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Learn How To Play The Single Stroke Four

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The single stroke four rudiment is a very powerful rudiment to learn. Although it may not seem like an essential drum rudiment, this pattern should be practiced regularly. The single stroke four pattern is a very basic drum rudiment, and when played slowly it can be very plain and boring. However, playing this beat fast and up tempo will bring a whole new sound to the table. You will notice how much faster you can play a single stroke beat when you are playing patterns of four or more. With this, your fills, solos, and other chops will sound much faster. Add some bass drum, and a few toms, and you have yourself a very complex beat!

The single stroke fou works great for building speed, and strength in your wrists and fingers. You will be surprised at how much your drumming improves when you practice the single stroke four routinely. It is great for playing fast patterns in between your regular beat. Because you are only playing four strokes in a row, you will be able to play a lot faster than you usually play a single stroke roll. Remember to always use a metronome when practicing any drum rudiment, it will keep you on time, and will allow you to measure your progress. This rudiment is a bit trickier to practice then a straight single stroke roll. You will notice how it sounds like bursts on the drum: this is what you want!

Before We Start The Single Stroke Four

We will start with proper stick grip. Without proper stick grip, you will have uneven strokes that sound more like a flam than a roll. You are going to want to make sure that you tune your drums, if your drums arent in tune then the single stroke four will not sound good. Also, you will find you have more endurance and control when you are holding the sticks right. The principle is the same either way you hold your sticks. If you are using matched grip, you will want to try and make your weaker hand copy your dominant hand exactly – this is the same with the French grip. If you are using the traditional grip, you may notice your left hand must move in a different way then your right. Stick independence will come in time, and that is why you are practicing the single stroke four.

The Single Stroke Four

The Single Stroke Four is a very basic rudiment. Like the single stroke roll, you alternate your sticking right, left, right, left. What you want to do is play four strokes at a time. Short bursts of four stroke hits on the drum are what make this rudiment. This would look like this:

Drum Notation

Try to change your starting hand up! If you always start with your right hand, change to your left. This will stop you from becoming complacent with your right hand, and open up more doors towards creativity! Also, as you improve, start playing this pattern a lot faster, tighter, and closer together.

Drum Notation

Here is a quick video example of the single stroke four on a practice pad:

You may take as long as you want in between patterns, but the quicker you go, the more effective it will sound. Adding this to any song, beat, fill, or drum solo will definitely add some spice to whatever style you are playing. Remember you do not have to limit yourself to the snare with this rudiment. Try playing it on different voices like the hi hat, bass drum, or toms. Adding bass drum beats in between each spurt will give you a very nice sounding pattern!

Master the single stroke roll drum rudiment in Lionel Duperron's free Drum Rudiment Master Class! Lionel will teach you how to play a single stroke roll, and how to apply the single stroke roll to your drumming!

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