My fills are always in 8th notes/slower note rates, help!

whitecatcafe

Senior Member
Most of my fills when soloing or when just playing the song are mostly eighth notes or slower note rates. Sometimes I'll play sixteenths here and there but I have a tendency to stick to 8th notes. I can't seem to get out of it. I usually play what I 'hear in my head' but that means that I'm only 'hearing' 8th notes! What can I do to change this? I don't want to be confined to playing 8th notes all the time.. it gets boring after a while for both me and mainly for the other band members as well. Sometimes I try to tell myself to play more sixteenths when I play but for the most part, I don't even think while I'm playing and for some reason I get stuck in 8th note land. Please help!
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
This is going to be a shocker.

You're going to have to practice that stuff if you want to get better at it.

Instead of playing "what's in your head" when you sit down, work from some books or just work out some more complexly-divided fills.

If you're asking for some ideas to practice, I'm sure we can help, but there's not really a concept or secret behind playing higher sub-divisions with accuracy. You just have to practice until your body can do it with ease.

Once you've practiced that kind of thing a lot, as you're actually playing with other guys, you'll notice that the "stuff in your head" will be of a broader scope. You'll have more practice and ideas to draw from.
 

whitecatcafe

Senior Member
This is going to be a shocker.

You're going to have to practice that stuff if you want to get better at it.

Instead of playing "what's in your head" when you sit down, work from some books or just work out some more complexly-divided fills.

If you're asking for some ideas to practice, I'm sure we can help, but there's not really a concept or secret behind playing higher sub-divisions with accuracy. You just have to practice until your body can do it with ease.

Once you've practiced that kind of thing a lot, as you're actually playing with other guys, you'll notice that the "stuff in your head" will be of a broader scope. You'll have more practice and ideas to draw from.
That's the thing though.... I practice a lot and I do have the facility to play more complex stuff. I've worked through all of the major books/DVDs. It's just that when I'm playing music, I let go of 'practice' and 'thinking' mode and I play from what I'm hearing in my head.. I don't know how better to describe it. I feel like this is more of a mindset thing rather than a technique thing..
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I let go of 'practice' and 'thinking' mode and I play from what I'm hearing in my head.. I don't know how better to describe it. I feel like this is more of a mindset thing rather than a technique thing..
Would love to hear a sample of the issue before commenting. Is the material that you play particularly conducive to straight 8th/16th fills (AD/CD)?
 

whitecatcafe

Senior Member
Would love to hear a sample of the issue before commenting. Is the material that you play particularly conducive to straight 8th/16th fills (AD/CD)?
Hmmm I don't have any samples unfortunately. I'll try to explain...

It's like when I play a straight funk song at say 100 bpm, all the fills I play are usually just 8th or 16ths. Very simple fills. No spice, no flash.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Hmmm I don't have any samples unfortunately. I'll try to explain...

It's like when I play a straight funk song at say 100 bpm, all the fills I play are usually just 8th or 16ths. Very simple fills. No spice, no flash.
Having trouble understanding, as all fills are 8th and 16th notes.... Are you saying that the fills you play:

Are straightforward single strokes, with little variation?
Rarely use triplets?

If it helps.. Link a fill in some other song in a youtube video that sounds similar to one of yours. Then link another fill by someone else that doesn't.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I find that lots of my playing is dumbed down because I'm more of a perfectionist and I'd rather play a perfect 8th note/dotted 8th note than a sloppy 16th note tom roll. And I tend to think melodically instead of percussively at times. I think this is a good thing because you're developing a vocabulary that does not rely on speed or chops, regardless, I do want my hands to be more skillful so I'm working on the same "problem".

I think because you are aware that you don't like this about your playing you will automatically start to change.. I would suggest you start wising up a little bit on different stickings and fills and not being afraid to be a bit sloppy in the pursuit of playing some 16ths or other fast note values.

Some things I've been doing are exposing myself to some linear stuff (e.g gospel stuff, chris coleman, thomas pridgen etc).

This video is pretty cool too:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgWlqe5FVbU
 

whitecatcafe

Senior Member
I find that lots of my playing is dumbed down because I'm more of a perfectionist and I'd rather play a perfect 8th note/dotted 8th note than a sloppy 16th note tom roll. And I tend to think melodically instead of percussively at times. I think this is a good thing because you're developing a vocabulary that does not rely on speed or chops, regardless, I do want my hands to be more skillful so I'm working on the same "problem".

I think because you are aware that you don't like this about your playing you will automatically start to change.. I would suggest you start wising up a little bit on different stickings and fills and not being afraid to be a bit sloppy in the pursuit of playing some 16ths or other fast note values.

Some things I've been doing are exposing myself to some linear stuff (e.g gospel stuff, chris coleman, thomas pridgen etc).

This video is pretty cool too:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgWlqe5FVbU
Thanks for the video, Dre. What you wrote kind of describes what I go through. I also tend to think more melodically as well!
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
Find a song with a simple structure, by which I mean one that divides nicely into say 4 bar phrases.

As a f'rinstance, look at Ordinary World by Duran Duran where most of the song works well as 4 bars of groove followed by 1 of fill. Other songs are available.

Devise some fills when you are away from the kit, and write them out.

Blazing away isn't the key to a memorable fill - "In The Air Tonight" is prolly the most recognised fill of the late 20th century. Use rests and accents to make fills sound good.

Have at it!
 

Brian

Gold Member
As Jojo Mayer pointed out long ago, maybe try soloing in 16th notes and do not play anything but 16ths. Or triplets, play 100% triplets. Stay musical. It takes a lot of time and practice, and patience. if you do play another note figure, start over. This will train you to think about the figures you are playing in.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
The bigger question is how those fills complement the rest of the song musically. Do you want to play 16th notes because it will enhance the fabric of the song, or to show that you can play 16th notes? If 16th notes are called for, then just practice your rudiments. Or you could try writing out that part of the song and find a way to subdivide the space using 16th note patterns.

You don't want to bust out with a Buddy Rich style fill if the song doesn't call for it. You really want your fills to be a part of the overall conversation that is the song, otherwise you just sound like you're throwing a fill in for no reason. Try playing off the melody, or making a fill part of a call and repsonse with the lead instrument.
 

whitecatcafe

Senior Member
Thanks all of you for your replies and all of your great ideas, I now have a few things to work on tomorrow. Thanks again, love this forum!
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
What's the problem? 8th notes are great. I'm trying to play more of them.

It's also a good thing that a) you're hearing what you play, and b) you only play what you hear-- that means you're a musician, not just some joker playing drum patterns, so congratulations on that.

Here's what I would do:
-- Be working on your counting-- get fluent speaking your #e&as, and partials-- most intermediate snare drum books will have the type of reading you're after for that.
-- Be listening to music (not drumming videos) with the type of thing you want to be doing.
-- Get some practice materials that force you to play more 16th notes, and practice the stuff along with music. My standard recommendation is Joel Rothman's "Mini Monster" rock book, or Basic Drumming.
-- Look for ways to add 16th notes to your familiar 8th note rhythms. Like, if you like playing "&2&3&4&", it's not too much of a stretch to play "&a2&3&4&" or "&2&3&4e&".
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Great suggestions so far, but 8th note fills can be augmented in many ways. Engineering rests, using different elements of the kit mid fill (e.g. ride cymbal bell), & especially fills over the bar are all vibe changing variations to have fun with :)
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Great suggestions so far, but 8th note fills can be augmented in many ways. Engineering rests, using different elements of the kit mid fill (e.g. ride cymbal bell), & especially fills over the bar are all vibe changing variations to have fun with :)
Indeed. Not to mention accent placement and swing.

Ringo's "She Said" intro fill is straight 16th notes. It's the accent placement and swing that make it awesome.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Accents, rolls & flams will all make a basic 8 note rhythm infinetly cooler.

Before I started playing drums I always had a preference towards what I considered a REAL drummer. Obviously this was about just sounding and feeling good. I had no other concept than I somehow just felt like they made the whole kit sound like one groovy unit. As I started playing myself I think a lot of this had to do with the use of ghost notes. Doesn't need to be complicated. Double stroke 16ths between the 8 note accents are work, but all 8 notes qre equally cool. They just have to be well executed with intention.

Other possibilities:

Just take one of your fills and do a double or a flam in a few of the notes. HOw about flamming on two sound sources?

Thye basic rhythms that work in many contexts will often mainly be just 8th notes. So many ways ot spice them up, though.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
Seems like if you've exhausted all that's in your head, try getting into someone else's.

When I hear another drummer doing something I really like, I take it to the shed until I figure out what it's made of. So many good drummers doing so many cool things, it's never a problem finding someone else's head I want to get into.
 
I

I_Wanna_Be_So_Good

Guest
Accents, rolls & flams will all make a basic 8 note rhythm infinetly cooler.

Before I started playing drums I always had a preference towards what I considered a REAL drummer. Obviously this was about just sounding and feeling good. I had no other concept than I somehow just felt like they made the whole kit sound like one groovy unit. As I started playing myself I think a lot of this had to do with the use of ghost notes. Doesn't need to be complicated. Double stroke 16ths between the 8 note accents are work, but all 8 notes qre equally cool. They just have to be well executed with intention.

Other possibilities:

Just take one of your fills and do a double or a flam in a few of the notes. HOw about flamming on two sound sources?

Thye basic rhythms that work in many contexts will often mainly be just 8th notes. So many ways ot spice them up, though.
There's a lot that can be done with stuff like this, so take it seriously. Try listening to Desert of Song by BTBAM, it's a little westerny, and has an 8th triplet feel, but he does so much good stuff with rolling, flams, and well placed bass drum hits inside fills. Check it out sometime.
 
Top