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Drumming can basically be broken down into two things: singles and doubles. Most things we play are just a combination of these. Like a golfer working on their swing, a drummer needs to be working on perfecting these two strokes since they apply to almost everything.

Note spacing and consistency are your tickets to reaching the next level in your playing. If your double strokes are threatening to–well–give you a stroke, here are five ways to stave off the sloppiness. And they really work!

1. Accent the second stroke

A concept taught by pros like Dave Weckl and Thomas Lang, practice accenting the second stroke of each double. Use your full wrist motion to get each one clean and powerful, and get comfortable with how this sounds and feels. Start slow and focus on that accent – it’ll naturally start to even out as you speed up.

2. Practice with locked grip

Since it has little to no rebound, practicing on a pillow (or the soft arm of a couch) is an incredible training exercise. Hold your sticks so the end in the palm of each hand (without gripping too tightly). The stick should function like an extension of your arm rather than being allowed to pivot. Now every stroke on the pillow is a result of your wrist movement. If you do this for five or ten minutes a day, you’re going to start noticing massive improvements.

3. Displace your doubles

To change the feel and orchestration around the kit, rather than playing square/regular doubles (RRLLRRLLRRLL), play inverted doubles (RLLRRLLRRLLR). Work that around the kit with the bass drum on every quarter note. Start with the right hand leading, then practice with the left. Get used to switching between square doubles and inverted doubles and see how the sound changes. It’s a more musical way to apply what you’re working on.

4. Use the note value tree

Practice cycling your doubles between quarter notes, 8th notes, 8th note triplets, 16the notes, 16th note triplets, and 32nd notes. Try it with the metronome at 60 BPM.

5. Study the roll rudiments

Whether you realize it or not, you’re always playing rudiments. If you want to unlock more possibilities in your drumming, work on the 5 stroke roll, 6 stroke roll, 7 stroke roll, 9 stroke roll, 10 stroke roll, 11 stroke roll, 13 stroke roll, 15 stroke roll, and 17 stroke roll.

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