Free Drum Lessons | Bass Drum Fills Pt. 1: Mike Portnoy Licks

April is all about adding some THUMP THUMP to your fills by incorporating some bass drum.  Let’s start our exploration of this cool idea by working on some licks from one of my favorite rock drummers. When I was in college a buddy in the percussion studio introduced me to Dream Theater and their bombastic drummer, Mike Portnoy. Wow!  I was blown away by Mike’s  double bass chops and the way he would put double bass in his fills. Licks like the intro to Liquid Tension Experiment’s Paradigm Shift Paradigm Shift - Liquid Tension Experiment show off Mike’s abilities . . . With absolutely no apologies.

So let’s look at this opening fill in a bit of detail.  The basic concept is just two hits on snare and two with the kick drum, like this:

Then we just add a couple more snare hits two get a six note phrase like this:

From there it’s just a matter of phrasing and moving around the drums to get the whole lick:

If you want to continue your exploration beyond these examples check out this handout I made of Portnoy Licks or you can get Mike’s DVD, Liquid Drum Theater.

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