Most of the time, we use single stroke rolls for fills. It’s just a nice, simple way of playing a pattern around the set. Occasionally, we may throw in some check patterns, flams, and maybe a kick drum or two here and there. Using fills this way works well to keep things flowing; a lot of standard styles of music benefit from a familiar feel and an even timing of notes.

However, it can also be fun to try out some alternative sticking patterns around the kit, which I explore in my book The Teacher and Student Method Drum Set Studies Exercise Book Two. In this article, we are going to look at some straightforward Paradiddles, and then turn them into linear fills. So, every single limb will be used here in a four-way co-ordination style of playing, allowing the entire body to get a workout.

Before we begin, it’s a good idea to warm up with just the plain sticking patterns on the snare, so that we get used to the Paradiddles as sequences first. No need to worry about accents here:


After we’ve gotten the basic patterns down, it’s time to bring in the feet. Our right foot is going to play the kick drum, while our left foot plays the hi-hat pedal (alternatively, you can use a left kick if you have a double bass pedal). To keep things more interesting with the sticks, we’re going to move them around the kit, utilizing the snare and all three toms. Here are some examples:

 Paradiddles - Linear Fills

As well as Paradiddles, you can also try experimenting with some randomly generated patterns. Whatever you decide to use, it’s always best to practice the sequences with your sticks first, just to get used to the sequences. A more advanced player may also want to mix up the rhythm pattern as well, by including some check patterns. The possibilities truly are endless.

Good luck!