Although blues drumming isn’t based around fills, it is always good to know some techniques that will bring life to your fills. When you do use fills in blues drumming, you want them to add to the emotion of a song, not overpower it.
Drum fills for blues drumming are all about knowing your power. If you struggle to make your note voices even, your accents discernible, and your grace notes soft, then you should learn.
With a metronome, focus on your power and the evenness of your notes. Observe your technique while you are playing or, better yet, take a video of yourself playing. Analyze how far up you bring your sticks for strokes, accents, or graces and ghosts.
If you are lifting you stick more than a few inches off of the drum head when performing your graces, take your time to learn proper stick height, as the more distance your stick has to fall, inevitably the louder volume of sound it will produce.
One of the most important techniques to better learn drum fills for blues drumming is to observe your favorite blues drummers. Notice their power, and then compare it to other styles for reference.
If you take rock and blues as a comparison, you will notice that blues drummers hit much more softly than rock and roll drummers. This is because blues is a more emotional type of music, and while aggression is an emotion, it isn’t one that blues primarily focuses upon.
A third tip to learn drum fills for blues drumming is to stay relaxed. Tensing up your muscles not only earns you injuries, but it also earns you poor form and coordination. Coordination is important in learning any form of drumming.
You have to learn which limb is best for which voice, and then learn how to strike that voice using as little energy as possible. If you waste your energy with tensing your muscles, you will become more tired and your fills, rhythm, and coordination with be affected significantly.
To help with coordination, learn to sight read. Sight reading is a great technique as it helps you separate the use of your limbs, adding dexterity. The way it accomplishes this is by teaching your body to perform multiple tasks at once with little or no thought behind them.
Like all musical styles, you should start off slowly when learning new techniques. Drum fills for blues drumming can be tricky for beginners. Make sure you use a metronome and start off on a low tempo, around 60-80bmp.
This will assure that your muscles memorize the form and movement involved. When you gradually work your way up you to a higher tempo (although not 180 or 200bmp as blues is about relaxation) you will find that your body has little or no trouble with the groove.
Remember, as a blues drummer your goal is not to bring all of the attention to yourself, but to highlight the other voices. The blues are a simple style, so remember to keep your fills simple. As we always say; stay relaxed, practice hard, and have fun!
Learning how to develop new fills or creating unique patterns will no longer be a mystery to you. Drum Fill System is a step by step instruction program that covers various music genres like rock, jazz, reggae, metal, funk and more… If you are sick and tired of repetitive rudiments, you MUST check this out!