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How to Play 2-Beat Drum Fills

Learn how to play two-beat drum fills from drum teacher Jason Gianni in this Howcast drum video.


  • Step 1: Fill variations Trying adding variations to it by keeping the order of the fills the same, but move the notes around the drums to the snare or high-top.
  • Step 2: Understanding fills Understand what a fill is: a transition that bridges two phrases of a song.
  • Step 3: Playing fills Try playing a fill over the last two beats of a phrase, using a count of eight notes on the third beat and a count of sixteenth notes on count four. Essentially, the entire fill will sound like: three and four e-and-a.


When you talk about two beat drum fills you're talking about a fill that takes place over two counts of measure at the end of a phrase.

Remember that the definition of a fill is something like a transition where you would bridge two sections of a song together, or two phrases of a song. What I'm going to play now is a drum fill that takes place over two beats of the last measure of your phrase. So if you're talking about four counts in a measure you're talking about counts three and four of that measure. One, two, three, four, it's going to take place over that. On count three I'll give you a set of eighth notes, three and.

On count four I'll give you a set of sixteenth notes, four e-and-a. So that the entire fill will sound three and, four e-and-a. And following the fill, because we're ending a phrase, we're going to strike a crash on the downbeat of one of the following measure to complete the phrase. I'll play the entire phrase two times with the fill and the crash that's following. One, two, three, four. [drum playing]. In order to add some variations to that you can keep the rhythm and the fill the same. But what you can do is start moving your notes around the drums. On count three on those eighth notes, three and, I'll stick those on the snare drum. And on count four, on the four e-and-a, I'll put those on the high tom.

So it'll sound something like one, two, [drum playing]. It'll sound like this in the groove: One, two, three, four, [drum playing]. And finally I'll set up both of those groupings around the drums so you can hear how it sounds with some various surfaces. I'll play the fill sounding something like this: [drum playing]. With the groove and the phrase it'll sound like this: One, two, three, four, [drum playing]. So if you've studied reading variations and rhythms you can basically take any combination and try to move them around a two beat fill like that. Around different surfaces, on one surface, whatever works for you.

Try some different things.

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