Five Stroke Roll - Drum Rudiment

The five 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 five 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 drum rudiments were joined by 14 other drum rudiments, giving birth to the 40 International Drum Rudiments.

Much like the double stroke roll, the five stroke roll is one of the most important patterns from the drum roll family of drum rudiments. The five stroke roll shares the same technical aspects of bigger drum rudiments like the seven stroke roll, the eleven stroke roll, or the seventeen stroke roll. Thus, by mastering the five stroke roll you'll be mastering the techniques needed to play most of the drum rudiments from the drum roll family. This will turn make your learning experience a lot faster.
The five stroke roll features two double strokes and one single stroke. If you haven't already, check the free drum lessons on the single stroke roll and the double stroke roll before going through this lesson.

Five Stroke Roll

Once you're able to play the five stroke roll comfortably on a single surface, you can move on to learn how to apply the five stroke roll to the drum set.

Exercise #1 is a 16th note drum beat. This beat features two five stroke rolls. Lionel leads the two five stroke rolls with his right hand. However, leading the second five stroke roll with the left hand makes it easier to play. This is so because it avoids crossing the left arm under the right arm to play the floor tom on the last 16th notes of count 3.

Five Stroke Roll #1

Exercise #2 is a 16th note drum beat that's actually a variation on the previous pattern. Taking a look at the sheet music below, you can see that both five stroke rolls start on the bow of the ride cymbal. So, unlike the previous exercise, here it's preferable to start both five stroke rolls with the same hand.

Five Stroke Roll #2

Exercise #3 is a 16th note drum fill. This drum fill features two five stroke rolls. The first five stroke roll is broken up between the snare drum, the hi-tom, and the floor tom on counts 1 and 2. The second five stroke roll is scattered between the floor tom, the mid-tom, and the snare drum on counts 3 and 4.

Five Stroke Roll #3

Exercise #4 is a 16th note drum fill. By adding strokes to the "and" of counts 2 and 4, the five stroke rolls morphed into six stroke rolls. What's interesting about this transformation is the use of a foot instead of a hand to play the "and" of count 4. This is a great idea for working on hand-to-feet drum rudiment control and independence, as well as on coming up with some brand new ideas from the drum fills featured on this website.

Five Stroke Roll #4

Most drum fills you'll find within this website are one-bar long. You can, however, morph them into any other sized drum fills you want to. Just take any of the lessons on drum rudiments, pick a drum fill and remove parts of the pattern to create different sized fills. You can also put together two-bar drum fills by mixing two one-bar drum fills.

After you're done with this free drum lesson on the five stroke roll, you can move on to learn how to play the six stroke roll and the seven stroke roll drum rudiments.