Eighth Note Drum Fills
Learning 8th note drum fills has never been easier with this free drum lesson. In this video Jared Falk walks you through five cool sounding drum fills that are sure to spice up your drumming, and give you further inspiration for you to come up with your own. In the video, Jared also explains how quarter notes and 8th notes relate.
Music theory is not as hard as some make it to be. Learning how to play these drum fills and taking the time to understand how 8th notes relate to quarter notes will make you that much knowledgeable about music theory. This will further help illustrate how learning music theory is really not that hard. An 8th note is twice as fast as a quarter note. So in a bar of 4/4 time we have four quarter notes and eight 8th notes – quarter notes are played on each count while 8th notes are played in between counts. For more on how to count, write and read 8th notes, check the free drum lesson “How To Count 8th Notes“.
Just like we did with the first exercise in the free drum lesson “Quarter Note Drum Fills“, we start things off by playing a basic 8th note rock drum fill on the snare drum. This exercise will help you get a feel for playing a single stroke roll between your hands as 8th notes. This is actually a very typical drum fill played in rock music, so getting this pattern under you belt is a must.
Considering 8th notes are played at double the speed of quarter notes, you must be extra careful when you add a metronome to the mix. Jared plays this exercise at 100 BPM, but you can play it at a slower tempo if you have to. The main thing here is to learn to control the alternating motion of your hands, so that you can get a consistent sounding single stroke roll happening. Focus on that before working on speed.
The second exercise is an extension of the respective exercise from the free drum lesson “Quarter Note Drum Fills“. Here, you’ll play two notes per drum instead of one. The main issue with this exercise is the movement required to perform the strokes on each drum. If you’re not used to spreading strokes over different drums, you’ll be extra challenged by this drum fill. Remember to start learning this one slowly, this is the only way you’ll be sure to avoid hitting the rims instead of the actual skin of the drums. Once you’re able to strike the drumheads, work on producing consistent hits on its center. This will ensure a clean sounding roll around the drums. This is one of those patterns you’ll really want to add to your toolbox of drum fills.
The next pattern is also based on a drum fill taught in the free drum lesson dedicated to quarter note drum fills. You’ll find the same issues in this drum fill as in the previous one. Start slowly and focus on control and consistency. You can start to work on speed when you get this pattern under control. Besides being a cool sounding drum fill to use whenever, it’s also a great exercise to work on your speed around the kit.
Until now, we’ve been working on 8th note rock drum fills where there are two consecutive notes played on a different instrument for each quarter note. Exercise 4 is a bit more tricky since you’ll be hitting different drums starting on the 8th notes instead of on the quarter notes. This can be little challenging at first, but with some practice you’ll be able to pull this one off in no time.
Once again, start by learning the sequence. Internalizing it will make it that much easier, and effective, to practice this fill along with a metronome, since you’ll only have to worry about keeping your strokes evenly spaced.
The last 8th note rock drum fill in this free drum lesson is a mix of the first exercise with the concept discussed in the previous one. If you’ve practiced and mastered those two drum fills you’ll be golden here. There is however one slight issue that you may encounter here. If you haven’t strengthen your weaker arm, chances are you’ll end up playing weaker strokes with it. This is a problem a lot of drummers face. If this is your case, then the best way to work on it is to use it a lot more than you do. There are some cool ways to achieve this. You can work on playing with that arm leading when you practice drum rudiments, or even start playing with it leading on the hi-hat.
Each fill in this free drum lesson is illustrated with a basic 8th note rock beat preceding it. This will make you work on beat-fill-beat transitions, an essential skill for any drummer to have. Once you get comfortable playing the transitions with the provided 8th note rock beat, you can take any drum beat from this website and use it instead. You can apply whatever type of beat you’d like, you’re not restricted to 8th note rock beats only.
We’ve included play-along tracks in the free drum lesson “Beginner Drum Fills“, specially created for practicing drum fills. Go to that lesson, download the tracks, and use them to practice these or any other drum fills you may be working on. Once you’re done with this free drum lesson, take a look at the free drum lesson “Broken 8th Note Drum Fills” for further developing your fill library.