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The one handed roll (also known as freehand technique) is a great technique for playing a very fast single stroke roll with only one hand. In this free drum lesson, Jared Falk teaches you how to play the one handed roll and a couple of exercises that you can use to practice this technique. The one handed roll is broken down for you with slow motion video as well, so you can see exactly how Jared’s arms behave when applying this technique to the snare drum.
The one handed roll was first introduced to the drumming community by Kenwood Dennard. It was later made popular by the great innovator Johnny Rabb who began applying it to great success to drum solos and drum ‘n’ bass. Since the one handed roll allows for one hand to remain free to play grooves or ostinatos while the other one “rolls”, Johnny named it the freehand technique. This technique has become a staple in the world of death metal drumming as well. It’s used in the form of a blast beat known as gravity blast, hyper blast or Swedish blast.
The one handed roll uses the rim of the snare drum as a pivoting point for pushing and pulling the stick against it with the combination of an upward and downward motion of the arm. The one handed roll is not only a cool hand technique for showmanship purposes, but also for coming up with creative drum beats and drum fills. The one handed roll is not limited to the snare drum. You can use it on toms and cowbells for instance.
If you’re interested in knowing more about showmanship techniques, check the free drum lesson “Double Stroke Sweep” to learn a very cool showmanship technique that makes use of the double stroke roll. If you’d like to get some ideas on how to apply the one handed roll to drum beats, move on to the free drum lessons “One Handed Roll Applications“.
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