New Beginner Drum Fills – A Guide

Posted by Mike Schumacher

The bass drum has many sonic applications. While it may not be the main focus of a lot of drummers, it does deserve a fair bit of love.

Since the bass drum only plays three beat drum rolls, it is fairly easy to jam over and sing along to. Furthermore, there are certain bass drum fills which will allow you to play them to a basic 4/4, 5/4, or 6/4 progression.

The goal of these fills is to make use of the bass drum’s easy 3/4 left hand rolls for accents, and simpler right hand rolls for fills.

I personally feel that these fills are a great introduction to adding some harmony to your drums, and will allow you to play over the basic 4/4, 5/4, or 6/4 progressions fairly easily.

To that end, these fills are more suitable for new bass drummers.

First, here is a guide for new bass drum fills. This will show you how to place the bass drum within the 4/4, 5/4, and 6/4 progressions.

The basics

The most basic of bass drum fills consists of two different drum rolls in either rhythm or syncopation.

  • The basic 2/4 (three on the floor) bass drum fill
  • The basic 3/4 (two on the floor) bass drum fill

When used correctly, these bass drum fills will not only allow you to play basic chords, but it will allow you to jam out to some basic songs by including one of the following bass drum rolls.

  • Basic 4/4
  • Basic 5/4
  • Basic 6/4

To summarize the types of drum fills, we’ll use 4 fill types.

  1. Instruments: Drum fill played on a specific instrument
  2. Guitars: Drum fill played on a specific guitar
  3. Guitars, drums: Drum fill played on 2 or more instruments (2 guitars & 2 drums)
  4. Instrument: Drum fill played on a specific instrument & voicing

You will be introduced to the first 3 of these sounds, which are instruments and shown how to create a basic fill from the first 4.

Lastly, we will look at the voicing effects to make these fill sounds even more natural.

To play through the example on the following page you will need to activate your Audio Training Module.

Preface: What are fill types?

The other question that arises when learning to play drum fills is: “What is a drum fill?”

The term “fill” in drumming refers to the most basic and most important section of a drum pattern.

Drum fills are often referred to as “raps”, but there are a lot of other terms that people use as well.

Reverse bass drum fill

The most common form of drum fill you will learn in this course is the reverse bass drum fill.

As an example, if you want to create a sound that sounds like an ad-lib drum fill you may want to start with an approach similar to this one:

Drum fills are often played on specific instruments to get a good response. You want your pattern to sound good to you.

For example, if you want to create a regular drum fill on a bass drum and then reverse it with a snare, you will want your reverse bass to sound as much like a regular bass drum fill as possible.

Here’s an example of a reverse bass drum fill, which is an excellent way to develop your melody playing and rhythmic skills.

This can also be played on other instruments. For example, in a guitar solo example it would work well to play on an acoustic guitar or double bass.

The rhythm sections of the song will also provide other options. For example, you can use a guitar, bass and snare in the rhythm section.


The list below is a summary of the main instruments used when creating drum fills.

  • Guitar Bass Drum Stone
  • Jig
  • Heap
  • Cobweb
  • Solo
  • Cymbal
  • Snare
  • Cherry
  • Cherry cymbal

At each area of the drum kit there will be different options to fill using the listed instruments.

It is worth looking at each of these options.

For example, you may be able to play fills using the fingernails of your pick or you may be able to perform fills using the left hand only.

There are lots of different ways to do things, but you can get an idea of what the possibilities are here.

For the guitar, you can usually play a reverse bass on a normal guitar.

For the bass you can use your fingers or a pick.

For the snare and cymbal you will often use the right hand only.

For the drums, you can use a reverse bass, any double bass or any tom drums.

You can also use your fingertips to create some fills.


Drum fills can be played on guitars, so this will often work very well.

However, some guitars will not have a direct placement to the snare and so a reverse bass is needed.

For example, when using an acoustic guitar as the bass guitar you will have to make your own contraption.

This will include using strings and a bridge, so it will not be the easiest way to make a bass drum fill.

If you would like to play more advanced guitar fills and chord fills then you will want to look at the rock / heavy metal section of this course.

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