A Sheetful of Swing Fills

Enjoy a handful of 7 drum fills that can be used along with any swing situation.

Paradiddle-diddle/Paradiddle Groove

This sixteenth note, tom-based groove is played with paradiddle-diddle and paradiddle stickings. It is designed to increase the player's flow around the kit using a combination of single and double strokes.

Afro 12/8

In this is beat, the African clave (bell pattern) is being used in a different way.

Atavachron – Allan Holdsworth Style

"Atavachron" is the title track from Allan Holdsworth's classic fusion album, released in 1986. It was his first album which featured the SynthAxe — a guitar-like MIDI controller.

Paradiddle 5-Stroke Lick

The sextuplet based lick heard in the second measure is based on the first five notes of a paradiddle. The lick is similar to the "Grandpa" hybrid rudiment, except that the first note of the group is not accented. Used in a slow/medium swing context, it generates powerful tension and release.

Accenting the Middle Note in Compound Meter

In compound meters*, the middle-note in each set of three notes is often neglected—overshadowed by the outer notes. In this beat, the middle note is featured, echoing the dotted-quarter-note pulse.

Balancing the Hands – Swing

This is an exercise designed to balance your hands through playing the jazz swing rhythm with either hand. In the first bar, the right hand leads, playing the rhythm on the floor tom. In the second bar, the left hand leads, playing the high tom. The spaces are filled with ghosted snare drum notes. These ghost strokes help you to hear and feel the underlying triplets in the swing feel.

Casual Affair – Panic! at the Disco – Groove

Casual Affair features on Panic at the Disco's fourth album "Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!" (2013).

Pyramid Song – Radiohead

Pyramid Song was the first single from Radiohead's 2001 album, Amnesiac. Its hypnotic rhythm has been the subject of much debate over the years. The notation and audio clip above were taken from the point where the drums enter (at 2:10).

I’m Tweeked / Attack of the 20lb Pizza – Vinnie Colaiuta

This excerpt is taken from melody section [0:37 to 1:12] of "I'm Tweeked / Attack of the 20lb Pizza" from Vinnie Colaiuta's self-titled album (1994).

F.T.B. – Robert Glasper – Beat

This microscopically complex beat played by Damion Reid, sets the tone for Robert Glasper's tune "F.T.B." It features rapid 32nd note paradiddle-diddles played between the hi-hat and snare (beginning on the 'e' of beats 2 and 4). Meanwhile, the bass drum anchors the feel – sounding on beats 1 and 3. The drum part evolves organically throughout the piece while maintaining a relaxed vibe.

Seven Days – Sting

This inventive groove was played by Vinnie Colaiuta throughout the verses of Sting's 1993 song, Seven Days. The core rhythm is based on eighth notes grouped in 3s and 2s - marked with a bass drum hit on beat 1 and cross stick (rim knock) on beat 4. The hi-hat is accented on the odd numbered beats: 1, 3 and 5 in the first measure and the even numbered beats: 2 and 4 in the second. This creates an alternative 'slow 5' pulse spanning 2 measures, evening out the odd meter and making it more relatable to the listener.

Which Voicing #7 – Fred – Tony Williams

This example was taken from Fred, a classic track from Tony William's 1975 album, Lifetime. In this section (0:07-1:07), the hi-hat ostinato was played consistently, while the bass and snare drums were played using variations of this basic beat. Which notation style do you prefer?