Learn How to Play a Double Stroke Roll

Welcome to another free drum lesson about essential rudiments, it’s time to learn how to play a double stroke roll.

Please, be sure you’ve mastered how to play a single stroke roll before you start practicing this rudiment.

What’s a double stroke roll?


Like other drum rudiments, the double stroke roll is a pattern of strokes that combined are used to create drum beats, fills, and drum solos.

Before attempting to break down the raw rudiments work on strengthening your double stroke rolls. Here you’ll find some exercises that will help develop your rolls.


How to play a double stroke roll:

As you can see from the image above this technique is just like the single stroke roll, but instead, combines double strokes for each hand: Right, right, left, left.

Now when breaking down a rudiment slow to fast to slow. You want to use the same technique at the slow tempos as you do at the fast tempos.

Be sure to alternate the leading hand. Once you get the basic technique at a slower tempo if you started with the right hand now you can change it to the left hand like so: Left, left, right, right.

With the double stroke roll, you may start out with control strokes and have to transition into rebound strokes. We are going to eliminate that
awkward moment or transition by using rebound strokes the entire time.

When we do this with no transition start with your sticks up and just, at first, have the stick return to this position on every stroke.
This way you’ll be consistently using rebound strokes the entire rudiment.



From the drum pad to the drum set:

1) Exercise #1, drum beat:


Practice this drum beat by playing a steady four note pattern with the floor tom,  a bass drum on every quarter note and the snare on every third count.  And the first 8th note on each double stroke. Be patient, and when you master it, double the 8th notes on each tom to complete the beat.

2) Exercise #2, drum beat:


In this exercise, you will be combining the double stroke roll between the hi-hat and the snare drum.
It works like a single stroke roll alternated between the hi-hat and the snare drum. Notes on the left hand are ghosted and the ones with the right one are normal on the hi-hat. On counts two and four and on the four “ands” the right-hand strokes the snare.
You can start playing like this at first, and adding the doubles when you are comfortable.

3) Exercise #3, drum fill:


In this drum fill, your left hand will play double strokes on the hi-tom and the right-hand goes around the other drums playing doubles as well.


4) Exercise #4 the X drum fill:


First, play the first 8th note of each double stroke. Only when you’re ready, double the 8th notes by playing a 16th note double stroke roll.

As always we recommend using a metronome when playing. It’s super important to get the evenness of the roll right.

You can set a slow tempo to begin with and really focus on getting all the strokes on time.


Practice on different surfaces:


Another good idea is to practice on a surface that doesn’t bounce too much.
We usually practice on a drum pad or the snare drum where the bounce of the stick is pretty high and we usually rely on that too much. Try instead playing a roll using a pillow or your leg so that you learn to use your fingers.
Once you get it right you’ll notice how your rolls will be much stronger when you play them on the drum set.

If you still want to practice on the drum set, you can also use brushes to practice because brushes won’t bounce as drumsticks. So if you can play a double stroke roll using brushes then when you put a stick on your hands and you have the rebound to help you out as well there going to be that much stronger.


How to play double stroke fast?


The way to play fast the double stroke rolls or every other rudiment for that matter is simple. Just start slow and focus on the proper technique. Start playing at slower tempos and only after your comfortable start playing it faster tempos.

Here are some great tracks to practice at different tempos from Vic Firth.




Here’s Dave Weckl talking about a new exercise to achieve perfect evenness between strokes.
Basically, he uses the combination of a bounce and a snap:

You can practice this rudiment at any time and it’s super useful for warming up.
Used by every professional drummer you’ll notice how your drumming will improve in every aspect.


If you’re ready and want to learn something new you can check our free single paradiddle lesson.
Keep on learning, keep on playing and keep on having fun!

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