The double stroke roll is one of the most important rudiments to learn as a drummer. Learning how to play the double stroke roll will improve your skills around the drum set drastically – it will also help improve your independence and creativity. The double stroke roll is one of the 4 essential rudiments that every drummer must master. So how do you develop the double stroke roll? With practice! That is the only way you will improve. Now there are ways of practicing that are better than others, so take these few tips into mind the next time you start practicing your rudiments. You will be suprised how much this rudiment helps out your stick speed and control.
Step one, get off the drum set. Although it is good to learn how to play these rudiments around the drum set, the majority of your practice of the double stroke roll should be done on a practice pad. So saying that, grab your sticks, a practice pad, and a metronome and let’s get started. There are two main ways you can do the double stroke roll, and I will teach you both. Each way has its’ own unique place in music, so make sure you are capable of doing both.
The first method is the bounce roll. This is done by using the bounce back of the stick to stroke the drum twice. This is best used for extreme speed with your rolls. Make sure you have the correct stick grip by reading the How to article on How to hold your Drumsticks. Once you have this, you will know the perfect way to get the maximum bounce from your stick. Simply hit your stick once, allowing your stick to bounce, back. Notice how many time it bounces? Try to limit these bounces to one. This way you are hitting the stick two times for every one strike on the drum (or pad). Get this with both hands and you have the double bounce roll.
The other method is by actually hitting your stick on the drum twice. This is quite an obvious method; simply hit the practice pad (or drum) twice with each stick. It’s not as easy to go fast with this method; however it is very important you lean it. Make sure you are hitting each stick with the same pressure and power, or your roll will sound uneven. Do not try and rush this rudiment, it takes time a patience to master. This motion comes straight from the wrists; try not to use your arms at all.
Ok, so you know how to play the basic methods of the double stroke roll, now you want to know some tips and tricks to help you develop this rudiment. The easiest way to do this is by using a metronome and a practice pad. Set goals for yourself by determining how fast you can play for a minute straight. Try to increase this speed by 5 bpm every week or so. Make sure you take time before every jam session or practice session to warm up with some basic rudiments. Here is a great trick in speeding up the development of your wrists – play the double stroke roll on a pillow. This gives you no bounce to work with, and it forces you to use your wrists only. Here is how a double stroke roll looks on paper with proper drum notation:
I find it hard to explain how to use the right motions for the roll on paper; however it is not super hard. Basically, make sure both your right and left hands are even. You want to make sure both sticks sound the same. Also, try and keep every bounce in the same tempo, this can be achieved by using a metronome. Practice this rudiment a lot as it is one of the most important rudiments to learn. If you haven't already, you should check out the Single Stroke Roll, or challenge yourself with the single paradiddle rudiment.