Double Stroke Roll

Learn To Play The Double Stroke Roll Drum Rudiment!

The double stroke roll is one of the most important patterns from the 26 drum rudiments. It's an alternating roll that encompasses two strokes per hand, as you can see on the sheet music below. Many drum rudiments are based on or feature the double stroke roll. So it's imperative you concentrate on making your doubles sound great. Make sure you've learned how to play the single stroke roll before you take on the double stroke roll. You can develop these two drum rudiments at the same time as well.

Double Stroke Roll

There are three main techniques for playing doubles: wrist turning each stroke, and using the bounce of the surface or a quick snap of the back fingers on the drumstick, to play the second stroke. These last techniques are performed right after you wrist turn the first stroke of the double. Practicing these three techniques will bring great benefits to your playing in the long run.

Developing your wristed doubles and the wrist/fingers combination on surfaces with little to no bounce, like pillows, will be useful when playing fast doubles on soggy surfaces like the ones from toms. Developing bounced doubles will be great when playing extremely fast doubles on the snare drum or on the cymbals. These techniques can be used with all other drum rudiments that incorporate double strokes, so remember these tips when you get to apply them all over your drum set.

The second stroke of each set of doubles tends to sound very weak when compared to the first one. This is a problem most students face when playing the double stroke roll, which makes any double stroke sound sloppy and uneven. It's crucial you work on playing consistent sounding doubles with each hand. Thus, whatever the technique you choose to play the second stroke with, don't over accentuate the first stroke. Doing so will make it a lot harder to have you playing a second stroke that sounds anything like the first one.

Work on leading this rudiment with both hands, since it doesn't naturally alternate within itself. When you feel you're pretty competent in playing a double stroke roll on a single surface, it's time to move on to the drum beats and drum fills in this free drum lesson.

Exercise #1 is a 16th note half-time tom-tom drum beat. Start by mastering the hand pattern. Play a double stroke roll between the floor tom and the hi-tom on counts 1, 2 and 4. Once you have that happening play a snare shot on count 3. Finally, add a steady four-on-the-floor bass drum pattern (bass drum on all quarter notes).

Double Stroke Roll #1

Exercise #2 is a 32nd note drum beat. Start by mastering the hand pattern. Play a double stroke roll between the hi-hat and the snare drum - the double strokes are represented with a diagonal line on the note stems from the sheet music below. The notes played with the weaker hand on the snare drum are ghosted, expect for the "ah" of count 2 which is accented. The notes played with the leading hand on the hi-hat are performed at a normal volume. On counts 2 and 4, and on the "and" of count 4, the leading hand moves to the snare drum to play accented strokes. Once you feel comfortable with the hand pattern, add the bass drum on all the 8th notes.

Double Stroke Roll #2

Exercise #3 is a 16th note drum fill. The double stroke roll is performed between counts 1 and 3. Keep the weaker hand on the hi-tom while the leading hand goes around the other drums. Finish this drum fill with a snare shot on count 4.

Double Stroke Roll #3

Exercise #4 is a variation on a drum fill named by Jared Falk as the "X-Fill". Start by playing the first 8th note of each double stroke. This will help you get used to crossing your arms before adding the doubles in. Once you feel comfortable with it, double the 8th notes. This drum fill ends with a snare shot on count 4.

Double Stroke Roll #4

Once you're able to play the double stroke roll and the exercises herein accurately, you can move on to further expand your knowledge on the drum rudiments. If you want to keep studying double stroke based drum rudiments, we encourage you to learn how to play the five stroke roll. If you know how to play the single stroke roll and the double stroke roll, then the single paradiddle is a great option as well. If you'd rather learn how to play other drum rudiments, check the free drum lessons on the multiple bounce roll, the triple stroke roll, the flam, or the drag ruff.