Learning Drums

5 Easy Rock Drum Fills for Beginners Learning to Play

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Drum fills are obviously the most fun part of playing the drums, at least to me. I’m sure you feel the same way. If you’re new to drumming, fills can seem intimidating and difficult to understand.

In this article, we’ll focus on five easy to play drum fills that any beginner should be able to master!

Easy Rock Drumming Fills

So, what is a drum fill?

Most drum parts in popular music consist of three main elements: rests (breaks where we don’t play), grooves, and fills.

A drum fill is simply a deviation from the groove of a song to add excitement and flair, usually at the end of a four or eight-bar phrase.

Drum fills don’t need to be complicated, either. Depending on the genre or style of music, a great drum fill might just be a measure long break before returning to the groove.

In other styles of music, drum-heavy playing is emphasized like in metal or progressive rock for example. Drummers like Mike Portnoy or Neil Peart are often regarded as having very bombastic drum fills.

They’re like mini solos, kind of

For many, drum fills are the one part of a song where the drummer can show off and put a spotlight on their playing. However, while true, this isn’t the only expression of fills you should concern yourself with.

While it is fun and exciting, be sure not to take away from the music being played if your fills are out of the style. Jazz groups won’t be too happy with hard-hitting thirty-second note fills around the toms.

Now that you understand the definition and role of drum fills, let’s tackle some easy ones!

Now, for all of these drum fills, we will use the same groove, The Money Beat, to set them up. It’s a very simple kick, snare, and hi-hat groove. Each groove will be a three-bar phrase followed by a one-bar fill, totaling a four-bar phrase.

Start these grooves off slow, using a metronome. Increase the speed by five clicks once you know for certain you are comfortable with it.

If you’re new to reading reading drum music, I strongly suggest you take a few minutes to read my article on understanding notation.

1. Simple build up

Half measure drum fill

Easy Drum Fill 1

Drum fill number one features a snare drum and floor tom build on beats three and four at the end of a four-bar phrase.

One way to get comfortable with this fill at first is to only play the left hand (snare drum part). This will get you comfortable with the feel and timing prior to adding the floor tom.

It can be tricky to get your hand over to the floor tom quickly, so you can drop off the hi-hat part on beat two if you’re having an issue.

2. Sixteenth snare drum fill

Half measure drum fill

Easy Drum Fill 2

Fill number two is already looking a little more challenging! For starters, we have sixteenth notes, which get half the value of an eight note.

The good news? You won’t have to move drums.

The bad? You may want to start this fill with your opposite lead hand.

Why you ask? Since this fill in particular is five notes total, you will always end up on the opposite hand you began with.

If you’re a right-handed drummer, I suggest you either start this fill with your left hand, or play a second right-hand hit on beat four. This will make returning to the groove much easier!

3. The “Flam Bomb”

Half measure drum fill

Flam Drum Fill

I’m not entirely sure why I named this fill the “flam bomb,” but it seems appropriate.

If you’re unaware, a flam is a type of drum rudiment that uses what’s known as a grace note prior to the regular note.

The grace note is played lightly, while the regular note is normal velocity. In some cases, both notes of the flam can be loud.

The “flam bomb” is one of the most common drum fills in rock music. I challenge you to tell me you’ve never heard this one on a record before.

4. Straight-ahead snare sixteenths

Half measure drum fill

Sixteenth note drum fill on snare drum

Here is another very common drum fill. This one features, the snare drum, though it can be moved to any drum on your kit (or even split up between drums).

Sticking for this fill is very straightforward: RLRL, just as you would normally play (if you’re a right-handed player).

5. Sixteenths all day

Full measure drum fill

Sixteenth note drum fill around the drums

For our final beginner drum fill, here’s a classic.

It’s a sixteenth note pattern that begins on the snare and follows all the toms down. This pattern has started so many songs over the years.

Take it slow and try your best not to rush the sixteenth notes. It’s common for new drummers to get ahead of themselves when they feel a little bit of confidence. Do your best to hold back.


These are only five of the easiest drum fills out there. In reality, there are so many options out there!

The best part? You can take any of the fills we looked at today and move them around the drums. Get creative! This is where we shine as drummers!

If you don’t have a kit yet or are looking to get one, be sure to read our roundup on the best cheap drum sets available.

If you have any other favorite fills, comments, or suggestions, be sure to leave a comment down below. I’d love to hear from you! Thanks for reading.

Nick Cesarz

Nick is a drummer, percussionist, and blogger from Milwaukee, WI. He toured extensively with Vinyl Theatre, opening up for acts like twenty one pilots, Panic! at the Disco, and more. Now no longer touring, his passion lies in gear and playing the kit as much as time allows.

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