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.

Drum Beats

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.

Drum Fills

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.

If you’d rather learn how to play drum rudiments from a different family, check the free drum lessons on the double stroke roll and the multiple bounce roll.




  • Solomon Shom Gyang says:

    i am an up coming snare drummer i your help in drum rudiments

  • GIDEON ATABO says:


  • stephen abia says:

    pls i love drum so much so i really want your help

  • NAHUM says:

    I love drums so much. pls guys i need ur help

  • adebowale michael says:

    I love to drum and I want to be the best drummer

  • ebenezer says:

    this is cool, am a professional drummer and i wanna meet other drummers out there.

  • ebenezer says:

    Lagos city,Nigeria

  • Victor says:

    Thanks so much for your free lesson.

  • Fabio says:

    Ok, I will start this Saturday and I will also use the generator routine practice, I try to follow all the tips of the supporting text and video. thank you for everything.
    Fábio Barbosa Venancio
    Sao Paulo – Brazil

  • blake says:

    hi i want to learn all 40 drum rudiments but im stuck on stick technique. i hear people say bounce the stick and i get that cuz if u keep a nice loose grip it will flow instead of tight!!!! when i see people do singles it looks like its wrists at first but as u gain speed its fingers. please help thanks

  • Dylan says:

    guess i gotta start practicing

  • Farid says:

    Im a guitar player . im a pro an teaching guitar for years . i have seen a lot of teachers in different instruments but to me most of them are just a great players not a good teacher .
    this method and these guys are so great not even in playing but teaching as well .
    i just started and it really works for me
    Thank you so much

  • Alan says:

    Thanks so much for your free drum lessons. I have not played in many many years. I’m 61 and some say that you can’t get it back but I believe I can. So I’m starting from square one. I bought a practice pad and some sticks ( no drums yet). I dug out my old metronome and set it all up by my PC. At times its boring and I feel a little uncoordinated but already its getting smoother. I’m determined to do this. Thank you and all the guys at drumlessons.com