This week I have been focussing on trying to improve the speed of my double stroke rolls. Even if you have been playing for some time, it is sometimes worth revisiting the basic drum rudiments to see if improvements to technique can be made.
You are probably already familiar with the fact that the double stroke roll is played with two strokes of the right hand followed by two strokes on the left, like this: RRLLRRLL. The strokes are played evenly and cleanly.
The Key to Playing Fast Double Stroke Rolls
At lower speeds, you will be pushing down on each of the double strokes. But as you speed up there will come a point where you cannot play any faster using this technique. The key to playing faster is to use a controlled stick bounce for the second stroke – although you only play with one downstroke, the drum is struck twice.
I have been concentrating on starting slowly and building up to greater speeds. There comes a point where there is need to change technique from ‘individual strokes’ to ‘bounced strokes’. This so-called ‘breaking point’ should be clean and imperceptible from the listener’s point-of-view.
The key to the bounced double roll technique is stick control. I find that by slightly tightening the grip on the stick it is possible to a faster bounce, whereas a slightly looser grip will result in more delay.
Below is a video that you may find useful in your practising of the double stroke roll.
The Advantages of this Technique
This ‘bouncing’ technique does take a little bit of practice, but is worth persevering with because it can open up allsorts of new possibilities for your playing. If you want to play jazz it is essential for your playing technique but even rock drummers will benefit from adding it to their chops.
I have now started practicing the exact same technique but with the triple stroke roll. A little bit more challenging but I’m seeing improvements already.