Difficulty LevelThis is another free drum lesson inspired by the Greatest & Best Drum Fills Top 350 List. In this series of drum lessons I plan to take the most popular drum fills from the list and present them as little nuggets of drumming gold.

You can take a look at the current list of over 350 Popular & Favourite Drum Fills by clicking here.

Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater plays a super cool drum fill/solo at around 1:05 into the song “The Dark Eternal Night“. Portnoy throws out these kind of drum solos all the time, using his trade mark hand and foot combinations of super fast flurries.

Let’s take a look at a little bit of his drumming class now…


The Dark Eternal Night” – Great Drum Fill/Solo (1:05 Album Version)

Dark Eternal Night Drum Fill (Dream Theater)

Mike plays a kind of thrash drum beat leading up to the drum fill, which consists of nothing more than single stroke sixteenths played between the crash cymbal and snare drum.

The thrash beat ends on the ‘+’ of beat 4 giving his hands enough time to move to the snare drum for the first notes of the drum solo/fill.

The whole drum fill consists of simple groups of four and six, thirty second notes played between the hands and feet. This drum fill has been written out for drummers with only three toms even though Portnoy does use octobans on the recording.

So, we have two on the snare followed by two bass drum. Four on the high tom and two on the bass drum. Four on the medium tom and two on the bass. Two on the floor tom and two on the bass. Two back up on the snare drum followed by two on the bass drum and then four on the snare drum followed by five notes in a row on the bass drum.

The fifth note in a row on the bass drum is beat 1 of the single bar with 1/8 time signature. This single crash is then followed by another crash on beat 1 of the next bar with 4/4 time signature. This is where the guitar melody picks up again.

Although Mike plays these at a super fast speeds, at least it’s not complicated to understand. Just simple groupings between the hands and the double bass drum. Good luck and email me if you have any questions!


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