Half Bar Rock Ballad Fill

In this lesson you will be learning a half bar fill that is best used at a tempo of between 80 and 110bpm. This fill is most commonly found in rock ballads but when played at higher tempos is well suited to everything from funk to pop punk.

I'll start by giving the rhythm for that part just on the snare without any flams. That would look like this:

The rhythm for the fill

Use the counting checker below to make sure you have the counting correct. Remember, the rhythm is starting half way through the bar so the first count will be '3'.

Check Your Counting:

Can't work it out? Click here for the answer.

The counting for this rhythm is: 3 + 4 e +

To start with, the flam will go on beat 3. Later in the lesson I will show some common variations on the pattern that use more flams. Just on the snare, with the flam is shown below. The counting will be the same as above.

The rhythm for the fill

Finally this will be orchestrated straight around the toms to give the full fill.

The rhythm for the fill

To give it some context I have given two 4 bar patterns where the fill is played at the end.

Example 1

The fill applied to a longer phrase

Example 2

The fill applied to a longer phrase

Common Variations

There are a few small tweeks you can make to this fill to alter it. I've listed some of these below. For each example a brief note is given on what has changed then an example of it is give. I have avoided re orchestrating as that is easy for you to work out.

Variation 1

Drop the 16th note on beat 4. This version doesn't use the high tom.

A variation on the fill

Variation 2

Add an extra flam on the '+' after beat 3.

A variation on the fill

Variation 3

Replace the flam with a drag.

A variation on the fill

Variation 4

Replace the last floor tom with a crash.

A variation on the fill


  1. Using the 2 minute rule, get all example fills up to a tempo of at least 110bpm.
  2. Create your own variations of these fills.
  3. Try combining some of the variation ideas presented above.
  4. Include these fills in a 4 or 8 bar pattern.


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