Six Stroke Roll

The six stroke roll is one of the coolest drum rudiments to apply to the drum set, and is actually one of the favorites among drummers. In this free video drum lesson, Lionel Duperron, one of the “DrumLessons.com” drum instructors, teaches you how to play, practice, and master the six stroke roll. Afterwards, he takes you to the drum set to show you exactly how the six stroke roll can be applied to the drum set in a couple of creative drum beats and drum fills.

As you can see on the sheet music below, the six stroke roll is basically a five stroke roll with an extra single stroke added in. Thus, in order to master the six stroke roll, you have to be very competent with the five stroke roll.

You can come up with two new variations of the six stroke roll by moving the single strokes around. For the following drum beats and drum fills, Lionel uses one of the six stroke roll variations, instead of the six stroke roll pattern he taught you how to play on the practice pad. If you’ve practiced that one, you won’t have any problems in mastering the variations, since the techniques required are exactly the same. Just remember that the singles are always played at half the speed of the doubles, no matter the note values and the six stroke roll variation you decide to use.

Drum Beats

Exercise #1 is a 16th note drum beat featuring two six stroke rolls. The doubles are played on the hi-hat as 16th notes on counts 1 and 3. The singles are played as 8th notes on counts 2 and 4. Add the bass drum on counts 1 and 3, and you’re good to go.

Exercise #2 is a 32nd note drum beat that has the doubles of the six stroke roll played as 32nd notes, and the singles as 16th notes. The double strokes are represented with a diagonal line on the note stems from the sheet music below. Start by playing a consistent 16th note single stroke roll on the snare drum. While you do so, press the hi-hat foot pedal on counts 2 and 4, and keep the bass drum going on all quarter notes. Once you feel comfortable with that, double the first two single strokes on each count. The double strokes should be bounced and the single strokes should be played as full wrist strokes.

Drum Fills

Exercise #3 is a 16th note drum fill. The doubles of the six stroke roll are played on the snare drum on count 1, and on the floor tom on count 3, while the singles are moved to the hi-tom and to the mid-tom for the remaining counts. When you get to play the doubles on the floor tom, you may have to use more fingers to get the strokes to sound consistent.

The most popular way of using the six stroke roll is keeping the doubles on the snare drum while the singles are moved around the toms and cymbals. This next drum fill is a very good example of just that. The doubles are played on the snare drum as 16th notes on counts 1 and 3, while the 8th note singles are spread around the toms and the kick drum.

Much like the last drum fill on the five stroke roll free drum lesson, here, we have one of the single strokes of the six stroke roll being played with the bass drum pedal instead. Scattering a drum rudiment between the hands and feet is a great way for coming up with new and creative variations. You can use this idea with all other drum beats and drum fills from the 40 drum rudiments that we have at your disposal on this website.

You may need to change the sticking of a drum rudiment to better fit what you desire to accomplish on the drum set; that’s totally fine. Drum rudiments are patterns that you can play around with. Start them on different places; give them different note values, different sticking patterns, and play around with their dynamics.

Once you’re done with this free drum lesson, you can move on to learn how to play the seven stroke roll. You can also jump ahead to the free drum lesson on the ten stroke roll, a rudiment that is pretty much like the six stroke roll, only longer.