Fifteen Stroke Roll

Learn How To Play The Fifteen Stroke Roll Drum Rudiment!

The fifteen stroke roll is a combination of seven sets of double strokes with a single stroke. This is one of the biggest drum rudiments from the drum roll family. It’s a good idea to get very well acquainted with the single stroke roll and double stroke roll drum rudiments before attempting to master this one. Learning how to play the five stroke roll, seven stroke roll, nine stroke roll, eleven stroke roll, or thirteen stroke roll drum rudiments will also be of great help in mastering the fifteen stroke roll, since they all require the mastery of the same techniques and movements.

It’s only natural that as the number of strokes increases you find yourself dismissing the need to take time in learning drum rudiments like the eleven stroke roll, thirteen stroke roll, and fifteen stroke roll. You may think that even before playing them you already know how to play them, simply because they are just like the five stroke roll or the seven stroke roll, but only with more doubles. If that is your case, than we’d advise you to keep on reading.

The underlying rhythm of a fifteen stroke roll is different from that of any other drum roll rudiment. You may find yourself struggling with this one at first because you keep playing the rhythms you are used to playing in other rolls, whether it is the seven stroke roll or the thirteen stroke roll. You have to practice the fifteen stroke roll so that its rhythmic pattern gets ingrained in your head. Also, with the fifteen stroke roll, you have a very big roll you need to keep consistent. Thus, practicing it will get your brain to learn to identify its rhythm, how to keep it clean and consistent, and how to play it flawlessly when you decide to use it.

Fifteen Stroke Roll

This drum rudiment is extremely hard to alternate within itself. Thus, practice leading with your stronger hand and with your weaker hand as well. Once you feel confident with the fifteen stroke roll, you can move on to learn how to use it in drum beats and drum fills.

The first drum beat has the fifteen stroke roll played between the hi-hat and the snare drum on the initial three counts, and between the hi-tom and the snare drum on the last count. Once you’re able to play the hand pattern flawlessly add the bass drum on all quarter notes.

Fifteen Stroke Roll #1

The second drum beat has the fifteen stroke roll being split between the ride cymbal and the hi-hat on the first two counts, between the hi-tom and the hi-hat on count 3, and between the hi-tom and snare drum on count 4. The bass drum is once again played on all quarter notes. Once you master this pattern, experiment with different bass drum patterns. Take some of your favorite books or videos and use the bass drum patterns in them with the exercises in this website for developing coordination, and a larger array of drum beats.

Fifteen Stroke Roll #2

The next drum fills are a bit demanding, in that you have to keep a double stroke roll going while moving from a high tensioned drum like the snare drum and low tensioned drums like the toms. Adding to that, you have to do it for a longer period of time since this rudiment has fifteen strokes.

Exercise #3 is the first drum fill of this lesson. The first two counts are played between the floor tom and the snare drum. The third count is played between the mid-tom and the hi-tom, with count 4 being played on the snare drum on its entirety.
Exercise #4 strays away from the typical tom/snare drum fills, incorporating the hi-hat and the crash cymbal on count 4. Most of the times, toms are not used within drum beats. Some people see them only as applicable to drum fills. The same goes for the hi-hat and the cymbals, which are featured predominantly on drum beats.

Fifteen Stroke Roll #3

There is no written rule that says you shouldn’t use the toms in drum beats and the cymbals and hi-hat on drum fills as much as you want to. It’s all a matter of personal choice. Feel free to experiment with all the instruments you have at your disposal, be creative. We hope this exercise inspires you to come up with some original drum fills incorporating cymbals.

Fifteen Stroke Roll #4

These are all the drum beats and drum fills we have for you that incorporate the fifteen stroke roll. If you want to continue exploring more possibilities with the fifteen stroke roll, check the various free drum lessons on the 40 drum rudiments that we have here on this website, for further inspiration. When you feel ready to move on, check the lesson on the seventeen stroke roll, the last pattern of the drum roll family of drum rudiments.