The most basic of basic rudiments. A great starting point for your drumming.
The single stroke roll is one of the simplest rudiments making it a great place to start the study of this area. As we mentioned in our Introduction To Rudiments, a rudiment is a series of specific hand movements that can be applied across different rhythms and orchestrations. In the case of the single stroke roll this movement is one stroke on each hand alternately, giving the sticking 'R L R L'. Remember when sticking is shown this way 'R' means 'Right Hand' and 'L' means 'Left Hand'.
Because this rudiment is so straight forward there are many reasons to learn the straight snare exercises given here, how to add feet and the orchestrations given in later lessons . As a beginner it will help you get your head around Drum Notation, Sticking and Counting Marks, whilst giving you something practical to help work on your Basic Technique and limb co ordination. The single stroke roll has countless applications in your playing. Many Fills are based on this rudiment and there are a few tricks you can use to embellish Grooves and even create whole new grooves. There will be many articles on this subject in later lessons.
As discussed above, a single stroke roll is a group of notes that are played in an alternating sticking pattern with one stroke on each hand. The exercises below are the most basic versions of this rudiment, but they are important to master. It is also incredibly important at this stage to ensure your grip is correct and that you are using proper technique. Counting and sticking is provided in each exercise, if you play left handed, reverse the sticking. When practising all exercises in this series repeat the bar over and over, don't just play it once then stop.
Exercises 1 to 3 are the rudiment played as Crotchets, Quavers and Semi Quavers. In exercises 4 to 6 the sticking is reversed. This is a very useful and important concept as it will greatly improve the independence of your hands.
A Single Stroke Roll in standard sticking as crotchets.
A Single Stroke Roll in standard sticking as quavers.
A Single Stroke Roll in standard sticking as semi quavers.
A Single Stroke Roll in reversed sticking as crotchets.
A Single Stroke Roll in reversed sticking as quavers.
A Single Stroke Roll in reversed sticking as semi quavers.
Use the 2 minute rule to aim for the following target tempos. This list covers from an absolute beginner to a hardened veteran player and such potentially represents several years worth of practice.
- Level 0: Crotchets and Quavers at 120bpm
- Level 1: Quavers and Semi Quavers at 100bpm
- Level 2: Semi Quavers at 120bpm
- Level 3: Semi Quavers at 140bpm
- Level 4: Semi Quavers at 160bpm & Demi Semi Quavers at 80bpm
- Level 5: Semi Quavers at 180bpm & Demi Semi Quavers at 90bpm
- Level 5+: Semi Quavers at 200+bpm & Demi Semi Quavers at 100+bpm
From level 2 onwards you would be expected to be able to play the single stroke roll as further subdivisions, try playing with eighth note triplet, sextuplet, quintuplet, septuplet and nontuplet rhythms. You will also be learning the rudiment in many different time signatures, try playing the rudiment in 2/4, 3/4, 5/4, 6/7, 5/8, 7/8 and any other time signature you can think of. Full lessons will be provided for all items mentioned above.
I recomend covering our lesson on Adding Feet As Crotchets under a 16th note single stroke roll next.