Single Stroke Roll

Learn How To Play The Single Stroke Roll Drum Rudiment!

In this free drum lesson, Lionel Duperron teaches you how to practice the single stroke roll and how to apply it to the drum set through a couple of drum beats and drum fills. The single stroke roll is the drum rudiment everyone should learn how to play first. 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.

This drum rudiment consists of alternating strokes played between the hands – R (right) L (left) R L R L…or L R L R L R…in case you’re left hand dominant. 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.

Single Stroke Roll

Don’t rush the process of learning how to play any of the 40 drum rudiments, just so you can get to the drum beats and drum fills. Taking your time with each step of the learning process will actually make you a better drummer. Focus on quality and not on quantity.

As you practice any of the 40 drum rudiments, sit in front of a mirror so you can check your posture, stick heights and even the way each hand plays a stroke of a given rudiment. This is like having a drum teacher watching you play, evaluating your performance and making corrections. When in front of a mirror you’re your own drum teacher. Be demanding with yourself as a teacher would. Try making things sound and look as perfect as possible. Remember to practice with a metronome, have a lot of patience and just keep playing and having fun. With time you’ll become the drummer you aspire to be. You just have to keep at it.

Once you can play the single stroke roll comfortably on a single surface (practice pad, snare drum) you can move on to learn how to apply it to the drum set. On exercise #1, 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 to hit the snare drum on counts 2 and 4. Add the bass drum on counts 1 and 3 and you’re set.

Single Stroke Roll #1

On exercise #2, the bass drum pattern is the same as the one on the previous drum beat. However, the 16th note single stroke roll is a lot more broken up between the hi-hat and the snare drum. Keep the weaker hand close to the snare drumhead so you can play very soft ghost notes on the “e’s” and “ahs” of each count. The leading hand is on the hi-hat playing 8th notes on the “ands” and on counts 1 and 3. On counts 2 and 4 move that hand to hit accented strokes on the snare drum.

Single Stroke Roll #2

Exercise #3 is the first drum fill on this 40 drum rudiments free video lesson. The idea for this drum fill is to keep a single stroke roll going around the drums. Start on the snare and move down your toms, playing four strokes per drum.

Single Stroke Roll #3

The last drum fill on this 40 drum rudiments free drum lesson is a variation on the previous one. Instead of starting the drum fill on count 1 of the second bar start it on count 3 – this is known as a half-bar drum fill. Hit the snare drum first and move down your toms, playing two strokes per drum.

Single Stroke Roll #4

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. In case you want to learn a new type of basic rudimental stroke, then the double stroke roll is the best next thing for you to learn.