Drum Fill - What Triggers Fill? & How to know?

So far I have been using only 3 drum sets (Pop, Rock Bossa) and I am learning FILL very slowly. I could trigger Fills 70% where I need. Typically at last measure of a Region or Band#.

  • Do I have to add another Drum (Fill) in Sound below Drum (main), in order to get exact Fill?
  • Picking Drum set: Must I pick only Basic, Default, Ride or something else, except with FILL? I decided to add FILL Sound to all Bands. I have about 10 Bands in each song.
  • Picking Drum FILL: Do I need to avoid same one as main Drum sound? and vice versa.
  • Same group of Drum and FILL: Such as Pop Fill Basic and Pop Fill 2 Ride. Will Hookpad play all notes on top of each other? It sounds different. Should main Drum Fill xxx reverse to Drum Basic once Drum Fill is added on?
  • I tested by deleting Drum sound and saw that Fill sound assumed FULL drum duty. This is hard to understand. I thought that FILL are additional or reducing notes (overlay?) that play along modified basic Drum only at specific measure or position.
  • I just found that for Drum = Pop Fill xxxx it will Fill every 8 bars. How will this spacing effect custom FILL (from Band or Region change). FILL seemed not care about 8-Bar increment. I FILLed at 4th Bar of Intro but could not at 3rd Bar of Outro!.
  • Can I mix rhythm to get FILL? (The answer is yes, but under which condition?)
  • BossaNova does not have Fill? I had to borrow FILL sound from Pop. Also Rock from Pop.
  • Should FILLs have their own group and Sound? Like Pickups (for Drum not Measure). This will be very practical.
  • What will Drum Pickups do and where? I tried at beginning of middle Section but did not hear anything. If Pickups are only for Pickup Bar, Hookpad should not offer them to my following Band#. Same as few other Not Applicable picks.
  • Can you add FILL sign above each location? Or make sure sucessful FILL at expected location. Without a clue, I had to keep on trying and replaying.

Hi PipyHuky, let me try to clarify some your questions.

In general all drum rhythms are coming with two fill-ins. One is played in bar 8, a second one is played in bar 16. If you set a band change marker, there will be a fill played directly before the marker, if there was no other band marker before that for at least four bars. If there are no additional markers after that, the 8/16 bars system will continue from there. Also after each fill-in and on each band marker a crash cymbal will be played on count one.

The fills are always played with the groove, there is currently no way to select specific fill-ins for grooves. To achieve that you would have to use multiple drum patches in the band browser in one band marker but the engine has just no way to know where exactly the groove should be cut off in order to play the fill alone, without the groove playing at the same time. It would get even worse if there were multiple drum grooves at the same time.
However you can specify if you want to use only fill1 or fill2 or no fill for the locations I described above. Those are the patches called Fill 1, Fill 2 and No Fill.

Pickups are only played directly before the next band marker. Each drum patch has a shorter and a longer pickup attached. There are two ways of selecting your pickups. The easiest way is to go to the Pickups folder at the bottom of the first column. Here you can either select Smart Pickup Simple or Smart Pickup Complex which will automatically select the pickup which fits to the drum patch of the next band marker. Another way is to select Pickup Short or Pickup Long in third column of a drum patch. Here you can either select the same drum patch as for the groove in the next band marker or a completely other one which you like the best.

So to summarise you can’t select the fills you like as there is no way for the engine when to stop a groove in order to play the fill alone. The nearest solution in that direction would be to specify a groove and use a second patch with a selected pickup. Now you would get a fill-in which plays above a groove but you would have two drummers playing at the same time which might work in some rare cases as for electronic music.

All Basic patches are playing no fill-ins and no additional crash cymbals.

That was a lot to take in so please let me know if this was understandable and if it could answer your questions!


Thank you Dennis. Your answer is very clear.

Before I continue, I’d like to let you know that sound quality of drums is stunning. Even with my messy combo.

  • Yes, the 8/16-bar system rules. Most Rhythms play Fill and Crash automatically. I have not tried all beats yet.

  • I modified my 3-bar section by adding 1 more. Now on the 4th bar, after Band change that included Drum & Fill sounds, I could trigger a Fill. It does not have to be 8 bars.

  • I misunderstood about Fills to be additional sounds or instruments (like Tambourine). This has to do with the title of Sounds at far right column. The name Fill should not exist or present itself as an independent add-on because the Fill is already built-in of complete Drum set. So yes, it is worse if I add more Drum Fill sound because the band may play like Doobie Brothers, but offbeat.

  • All Fill titles are misleading. Fill x Ride is actually full Drum playing with Ride for 8/16 bars then hit Fill style 1, 2 or No=suppressed. Titles Fill-1 and Fill-2 are actually “Basic w/ auto Fill Style-1 (Basic+Fill-1?)” or Basic+Fill-2.

  • Ride+Fill-2 instead of Fill-2 Ride? The difference between Basic and Ride is Hi-Hat in each bar, correct?

  • No Fill and No-xx are more to learn, whether absent from Basic or on top of other selections.

  • Drum Pickups: This turns out to be interesting and powerful addition. I did not check earlier. We played Intro and Fills but never knew about internal Pickup. Also I saw that there were only 2. Well, I just realized that there are only 2 Fills (for each Drum style).

  • I tested 4 bands in a 32-bar song, 3 with just Pickup and 1 with Drum and Pickup. The ones with only Pickup will play WITHOUT drum sound and will hit before next Band regardless of 8/16 increment. (I tried 3 bars). It worked like a freed, standalone Fill module! The Drum with Pickup played full set with Auto Fill and SILENTED to allow for Pickup. In short, I can make best sound from combination of Drum + Pickup.

  • My question: Why not independent Fills, like Pickups?

Thank you, I’ve been working hard to improve the drum sound and it finally pays off.

There are actually two main problems with independent fills:

  • You would need to select two drum patches at the same time, one for the groove and one for the fill. But at the moment there is no way for us to connect those two drum patches and tell the groove one to stop playing as soon as the other one sees any notes. If for example you have two groove patches playing at the same time, how should the engine know which one to stop for the fill-in. You’d have to mark the corresponding fills and grooves somehow and there is just no way for our user interface to do that right now.
  • The other thing is that Hookpad is a sketchpad with the goal of creating music very fast and with an easy workflow. If we put in too much features it might get complicated very quickly. To achieve independent fills we would need to reorganise the whole band browser in a different way which would take lots of time to develop. There’s already a bit too much going on in the band band browser right now, but I wouldn’t want to miss any of the drum patch variations we have right now even if it’s a bit unclear what which patch does.

So I’m sorry for the naming confusion. Some of it would be easier if we could select multiple options at the same time, like use the ride cymbal instead of the hihat and use only fill 2. But the way everything is set up behind the scenes we have to create one patch for each combination and there is not that much space to describe everything which is exactly happening there. So here’s a summary:

  • Default: The default patch with both fill 1 and 2
  • Ride: Here there is a second cymbal option, mostly the ride cymbal, but sometimes there might be a different pattern on the hi hat
  • Basic/ Basic Ride: Just the groove without crash cymbals and fill-ins with the default/alternative cymbal pattern
  • No Fill/ No Fill Ride: No fills but a crash cymbal for each band marker
  • Fill 1/Fill 1 Ride : Groove + Crash + only Fill 1
  • Fill 2/ Fill2 Ride: Groove + Crash + only Fill 2
  • Pickup Short/ Long: No groove but a short/long pickup fill before the next band marker
  • No Kick/ No Kick Ride: the basic groove without any crash cymbals and fills, without the kick drum
  • The same goes for all the other patches starting with “No”
  • Kick only: Basic patch without crash cymbal and fill ins but only the kick voice
  • The same goes for all the other “only” patches.