Fills-Start/Finish

Ronzo

Junior Member
So this may seem like a stupid question to some but take it easy on the newb. (been at this officially for +/- 4 months)
My instructor was telling me the other day when doing fills, if you are doing 1s, 2s or 3s you start on the beat of 4 whereas if you do 4s you start on 3.
He did not really explain it all that well and it is a little confusing to me.
A lot of times he says to do something this way of the other but only gives a brief explanation and says it will become clearer as I progress.
Since I started I have begun all my fills on beats 1 through 4, crashing on 1 and carrying on with the beat.
Does anyone have any easy explanation/method on when to start and end fills?
Is it dependent on length of fill and # of drums/cymbals involved?
If there is no easy answer any help and/or direction would be appreciated.
My timing is good....just really confused on when to start and end fills
 
A fill isn't a rabbit where we all know it has two long ears and a fluffy tail ;)

A drum fill is just an interruption of the normal drum beat of a song. You might play little fills as well as "the big drumfill", and both are completely different animals. Some just add emphasis with a flam on the snare at the very end of the verse, and it's a fill, yeah. Others like 'In the Air Tonight' are outstanding, and every drummer knows them.

But certainly a fill isn't just a thing that happens from time to time, usually it has a certain function i.e. to mark the beginning of a new part of the song, or a repetition. Some songs may require bigger fills, others need rather discreet drumming.

There are several videos on YT like "drum fills every drummer should know", where you learn stuff like the Pat Boone Debbie Boone thing and other common drum fills. But always keep in mind, it's not the drum fill that makes people dance, it's the groove. Less is more :)
 

V-Four

Senior Member
…." if you are doing 1s, 2s or 3s you start on the beat of 4 whereas if you do 4s you start on 3."
It may be because I've never had official "lessons" (well, I actually had 1 lesson years ago..) but I'm not 100% sure what you mean by doing 1's, 2s or 3s.. (or 4s actually).

As was said, you can technically do a fill anywhere you please, but I assume, for the sake of starting out, that you want these fills to "finish the measure" so the beat starts on 1 again (after fill).

T.
 

Ronzo

Junior Member
It may be because I've never had official "lessons" (well, I actually had 1 lesson years ago..) but I'm not 100% sure what you mean by doing 1's, 2s or 3s.. (or 4s actually).

As was said, you can technically do a fill anywhere you please, but I assume, for the sake of starting out, that you want these fills to "finish the measure" so the beat starts on 1 again (after fill).

T.
Singles, doubles, triplet or quads
 

Theana9

New member
A fill isn't a rabbit where we all know it has two long ears and a fluffy tail ;)

A drum fill is just an interruption of the normal drum beat of a song. You might play little fills as well as "the big drumfill", and both are completely different animals. Some just add emphasis with a flam on the snare at the very end of the verse, and it's a fill, yeah. Others like 'In the Air Tonight' are outstanding, and every drummer knows them.

But certainly a fill isn't just a thing that happens from time to time, usually it has a certain function i.e. to mark the beginning of a new part of the song, or a repetition. Some songs may require bigger fills, others need rather discreet drumming.

There are several videos on YT like "drum fills every drummer should know", where you learn stuff like the Pat Boone Debbie Boone thing and other common drum fills. But always keep in mind, it's not the drum fill that makes people dance, it's the groove. Less is more :)
+1
 

trickg

Silver Member
Question - have you been taught, and do you fully understand a proper counting method that divides down to the 16th note?

Example by 8ths - 1 & - 2 & - 3 & - 4 &...

Example by 16ths - 1 e & a - 2 e & a - 3 e & a - 4 e & a...

If you know how to count, go listen to some rock ballads, and count through things so that you can get a feel for when certain types of fill figures start, and how they are counted. Learning to count correctly now (if you don't already know how) is IMO critical for being able to break things down and articulate what you want to do musically.

Fills will eventually come naturally, even if they seem like foreign concepts now. Think of them as markers for transitions for the rest of the band - they can add a lot of energy and excitement, but fills usually serve a purpose musically, and should say something, rather than just being a bunch of strokes in the middle of a phrase.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
Possibly the idea is to finish the fill so that you can return to the groove on the 1 beat. So the 2s would count out as 4 & then start the next measure on the 1 beat. The 4s would play on 3 & 4 & then start the groove on the 1 beat.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I don't know that there's a hard and fast rule about doing a fill. The only rule I can think of is they have to be appropriate. If I was teaching, I'd be focusing more on what's appropriate and why, than to say start on 1, end on 4, crash on 1. Fils can be pauses, accents, a slight change in pattern, short, long, etc. For example, you could be playing a 16th note pattern on hats with both hands for the beat, then accent your left hand twice as in L r L r (pause) 1 and crash on the & after 1 and have it be both right and wrong depending on the song. I think your teacher is focusing too much on the mechanical stuff. While that's all well and good for a beginner, it's music we play too and not something mechanical. I went on for years, stuck in the start on 1, end on 4, crash on 1 stuff and it really stifled my growth.

Playing in time, playing accurately, understanding dynamics and technique as well as how we as drummers influence music should be the first priority. Fills develop organically from that training.
 

mrfingers

Senior Member
“Playing in time, playing accurately, understanding dynamics and technique as well as how we as drummers influence music should be the first priority. Fills develop organically from that training.”
^this!
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
Just don't loose the count.
Exactly. You can start and finish a fill anywhere you like. Just remember . . . .

"no matter what you do, no matter where you go,
that clock, the clock in San Dimas, is always running."

 
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Twakeshima

Active member
It really depends on what type of song it is. My go to fills are usually around half a bar (1-2 or 2-4), a full bar, or two bars. Really, a fill can be as long or short as you want it to be as long as you don’t loose track of the beat. When starting off I recommend counting out all of your fills (1 and 2 and etc.) to make sure you come back in at the right time. As you get more experienced, years of counting will make it easier to judge where to come in. Always happy to help a beginner. If you need help with counting I can explain that as well.
 
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