Broken Eighth Note Drum Fills

Easy Drumming That Sounds Hard

In this free video drum lesson you’re introduced to broken 8th note drum fills. Broken fills are patterns that include rests, meaning that not all notes are to be played. The five drum fills taught in this free drum lesson include 8th note rests in them. Jared Falk displays each rock drum fill with a play-along loop especially designed for practicing full bar drum fills. You can download two versions of this play-along from this lesson – one with the drum tracks removed and an alternate version with a metronome added in.

Knowing how to play silence is an art form. This means that it’s hard to use silence in a tasteful way. The space between the notes is content. Silence, alongside orchestration, are pivotal in the development of different rhythms and feels for songs. So knowing how to use rests is not just a small detail in your learning process. Mastering this concept will bring about a greater level of musicianship in you, a greater level of feel, and ultimately, the competence required to come up with drum fills that better fit the context of a song.

Music is the space between the notes.” – Claude Debussy, French composer.

Information regarding the different hand patterns used by Jared Falk for each exercise is not included. He followed this route because the hand patterns rely mostly on the way you have your drums set up and on what feels comfortable to you.

Before you start learning the content within this free drum lesson, be sure to go through the free drum lessons “How To Count 8th Notes” and “8th Note Drum Fills“. Those free drum lessons encompass the basic knowledge you’ll need to have to get through this one without any major issues.

Drum Fills

The first broken 8th note rock drum fill taught in this free drum lesson is played on the snare drum. You have to be extra careful when learning the stroke sequence of a broken drum fill, seeing it can be harder to play a broken pattern on a single drum than spreading a continuous roll over various drums. So if you have to, learn the sequence at an extremely slow speed at first. Then, you can add the metronome in and start working on lining things up perfectly.

Drum fill number 2 expands on the previous one. This broken 8th note drum fill has big periods of silence between each two strokes, so you may find yourself rushing through the pattern. Relax and count out loud as you play this broken 8th note drum fill with a metronome. This will further help you playing each stroke exactly where it should be.

The next drum fill has the potential of being a challenging one. Combining the four 8th notes played consecutively on the first half of the bar, with the two strokes played on the off-beats of the final half of the bar, can easily make you play a stroke on count 3 due to drummers’ natural inclination to play on the down-beats. This is another great example of the importance of learning the stroke sequence first and at a slow speed.

Exercise 4 is as cool as challenging. The notes played in this rock drum fill are all on the off-beats. This can be a little hard to get at first, since drummers play on the down-beats most of the times. For instance, you may find yourself playing count 1 of the drum fill even though there’s no stroke there. Master the drum fill by itself before playing it in a beat-fill-beat combination. This is a great exercise for developing your feel for playing the off-beats only and drum fills without any stroke on count 1.

If you’ve been thorough in the way you’ve practiced the previous drum fills in this free drum lesson, this last one should be easy for you. This broken drum fill has the equivalent of a quarter note rest between counts 3 and 4. You may feel naturally inclined to rushing the notes played on count 4, due to the amount of space between them and the “and” of count 2. Once again, counting out loud will help you circumvent this issue. So take your time and focus on playing everything as tight as possible before you start working on speed.

After you’re done mastering these drum fills, you can start to work on your own variations by using these ones as inspiration. The drum fills taught in this free drum lesson are just a starting point. There are literally thousands of broken 8th note drum fills that you can come up with. Don’t be afraid to experiment. The more you work on your own ideas, the best you’ll get at playing exactly what your head wants you to. Another side effect of working on different broken 8th note drum fills is the development of your sense of rhythm. You can also use the drumless version of the song “It’s About Something” from the rock band YUCA, to practice these broken 8th note drum fills or any other of your own variations.

Once you’re done with this free drum lesson, we encourage you to take a look at the free drum lesson “Beginner Broken 16th Note Drum Fills” for further developing your ability to play broken up drum fills.




  • Kori says:

    Good Evening Jared,
    By chance could you show me how to play yearning for your love by the gap band?

  • Mark R. Searles says:

    Tommy Igoe once said that good drumming has lots of space, lots of air. Rests in drum fills are extremely powerful and Jared, you have created the exact type of fills I’ve been looking for. Thank You for all you’ve done. Of all of the drummers out there, you are among only a handful that has had such a positive impact on my drumming at church.

    Thanks You Once Again,
    Mark R. Searles


    You really rock man!!!!! Thanks for providing all these rock drumming teaching videos which helps me a lot to learn in totality.
    You are my all time favourite!!!!!

  • Asen Mihailov says:

    How can I download the MP3 play-along

  • Piotr says:

    I wanna become a porducer and I’m about to attend a college to learn Music Technology, but beside piano, do I have to take Digital Sound Engineering or Electronic MIDI/Music Production ??? plz help i’m about to take a huge step of my life

  • Dave says:

    Hi Jared, the new videos and the layout looks great, nice one. I love the drum score with the moving blue dot too. I have to ask, what software do you use to do that? I teach part-time at a school and they would love something like this in the classroom.

    Many thanks in advance.

    • Yanti says:

      LOVE THEM!!! Alyssa looks beautiful, and I love all the coolrs and different looks. Thank you so much Melody! Your talents are amazing, and we can’t wait to see them all and cherish them forever

  • Vic says:

    Jared.. U inspire me.. thank you!! I would like to learn merengue.. do u have a vid video for this??

  • Nat says:

    You are a great teacher… domo arigato

    • Kiki says:

      it all.Standing outside the FireWe call them coolThose htares that have no scars to showThe ones that never do let goAnd risk it the tables being turned We call them foolsWho have to dance within the flameWho chance the sorrow and the shameThat always come with getting burned But you got to be tough when consumed by desire Cause it’s not enough just to stand outside the fire We call them strongThose who can face this world aloneWho seem to get by on their ownThose who will never take the fall We call them weakWho are unable to resistThe slightest chance love might existAnd for that forsake it all They’re so hell bent on giving, walking a wireConvinced it’s not living if you stand outside the fire Chorus:Standing outside the fireStanding outside the fireLife is not tried it is merely survivedIf you’re standing outside the fire There’s this love that is burningDeep in my soulConstantly yearning to get out of controlWanting to fly higher and higherI can’t abide standing outside the fire

  • Jaap says:

    Hi there!

    Your toms sound so awesome, but is this because of the filtering from your microphone or did you tune your toms so nice?

    Thanks in advance!

    kind regards,

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