Double Stroke Roll - Drum Rudiment

The double stroke roll was one of the patterns chosen to take part in the 26 American Drum Rudiments by members of the National Association of Rudimental Drummers (N.A.R.D.) in 1936. The double stroke roll was also featured in the 13 Essential Drum Rudiments. This was a subgroup of the 26 drum rudiments that encompassed the essential drum rudiments any drummer should know how to play. In 1984, the 26 American drum rudiments were joined by 14 other drum rudiments, giving birth to the 40 International Drum Rudiments.

The double stroke roll is one of the most important patterns from the drum roll family of drum rudiments. Much like the single stroke roll, the double stroke roll is an alternating roll. Nonetheless, with a double stroke roll each hand plays two strokes per hand instead of one. The single stroke roll and the double stroke roll are the two most important drum rudiments out there. If you want to, you can work on both at the same time.

There are three main techniques for playing double strokes. You can wrist turn each stroke, wrist turn the first stroke and use the bounce of the surface to play the second stroke, or wrist turn the first stroke and use a quick snap of the back fingers on the drumstick to play the second stroke. Developing 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 and cymbals. These techniques can be used with all other drum rudiments that incorporate double strokes. Remember these tips when you get to apply those drum rudiments all over the drum set.

Double Stroke Roll

It's crucial you work on playing consistent sounding doubles with each hand. Whatever 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.
Once you're able to play the double stroke roll comfortably on a single surface, you can move on to learn how to apply the double stroke roll to the drum set.

Exercise #1 is a 16th note tom-tom drum beat. Start by playing a continuous double stroke roll between the floor tom and the hi-tom. Once you're able to keep a consistent roll going, break it up on count 3 so you can play a snare shot. With the hand pattern mastered add the bass drum on all quarter notes.

Double Stroke Roll #1

Exercise #2 is a 32nd note drum beat. Start by playing a single stroke roll between the hi-hat and the snare drum. The snare strokes are to be ghosted, expect for the "ah" of count 2. When you're able to play this hand pattern effortlessly, use the hi-hat hand to play accented snare shots on counts 2 and 4, and on the "and" of 4. Once you feel comfortable with it, add the bass drum on all the 8th notes. The double strokes are represented with a diagonal line on the note stems from the sheet music below. For each of the stems with this diagonal line you'll have to double the single strokes you were playing with the hands.

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 done with this lesson, you can move on to learn how to play the single paradiddle. If you'd like to keep on learning how to play drum roll based drum rudiments, then the five stroke roll is the next best thing for you. If you're more into learning a new type of stroke, check the free drum lessons on the multiple bounce roll, the flam, the drag, or the triple stroke roll.