Book Reviews
Drummer Cafe 20th Anniversary
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Drum Fills: The Basics and Beyond Drum Fills: The Basics and Beyond was created to help drummers improve their abilities to play great drum fills. The material presented was originally developed over the course of several years, as a result of the needs and requests of many of my students. As drummers practice playing fills, it becomes apparent that there are a variety of issues that need to be addressed. To play fluent and creative fills, a drummer needs a strong foundation of basic fill concepts, the technique to execute the fill, and musical ideas for the content of the fill. Without these key elements, playing fills can be a source of difficulty and frustration. To further illustrate this idea… In some cases a drummer may practice a particular lick or sticking pattern to a high degree of physical execution, but does not have a clear understanding of how to apply it well within a musical phrase. The opposite is also sometimes true, a drummer may understand a simple rhythmic idea and play it very well as a fill, but doesn't quite know how to employ more interesting techniques or sounds into the phrase and get something else out of it.

The goal of this book is to help drummers achieve a balance in these necessary skills. This book presents a diverse collection of studies and exercises that clarify the basics of drum fills, develop more advanced and specific techniques to use in fills, and present many ideas for musical phrases using the techniques. The studies are presented in an order that follows a natural progression of ability, however… the exercises do not need to be played in the order they are presented. Students and teachers can select exercises to design a curriculum that fits a student's needs as their skills develop. With each set of exercises, you will find descriptions, tips and practice instructions. Sometimes they are written for each individual study, and when appropriate they are written for the entire chapter. Be sure to read the text that accompanies each part of this book to get the most out of the exercise.


Written by D. Scott Williams and published by Mel Bay, Drum Fills: The Basics and Beyond is a 104-page collection of studies to aid in the development of creating drum fills.

The book is divided into three chapters; Fill Basics, Techniques, and Rudimental Applications.

Chapter One: Fill Basics covers Fill Grids (essentially one surface exercises to develop the ability to play a fill starting at any point within the measure), Fills Using Straight Stickings (aka alternating single strokes), Fills "In The Pocket" (time keeping followed by a fill), Fills Based on Rhythmic Variation, Basic Fills - Putting It All Together (combining all of the techniques learned in Chapter One).

Chapter Two: Techniques covers HiHat Pedaling, Accent Patterns, Sticking Patterns and Orchestrations, Integrating the Bass Drum, Short Open HiHat Sounds, Floor Tom and Bass Drum Linear Sixteenths, and One Handed Fills.

Chapter Three: Rudimental Applications covers 4 and 7 Stroke Ruffs, Lesson 25, 6-Stroke Roll, Swiss Triplets, and Paradiddles.

If you are looking for a book to help you develop some new creative fills ideas, Drum Fills: The Basics and Beyond may be the book for you. Although concepts and written fills are more for intermediate to advanced players, beginners will glean plenty — assuming there's already a good grasp on rhythms and music notation. Examples are all in 4/4 (Common Time), focusing heavily on four-bar phrases, but can easily be adapted to any time signature or phrasing.

Recommended for teachers, students and self-taught players.