5/4 Poly’ Singles & Double-Stroke Drum Fill

In this lesson, we’re going to realize a way of navigating a drum fill using singles and double strokes as 16th notes, loosely using the 5/4 polyrhythms as a template for the accents throughout the fill. Once you have this pattern down, you’ll be able to exchange instruments/voices within the fill to make it your own, or of course, completely change the structure of the pattern but keep the idea the same – just use singles and double strokes to navigate a repeating pattern within a fill.

A good starting point with this fill is to get to the halfway point, as the second half of the fill uses the same pattern, just on different drums:

The key to making this fill work, once you have the sticking down, is to get the dynamics down. Make sure the ghost notes are quiet and the accents cut through. Then work on the 2nd half. I like to work my way back around the toms:

I’ve included two exercises below demonstrating this fill at two speeds: 140bpm and 160bpm. That 20bpm increase makes a huge difference to the vibe of the fill and also serves as a good challenge to anyone wishing to gain controlled speed with their singles and doubles.

Loop exercise – 140 bpm

Loop exercise – 160 bpm

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