Funky Swiss Army Drum FillNate Brown
Learn a unique sounding, syncopated drum fill based on the Swiss Army Triplet sticking pattern.
The Swiss Army Triplet is one of the 40 Essential Rudiments that many drummers learn to play (or that many drummers plan to learn to play). As the name implies, it’s phrased in triplets (see below).
However, if we change the phrasing of this pattern, it becomes an impressively syncopated sounding pattern. No longer do each of the flams fall directly on a downbeat. The patterns below phrase the Swiss Army Triplet as sixteenth notes, which causes the “flams” to be played on every third sixteenth note (i.e. “1,” the “ah” of beat 1, the “&” of beat 2, the “e” of beat 3 and then beat “4”).
Number 1 above may look difficult to play on paper, but it’s essentially the same as the Swiss Army Triplet written above, except that we’re playing sixteenth notes instead of triplets. We’re also playing the grace note of the flam as a normal stroke to bring out the syncopation. Play all the tom strokes with the right stick and all snare strokes with the left (for a right-handed drum setup).
Number 2 is the same hand pattern as in number 1 but adds 8th notes on the bass drum to drive the fill. Sometimes, a full-measure drum fill is too much. Number 3 presents an option for a half-measure drum fill starting on beat 3. It’s fun to move this pattern around to different surfaces to explore different sounds. Number 4 simply moves the right stick to the ride bell instead of the high tom.
As you practice this groove, experiment with different surfaces. You’d be surprised how many great (and unique) sounding fills you can make out of the Swiss Army pattern. As always, if you come up with something cool, share it with us. We just may feature your idea on Online Drummer.