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 Back to the Tempo Dispatch Archives  

ISSUE #32 \__\__\___THE____/__/__/ Aug 5, 1999
_____________TEMPO DISPATCH _____________
Newsletter For Drummers and Drumming Enthusiasts
Copyright Bill Powelson 1999 all rights reserved.


TABLE OF CONTENTS What is in this issue?
1. Feature Article
  The Never Ending Quest for Perfect Fills  . . .

5. Humor
|__________FEATURE ARTICLE___________|

The Never Ending Quest for Perfect Fills  . . .

6 Rolls to Sight-Reading Perfection
and Increased Creativity.

     This lesson contains a three-fold value when
completely understood.   Serious students (beginner
thru advanced) may be wise to study it more than
once.   It may save each of you years of embarrassing
train-wrecks in mid-song.
     Not only will you learn THE most valuable rolls
and fills known to the drumming World . . . learning them
this way will reinforce your understanding of the Note Value
System . . .  (the Holy Grail of all rhythm.)  Also, by mastering
these specific rolls and establishing the bass drum as a
'counter'  it will 'perfect' your improvisational
(inventive or creative)fills when Jamming.   This lesson
will give you absolute, infallible control when jamming with
music . . . as you reach-out for those fills that
make people turn-heads and appreciate
your playing (onstage or off.)

BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS . . . before we begin,
      It occurs that some of the beginners may not be
familiar with all the terms . . .  (Advanced students
may want to just scan this part quickly.)


      A FILL IS: A short roll burst a drummer may
inject into a song to fill up a dead-spot between verses
or phrases. 

      RUDIMENTS are supposedly the building blocks
of all rhythm.  In theory, they train the hands and
feet to execute the rhythmic ideas of the mind.
I tend to agree and disagree at the same time.
For a brief (somewhat opinionated) discussion, on this
topic check out this page . . .

 Rudiment explanation 

      ROLLS:  Are all of the above, but continious.

     The only solid rule is that we must maintain our timing
and tempo as we play the fill, returning to the beat
in-sync with the rest of the band.  It's a thing we learn to
'feel' as we play along with more and more music. 
It's also one of the most fun parts of drumming.
Once we learn to venture out of the beat . . . drop our
fill . . . then return to the beat still in sync, THERE'S

NOTHING LIKE IT!  It is my hope that  you will soon
discover that awesome thrill, if you haven't already.

HERE'S HOW . . .  
     Jam with recorded music everyday . . .  and finish
studying this lesson.   It'll hopefully begin happening
naturally!  Your fills will soon take on a life
of their own.
     That's what this lesson is all about.

SPECIAL NOTICE:  The lesson below, later became one of the
best and MOST IMPORTANT web page lessons in the course.
See it and study it in it's web page format.

 Note-Value Fills


FOR ALL STUDENTS . . .  Don't miss this.
     * Are you aware that there are really just six
primary roll/fill types?  Every fill that has ever been
played by ANY DRUMMER ANYWHERE will most likely be made
up of those 6 types.  All the rudiments on all the rudiment
charts on the planet are essentially made up of those
same six roll types . . . 

     *  Do you know that the total number of
rudiments are now over 300 Worldwide? YIKES!
It seems that everyone has a new and different
rudiment chart these days. 
      I don't know all of those rudiments either . . .
so don't panic.  I don't personally know of any drummer
who knows them all.  My own conclusion is that those
300+ rudiments can't be all THAT important!   The one
drummer on the planet who DOES know all those rolls
is probably locked up in a cell somewhere,
dissecting the 'padded-wallpaper', haha.

      It goes without saying . . .   If you master
the SIX ROLLS I'm speaking of . . . you should
automatically gain the unique ability to mimic
virtually anything you hear another drummer do
(. . . if your ears are working as they should.)
     Give it some thought . . .
     Common-sense alone will tell you I'm right
about this as you read on and think . . .

     Do you know WHICH SIX ROLLS I'm talking about? 
Only a couple of these rolls are singled out, on the N.A.R.D.
charts, though the N.A.R.D. charts are purported to be the
'gospel' according to W.F. Ludwig and his crew.

     * Would you believe you are probably ALREADY very
close to having the three hardest rolls types mastered?    

     *  Would you believe that the other three are so easy
that many drummers often disregard them, though they are
vitally important? They are super easy . . . and very little practice
is required.

     You'll get the hang of the EASY THREE in only a few minutes
if my guess is right.  You probably know them already.  I
suppose the trick to those is . . . DO NOT OVERLOOK THEIR

    A little direction and devoted effort on your part will shoot
you out front of the pack in no time!  But, you'll need a compass
to know the right directions.   That's what my course is all

   Now, Think about it a minute . . .
   Which rolls am I ranting about?
Do you know them already?   Can you consistently play
'whole or half bar' versions of each without errors?
    Here they are . . .

ANS:  THE 6 ROLLS . . .
     * 4th triplets
     * 8ths
     * 8th triplets
     * 16ths
     * 16th triplets
     * 32nds

     With 'some' form of those six specific rolls in your
trick bag . . . you'll never thrash or flail again.  You'll
connect with precision EVERY time you go for a fill.
The SECRET is in learning to mark time with the BASS DRUM

as you play half bar versions of these rolls (as we discussed
in TD#24.  Ask for that issue if you don't have it already.). 
     Three hours in front of the tv watching an HBO movie
could put you where you want to be.   You need to
do some very boring exercises, that's all . . . (and the tv
will help eliminate the boredom.)

     Master the Note Values at:

 Note-Values, (The boring way.)

     Also, study the following lesson . . .

 Ridiments, Rolls & Fills (Part 2)

     Sure . . . we should try to master ALL the rudiments
eventually (if possible) . . . but these SIX ROLLS I'm ranting
about are the building blocks that make ALL the other rudiments
EASIER to learn.  All the other rudiments are constructed
from these six.
     It's a simple matter of directing your efforts
and focus towards the main areas that need the work.

BONUS . . .
     There'll be a hidden bonus in mastering the above
mentioned 6 rolls too!  We're really talking about the
much dreaded NOTE-VALUE SYSTEM!  Once you REALLY
understand how it works (either by 'ear' or academically)
your reading and writing abilities will accelerate exponentially
right along with your onstage (jamming & ear) confidence.

*** HUMOR ***

A little Steven Wright:

** Last night I played a blank tape at full blast.
The mime next door went nuts.
** If a person with multiple personalities threatens suicide, is that
considered a hostage situation?
** Just think how much deeper the ocean would be if sponges didn't live
** If a cow laughed, would milk come out her nose?
** Whatever happened to preparations A through G?
** If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?
** I went for a walk last night and my kids asked me how long I'd be gone.
I said, "The whole time."
** So what's the speed of dark?
** How come you don't ever hear about gruntled employees? And who has been
dis-ing them anyhow?

    Thanks to Andy Scherer for finding these for us.


 This topic could save you YEARS and give you renewed ambition.


Copyright Bill Powelson 1994 all rights reserved.