Double Stroke Roll

The double stroke roll is one of the most important patterns to learn from the drum roll family of drum rudiments. The double stroke roll is very similar in nature to the single stroke roll. It is an alternating roll that encompasses two strokes per hand. In this next free drum lesson, Lionel Duperron teaches you how to go about practicing the double stroke roll in an effective way, and exemplifies how to apply it to the drum set through a couple of drum beats and drum fills.

Learning how to play the double stroke roll is crucial for anyone serious about their drumming, and about mastering the 40 drum rudiments, since the double stroke roll is the basis for many of the 40 drum rudiments. Before taking on the double stroke roll, make sure you’ve learned how to play the single stroke roll first. It’s the most significant rudiment from the 40 drum rudiments so it should be your top priority.

Focus on getting consistent sounding doubles from each hand. Check stroke evenness by watching stick heights. If the first stroke of each set of doubles is louder than the second one, your double stroke roll will sound sloppy and uneven. Use full wrist turns to play each stroke of the double stroke roll at slower speeds. At higher speeds you’ll naturally start bouncing the second stroke off of the snare drum or practice pad. On toms this will not work as well. Tom-toms have very little bounce to them, so your second stroke will sound muddy.

To work around this issue, you’ll have to play your double strokes exclusively with wrist turns. You can also get even sounding double strokes by snapping the fingers on the drumstick, after performing the first stroke with the wrist. Work on leading this rudiment with both hands, since it doesn’t naturally alternate within itself.

Drum Beats

Exercise #1 is a 16th note half-time tom-tom drum beat. Start by playing a steady four-on-the-floor bass drum pattern – a bass drum hit on each quarter note – the snare drum on count 3, and the first 8th note on each double stroke, just to get used to the movements required to execute this pattern perfectly. Once you get comfortable with it, double the 8th notes on each tom to complete this double stroke roll drum beat.

Exercise #2 is a 32nd note drum beat. Start by mastering the hand pattern. Play a single stroke roll between the hi-hat and the snare drum. The notes played with the left hand on the snare drum are ghosted, expect for the “ah” of count 2, which is accented. The notes played with the right hand on the hi-hat are performed at a normal volume. On counts 2 and 4, and on the “and” of count 4, the right hand moves to the snare drum to play accented strokes.

Once you feel comfortable with the hand pattern, add the bass drum on all the 8th notes. This is the basic pattern played with a single stroke roll. Finally, when you’re able to play this basic version, double the singles. The double strokes are represented with a diagonal line on the note stems from the sheet music below.

Drum Fills

For playing this double stroke roll drum fill, you should leave your left hand playing double strokes on the hi-tom, while the right hand does the same around the other drums. This drum fill ends with a snare shot on count 4. If you only have two toms on your drum set, play the mid-tom strokes on the floor tom.

Exercise #4 is a variation of a very cool single stroke roll drum fill named by Jared Falk as the “X-Fill”. Start by playing the first 8th note of each double stroke. This will help you get used to crossing your arms before adding the doubles in. Once you feel comfortable with it, double the 8th notes.

Once you’re able to play the double stroke roll and the exercises herein accurately, you can learn to apply it to a really cool showmanship technique in the free drum lesson “Double Stroke Sweep“. If you’d rather expand your knowledge of the 40 drum rudiments, we encourage you to learn how to play the five stroke roll next.

If you’d rather learn how to play other drum rudiments, check the free drum lessons on the multiple bounce roll, the triple stroke roll, or the single paradiddle.