Six Stroke Roll

Learn To Play The Six Stroke Roll Drum Rudiment!

The six stroke roll is actually the pattern played in one of the greatest drum fills of all time – the "Motown drum fill", made famous by the great late Motown house drummer Richard "Pistol" Allen. The six stroke roll was not originally featured in the standard 26 American drum rudiments. The six stroke roll was taken from the Scottish rudimental system and added to the 26 drum rudiments by the Percussive Arts Society (P.A.S.) in 1984, alongside 13 other drum rudiments, giving birth to the 40 international drum rudiments.

Taking a look at the sheet music below, you can see that the six stroke roll is a combination of double strokes with single strokes. In order to play the six stroke roll with control and confidence, you have to be competent with the five stroke roll. Take your time while learning how to play that drum rudiment since you can think of the six stroke roll as a five stroke roll with an extra single stroke added in. So knowing how to play the five stroke roll will make you master the six stroke roll a lot quicker. The six stroke roll has many variations. Besides the one on the sheet music below, you can also play the six stroke roll starting with the two singles or with the doubles instead.

Six Stroke Roll

We'll be using one of the variations for the following drum beats and drum fills. If you've practiced only one of them, you won't have any problems in mastering the variations since the techniques required to play them are exactly the same. Just remember that the singles are always played at half the speed as the doubles, no matter the note values and the six stroke roll variation you decide to use.

Exercise #1 is a 16th note drum beat. The doubles are played on counts 1 and 3 on the hi-hat as 16th notes. The singles are performed as 8th notes on counts 2 and 4. Once you have the hand pattern under your belt, add the bass drum on counts 1 and 3.

Six Stroke Roll #1

Exercise #2 is a 32nd note drum beat. There's a six stroke roll per count. The double strokes are represented with a diagonal line on the note stems from the sheet music below, and are played as 32nd notes. The singles are played as 16th notes. The 32nd note double strokes should be bounced and the singles played as full wrist strokes. Once that feels comfortable, press the hi-hat foot pedal on counts 2 and 4. Finally, add the bass drum on all quarter notes.

Six Stroke Roll #2

Exercise #3 is a 16th note drum fill. The doubles are played on the snare drum on count 1 and on the floor tom on count 3. The singles are performed on counts 2 and 4 on the hi-tom and on the mid-tom.

Six Stroke Roll #3

Exercise #4 is a 16th note drum fill that has a single stroke from one of the six stroke rolls played with a foot instead of with a hand. Scattering a drum rudiment between the hands and feet is a great way of coming up with new and creative drum fills and drum beats. Take some of the drum beats and drum fills taught in this website and use this concept to see what you can come up with.

Six Stroke Roll #4

Once you're able to play the six stroke roll and the exercises herein accurately, you can move on to further expand your knowledge on the drum rudiments. We encourage you to check the free drum lessons on the seven stroke roll and the ten stroke roll next.