by John Xepoleas

Welcome to the second lesson in our series on jazz-style triplet fills. This month we’ll continue with the three-over-four triplet concept. For this version of the fill, you’ll play the first three notes of the phrase on the snare and the fourth note on the bass drum.




Next, play one bar of a swing-time feel into one bar of the fill.




Accenting the Toms

In the next two examples we’ll move the accented notes to the toms. The first example places the accent on the rack tom, while the second places the accent on the floor tom.






Practice both of the previous examples transitioning from one bar of a swing-time feel.






Now we’ll create a two-bar fill by playing the accented note on the rack tom in the first bar and on the floor tom in the second bar.




We’ll create another two-bar fill by alternating the accented notes between the rack and floor tom. Once you’re comfortable playing this version, practice it going into two bars of a swing-time feel.






Here you’ll play flams on the accented notes. In the first example, the flam is played with the right hand on the rack tom and the left hand on the snare. Note the LR sticking after the flam.








Here’s a nice-sounding two-bar version of the fill. After you’ve practiced it, develop some fills of your own.




John Xepoleas has written two drum books, Style Studies for the Creative Drummer and Essential Drum Lessons With the Greats. He is also an active online educator. For more info, visit