Five Stroke Roll – My favorite rudiment for drum fills

If you’re not acquainted with the five-stroke roll yet and aren’t using it within your drum fills, this short lesson will be an eye-opener for you. It’s by far one of my most over-used rudiments and for a good reason. Once you unlock a level of comfortable flow with a five-stroke roll, it’s so easy to be dynamic and musical when moving it around the kit, and turn it into some absolutely sublime fills.

A five-stroke roll is essentially a combination of three singles and a double stroke (or two doubles and one single), eg: R L R L L / R R L R L / L L R L R / L R L L R – the ones I tend to use more often are R L R L L and R L L R L. These feel very natural for me and are a pattern I use frequently in my ghost note and fill patterns. In this lesson, I’ll present a number of exercises for you to explore the possibilities when using a five-stroke roll.

Why is this useful? Fives are the first step on the ladder towards being able to play more complex patterns. Most drummers are somewhat comfortable with threes and fours… but five is where real magic can happen. Fives can be used as a Quintuplet (like a triplet but a group of five instead of three) or simply as a way to group a repeating pattern as sixteenth notes. Doing the latter presents some wonderful options to explore, and in this lesson, I’ll show you what you can do with a few of them.

Loop Exercise 1 – basic five-stroke roll

Loop Exercise 2 – five-stroke roll voiced around the kit

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