How to Play The Double Stroke Roll Drum Rudiment

In total there are forty drum rudiments out there. The double stroke roll is an essential rudiment that’s nice to have mastery over before you move on. If you are new to drum rudiments, you should start with the single stroke roll. You have probably heard the double stroke roll performed before without realizing it. The “open roll” or double stroke roll is regularly performed by drum corps and marching bands. Another place found outside of practice is in rock drumming and Jazz.

How to Perform This Rudiment

The double stroke roll is a simple drum rudiment but will require control and patience. Essentially, all you will do is allow each drum stroke to bounce off of the drum head two times. Starting with the right hand, alternate back and forth from right to left.

Double Stroke Roll Rudiment

Played: Left Left, Right Right, LL, RR, LL, RR, LL.

One of the most important things to look at is grip and technique. You want to hold your sticks firmly but make sure to have a relaxed wrist. In drumming it is always a good idea to remain flexible. Keeping your fulcrum point of the drum stick between your forefingers and thumb is crucial to get a good bounce. You will feel it when you have the correct drum posture.

Starting off slowly, allow your drumstick to bounce off of the drum head. Now alternate between each hand. You want to focus on opening up your drum roll. This will sound a little different than a single stroke roll. The trick with this rudiment is to make your movements fluid and controlled. When performing this rudiment, make sure to keep an even tone.

Getting the proper tone means you want to use consistent force behind your movements. It will give you the right bounce. Your primary goal with the double stroke roll is to bounce the drumstick off of the drum twice with one stroke. In time, you will be able to do this with ease. Make sure to practice this rudiment until you have it down. Four to five times a week will be adequate to get the training you need.

Three Easy Steps to Playing The Double Stroke Roll

A great article posted on Ezine articles by Walter Baumann explains easy steps on how to play this rudiment:

1. Play “Eight on a Hand.” This is pretty much the oldest exercise in the book for drumming. You play eight loud, regular strokes with your right hand, then without a break, eight notes at the same tempo with the left. Repeat this until your hands fall off or you start to fall asleep. Then play it for another hour.

2. Focus on creating two fast notes with a single hand in this rhythm: tap, tap, rest, tap, tap, rest. Do this with the same technique from exercise one, but work on each hand independently, slowly speeding up the tempo till it approaches the desired roll speed. Don’t forget to work out both hands.

This builds the quality of the roll, emphasizing the legato technique of the “eight on a hand” exercise even at higher tempos. This will keep your roll from buzzing out or falling apart at higher velocities.

3. Put it all together. right, right, left, left ad nauseum. This is finally your roll. How fast you get and how high you maintain the quality level of the rolls is up to you and your level of practice. You’ll know you’re good when it approaches the sound of a forte buzz roll without losing integrity in any of the secondary notes from each hand.  You can read the full article here.

If you get frustrated with this drum rudiment then come back to it later.  In time you will be a pro and you can always ask for help here.  If you are looking for the last drum rudiment we reviewed, click here.

Drum Resources:

  1. Drum Rudiments Covered in Detail 


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