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.