What Is A Drum Fill?

Drum fill explained

What is a drum fill?

And how can you tell it apart from a drum groove or beat?

In this short guide for beginners, you’ll learn

  • a simple definition of drum fills (or fill-ins)
  • and what sets them apart from beats or grooves.

This knowledge will not only help you understand your drumming exercises better.

It will also give you precious insights on why you’re playing what you’re playing on the drum kit.

Sounds great?

Agreed! 😀

Drum Fills Or Fill-Ins Easily Explained

A drum fill is a rhythmic transition, basically.

You can play it to link different parts of music.

However, fills are used as musical highlights as well.

They add more variety to a song and therefore often contain melodic elements (like different-sounding toms).

Compared to many beats, fills also tend to be more complex in terms of the rest and note values they are made of.

At the same time, a fill can be written in every time signature you like, just like a beat or groove.

So, how can you tell them apart?

The Biggest Difference Between Drum Fills And Drum Beats

Not only as a beginner, you will play drum beats or grooves most of the time.

They are the rhythmic foundation when jamming with others or playing to songs you like.

However, there are times when you want to spice things up a little.

That’s when drum fills come into play:

As you’ve already learned, fills are musical transitions.

They link two musical parts, e.g. in a song or drum solo.

That’s also the biggest difference between a fill and a drum beat:

Fills are transitions and are therefore much more rarely played.

However, this does not make them less important than grooves – not at all!

Each drum fill can be seen as an accent – a highlight – in music.

It breaks up the steadiness of the beat, adding exciting nuances to what you play.


Drum fills not only are a great way to be creative, but they also help you challenge your sense of rhythm.

Great benefits, right?

But how can you learn fills the best way?

I’ve already written this helpful drumming guide on how to learn fills quickly.

Make sure to check it out, and apply your new knowledge straight to your kit.

Have fun doing so.


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Author: Manu Holmer

Hi, I'm Manu Holmer, nice to meet you! As a professional drummer and drum teacher, my vision is to help others transform their lives with the power of music. Let's not only play the drums. Feel the rhythm & and walk to our own beats!

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