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How To Play Silky Smooth Double Stroke Rolls

Keith Carlock  /  UPDATED Nov 14, 2023

Once you know about his extensive drumline background and rudimental foundation, it makes complete sense why Keith Carlock’s double strokes are so good. “We used to practice just singles and doubles all day to get them clean and strong…it taught us to lock in and listen to other people.”

Now he applies these skills to the drum set. Here are two exercises Keith has used to strengthen his doubles. You want to get that snap so both the first and second stroke are at the same volume.

In this exercise, you’re doing a shuffle-type pattern with only your right hand, then only your left. The pattern changes in the second half:

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In this doubles exercise, you’ll put an accent on the second stroke each time. Even if you never find a use for this in a song or solo, it’ll help your body remember to keep that second note strong:

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Whether he’s in a hotel room or getting ready for a show, Keith is always practicing on a pad to stay in shape and keep his doubles strong. Now it’s your turn. Feel yourself working your muscles as you go through these exercises, and keep it up!

We’ve put together a playlist with drumless tracks at different tempos so you can practice over real music:

Keith Carlock is a professional drummer and author of the critically acclaimed DVD "The Big Picture: Phrasing, Improvisation, Style, & Technique". Keith has recorded and toured with the who's who of the music industry including John Mayer, Sting, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Toto, Christopher Cross, Donald Fagen, Walter Becker, Diana Ross, Faith Hill, The Blues Brothers Band, Mike Stern, Leni Stern, David Johansen and the Harry Smiths, Richard Bona, Chris Botti, Wayne Krantz, Rudder, Harry Belafonte, Oz Noy, Larry Carlton, Clay Aiken, Rascal Flatts, Grover Washington Jr. and Paula Abdul. Keith has also been voted number 1 Pop drummer, number 1 Fusion drummer, and number 1 Best All-Around drummer through Modern Drummer’s Readers Poll.

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