Single Stroke Roll
In this free drum lesson, Lionel Duperron teaches you how to play the single stroke roll and how to apply it to the drum set through a couple of drum beats and drum fills. If you’re totally new to the 40 drum rudiments and don’t know exactly how to get started, this is the perfect drum lesson for you. The single stroke roll is the main pattern you’ll find on the single stroke family of drum rudiments, and it’s actually the drum rudiment anyone should learn how to play first.
Taking a look at the sheet music below, you can see that the single stroke roll is made out of alternating single strokes: R (right hand) L (left hand) R L.No matter the hand you start playing it with, it’s important you learn how to execute the single stroke roll leading with both hands. Leading with your weaker hand is a great exercise for developing it further. This will be hard at first, but with perseverance and practice you’ll be able to execute a single stroke roll with your weaker hand as well as you do with your stronger one.
Practice in front of a mirror so you can check your posture and the way you execute each stroke. Be thorough in the assessment you make of your own playing. This will ensure a faster development of your technical facility, since you’ll be able to detect and fix any issues you might be having even before they become bad habits, which is tougher to correct. Try making things sound and look as perfect as possible. Always remember: “Proper practice makes better”.
Practice with a metronome, have a lot of patience and just keep playing and having fun. Use all of these tips while practicing the 40 drum rudiments. With time, you’ll become the drummer you aspire to be – you just have to keep at it. If you’ve been playing drums for some time now, but have not began learning the 40 drum rudiments, chances are you’ve already applied the single stroke roll to your drum beats and drum fills without knowing about it.
Exercise #1 is a 16th note two-handed hi-hat drum beat. Start by playing a 16th note single stroke roll on the hi-hat. Once you have that down, take the leading hand off of the hi-hat on counts 2 and 4, and move it to the snare drum. Add the bass drum on counts 1 and 3, and you’re set.
Exercise #2 is a 16th note drum beat with a broken 8th note hi-hat pattern. Take a 16th note single stroke roll and split it up between the hi-hat and the snare drum. Keep the left hand close to the snare, so you can produce very soft ghost notes on the “e’s” and “ahs” of each count. Play the hi-hat at a normal volume with the right hand. Once you have that going, take the leading hand off of the hi-hat on counts 2 and 4, and move it to the snare drum. Finally, add the bass drum on counts 1 and 3.
Exercise #3 is a 16th note single stroke roll drum fill played around the drums. Start on the snare drum and move down the toms, playing four strokes per drum.
Exercise #4 is a 16th note single stroke roll half-bar drum fill – a variation on the previous exercise. This drum fill starts on count 3, which is known as a half-bar fill. Hit the snare drum first and move down the toms, playing two strokes per drum.
Don’t rush the process of learning how to play any of the 40 drum rudiments. Taking your time with each step of the learning process will actually make you a better drummer. Focus on quality and not on quantity. Playing the single stroke roll consistently and with evenly spaced strokes should be your first objective. When you have that happening, start speeding up your single stroke roll with the free drum lesson “Single Stroke Roll Speed“.
Once you’re able to play the single stroke roll and the exercises herein accurately, you can move on to further expand your knowledge of the 40 drum rudiments. If you want to keep studying single stroke based drum rudiments, we encourage you to move on to learn how to play the single stroke four or the hybrid drum rudiment herta.