Seven Stroke Roll

Most of the 40 drum rudiments are usually perceived as being effective and useful for orchestra and marching band settings only. In this free drum lesson, Lionel Duperron takes care of all of those misconceptions by showing you how to apply the seven stroke roll to the drum set through a couple of drum beats and drum fills.

The seven stroke roll has a grand total of seven strokes – three doubles and one single. Taking a look at the sheet music below, you can see that the seven stroke roll is either a five stroke roll with an extra double stroke, or a six stroke roll where one of the singles is played as a double. Going through the free drum lessons on the five stroke roll and the six stroke roll, before going any further with this one is a great idea. These two drum rudiments have fewer strokes than the seven stroke roll. Therefore, you’ll be able to focus on the techniques needed to transition between doubles and singles. You can think of the five stroke roll and the six stroke roll as great preliminary exercises for the seven stroke roll.

The seven stroke roll does not naturally alternate within itself, but you can make it do so at slow enough speeds. Make sure you learn how to execute the seven stroke roll leading with both hands. As you get to higher speeds bounce the doubles off of the drumhead or practice pad.

Drum Beats

Exercise #1 is a very funky sounding 16th note drum beat. The seven stroke roll is played between the snare drum and the hi-hat starting on count 1. The first and third set of doubles are played at a normal volume and as a 16th note broken hi-hat pattern. The second set of doubles is played as ghost notes on the snare while the single stroke is performed on the “and” of count 2 as a snare shot.

Drum rudiments from the drum roll family are usually great options for achieving this type of syncopated feel. Once you’ve mastered this drum beat, add your favorite funky bass drum patterns to the existing hand pattern to see what you can come up with.

Exercise #2 is a 16th note half-time drum beat that incorporates a displaced seven stroke roll starting on the “and” of count 1. Much like exercise #1, the doubles are played between the hi-hat and the snare drum; only this time the snare strokes are not ghosted. The single is played on count 3.

This exercise is a great example of how to use displacement for coming up with creative drum beats and drum fills with the 40 drum rudiments. Mess around with the drum beats and drums fills on the other drum rudiments by using this tool.

Drum Fills

The seven stroke roll as a drum fill has the same shortcomings as the other drum rudiments from the drum roll family. You can’t rely on bouncing the doubles off of the toms to produce even sounding strokes once you start speeding up a drum fill. You’ll have to use your wrists for playing each stroke on a double, or play the first stroke with the wrist and the second stroke with a quick snap of the fingers. The snap will give the second stroke more velocity, and hence, more power when hitting the head than a bounce would.

Exercise #4 uses the same rhythmic idea as the previous one. There is nothing wrong with using the same rhythmic patterns over and over again. You can use them to come up with hundreds if not thousands of new ideas of your own by orchestrating the strokes around different surfaces. This is also a great way of making the best out of a pattern you may have taken a while to get under your belt.

Once a pattern is mastered it becomes easier to come up with new ideas from it. It’s important you learn how to play all of these patterns as written, but it’s even more important for you to use them as blueprints afterwards. Use them for developing your own ideas, and hence, your own voice on the drum set.

Once you’re done with the drum beats and drum fills on this free drum lesson, you can keep challenging yourself by practicing the seven 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 nine stroke roll and the ten stroke roll next.