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Nine Stroke Roll

 

The nine stroke roll is a drum rudiment based on the double stroke roll. A simple combination of double strokes followed by an accented single note, you can find it most commonly in snare drum solos.

nine stroke roll drum rudiment notation
The nine stroke roll

What is a nine stroke roll?

The biggest challenge in mastering this rudiment is playing tight double strokes, which means finding even, consistent spacing between each note.

Your goal should be to make your nine stroke roll sound smooth and clean. You should be able to lead with your right hand or your left. Make sure to accent the grouping’s ninth note.

Here are some tips to help your nine stroke rolls.

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).

Click here if you want to learn how to read drum music

Tips for playing nine stroke rolls

The biggest challenge in mastering this rudiment is playing tight double strokes, which means finding even, consistent spacing between each note.

Your goal should be to make your nine stroke roll sound smooth and clean. You should be able to lead with your right hand or your left. Make sure to accent the grouping’s ninth note.

Here are some tips to help your nine stroke rolls.

Practice with a metronome

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.

Start slow

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 nine stroke roll cleanly and confidently 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.

Alternate your lead hand

If you’re a right-handed drummer, you probably default to starting nine stroke rolls with your right hand. Make sure you practice starting the roll with your left hand too. This will help you get a more consistent sound out of both sticks and give you more confidence and control.

Practice in front of a mirror

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!

Film yourself practicing

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.

How to play a nine stroke roll on the drums

Once you’re comfortable playing the nine stroke roll on a practice pad or a single drum, try it on the drum set. 

You can play rolls on one drum or break them up between multiple surfaces. Try the following exercises to get started.

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What’s next?

With enough solid practice, you should start feeling more confident in your playing. The nine stroke roll gives you an excuse to practice your double strokes and gets you one step closer to playing anything you want on the drums.

Once you learn the nine stroke roll, the pattern continues for the eleven stroke roll, the thirteen stroke roll, the fifteen stroke roll, and the seventeen stroke roll. Learn these rudiments next!

Download a free rudiments poster PDF here


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