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Ten Stroke Roll

How To Play A Ten Stroke Roll

The ten stroke roll is a drum rudiment that uses a combination of single and double strokes in a 3/4 time signature. Like a longer version of the six stroke roll, you can find it in snare solos, drum fills and more.

11 ten stroke roll
The ten stroke roll

What is a ten stroke roll?

The ten stroke roll consists of four sets of double strokes followed by two accented single strokes. This adds up to a total of ten notes.

Here’s what the ten 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

In a traditional ten stroke roll, the double strokes are sandwiched between a single stroke at the beginning and end, but you can also start with the doubles and end with the two singles.

Tips for playing ten 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 everything sound smooth and clean. You should be able to lead with your right hand or your left. Make sure to accent the first and last note of each grouping.

Here are some tips to help your ten stroke rolls.

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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.

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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 ten 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.

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Alternate your lead hand

If you’re a right-handed drummer, you probably default to starting these 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.

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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!

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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.

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

How to play a ten stroke roll on the drums

Once you’re comfortable playing on a practice pad or a single drum, try applying this rudiment on the drum set.

You can play a roll on one drum or break it up across multiple surfaces. Here are some exercises to get you started.


What’s next?

With enough solid practice, you should start feeling more confident in your playing. The ten 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 ten stroke roll, try the six stroke roll or the nine stroke roll


Download a free rudiments poster PDF here

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