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Seven Stroke Roll

How To Play A Seven Stroke Roll

The seven stroke roll is a popular drum rudiment based on the double stroke roll. A simple combination of double strokes followed by an accented single note, you can find it in solos, drum fills and more.

seven stroke roll drum rudiment
The seven stroke roll

What is a seven stroke roll?

The seven stroke roll consists of three sets of alternating double strokes followed by an accented single stroke.

Like a progression of the five stroke roll, the name ‘seven stroke roll’ implies that there’s a total of seven strokes in the pattern.

Here’s what the seven 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).

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

Tips for playing seven 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 seven 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 seventh note.

Here are some tips to help your seven 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 seven 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 seven 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 seven stroke roll on the drums

Once you’re comfortable playing the seven 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.

#1:
#2:
#3:
#4:
#5:

Any surface can be part of the pattern! You could also challenge yourself by breaking up the sticking between your hands and feet.

Songs that use the seven stroke roll

Learn these tunes to get comfortable with this rudiment in practice:

“Hopelessly In Love” – Journey

hopelessly in love journey drum notation
“Hopelessly In Love” by Journey

This cymbal pattern has a ton of movement between the hands and is a fun way to practice your seven stroke rolls.

What’s next?

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

Once you learn the seven stroke roll, the pattern continues for the nine stroke roll, the eleven stroke roll, the thirteen stroke roll, the fifteen stroke roll, and the seventeen stroke roll

Those are the rudiments you should learn next (unless you skipped the five stroke roll, in which case you should tackle that rudiment before moving on).

five stroke roll

Download a free rudiments poster PDF here


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