Single Stroke Four

Learn To Play The Single Stroke Four Drum Rudiment!

The single stroke four was not featured in the standard 26 American drum rudiments. It was one of the 14 drum rudiments that were added to the 26 drum rudiments in 1984 by the Percussive Arts Society. This led to the formation of the 40 international drum rudiments.

Taking a look at the sheet music below, you can see that much like the single stroke roll, the single stroke four is played with alternating single strokes. However, while the single stroke roll is comprised of a consecutive stream of strokes (also known as a roll) played as 16th notes, the single stroke four has four consecutive single strokes performed as 8th note triplets or as 16th note triplets instead. We encourage you to take a look at the free drum lesson on the single stroke roll before attempting to learn how to play the single stroke four. Doing so will enhance the way you learn how to play the single stroke four.

Single Stroke Four

Since the single stroke four does not alternate within itself, practice leading it with both hands. Strive for playing a single stroke four with consistent sounding and evenly spaced strokes. Once you feel confident about the way you perform the single stroke four on a single surface, take the following drum beats and drum fills to your kit and get busy applying the single stroke four to your drum set.

Exercise #1 is an 8th note triplet drum beat. The single stroke four is broken up between the hi-hat and the snare drum on counts 3 and 4. Start by playing a basic quarter note rock drum beat. Once that feels comfortable to you, remove the hi-hat stroke on count 4 and add two extra hi-hat strokes on count 3 as 8th note triplets. You can lead the single stroke four with the hand that feels most comfortable to you.

Single Stroke Four #1

Exercise #2 is an 8th note triplet tom-tom drum beat that features two single stroke fours. They start on counts 1 and 3, and end on counts 2 and 4 with a snare shot. Add the bass drum on counts 1 and 3 once you have the hand pattern mastered.

Single Stroke Four #2

Exercise #3 is an 8th note triplet drum fill. Since floor toms lack the rebound of a snare drum, you might have some problems in getting the strokes on count 3 to sound exactly the same as you get to higher speeds. Practicing this exercise slowly at first, and for long periods of time, will help you develop the needed control to play consistent sounding strokes on the floor tom. Remember to stay relaxed, so you can avoid repeated stress related injuries.

Single Stroke Four #3

Exercise #4 is an 8th note triplet drum fill that shares the same rhythmic pattern and challenges as exercise #3. Take your time with this exercise and work on consistency. Speed will come with control. Don't forget to play with a relaxed grip.

Single Stroke Four #4

Once you're able to play the single stroke four and the exercises herein accurately, you can move on to further expand your knowledge on the drum rudiments. If you want to keep studying single stroke based drum rudiments, we encourage you to move on to learn how to play the single stroke seven. If you'd rather learn how to play other drum rudiments, check the free drum lessons on the double stroke roll and the multiple bounce roll.