The double stroke roll is one of the most important drum rudiments. It lays the groundwork for many other rudiments and is used in drum fills, beats, solos, and more.
The double stroke roll consists of two strokes on one hand followed by two strokes on the other hand.
Right hand, right hand, left hand, left hand. And repeat!
The double stroke roll is one of the most common rudiments played on the drum set and is one of the first skills every new drummer should learn. By mastering the double stroke roll, you’ll find it easier to play other drum rolls and rudiments like paradiddles, swiss army triplets, the single flammed mill and others.
Here’s what the double stroke roll sounds like:
You can use this tool to practice along at the tempo that’s best for you (it’s the one Drumeo members use when practicing with the 3000+ play-along tracks inside our members area).
The biggest challenge in playing tight double strokes is finding even, consistent spacing between each note – especially if you’re using rebound to play the second stroke as you increase the tempo.
Try practicing double strokes on a surface that has little to no rebound, like a pillow or a floor tom. This will encourage you to use your wrists and build your forearm strength, and you’ll be flying by the time you get on a kit.
Your goal should be to make your double stroke roll sound as smooth and clean as a single stroke roll. Every note should sound as similar as possible and you should ideally be able to lead with your right hand or your left.
Try to master the double stroke roll as early as possible in your drumming journey. It’ll make learning other skills much easier! Here are some tips to help you progress.
When you’re first learning how to play something, it’s fine to test it out without a metronome as you get used to the pattern. But you shouldn’t go click-free for long. The metronome will help you develop a better internal clock and show you exactly where the timing of your strokes is inconsistent (or where it’s right on the grid).
You can buy a physical metronome at a music store or download a metronome app online.
While it might be tempting to get up to speed as quickly as possible – especially if you’re feeling confident – make sure you’re really playing the double stroke roll well before you increase the tempo.
Be honest with yourself and don’t move on until you’ve really got it down. Don’t just say “it’s good enough”. Develop control first, and speed will come later.
Try setting your metronome to 60 BPM and then slowly work your way up 5 BPM at a time.
If you’re a right-handed drummer, you probably default to starting double stroke rolls with your right hand. Make sure you also practice starting them with your left hand. This will help you get a more consistent sound out of both sticks and give you more confidence and control.
It’s easiest to correct your posture or grip immediately if you’re watching yourself in a mirror. Try to set up a practice pad and a snare stand in front of a full length mirror if you can.
Maybe your strokes don’t look even. Maybe the height of your right stick doesn’t match the height of your left. You might even notice you’re gripping your left hand too hard. Use your reflection as a window into how you’re doing. It’s like becoming your own drum teacher!
While playing in front of a mirror will help you fix issues on the fly, you might not realize when something is wrong during your practice session. Sometimes we don’t notice issues while we’re in the middle of playing – especially if we’re concentrating hard.
Whether you’re propping your phone on your dresser or capturing it all with a camera and tripod, it’s helpful to watch your practice sessions and critique yourself from a ‘third party’ perspective.
Once you’re comfortable playing double strokes on a practice pad or a single drum, you should move it over to the drum set.
You can play a double stroke roll on one drum or break it up between multiple surfaces. Here are some exercises you can try.
Once you’ve worked through these exercises, come up with your own ideas. Any surface can be part of the pattern! You could even try alternating double strokes between your hands and your feet.
Learn these tunes to get comfortable with this rudiment in practice:
There’s a brief double stroke roll in this drum fill. Make sure the space between each note is consistent.
With enough solid practice, you should start feeling more confident in your playing. From beats and rolls to fills and solos, mastering the double stroke roll will get you one step closer to playing anything you want on the drums.
If you’ve enjoyed learning this rudiment, you’ll probably also like the five stroke roll: a shorter roll based on the double stroke roll.
Once you’ve got a good handle on this one, the next most important drum rudiment to learn is the single paradiddle.
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