Rock Perspectives

Double Bass Workout

Part 1: 16th-Note, Sextuplet, and 32nd-Note Fills

by Todd Vinciguerra

Welcome to the first installment in a series of articles focusing on double bass. In this lesson we’ll explore fill ideas where we’re mixing 16th notes, sextuplets, and 32nd notes over 8th-, 16th-, and 32nd-note foot patterns. Always practice to a metronome or click track, and start off slowly so you can master each exercise before increasing the speed. Once you have the patterns down, insert them as fills in the last measure of a four-bar phrase.The hand patterns in Examples 1–10 can be played several different ways. Begin doubling the first two 16th notes with your right hand, and then alternate the 32nd notes. After that, experiment with ways to play the 32nd notes as double strokes. The bass drum patterns can be played as written, or you can experiment by switching the lead foot or by playing the 32nd notes as double strokes.
Double bass 1

Double bass 2

In this next group of exercises, we’re playing sextuplet variations with the hands. Feel free to orchestrate the snare pattern around the toms. I stress to my students to learn the hand patterns inside and out before adding the bass drums, so that incorporating the foot parts will not seem as difficult. Begin by playing all of the crashes with your right hand and all of the snare hits with your left hand. Again, play these patterns as fills in the last measure of a four-bar group. The bass drum patterns should be played as written, as well as leading with the opposite foot. You can also try playing the 32nd notes as double strokes.
Double bass 3

Double bass 4

Double bass 5

Todd “Vinny” Vinciguerra is the author of several drum instructional books. His latest, Double Basics: Complete Double Bass Drum Book, is available through Mel Bay. For more info, visit