Preview – Carmine Appice: Realistic Drum Fills – Replacements

About Realistic Drum Fills: Replacements

In this book/MP3 disc package, rock drum legend Carmine Appice shows you how to play exciting and powerful drum fills like the pros, using a systematic method of replacing certain notes in the 16th or triplet flow with bass drum strokes. By using this book, drummers can learn how to incorporate the bass drums into their fills, thereby creating a complete professional vocabulary of cool, effective ideas to use in rock and other styles.

Using the same award-winning approach and notation method as Realistic Rock, the patterns contained in the book start with 8th notes and progress to 16th notes and triplets, with the rhythms split between the hands and feet. The fills are then expanded to include mixed stickings and accents, and are orchestrated around the kit.

The included MP3 disc contains audio examples of many of the patterns in the book, as well as video footage of Carmine in live performance, showing how he applies these concepts.

Preview: Realistic Drum Fills Volume 1 – Replacements

Click here to view the entire booklet as a pdf (includes additional exercises!)


This book will develop your ability to play cool drum fills and solo ideas. I call this technique replacements. I’ve been using these concepts for many years and have seen many of my idols using them before me. Greats like Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Max Roach, Louis Bellson, and Billy Cobham (as well as many modern players) all use these kinds of replacements in their playing.

This book puts these concepts into a learning program that keeps progressing to the next (more difficult) level. We will move from eighth notes to triplets and sixteenths, which gets you playing different pulsations of these concepts. Once you understand the idea of what is happening with these, then you’ll see that you can use them in any playing situation. (That’s playing in a band!)

As in my other books, I’ll always present 10-12 individual exercises, and then I will present a 6-, 8-, 12-, or 16-bar exercise putting all the patterns together side by side. This demonstrates how these patterns work together to develop solo ideas and create melodic drum patterns. These replacements can be used in rock, jazz, Latin, or just about any other kind of music.

The beginning of the book starts with eighth notes to introduce you to the concept and give you exercises to get started. Once the triplet section starts, things get more detailed and fun. Triplets are always more fun! After the triplets, we’ll move to sixteenth-note patterns. Some of these examples can be put to use immediately by picking out 2 or 4 bars of a pattern and playing them with your band. At the end of each section, we move to a series of exercises called Play on Drums. This puts the different patterns on the full kit played between the snare, toms and bass drum. This stuff is really great for you to use in your playing.

Like all things in learning, practice is the key. The more you practice these, the better you will sound, and the more able you’ll be to use them in a musical setting. Always practice the exercises slowly at first, then build up speed in order to get the patterns really solid.

At the end of the book there is a section called Replacement Drum Fills in which there are 2 or 3 bars of time followed by a 1- or 2-bar replacement fill. In addition to straight-time grooves, I’ve also included shuffle grooves with shuffle replacement fills. This Replacement Drum Fills section is just to open up your mind into what can be done with these concepts and patterns. Remember to change some of the sticking to your own sticking and see what happens.

Most of all HAVE FUN with this book! I love using these kind of patterns while playing at my concerts, sessions, and clinics. I hope you do too!

Carmine Appice

Key To The Book

Click to play Audio of this example

Whenever you see an ‘F’ in the sticking, this indicates that you should leave out the hand stroke and replace it with a note on the bass drum. Play the note with the F under it on the bass drum while playing the original sticking. The F replaces the right hand on beat 1.

So on beat 1, instead of playing the right hand, you will play the bass drum instead. Then the sticking continues and plays the L R L on the counts of 2, 3, and 4. This repeats 3 times to make it a 4-bar phrase.

Many exercises have 2 or more stickings to practice. Be sure to practice all of them carefully.

Section 1

Click to play Audio of this example

Eight-bar Exercise

Click to play Audio of this example


Play On Drums

This section takes the exercise concepts from the previous pages and puts them together with different combinations on the drumset. Notice that the key has changed to TT=Tom, SD Snare Drum, FT=Floor Tom and BD=Bass Drum.

This section really gets you ready to play these in a performance situation. Here is where you get to play some cool replacement patterns that can be used as drum fills.

Click to play Audio of this example


Click to play Audio of this example


Section 2

Here we continue our studies with the replacement concept. On these exercises we are just using the ‘F’ on the count that is being replaced. So, in a triplet pattern it looks like this:


The foot is on the count of “1” while the hands play the triplet with alternate sticking. These triplets sound great. Watch for the patterns with the accents (>); they are really cool and very melodic.

Have fun. Play slow at first and build speed.

Triplet Exercises

Click to play Audio of this example

Click to play Audio of this example


Play On Drums

Play these around the kit to have fun and start developing melodic ideas.

Click to play Audio of this example


Click to play Audio of this example


Click to play Audio of this example


Eighth Notes and Triplet Combinations

Here we start mixing different pulsations with eighth notes and triplets. Be sure to practice both written stickings. Once you are comfortable, make up your own mixed replacement patterns. As always, start slow and gradually build up speed. Watch the triplets for changes in the replacement pattern. These combinations will give you a taste of a different feel.

As mentioned in the key, the strokes shown in boxes are the ones being replaced. An alternative way to play the replacements is to take the replaced R or L stroke (shown in the box) and play the stroke on the bass drum but with the replaced hand stroke on a china or other short-sounding cymbal at the same time. This will give you a real workout moving your hands up to the china cymbals and creating some cool sounding (and looking) licks using the china and bass drum sound together. You can try this technique throughout the book.

Note: Once comfortable, apply your own sticking combinations at various tempos.

Click to play Audio of this example

Click to play Audio of this example


Sixteenth and Eighth-note triplets – Twelve Bar Exercise

Here we will put together a melodic twelve-bar exercise using replacement sixteenth notes and triplets. Put these together and use as a solo. Play slowly and build up speed.

Play on Drums

Click to play Audio of this example

Click to play Audio of this example

Click to play Audio of this example


  1. Nice ideas and plenty of them!

    Shame the mix engineer got a little carried away with the thunderous reverb!?

  2. Excellent command on triplets and 8th notes


  3. Are you having a laugh? It sounds great.

  4. This is going to be a must for all my students. Great job guys.


    Carmine- always a leader in education.

  6. Some great excercises here – very well presented & laid out.

  7. I got it a few weeks ago and found it very easy to follow, full of great exercises. I wish I have more time to practice!

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