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The fifteen stroke roll is the next stepping stone on your way to become a master of the 40 drum rudiments. In this free drum lesson, Lionel Duperron, of the DrumLessons.com team of instructors, shares some valuable tips on how to play the fifteen stroke roll and teaches you how to use it within drum beats and drum fills.
Taking a look at the sheet music below, you can see that the fifteen stroke roll combines seven sets of double strokes with a single stroke. Learning how to play the eleven stroke roll and the thirteen stroke roll before going through this free drum lesson will make it a lot easier to master the fifteen stroke roll and the drum beats and drum fills herein.
The underlying rhythm of the fifteen stroke roll is different from that of any other drum rudiment from the drum roll family. You may find yourself struggling with this one at first because you keep executing the rhythms from other drum roll drum rudiments you’ve already learned how to play. Practicing the fifteen stroke roll is the only way you’ll be able to get its rhythmic pattern ingrained in your mind.
The fifteen stroke roll is one of the longest drum rudiments, so keeping it clean is a great challenge in itself. You’ll need to practice it a lot to guaranty you can make it sound smooth and consistent. Practice leading the fifteen stroke roll with both hands.
Exercise #1 is a 16th note drum beat. The fifteen stroke roll is spread between the hi-hat and the snare drum on the first three counts, and between the hi-tom and the snare drum on the last count. Once you’re able to play the hand pattern flawlessly, add the bass drum on all quarter notes.
Exercise #2 is another cool sounding 16th note drum beat. The fifteen stroke roll is scattered between the bow of the ride cymbal and the hi-hat on the first two counts; between the hi-tom and the hi-hat on count 3, and between the hi-tom and the snare drum on count 4. The bass drum is played on all quarter notes. Once you’ve mastered this drum beat, experiment playing it with different bass drum rhythms. Take the bass drum patterns from the exercises on DrumLessons.com and use them for expanding your level of coordination and array of drum beats.
Exercise #3 is a 16th note drum fill. The first two counts are played between the floor tom and the snare drum. The third count is played between the mid-tom and the hi-tom. The fourth count is played on the snare drum.
Exercise #4 is a 16th note drum fill featuring the hi-hat and the crash cymbal on count 4. Incorporating cymbals into drum fills is a great way of breaking away from tom/snare based drum fills. It changes the overall feel of any drum fill; adding different textures to the pattern in the process. Take drum fills you already know how to play and replace some of the drum strokes with cymbal strokes. Watch out for the hi-hat/crash combination on count 4. You’ll be playing three strokes in a row with one hand – a triple stroke.
Once you feel comfortable incorporating different cymbals into your drum fills, try choking some of the strokes. Cymbal choking is a dynamic drumming technique used to abruptly silence the sound of a cymbal. Cymbal choking can be used for accents – emphasizing particular rhythmic figures or signaling the conclusion of a section of a song – or as a way to match other instruments’ sustain.
Once you’re done with the drum beats and drum fills herein, you can keep on challenging yourself. Practice the fifteen stroke roll with the single stroke placed at the beginning of the rudiment instead of at the end. If you’d like to further your knowledge on the drum rudiments, we encourage you to learn how to play the seventeen stroke roll next.
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