Triple Stroke Roll

The triple stroke roll is very similar in nature to the single stroke roll and the double stroke roll drum rudiments. It’s an alternating roll that encompasses three strokes per hand. In this free drum lesson, Lionel Duperron teaches you how to play the triple stroke roll, and how to apply it to your drumming through a couple of drum beats and drum fills.

As you can see on the sheet music below, the triple stroke roll has three alternating strokes instead of two, like the double stroke roll, or one, like the single stroke roll. It’s very important for you to have a solid knowledge of the single stroke roll and the double stroke roll drum rudiments, before moving on to the triple stroke roll.

Focus on playing consistent sounding triple strokes per hand. Stroke evenness can be checked by watching stick heights. The triple stroke roll is mostly played as 8th note triplets or as 16th note triplets. The triple stroke roll is one of the less popular drum rudiments, but is very useful for jazz, funk, and Latin ride and hi-hat patterns.

Use full wrist turns to play each stroke of the triple stroke roll at slower speeds. As you start speeding up the triple stroke roll, you’ll naturally start bouncing the second and third strokes 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 and third strokes will sound muddy. To work around this issue, you can play your second and third strokes using finger technique, after performing the first stroke with the wrist.

Drum Beats

Exercise #1 is a 16th note triplet drum beat. Playing this pattern slowly at first is a must, because of the 16th note triplets. The triple stroke roll is played between the bow of the ride cymbal and the hi-hat on counts 1 and 3. Add the snare drum on counts 2 and 4, the bass drum on count 1 and on the “and” of count 2, and you’re good to go.

Exercise #2 is an 8th note triplet drum beat. The triple stroke roll is played between the floor tom and the hi-hat on counts 1 and 2. Playing the first three strokes of the three stroke roll consistently on the floor tom, makes this a more challenging drum beat to get up to speed. This is due to the lack of rebound you get from a floor tom. Playing on surfaces with little to no bounce is a tremendous workout for getting your hands to play this drum beat at higher speeds and with a greater level of facility.

Drum Fills

Exercise #3 is an 8th note triplet drum fill. The main challenge you’ll find in this exercise is the transition between the mid-tom and the hi-tom. You’ll have to quickly move the left hand out of the way of the right hand, as the right hand makes way to the hi-tom to hit it on count 3. If you don’t, you may end up clicking your sticks, hitting rims or worst, your own hand. You can work around this issue by practicing the drum fill slowly at first. Increase the speed on your metronome as you get comfortable making a clean transition between the two drums.

Exercise #4 is a great pattern for learning how to change your hand technique as you go from the snare drum to the floor tom. This change is needed due to the very different level of rebound between both drums. Playing left hand lead here is a great idea to check how your weaker hand behaves under the same conditions as your stronger one.

Once you’re able to play the triple stroke roll and the exercises herein accurately, watch the free video drum lesson “16th Note Warm-Up” to learn about a very cool warm-up that includes the triple stroke roll.

If you’d rather move on to further expand your knowledge of the 40 drum rudiments, we encourage you to check the free drum lesson on the multiple bounce roll next. If you’d like to learn how to play double stroke roll based drum rudiments, then the five stroke roll is the next best thing for you.

If you’re not interested in learning how to play the multiple bounce roll and the five stroke roll, move on to learn how to play the single paradiddle and the drag ruff instead.