How to Add Triplet Fills And Make Things Unique

simple tripletsDrifting just a little bit away from the rather squared structure of basic eights-based rhythms is one of the most rewarding steps an aspiring drummer can and should make. Counting based on an odd number requires entirely different skills than counting even numbers and mixing the two systems – which you will almost always do – is a very interesting phenomenon.

Play Simple Triplets on the Drum Set First

The first step towards playing exciting triplet fills is getting accustomed to playing triplets on the drum set. Basically, playing triplets consists of counting three for every quarter note in a 4/4 time signature. To start out, you should play whole triplets on the snare drum.

In the example below, the first bar shows how playing multiple triplets of the same note continuously. See how we separate the triplets by hitting the bass drum on the first note of every triplet. The second bar shows a whole-note long fill, by playing a slant of four triplets from the snare drum through the upper toms to the floor tom. In the third bar you can see that the notes do not have to be identical inside the triplet, either.

Taking that concept forward, the fourth bar illustrates that the notes of a triplet do not even have to be played on drums with heads – incorporating different cymbals in your fills can yield to interesting results.

Play simple triplets on the drumset first

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Incorporating Triplets in Simple Beats

Once you have developed a solid skill of playing triplets, you should continue your study of triplets by trying to actually use them as material for your drum fills. In the most basic case, you can generally “replace” two eighth notes by three eighth-note triplets.

As the example below illustrates, simply ending a standard rock beat with three hits on the snare drum instead of two trailing hi-hat strokes can make a difference. The second example shows that the length of your fill is freely variable and also something that we have learned through the previous exercise: playing triplets including cymbal strokes is fun and actually sounds great.

Incorporating triplets in simple beats

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Playing Beats With a Three-Based Time Signature And Adding Fills

Fills with a triplet feel can not only be built into beats with an even time signature. Actually, there are certain time signatures that have a triplet-like groove by themselves. Just think of waltz, a blues shuffle or a good variety of Latin music and you will soon remember that not everything has the even groove of the disco beat.

The example below features some measures in a 6/8 time signature, which is rather commonly used for blues or slow rock tracks. Since you count in this time signature differently, the usual notation for a triplet is not used here. Actually, three consecutive eighth notes sound exactly like a triplet does in the standard 4/4 time signature. Playing standard fills in this time signature is perfect practice for playing triplets, even though technically these are not triplets.

If you want to practice disassembling triplets, just play a standard 6/8 groove for a very long time, and once you get bored start to hit different members of the drum kit with your hand that usually plays the hi-hat. You should not imitate Terry Bozzio here: try replacing hi-hat strokes one-by-one, experimenting with the results.

Beats with a three-based time signature and adding fills.gpx

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Unlock Your Natural Ability To Play Creative Drum Fills

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!

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