Six Stroke Roll - Drum Rudiment

The six stroke roll is one of the 40 International Drum Rudiments since 1984. The Percussive Arts Society (P.A.S.) was responsible for its inclusion, after settling on the expansion of the 26 American Drum Rudiments with orchestral, drum corps, European, and contemporary drum rudiments. The six stroke roll is a drum rudiment taken from the Scottish rudimental style.

You can think of the six stroke roll as a five stroke roll with an extra single stroke added in. Make sure you learn how to play the five stroke roll before you take on this lesson. This will help you master the six stroke roll a lot quicker since they share the same basic principles. The six stroke roll on the sheet music below is just a starting point. It's actually the pattern played on 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. Once you've got this version of the six stroke roll under your control, move the singles around by putting them in front of, or behind the doubles for more creative options. This last variation is actually the one used on the drum beats and drum fills featured in this free drum lesson.

Six Stroke Roll

Starting drum rudiments on different places, giving them different note values, different sticking patterns, and playing around with their dynamics will give you a larger set of options and a greater level of control over them. Once you feel comfortable playing the six stroke roll on a single surface, take the next four exercises to your drum set.

Exercise #1 is a 16th note drum beat. The doubles are played on the hi-hat as 16th notes on counts 1 and 3. The singles are played as 8th notes on counts 2 and 4. This drum beat is here to get you started on applying the six stroke roll to the drum set. It may seem pointless to use the six stroke roll on the hi-hat for playing 16th notes when you could've easily used the single stroke roll instead. However, if you move one of your hands to the ride cymbal instead, you'll start to realize the potential of using double stroke based drum rudiments for coming up with drum beats.

Six Stroke Roll #1

Exercise #2 is a 32nd note drum beat. The double strokes are played as 32nd notes and are represented with a diagonal line on the note stems on the sheet music below. The singles are played as 16th notes. The 32nd note double strokes should be bounced and the singles played as full wrist strokes.

Six Stroke Roll #2

Exercise #3 is a 16th note drum fill. Lionel Duperron plays this drum fill with his right hand leading each six stroke roll. While transitioning from the hi-tom to the mid-tom, you'll have to quickly move the right hand out of the way of the left hand as it makes way to hit the mid-tom on the "and" of count 2. Doing so will enable you to avoid clicking your sticks, hitting rims or worst, your own hand. Practicing the drum fill slowly at first will help you make a clean transition between the two drums. Increase the speed on your metronome only when you get comfortable with the tempo you're practicing this drum fill with.

Six Stroke Roll #3

Exercise #4 is a 16th note drum fill. This exercise is a cool example of how the six stroke roll is mostly used around the drum set – the doubles are kept on the snare drum while the singles are moved around the drums and csymbals. Using bass drum strokes instead of hand strokes is also a very cool idea for spicing up your drum rudiment based patterns. 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 40 drum rudiments. We encourage you to learn how to play the seven stroke roll and the nine stroke roll next. You can also jump ahead to the free drum lesson on the ten stroke roll, a drum rudiment that is pretty much like the six stroke roll.