Rock Drumming System

Learn How To Play A Drum Roll

Drum Roll Please! Have you ever heard this saying before? Chances are you have. But as a drummer, are you ready to respond to that question? Playing a drum roll is an essential aspect of drumming that all drummers must master. Being able to roll your sticks seamlessly is a very tricky, yet valuable skill. Now, everyone can perform a slow single stroke roll, and most drummers can probably play a double stroke roll, but is that all a drum roll is? Obviously there are a few basic ways to perform a drum roll, some are fairly basic as long as you know your basic drum rudiments. The more you practice the easier it will be to roll your drum. Eventually, you will be able to perform the one handed roll, and wow you audience with a whole new level of drumming!

Technically speaking, a roll is basically a repeating stroke on a drum that is of similar volume and length. This then creates the constant sound and feeling, that most of you think of when you hear the term “Drum Roll.” However, a drum roll can be very slow. You may be able to hear a space of time between each stroke. This is not wrong in any way, but most of the time you will be asked for a seamless sound. To get this, you can do 3 different ways. You can play the single stroke roll at a fast speed, play the double stroke roll at a fast speed, or play what is known as the “Buzz roll”.

Single Stroke Roll

The single stroke roll is the most basic drum rudiment, and also the most basic way to play a drum roll. There really isn’t that much to it, just simply play Right, Left, Right Left. As you begin to speed this rudiment up you will notice that it starts to sound more and more like a drum roll.

Double Stroke Roll

The double stroke roll is very similar to the single stroke roll, there is just one difference. Instead of playing Right, Left, Right, Left you play Right, Right, Left, Left. You can use your wrists to do this, but you may not get the same speed you are looking for. Try using the bounce method, by hitting the stick once, and allowing for a single bounce back.

Buzz Roll (Press Roll, Crush Roll)

The buzz roll is commonly confused with the double stroke roll, do not make this mistake, the double stroke roll is very different from the buzz roll. The Buzz Roll requires a slightly different grip. For the most part you don’t want to use any of your fingers except your index finger and your thumb. You want to find the fulcrum point just like when you are playing your rudiments, and because there aren’t any other fingers on your drumstick you need to hold the stick tighter than usual between your index finger and your thumb. As you develop the buzz roll, you will find that it is easier to play if you bend your hands slightly towards the drum, try different positions and find one that works for you.

Start learning the buzz roll one hand at a time, first use your right hand, strike the drum with your right stick and let it bounce as much as possible (RRRRRR...), then do the same with your left hand (LLLLL…). Now SLOWLY begin to speed this up… RRRRR… LLLLL… It is very important that you develop this slowly, it is better to start slow than to ruin this roll by developing it too fast. This is most common technique for very fast and tight rolls.

One Handed Drum Roll

The one handed drum roll is a bit more of an advanced technique and there is definitely more than one way of performing this drum roll. Once you develop this technique you will noticed a whole new world of opportunity when it comes to beats, fills, and drum solos.

If you want to learn this method quickly I recommend you check out Jared Falk’s One Handed Drum Roll website. It will show you the correct way to play the technique, and it will break it down with step by step slow motion video. It will cost you about the same as an hour long drum lesson and it will change the way that you look at playing the drums.

Playing A Drum Roll

It is important to remember to practice with a metronome when you are developing your drum roll, just like when you are at home practicing your drum rudiments, get a practice pad, and use a metronome to keep track of your progress. Sometimes it is more effective to play a slower roll, than to jump right to a buzz roll. Remember, you are not limited to playing a roll on the snare drum! Although it is most common on the snare, this technique can be used on all drums, as well as any cymbal!

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