Learning Drum Fills

In this section, you will be presented with a great variety of 4/4 fills. All fills start as a rhythm and are gradually orchestrated around the drumset. Starting with simple fills, they will get increasingly challenging. The audio has all fills played at 112 beats per minute, but the goal should be to play them both slow and fast. These drum fills can be used in a variety of musical styles (rock, country, hard rock, funk, ..) and will expand your drumming vocabulary.

Fill sections

The drum fill lessons are ordered in sections, these sections are divided into subsections. Each subsection has fills focusing on toms (which include snare and toms), drum set (including cymbals, bass drum, toms and snare), toms and bass drum (hand-to-foot) and bass drum (snare and bass drum; hand-to-foot).
The first sections will be easier to play than the last ones, the last subsection will be more difficult than the first one.
Each section has a number of rhythms to study from. For your convenience, all rhythms have been numbered. This number is just a lesson number, this way you can easily remember wich rhythm you were studying.
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2/4 measure combinations

Each lesson exists of combinations of different 2/4 measures. Two 2/4 measures form one 4/4 rhythm.

First 2/4 rhythm Second 2/4 rhythm
Two 2/4 rhythms
first snare drum fill
4/4 fill: base rhythm of section 26-272
second snare drum fill
second 4/4 fill based on the 2/4 drum fills

All drum fill lessons in a subsection are based on the 4/4 base rhythm. From section 1 to section 24 there is only one base rhythm, from section 25 and up there will be two of them.

A rhythm
A 4/4 rhythm, this is the starting point for all drum lessons in section 26-272
snare drum fill
4/4 snare drum fill based on the rhythm of section 26-272
Tom fill 1 Tom fill 2 Tom fill 3
Gradually orchestrated tom fills (based on the snare fill)
Notice the inversion of beats 1 and 2 with beats 3 and 4 in the 3rd fill
Drumset fill 1 Drumset fill 2 Drumset fill 3
Gradually orchestrated drumset fills (based on the snare fill)
Notice the inversion of beats 1 and 2 with beats 3 and 4 in the 3rd fill

Learning order

As stated above, the lesson numbers are just a way to name a rhythm. It is not a learning order!
So, which fills to learn first?
Well, that depends, if you are an advanced drummer, you would probably scroll down and look for those fills you haven't played before. You would search for the more challenging rhythms.
If you are a beginner, you should start with section one. If you don't have a drum teacher, now is the time to get one! A teacher will guide you and point out the fills you should start with.

How to practice these drum fills?

Each lesson exercise has an example audio file, if you have no clue about how the fill sounds, listen to it! Also, all exercises have a midi file. You can download it, import it in you favorite music software and play along with the rhythm.
Many of the fill pages have a link to a practice page. These pages contain 'drum phrases' - four 4/4 measures consisting of 3 measures of rock groove and one measure drum fill.

Practice tips

  • use a metronome and count (aloud) as you practice
  • practice these excercises at a variety of tempos, going from very slow to very fast
  • repeat each exercise (drum phrase) four times and play through the whole drum phrase page!
  • Midi files are provided for you to download and import into your music software, that way you can play along with the fills and practice more effectively

Practice variations

Here are some alternative ways to practice the fills in a drum phrase.
All fills: play hi-hat (foot) on quarter or eighth notes.
Fills without bassdrum:

  • play quarter or eigth notes on bass drum
  • play eighth notes on bass drum
  • play sixteenth notes on bass drum (2 bass drums)

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Section 0
0-1
0-1
Section 1
1-1
1-1
1-2
1-2
1-3
1-3
1-4
1-4
1-5
1-5
1-11
1-11
1-12
1-12
1-13
1-13
1-22
1-22
Section 2
2-1
2-1
2-2
2-2
2-3
2-3
2-4
2-4
2-5
2-5
2-14
2-14
Section 3
3-1
3-1
3-2
3-2
3-3
3-3
3-8
3-8
3-10
3-10
3-11
3-11
3-13
3-13
3-15
3-15
3-21
3-21
Section 4
4-11
4-11
Section 5
5-7
5-7
Section 6
6-9
6-9
Section 7
7-5
7-5
Section 8
8-3
8-3
8-4
8-4
Section 9
9-1
9-1
9-2
9-2
9-3
9-3
9-4
9-4


Section 10
10-1
10-1
10-2
10-2
10-9
10-9
Section 11
11-1
11-1
Section 13
13-1
13-1
Section 25
25-1
25-125-1
25-2
25-225-2
25-3
25-325-3
25-4
25-425-4
25-5
25-525-5
25-6
25-625-6
25-7
25-725-7
25-8
25-825-8
25-9
25-925-9
25-10
25-1025-10
25-11
25-1125-11
25-12
25-1225-12
25-13
25-1325-13
25-14
25-1425-14
25-16
25-1625-16
25-17
25-1725-17
25-18
25-1825-18
25-19
25-1925-19
25-20
25-2025-20
25-48
25-4825-48
25-56
25-5625-56
25-60
25-6025-60
25-61
25-6125-61
25-63
25-6325-63
25-72
25-7225-72
25-75
25-7525-75
25-80
25-8025-80
25-82
25-8225-82
25-83
25-8325-83
25-87
25-8725-87
25-88
25-8825-88
25-90
25-9025-90
25-92
25-9225-92
25-96
25-9625-96
25-100
25-10025-100
25-102
25-10225-102
25-104
25-10425-104
25-106
25-10625-106
25-110
25-11025-110
25-111
25-11125-111
25-112
25-11225-112
25-113
25-11325-113
25-114
25-11425-114
Section 26
26-1
26-126-1
26-2
26-226-2
26-3
26-326-3
26-4
26-426-4
26-5
26-526-5
26-6
26-626-6
26-7
26-726-7
26-18
26-1826-18
26-185
26-18526-185
26-189
26-18926-189
26-199
26-19926-199
26-206
26-20626-206
26-236
26-23626-236
26-249
26-24926-249
26-255
26-25526-255
26-262
26-26226-262
26-264
26-26426-264
26-265
26-26526-265
26-272
26-27226-272
26-277
26-27726-277
26-279
26-27926-279
26-285
26-28526-285
26-294
26-29426-294
Section 27
27-1
27-127-1
27-2
27-227-2
27-3
27-327-3
27-4
27-427-4
27-5
27-527-5
27-6
27-627-6
27-7
27-727-7
27-8
27-827-8
27-9
27-927-9
27-10
27-1027-10
27-11
27-1127-11
27-12
27-1227-12
27-13
27-1327-13
27-14
27-1427-14
27-15
27-1527-15
27-18
27-1827-18
27-37
27-3727-37
27-42
27-4227-42
27-51
27-5127-51
27-56
27-5627-56
27-60
27-6027-60
27-61
27-6127-61
27-67
27-6727-67
27-69
27-6927-69
27-80
27-8027-80
27-83
27-8327-83
27-84
27-8427-84
27-86
27-8627-86
27-87
27-8727-87
27-97
27-9727-97
27-104
27-10427-104
27-115
27-11527-115
27-124
27-12427-124
27-131
27-13127-131
27-135
27-13527-135
27-137
27-13727-137
27-141
27-14127-141
27-145
27-14527-145
27-147
27-14727-147
27-148
27-14827-148
27-149
27-14927-149
27-150
27-15027-150
27-151
27-15127-151
Section 28
28-4
28-428-4
28-13
28-1328-13
28-23
28-2328-23
28-26
28-2628-26
28-28
28-2828-28
28-33
28-3328-33
28-37
28-3728-37
Section 29
29-2
29-229-2
29-4
29-429-4
29-24
29-2429-24
29-26
29-2629-26
29-37
29-3729-37
Section 30
30-1
30-130-1
30-5
30-530-5
30-6
30-630-6
30-9
30-930-9
30-11
30-1130-11
30-15
30-1530-15
Section 31
31-1
31-131-1
31-2
31-231-2
31-4
31-431-4
31-7
31-731-7
31-8
31-831-8
31-9
31-931-9
31-15
31-1531-15