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Triple stroke roll


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I was watching ex Grand Funk Railroad drummer Don Brewer doing a triple stroke roll, his speed and control were excellent.

Anyone have any exercises, suggestions or technique for developing a good triple stroke roll?

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Actually a Multiple Bounce Roll or Buzz Roll is a roll in which there is an undetermined number of bounces. It's considered to be a closed roll although there are varied degrees in which the bounces can be played just by allowing more space between the bounces.


A Press Roll is like a Buzz or Multiple Bounce Roll except you apply some pressure to the sticks, forcing them into the drumhead ever so slightly. It's just enough to choke the sound a bit, and sounds compressed ... hence the name ... Press Roll.


Now, the Triple Stroke Roll is it's own rudiment. It does fall into the catagory of a Multiple Bounce Roll Rudiment, but it is very different from a Multiple Bounce Roll. The Triple Stroke Roll, by definition, has a definite number of strokes ... that being three. I personally consider the Triple Stroke Roll to be a open roll rudiment just like a Double Stroke Roll, Five Stroke Roll, etc. The PAS Drum Rudiment sheet does not spell this out very clearly since the Triple Stroke is listed with the Multiple Bounce and not the Double Stroke Roll rudiments, which are labeled as Open Roll Rudiments. sigh





This sticking could be played as a fast sextuplet. If you can't hear the strokes, then is it really a Three Stroke Roll? If you close it up too much it just sounds like a Multiple Bounce Roll. I can play a Double Stroke Roll so closed that it sounds like a Multiple Bounce Roll ... so which is it?


In my opinion, for a roll to be given a name like Triple Stroke or Double Stroke Roll ... you have to be able to make out the number of bounces. If you close it up so much that it sounds like a BUZZ ... then it's a Multiple Bouce or Buzz Roll ... you are just "pulsing" a Triple or Double Stroke ... but it sounds like a Multiple or Buzz Roll ... so that's what it becomes.


A Multiple or Buzz Roll, as well as a Press Roll should sound like "ripping paper"; a continous sound, fully connected with no detectable pulses or strokes. All other rudimental rolls are considered Open Rolls and stroke should be heard so that you could count each one.


In classical music, a Five Stroke Roll is typically (not on Marches however) played closed and very tight. For instance, a roll starting on the "and" or "up beat", like an eighth note, and releasing on the very next down beat (would look like a rolled eighth tied to a quarter note perhaps). This would be played more as a Buzz or Multiple bounce, even though it looks like a 5-Stroke Roll (without the 5 above it). When I studied at the St. Louis Conservatory, I could never get my rolls closed enough for my teachers! LOL A lot of this starts getting into

"interpretation" of the music and how it should sound ... and that's a whole other topic (maybe next time).


I'll leave you with an old saying that goes like this:


"If you are in the open air, play open rolls. If you are closed indoors, play closed rolls."


This is the rule of thumb, but not necessarily the case in every instance. Drum Corps typically play outside and yet they use Multiple, Buzz, and Press Rolls from time to time. So the above saying would apply when you don't know which to play! How's that?



If you think of each tap as a spot of ink, the ink would almost smear on a Five Stroke Roll. That's a whole other topic


All the other r



Bart Elliott


Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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