Beginner Double Bass Drum Fills

Bass Drum Boot Camp

In this free drum lesson, Dave Atkinson teaches you how to play five double bass drum fills he came up with. These exercises are geared towards beginner drummers. Try them out no matter at what level you are now. You’ll not only brush on essential double bass drum fills, but get new ideas for developing your own as well.

These double bass drum fills range from 16th note and 16th note triplet hand-to-feet combinations, to more complex rhythmical patterns that mix them both. We encourage you to learn to play these double bass drum fills using your hi-hat pedal, if you don’t have a double bass pedal or two bass drums. By doing so you’ll work on your weaker foot independence and control. When you get yourself a double bass drum pedal or a second bass drum it will be a lot easier for you to master these double bass drum fills.

Learning these patterns is a great way for you to be introduced to the world of double bass drum fills. Once you’ve mastered these exercises, be sure to check the really cool sounding double bass drum fills that some of the world’s finest drummers have come up with.

Drummers: Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa, Missing Persons, Dweezil Zappa), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, Transatlantic), Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan (Avenged Sevenfold), Joey Jordison (Slipknot, Murderdolls), Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Fantômas, Grip Inc.), Chris Adler (Lamb of God, Burn the Priest), and Jason Bittner (Shadows Fall).

Drum Fills

Exercise #1 is a fairly simple 16th note hand-to-feet combination. Transitioning between the fill and the beat may bring about some issues. You’ll have to play an extra stroke on the bass drum with your lead foot, right after the last four double bass strokes of the drum fill. Practice this exercise slowly at first, so you can get used to playing the extra bass drum hit with more ease.

Exercise #2 is another 16th note hand-to-feet combination. The first three counts are the combination of two strokes with the hands and two strokes with the feet. The last count is a 16th note single stroke roll played with the hands and with dynamics. Practicing this double bass drum fill at a fast tempo at first, may jeopardize stroke consistency and evenness. Start this one out slowly, making sure everything lines up perfectly, even if you feel confident with your chops.

The crescendo on count 4 is short. You’ll have to go from a low to a high volume in a very short amount of time. Practice this section separately from the remainder of the drum fill, so you can perfect the way you play the crescendo.

Exercise #3 is a hand-to-feet combination played as 16th note triplets. For the first two counts the hands play the 8th notes and the feet play the 16th note triplets in between. This sequence is followed by a left hand flam tap that goes into a 16th note triplet single stroke roll. You have to be careful when transitioning from count 2 to count 3 to avoid playing a flat flam, and from the flam tap to the single stroke roll to avoid playing a very messy sounding roll.

Exercise #4 is another example of a 16th note triplet hand-to-feet combination. The sticking pattern is a bit more complex than what we’ve seen so far. Remember to learn the stroke sequence first before cleaning the pattern up with a metronome. This optimizes your time behind the drum set since it actually increases the speed at what you learn things. When practicing along to a metronome, set it at just under the maximum tempo at what you can play an exercise accurately. This ensures you practice the pattern correctly and work on expanding your boundaries at the same time. You can use this concept with in any drum beat, drum fill, or exercise you come across.

Taking a look at the sheet music below, you can see that exercise #5 features two note values. They are 16th notes and 16th note triplets. This can be a bit confusing to play at first. It’s imperative you give your brain the time to assimilate the transitions between note values. This will enable you to play this double bass drum fill by feel, without even thinking about it. You can also practice single stroke roll transitions between 16th notes and 16th note triplets on a practice pad, to further develop your inner ear.

These drum fills are great exercises for working on your ability to play fast double strokes with the heel-toe technique and the slide technique. To do so, you just have to play the double bass patterns with one foot while using one of those bass drum techniques.

Once you’ve mastered these double bass drum fills, check the free drum lesson “Intermediate Double Bass Drum Fills“. If you’d rather learn more beginner double bass hand-to-feet combinations, check the free drum lesson “Beginner Metal Drum Fills” and play the single foot double strokes from the lesson “Beginner 16th Note Linear Drum Fills” with a double bass drum pedal instead.