'Back In Black' Syncopated Fill

A syncopated fill using a variation on the 33334 rhythm that requires a little co ordination between hands and feet.

In this lesson you will be learning a Syncopated fill inspired by the AC/DC song Back In Black. The fill is used at the end of the four bar phrase that is played through the into and verses of the song and is a Three Quarter Bar Fill in 4/4 built around a rhythmic variation of a 33334 Rhythm. If you listen to that phrase in the recording you will notice that the drum part follows the rhythm of the guitar in that fourth bar. This fill is relatively tricky so I will be presenting it in a step by step process over this page. If you are feeling confident skip down to the bottom of the page for the full fill.

Let's start by learning the base rhythm for this fill. As mentioned above, it is a syncopated rhythm that you have learned previously but for this fill you will be starting it a beat later. If we use the same numbering system to name fills as above this would be a 3333 fill, so you could also think of this as a 33334 rhythm with the '4' shifted to the front. This rhythm is shown below, the diagonal line is a sort of rhythmic place holder, in the final pattern this will be filled with a small section of groove.

The rhythm for this fill.

That is actually only the first step of the rhythm here. Each block of three is going to have strikes on the first two notes of the grouping, giving us this pattern:

The rhythm for this fill.

It is important that you get comfortable with this rhythm as it is the foundation for the whole fill. Use counting if necessary and slow it right down. Timing and placement of notes is far more important than tempo at this point. If you have this rhythm down the next orchestration based steps will be very easy.


To orchestrate this fill you are going to be shifting that second strike within each grouping from the snare to a bass drum and hi hat. You will do that on all occurances except the last. Let's try that first of all without the bass drums, that looks like this:

Orchestrating the fill

Then with bass drums:

Orchestrating the fill

That creates the full fill. The pattern can be played with open or closed hi hats, use whichever you like the sound of most, in the original song they are general open or half open. The tempo of the song is 93bpm but you could push this higher and it will still sound great. Listen back to the song and pick out the groove that is used through the rest of the phrase (it's very straight forward!), try playing a four bar pattern where that fill is used in the fourth bar. With the groove added in place of that diagonal line you get this:

Orchestrating the fill

Throughout the song a few very small variations of this are played. I have listed some of these below, try learning them then coming up with some of your own ideas.


Variation 1

A variation on the base fill


Variation 2

A variation on the base fill


TASK

  1. Using the 2 minute rule, get all examples up to a tempo of at least 93bpm.
  2. Create your own versions of these fills.
  3. Include these fills in a 4 or 8 bar pattern.