF: Nasty Lick 47
Are you ready?
I am about to give you one of my Nastiest of the Nasty Licks!!! Nasty Lick #38 is one of my favorites. It pretty much ALWAYS gets a reaction. Just check out the screams from the audience when I launch into it in the video below. It’s a live video of my rock band MANCIE playing at Spike Hill in Brooklyn, NY in November of 2011.
It’s a cool song and the band is great, so check it out. But if you want to go right to the drum solo, it begins at around 2:52 in the video.
I begin with some rudimental type stuff on the snare, work in some hand/foot combinations, and then launch into Nasty Lick #38. You can skip directly to Nasty Lick #38 by going to 3:03 in the video.
The Video: MANCIE, Live at Spike Hill
Alright! Want to know how to do that? Just print out the PDF by clicking here:Nasty Lick 38 PDF
Analysis of Example #1
The lick as played in the video is written out in example #1. The pattern—three groups of five notes–is played a total of five times. I move counter clockwise around the drums, with the first note of each group of five on a different drum: 1) snare, 2) floor tom, 3) high tom.
That accented note is followed by two ghost notes with the left hand and then two fast bass drum notes. Note that at this part of the solo, the time is “free.” I’m just going off, playing the lick a bunch of times and then improvising as I see fit. It’s an open solo, so playing “freely” is always an option. I cue the band to come back in, so I don’t have to worry about the pulse.
Analysis of Example #2
Example #2 is another way to use the lick that I rely on frequently. This time, we play completely in time. In this case, each group of five takes up the space of three 16th notes. I’ve included a measure of accented 16th notes below the lick so you can see how the phrasing lines up. The first note of each group of five lines up with the 16th notes shown below example #2 as follows: 1) the “1,” 2) the “a” of “1,” 3) the “and” of “2,” 4) the “e” of “3.” Finally, you can easily resolve the lick by playing an accented note on beat four with your right hand.
Let Me Know What You Think!
I want to hear from you! Please leave comments here on the blog so you can ask questions, give your opinion, or tell me how you are using this lick….
Check out this video of me using this lick live. You can “fast forward” to 2:51 into the video to hear just the lick…
A note for note transcription of the lick, which includes more details about the pattern and how to play it correctly can be found on the worksheet, “Nasty Lick 33,” which you can download by clicking on the following link: “Nasty Lick 33″
Hope you find this useful.
Welcome back to the BANG! The Drum School blog. Today, I’m posting a worksheet of 7 fills from none other than the grandaddy of rock drumming himself, John Bonham. If you’re new to drumming and you don’t know about Bonham, I urge you to check him out. Most, if not all, of today’s rock drummers will profess a love for the groove, chops and fills of the great Bonham. I myself am a disciple.
Even if you’re already a fan, perhaps you don’t know all of the fills included here. These 7 fills are just a few of my favorites. Not all of them are super difficult, but they are all super musical. Don’t forget to check out the recordings….these fills are best learned by looking at the transcriptions AND by listening to the recordings….and then by trying them out.
Certainly a few of these licks belong in your fill vocabulary if they are not already in your “tool box.”
You can download the PDF of this worksheet by clicking on the link to the right: Seven Bonham Fills
Have fun, check em out, and please, feel free to ask any questions or make any comments.
Here is a pattern I’ve been using for years. Very simple concept: three notes with your hands followed by two notes with your feet. Repeat. My favorite way to use this pattern is as 16th notes. I’ve attached a sheet that spells out all of the details so you can start using this pattern in your playing right away. Enjoy, but use with care….this type of five note phrase is probably not for use with a Pop band…..
Click the following link to download the pdf: Four Nasty Five Note Fills
Feel free to ask me any questions. Just email me at email@example.com
One of my favorite drumming ideas is that you should ”milk your licks dry.” A lot of great drummers and musicians rely on a limited vocabulary of ideas and patterns, but they play the shit out of those patterns and use them in many different ways. One player who has signature licks he uses over and over to great effect is Steve Gadd, one of my all-time favorite drummers.
Once you find an idea or pattern that you like, you can “milk it dry” by manipulating it in various ways. Here is a lick that I use a lot : RLRF. The link below will allow you to open a pdf file with full drum notation that shows you how to take this lick and play it in several key ways. Click on it…it’s called “Nasty Lick #32″:
The pattern we’re manipulating here is orchestrated as follows: right hand on snare, left hand on hi tom, right hand on floor tom, and finally, foot on bass drum. The pdf exercise /transcription simply shows you how to play the lick as eighth notes, eighth note triplets, sixteenth notes, and finally as sixteenth note triplets.
Try playing the exercises on the sheet. You should have a great new lick you can use after mastering the lesson. Perhaps more importantly, though, you should have a good understanding of how to milk your licks dry.
I love the drums and hope you do too.