Learn How to Play a Single Stroke Roll

In this free drum lesson, we will show how to play a single stroke roll one of the most common rudiments that every drummer should know about.

Let us start from the beginning, the single stroke roll is one of the essential drum rudiments that you need to master, no matter if you are just starting out or if you are an experienced drummer.

This exercise will boost your coordination and once you are comfortable with this primary technic, you can take it to the next level and go after a wide range of more complex rudiments.

What’s a Single Stroke Roll?


It is a pattern of strokes that is used to create most of drum beats, fills, and drum solos.
It may seem a very basic rudiment but is core behind more advanced techniques.

One of the goals that we want to achieve with this exercise is both stamina and strength for our wrists and fingers.

Please try to exercise it regularly. If you’re a more advanced drummer you can play it when you are warming up with other drum rudiments exercises.


Here is how to play a single stroke roll:

You can see it is a basic alternation of strokes (R, L, R, L, R, L, R, L)
This is really easy to learn but the magic happens when you control the volume, evenness, and speed.

Basically, you can start with either hand. Left, Right, Left, Right…..
Be patient and get it slowly, at first, to get the stroke with the same accent.

If possible, try to practice with a metronome to control tempo before you worry about speed.

When you start building some speed be sure that the evenness of the strokes is maintained.
The flow of the rudiment will be much better if you pay attention to this three attributes.

To be able to control volume pay attention to the drumstick when it comes up. Both hands need to go up to the same height.

Once you are comfortable playing it at different speeds you can invert the leading hand. If you start the pattern with your left hand now start with your right one:
Right, Left, Right, Left

Pay close attention to your grip:


In order to gain speed with this technique, you need to hold the sticks the right way. It is super important to get the sweet spot between not being too tight and not too lose either.

From the practice pad to the drum kit:

Now it’s time to move to drum set and apply the new knowledge.
Here are three different exercises to incorporate the single stroke roll.

From the practice pad to the drum kit:


Now it’s time to move to drum set and apply the new knowledge.
Here are three different exercises to incorporate the single stroke roll.

1) Exercise #1, drum beat:


One easy way to play the rudiment in a drum beat is to start a 16th note on the hi-hat and take the leading hand to the snare on counts two and four. Once you are comfortable incorporate a bass drum on counts one and three, like this:

2) Exercise #2, drum beat two:


Just like the first exercise, you will keep a 16th note between the snare and the hi-hat, the bass drum will still be on counts one and three.
In this case, the leading hand will play the hi-hat on all the “ands” as well as counts one and three, and snare strokes on counts two and four.
Use the weak hand to play ghost notes on the snare drum.

3) Exercise #3, drum fill:


This should be one of your first drum fills and easy way to apply this rudiment is to maintain the single stroke roll starting on the snare drum then move to the first tom, then the second tom and finish on the floor tom. Try to play four strokes per drum.



If you want some inspiration you can watch Mike Mangini, a giant drummer that set a world record of 1240 strokes a minute.
In this incredible Discovery Channel video, you’ll see how Mike uses single stroke rolls in a lightning fast speed. , Filmed with a super slow motion camera, the details are incredible.
You can also appreciate the perfect grip and how relax his hands are when he’s playing.

“Passion and a good practice method, lot of practice” Mike Mangini.

So that’s how you play a single stroke roll. Now is your turn, just practice and have fun!
Being consistent is the only thing that will get you ahead and become the drummer you want to be.

If you mastered this technique you can move forward with the double stroke roll or the single paradiddle rudiments.

Please let us know if you liked this lesson and if you are looking for anything in particular, maybe we can help! 😉

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This