Seven Stroke Roll

Learn How To Play The Seven Stroke Roll Drum Rudiment!

As you may have guessed by now, the seven stroke roll has a total of seven strokes – three doubles and one single. If you haven’t already, check the lessons on the single stroke roll and the double stroke roll drum rudiments before trying this one out. You should also take a look at the five stroke roll. It has less double strokes than the seven stroke roll. This lets you focus on the transition between the doubles and the single. Think of the five stroke roll as a great preliminary exercise for the seven stroke roll.

The seven stroke roll is one of the 40 drum rudiments than can alternate. Taking a look at the sheet music below, you can see that there is an 8th note gap between the first and the second seven stroke roll. At slow enough speeds, this gap gives you enough time to alternate your leading hand within the seven stroke roll, instead of always leading with the same.
Once you start speeding up the seven stroke roll, alternating can become really challenging. This is something you can work on later on in your 40 drum rudiments journey. For now learn how to execute the seven stroke roll leading with both hands.

Seven Stroke Roll

As you get to higher speeds the doubles are bounced off of the drumhead or practice pad. After you feel competent in applying the seven stroke roll to a single surface, check the following drum beats and drum fills incorporating the seven stroke roll.

Exercise #1 is a very funky sounding drum beat. Starting on count 1, the seven stroke roll is played between the hi-hat and the snare drum as 16th notes. The first and third sets of doubles are played at a normal volume as a broken hi-hat pattern. The second set of doubles is played as ghost notes on the snare. The single is played on the “and” of count 2.
The combination of the broken hi-hat pattern with the ghost notes and the syncopated snare shot on the “and” of count 2, gives this pattern a very funky feel. Drum rudiments based on the double stroke roll like this one are great for achieving that type of a feel. After you master this drum beat, add your favorite funky bass drum patterns to the existing hand pattern to see what you can come up with.

Seven Stroke Roll #1

Exercise #2 gives us a half-time drum beat. This is a great example of how to displace the seven stroke roll inside a measure of music, or any other of the 40 drum rudiments for that matter. The seven stroke roll is played starting on the “and” of count 1. Much like exercise #1, the doubles are played between the hi-hat and the snare drum, but without any ghost notes on the snare drum. The single is played on count 3.

Seven Stroke Roll #2

When you start working on your own drum beats and drum fills using the 40 drum rudiments, always remember to experiment with their displacement. This is another great tool for spicing up your patterns.

The seven stroke roll as a drum fill has the same shortcomings as the six stroke roll and the five stroke roll. When you start speeding up the drum fill you can’t rely on bouncing the doubles on the toms to get even strokes. You’ll have to use your wrists for playing each stroke in a double, or play the first stroke with the wrist and the second one by 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.

Seven Stroke Roll #3

The last exercise in this free drum lesson is a variation on the previous one. There is nothing wrong with using the same rhythmic pattern over and over again to create new ideas. With only one pattern, Lionel Duperron was able to come up with two very cool sounding melodic patterns on the drum set. It’s possible to get even more drum fills by adding different sound sources like cymbals, cowbells, and even the bass drum.

Seven Stroke Roll #4

It can take a really long time until one can master a certain pattern. Once mastered, it becomes easier to come up with new ideas from it. Making the best out of one pattern is a great way to take advantage of the amount of time you spent around it. Coming up with different ideas from the original one is also a great way of working on your own voice behind this instrument. Strive to develop your voice, and use other’s ideas as a blueprint for your own.

After you’re done with the exercises in this lesson, you can keep challenging yourself by practicing the seven stroke roll rudiment with the single stroke placed at the beginning of the rudiment instead of at the end. If you’re more interested in moving on then check the free drum lessons on the nine stroke roll and ten stroke roll drum rudiments.