Double Stroke Roll Techniques

  • Posted on: 4 September 2011
  • By: sheldonkreger

Double strokes are a fundamental movement used on the drum set. By playing two strokes with a hand, we open opportunity to move the opposite hand to another part of the kit. However,there are many ways to play doubles on the drum set.

The first way to play doubles is by using simple rebound to force a second hit. As the stick bounces up, we restrict the motion and actively squeeze and push the stick back into the surface of the drum. Although this is probably the easiest way to get doubles, there are many shortcomings to this technique. The second stroke does not come through as clearly as the first, which can give a roll a strange lope. Things sound uneven and often sloppy. Another problem is that there is no way to force this motion on a soft surface. I almost never use this technique because there are much better ways to play doubles if you spend some time developing the skill.

The second way to play doubles is to play very actively, and force each stroke individually. It should feel like playing two single strokes in a row. This makes things more balanced, but is difficult to execute at high tempos. It also feels tense and tiring.

Another way to doubles is to integrate the fingers into a push-pull motion. Jojo Mayer has made this technique popular. This is a bit tricky initially, but acutally feels very natural once the motion is integrated. It really feels smooth at high tempos. The only problem is the limited dynamic range of the push-pull motion. Playing loudly is very difficult, perhaps impossible. In some situations, this might actually be too clean.

Another great method for executing a smooth double stroke roll involves accenting the second note of each hand. There are many ways to do this, including using a Moeller whip, pulling out of the drum, and accenting with the fingers.

Lately, I have been experimenting with another motion used by Dave Weckl. The first stroke comes from the wrist, and the second stroke comes from a turning motion also in the wrist. Again, this is tricky, but it feels great and sounds phenomenal. I'll post a video when I get this technique down!

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