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  #1  
Old 02-12-2019, 05:02 AM
wizard sticks wizard sticks is offline
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Default Pre-planned drum fills??

I don't use any. It may be foolish and/or naive. This might be right.

I remember an interview with Phil Collins discussing his double drumming with Bill Bruford. He said that Bruford basically played off-the-cuff and it was a bit of a nightmare. Collins admitted that some of his playing was planned.

Perhaps this Bruford thing is incorrect. Or is it just too risky for many situations? Or are pre-planned licks too good a tool to ignore?
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  #2  
Old 02-12-2019, 06:19 AM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

Some of my fills are planned, some are not, but even those tend to follow some guidelines and are pretty consistent. The music dictates what fills I play, and if the music doesn't change, neither do my fills. And if a fill works really well, why fight it?

Bermuda
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:14 AM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Some of my fills are planned, some are not, but even those tend to follow some guidelines and are pretty consistent. The music dictates what fills I play, and if the music doesn't change, neither do my fills. And if a fill works really well, why fight it?

Bermuda
Ha true. Do you have like concepts such as six-stroke variations (RLRRLL), (RLLRRL) in the locker? Do you have fills that are planned in terms of there is a certain gap and this fill fills it? "I have two beats to spare and I will play this" like Motown fills and stuff? I suppose this is an artistic choice as well. But a conceptual approach is somewhere in between I guess.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:37 AM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

Some fills are planned and I always play them the same way, while others are looser and improvised. The ones that are planned are either ones that I wrote specifically to work well going from one section to another, or ones that may be doubling or complementing another part (guitar/bass/vocals).

In general, my more "important" fills are more often planned; ie. the ones that takes the song between two very distinct sections (into and out of a bridge section, into the last chorus, when the drums kick in for the first time, etc)
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:11 AM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

Some players chart out their songs. Some make roadmaps. Some never play a song the same way twice.

I think it was Bruford who said that you need a lot of chops to be able to play off-the-cuff.
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:07 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

I record band rehearsals. When I hear that a fill worked well I'll leave it in. Otherwise I'll start thinking about what I could try next time.
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:33 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

I'd be pretty sore if i saw Danny Carey or Neal Peart winging it in a concert.
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  #8  
Old 02-12-2019, 03:19 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

Look deep into your heart, and ask yourself: is this an improv gig, a "parts" gig, or somewhere in between?

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Originally Posted by wizard sticks View Post
\Or are pre-planned licks too good a tool to ignore?
There is a HUGE middle ground here. You can have a family of licks or short phrases, that you assemble into combinations on the fly. The assembly is improvised (or not), but the licks are rehearsed. So the actual drumming is only improvised a little bit. Things that are played, have been played many times before, though perhaps the order of them is new.

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I'd be pretty sore if i saw Danny Carey or Neal Peart winging it in a concert.
+1. The music will tell you if you're supposed to be improvising or playing a specific "part". There is no need to let the words of another musician choose how you play, that the music should choose for you. Best not to do much improv when backing up Phil Collins, unless there's a spot for solos or trading, even if your name is Bruford. Dogma is a dangerous thing.
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  #9  
Old 02-12-2019, 03:29 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

Covers usually demand specific fills, originals donít. So what are we talking about here?
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Old 02-12-2019, 03:39 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

I don't play out, only in my home 4 seat arena, and at times after playing a fill I ask myself, could I repeat that the next time I play along to this song. I would like to find a great fill and be able to repeat it.
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  #11  
Old 02-12-2019, 04:06 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

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Originally Posted by LikeToPlay View Post
I'd be pretty sore if i saw Danny Carey or Neal Peart winging it in a concert.
Two great examples where the fills are so iconic they have to be played as recorded. Changing the fills in Tom Sawyer or 46&2 is like changing the guitar riff.

I tend to play fills the same way every time, I have found it keeps everybody on the same page. As a guitarist I get used to certain fills in certain parts, so I try to give the same courtesy to the guys I play with.
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  #12  
Old 02-12-2019, 04:41 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

It really depends on the situation. At times, I like the freedom of being able to play whatever fill pattern comes off of my hands and feet at the time, but certain tunes have signature fills and patterns that need to be planned and practiced that way.
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  #13  
Old 02-12-2019, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

Quote:
Covers usually demand specific fills, originals donít. So what are we talking about here?
I see no difference when it comes to parts & fills, they apply equally. After all, covers are just someone else's originals.

Bermuda
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  #14  
Old 02-12-2019, 05:30 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

What I mean is the audience ďdemandsĒ the correct sound for the beginning of Zepís Rock ní Roll, for example. The band needs the distinctive 5 stroke pattern for the second half of Sweet Emotion, etc..

Between the distinctive fills you can do whatever fits the music. Your bandís originals are open to any new fills that suit.
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  #15  
Old 02-12-2019, 05:42 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

Well, are you doing an exact cover or your own version?

How did the original artist treat the song live?

What's appropriate will differ greatly from situation to situation.

Often I'm in a situation where the instrumentation is so different we have to figure out something else anyway. The drums will often be more or less the same, maybe a bit simplified, but I'll choose other sounds and/or utensils.
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  #16  
Old 02-12-2019, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

We tour constantly & need to be tighter than tight. We all play everything exactly the same every gig & that makes us consistent. If one of us (say me) wanked about with fills then A, it would put the others off as it would be something they weren't used to hearing & B, would earn me a slap :)
I suppose it's ok in a "Loose" situation but not for a professional touring band.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:59 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

I agree with the general consensus, in that you can be as flexible as your playing situation allows when you're the lone drummer. Sometimes you have to be pinpoint precise (Neil Peart comes to mind); sometimes as long as there's some kind of beat you'll be okay (Keith Moon).

Gavin Harrison comes to mind as someone who is as precise as the situation calls for. His parts through verse and chorus are usually pretty exact every time he plays them. But his fills are improvised from show to show, sometimes in minor ways, sometimes fairly dramatically. A great example is the middle bit of "Anesthetize" from "Fear of a Blank Planet" compared to the Atlanta and Tillburg live recordings. They show a definite progression in his approach to the song and the evolution of fills based on what feels good on a particular night.

Having said that, when Gavin plays with two other drummers in King Crimson, there's much less improvisation; in interviews, he explains that all three parts are essentially written out and the drummers rehearse for some weeks before the rest of the band convenes.
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  #18  
Old 02-12-2019, 08:24 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

I guess there are some signature fills that are so part of a song that if you don't play people will think it's heresy. But I like to noodle around in practice with a song-all with the goal of something reproducible for public. Till I recorded myself I think I was "fill crazy"-sounded great to me and like crap to everyone else LOL. There is a big difference from developing "chops" with having good "drumming musical taste". They ain't the same-in fact I'd argue chops are a lot easier but good musical taste for knowing when to apply chops can be problematic-like playing too many fills just becomes humdrum white noise after a while.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:35 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

It's really a good question. People have heard the originals over and over. . .So, do you play it exactly that way, so they know and enjoy the same thing they've heard hundreds of times?? Or do you twist it a little. Make it your own. . .I think it depends on the crowd.


My 2 cents
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  #20  
Old 02-12-2019, 08:41 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

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Originally Posted by Old Dog new Cans View Post
It's really a good question. People have heard the originals over and over. . .So, do you play it exactly that way, so they know and enjoy the same thing they've heard hundreds of times?? Or do you twist it a little. Make it your own. . .I think it depends on the crowd.
It also depends on the player. When doing covers, I play the parts that make the song worth playing. It's a little more work to play the original parts, but I enjoy being those drummers. I have no illusions about making anything my own. When I'm cooking up drum parts for one of my bands' original songs, that's when I get some input.

Bermuda
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:55 PM
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It also depends on the player. When doing covers, I play the parts that make the song worth playing. It's a little more work to play the original parts, but I enjoy being those drummers. I have no illusions about making anything my own. When I'm cooking up drum parts for one of my bands' original songs, that's when I get some input.

Bermuda
Oh absolutely. Nothing wrong with some personalization! And good original music, always seemed more fun. The creativity is important. If you only do covers over and over and over. . .blahhhhh

I think with the musician, they simply have to be good enough, to EITHER play the original, or be good enough to put that twist on it and make it their own.
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:12 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

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I see no difference when it comes to parts & fills, they apply equally. After all, covers are just someone else's originals.

Bermuda
So this makes me wonder if you play the exact drum parts from the original songs that Weird Al is parodying. In concert, I mean. Do you?
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  #23  
Old 02-12-2019, 09:47 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

Ha ha I try and avoid more than 3 note drum fills. Why? Everyone else has them covered. It's refreshing to me to not take the bait. But that's mostly due to the music I play. Drum fills are over-rated anyway, in my mind.

Signature parts I don't put in the same category as drum fills.

Drum fills...I'm talking only the gratuitous kind...are the drummers way to not feel left out, to inject their ego into it, to be cool, to force themselves in the spotlight. That's my take on it.
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:53 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

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So this makes me wonder if you play the exact drum parts from the original songs that Weird Al is parodying. In concert, I mean. Do you?
You forgot to say Punk? at the end :)

I'm pretty sure Jon surgically dissects every drum part and plays them just like the original.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Ha ha I try and avoid more than 3 note drum fills. Why? Everyone else has them covered. It's refreshing to me to not take the bait. But that's mostly due to the music I play. Drum fills are over-rated anyway, in my mind.

Signature parts I don't put in the same category as drum fills.

Drum fills...I'm talking only the gratuitous kind...are the drummers way to not feel left out, to inject their ego into it, to be cool, to force themselves in the spotlight. That's my take on it.
Or it could be they're just an idiot and lack good musical taste and no ego evolved :) Maybe a little of both? I agree with you Larry and I find "fills" just not that necessary in some music.
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Old 02-13-2019, 12:34 AM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

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So this makes me wonder if you play the exact drum parts from the original songs that Weird Al is parodying. In concert, I mean. Do you?
Yes, as much as humanly possible. Some songs are 100% note for note. The rest are only about 99% authentic, but I'm working on those.

Bermuda
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Old 02-13-2019, 01:30 AM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

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Originally Posted by Old Dog new Cans View Post
It's really a good question. People have heard the originals over and over. . .So, do you play it exactly that way, so they know and enjoy the same thing they've heard hundreds of times?? Or do you twist it a little. Make it your own. . .I think it depends on the crowd.


My 2 cents
Most people WANT to hear what they are familiar with. If you are playing a reasonably faithful cover, that is what they want to hear. The vocalist sings the verses in the same order, with the same cadence, as the recording. The lead guitarist aims to replicate the lead breaks and solo.

Unless you are in a tribute band, you aren't aiming to sound the same, but in a covers band, you aim to faithfully replicate the recording of the song.

If your aim is to come up with your interpretation of a song, well, that's a different kettle of balls of chalk.
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Old 02-13-2019, 05:29 AM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

Most every real band I've been in, every fill was (eventually) planned and played the same way (nearly) every time.

Singers and guitar players get to use hearing certain cues. They become part of the song.
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  #29  
Old 02-13-2019, 07:06 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Drum fills...I'm talking only the gratuitous kind...are the drummers way to not feel left out, to inject their ego into it, to be cool, to force themselves in the spotlight. That's my take on it.
I'm not a drummer who uses a ton of fills. In fact, I take pleasure in coming to parts of a song where a fill might predictably be, and just play through. It's amazing how often that can add more power than any fill.

But sometimes...

Sometimes, I'll be playing with my band, and we're cooking and it's getting exciting - and I kind of explode with a fill, just sort of underscoring the energy and the drive of the tune. And I'll tell you, those other guys in the band get energized hearing it, and they kick things up a notch in return.

I honestly don't think it's ego or attention-seeking; it's just genuine exuberance. I can't help it. Seeing the other players respond to my contribution like that...well, it's gratifying, I admit. The trick is to not let it seduce you into going overboard. (I've seen those players too often.)
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:23 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

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Most every real band I've been in, every fill was (eventually) planned and played the same way (nearly) every time.

Singers and guitar players get to use hearing certain cues. They become part of the song.
Exactly. And if there's a great fill, why deliberately avoid playing just because? I play fills that work, whether I cooked them up, or am copying another drummer in a cover song. Does a singer change the lyrics to a song? Unless it's their song, no. But singers almost never change or update their own lyrics anyway.* Or if you're Weird Al, changing lyrics is what you do.

Are drum or bass or guitar parts any different?

Bermuda

* I remember a while back when Flo & Eddie updated Happy Together to "If I should call you up, invest two dimes..." although I don't know what they sing now.
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  #31  
Old 02-13-2019, 07:43 PM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
Most every real band I've been in, every fill was (eventually) planned and played the same way (nearly) every time.

Singers and guitar players get to use hearing certain cues. They become part of the song.
weird... It's been the opposite for me. None of my bandmates have ever really cared for the most part and as long as I'm not screwing up time and whatever fill I decide on fits the space/music well, it's never been an issue.

That said, there are parts in most of the songs where what we usually do is just the "right" thing, so we usually do it.

In my experience, when bandmates don't pay attention to where they are in a song and rely on audio cues only, things can get messy in a lot of situations around that.
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:45 PM
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I'm not a drummer who uses a ton of fills. In fact, I take pleasure in coming to parts of a song where a fill might predictably be, and just play through. It's amazing how often that can add more power than any fill.

But sometimes...

Sometimes, I'll be playing with my band, and we're cooking and it's getting exciting - and I kind of explode with a fill, just sort of underscoring the energy and the drive of the tune. And I'll tell you, those other guys in the band get energized hearing it, and they kick things up a notch in return.

I honestly don't think it's ego or attention-seeking; it's just genuine exuberance. I can't help it. Seeing the other players respond to my contribution like that...well, it's gratifying, I admit. The trick is to not let it seduce you into going overboard. (I've seen those players too often.)
You obviously know your bandmates very well. You, know when to, and when not to. Also, it helps when everyone in the band is feeling and riding the energy they share with the crowd and each other. There are a lot of factors in when to play something or not.
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  #33  
Old 02-14-2019, 12:27 AM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

If my band is playing a gig.. We have rehearsed these songs 100's if not 1000's of times.. If I start improvising the band mates would not love that. Tossing in a new chop or modulation thing I am working out would be very bad.

Now, I may hit a different tom, or do something SLIGHTLY different but it's mostly "planned" We have recorded these songs and they are kidnof written.

That being said. In slower parts things change. Sometimes and jam I'll change a part and use it over and over and the song feels better. Nothing is ever permanent, but I don't think the stage is often a place for improvisation.


That being said though. If you and your band are tight enough and confident enough it will work out. But, if you tend to over play, or if you are not as experienced planning everything is defiantly the way to go,.

I like to have the freedom to improvise, so if something changes in the moment, even by accident I can improvise my way out of it to where it doesn't sound like a mistake.

Same goes for guitars. Most guitar solos are "written" and pre planned.

If we are talking jazz though I would say most is not planned and improvised. There would just be some structure planned.
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  #34  
Old 02-14-2019, 02:18 AM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

This is the beauty of practicing rudiments and displacing sticking around the kit. You develop a vocabulary from which to form phrases. So instead of a pre-planned fill you have applicable concepts ready to group together to make up a fill.
In other words it's like having the ability to form sentences with whole words rather than individual letters.
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Old 02-14-2019, 04:01 AM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

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This is the beauty of practicing rudiments and displacing sticking around the kit. You develop a vocabulary from which to form phrases. So instead of a pre-planned fill you have applicable concepts ready to group together to make up a fill.
In other words it's like having the ability to form sentences with whole words rather than individual letters.
Yes, but when you've just played a great fill, one that you know just fits perfectly, do you avoid doing it again because now it's planned?

Bermuda
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  #36  
Old 02-14-2019, 05:16 AM
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

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This is the beauty of practicing rudiments and displacing sticking around the kit. You develop a vocabulary from which to form phrases. So instead of a pre-planned fill you have applicable concepts ready to group together to make up a fill.
In other words it's like having the ability to form sentences with whole words rather than individual letters.
In most genres, we don't expect the guitarists, the vocalist, the bass player, the strings, the horn section or the triangle player to come up with anything new when we play the song.

Why should the drums be any different?
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  #37  
Old 02-14-2019, 09:30 AM
bud7h4 bud7h4 is offline
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

Quote:
Originally Posted by bud7h4
This is the beauty of practicing rudiments and displacing sticking around the kit. You develop a vocabulary from which to form phrases. So instead of a pre-planned fill you have applicable concepts ready to group together to make up a fill.
In other words it's like having the ability to form sentences with whole words rather than individual letters.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Yes, but when you've just played a great fill, one that you know just fits perfectly, do you avoid doing it again because now it's planned?

Bermuda
Of course not, that would be crazy. I assumed everyone was simply discussing planned fills vs improvised fills as available options.

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Last edited by bud7h4; 02-14-2019 at 11:12 AM.
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  #38  
Old 02-14-2019, 09:41 AM
bud7h4 bud7h4 is offline
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

Quote:
Originally Posted by bud7h4
This is the beauty of practicing rudiments and displacing sticking around the kit. You develop a vocabulary from which to form phrases. So instead of a pre-planned fill you have applicable concepts ready to group together to make up a fill.
In other words it's like having the ability to form sentences with whole words rather than individual letters.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
In most genres, we don't expect the guitarists, the vocalist, the bass player, the strings, the horn section or the triangle player to come up with anything new when we play the song.

Why should the drums be any different?
I agree completely. Improvising a fill can be inappropriate and ruin a song. I'd be disappointed if I went to see a band live and the drummer didn't play the fills (or any other part of the song) as recorded.

But when creating a song, among many other scenarios, being able to improvise a fill is a valuable ability, and as I posted, practicing rudiments around the kit gives you a mental library of stickings and concepts from which to form deliberate, coherent phrases, rather than just blurting out random notes and hoping for the best.

__________

Last edited by bud7h4; 02-14-2019 at 11:12 AM.
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  #39  
Old 02-15-2019, 03:32 PM
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mrfingers mrfingers is offline
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
In most genres, we don't expect the guitarists, the vocalist, the bass player, the strings, the horn section or the triangle player to come up with anything new when we play the song.

Why should the drums be any different?
If the song is boring, really...I might expect all those other instruments to play signature parts and then some, to improve the song. Sometimes thereís room for that, sometimes not. Iím not talking about ďtributeĒ band covers.
I thought thatís why we often like a live concert more than the recorded band.
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  #40  
Old 02-15-2019, 04:07 PM
beyondbetrayal beyondbetrayal is offline
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Default Re: Pre-planned drum fills??

I improvise a lot when writing with the band. I'll usually get a look when something is defiantly not going to stay haha. I'll also get a look,smile, nod when something fits well. Then I may try and tweak slightly over the next few times we play. Once something is locked in though. It's locked in.

When you play something so many times, muscle memory is a great thing. When the Adrenalin is pumping on stage sometimes improvising could really mess you up, and if you have a bad monitor mix and can't hear each other, every little sound you make could help the other members land on the one. If you change up a fill you could derail the whole set.

When I am jamming out to spotify or loops or just random jamming with friends and not my band, I do nothing BUT improvise. I don't have a catalog of "FILLS" that I use.

Don't learn fills. Don't learn chops. When you have a selection of pre written fills you will end up very limited. I'm not saying improvise on stage. I'm saying don't learn specific fills. What you SHOULD do is learn sticking, rudiments, dynamics, etc. and learn to move them around the kit. I can play a paradiddle so many ways you would never know it's the same sticking. Some ways it will sound awful in context, some ways it will be the perfect fill. When I lock it in, that is what I will use in the song.

Too many people look up "drum fill lesson" on YouTube and learn a fill or chop with a specific sticking on specific drums and learn it very well, but end up with only 1 fill they repeat. Learning to concepts to make that fill or chop will give you endless possibilities. But as said, once you get it perfect for a specific part of a song, keep it.

It's all in context. Stage is for written material, but to write it, you need to improvise. The odd time I will actually sit and write out a fill and adjust it if the band is doing something that I really want to make pop and nail the accents.

When I listen to other bands some of those fills make the song for me. If they were missing or not as good I'd feel let down.
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