Six Stroke Roll

Learn How To Play The Six Stroke Roll Drum Rudiment!

The six stroke roll is one of the coolest drum rudiments to apply to the drum set. It’s a combination of singles and doubles. The singles are played at half the speed of the doubles, no matter the note value you decide to apply to this rudiment. Thus, you need to be very competent in playing the single stroke roll and the double stroke roll drum rudiments before tackling the six stroke roll.

The six stroke roll can be played in a couple of different ways. You can start by playing the two double strokes before playing the two singles, or start by executing the two singles before the two doubles. Another option to play the six stroke roll is as notated on the sheet music below - starting with a single, then two doubles followed by another single. The six stroke roll version taught by Lionel Duperron in this lesson is actually the pattern played on one of the greatest fills of all time – the “Motown drum fill” made famous by the great late Motown house drummer Richard “Pistol” Allen.

Six Stroke Roll

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. There are no rules here. The 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.

The more you experiment with the drum rudiments, the better control you’ll have over them and the more creative you’ll be able to get. So, even though we’re presenting each drum rudiment with a set rhythmic pattern in each lesson on this 40 drum rudiments website, you can fool around with them as you please. Once you feel comfortable playing the six stroke roll on a practice pad or a snare drum, take the next four exercises to your drum set.

The first exercise on this free drum lesson is very straight forward. As you can see on the sheet music below, Lionel starts this one by playing the double strokes before the singles. Like we stated before this is a variation on the six stroke roll pattern he taught you how to play on the practice pad. If you have to, practice this variation on the practice pad as well. 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.

Six Stroke Roll #1

This next exercise has the doubles strokes as 32nd notes and the singles as 16th notes. You can start practicing this drum beat by keeping a consistent 16th note single stroke roll going with your hands. 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.

Six Stroke Roll #2

Once you feel comfortable with this, double the first two single strokes on each count. The double strokes are represented with a diagonal line on the note stems on the sheet music below. The 32nd note double strokes should be bounced and the singles played as full wrist strokes.

On the next exercise, Lionel Duperron takes the six stroke roll pattern used on the previous drum beats and applies it to a drum fill. The doubles are played on the snare drum and on the floor tom. The singles are played on the hi-tom and mid-tom. 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.

Six Stroke Roll #3

As we stated earlier, the “Motown drum fill” is based on the six stroke roll. This is a fine example of how great drum rudiments are for the creation of creative patterns of your own. The six stroke roll is one of the most used drum rudiments for coming up with drum fills.

Drummers tend to use the six stroke roll by playing the doubles on the snare drum and moving the singles around the toms and cymbals. This next drum fill is a very good example of just that. Much like the last drum fill on the five stroke roll free drum lesson, we have one of the single strokes of the six stroke roll played with the bass drum pedal.

Six Stroke Roll #4

After you’re done with this 40 drum rudiments free drum lesson, you can move on to learn how to play the next drum roll based drum rudiments, the seven stroke roll and the nine stroke roll drum rudiments. 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.