How to Play a Five-Stroke Roll on the Drums

Learn how to play the five-stroke roll from drum teacher Jason Gianni in this Howcast drum video.


Within this series of rolled rudiments, there are some different numbers that you're going to find, numbers like five strokes, nine stroke, seven stroke roll, so on and so forth. I'm going to cover the five stroke roll right now, and basically what it is stemming from is the amount of strokes you're doing in the roll, and the first and most important thing to know is the amount of motions from your arm in a roll. This doesn't work for every roll, but a lot of the odd-numbered rolls, like fives and nines. If you divide the number in half, and round it up to the next full number, you're going to get the amount of motions that are in the roll.

So if you take five and divide by half, you divide it in half, you're going to get two and a half, and then round it up, you get three motions. And what that would basically entail you to do is a right hand, a left hand, and a right hand, those are your three motions. When you're doing a stroke roll, you're always doubling or bouncing all the beginning motions, and you're tapping the last motion. So if you were to take a double stroke roll, that's two strokes per hand, and then do three motions with the arm, rolling the first two motions and tapping the last motion, you get a five stroke role, so it looks like this. Now that was an example of a double stroke five stroke roll.

You can also play the buzz version or the cold fashion of that, which you would take the first two strokes, you would buzz them, and then you would tap the last stroke, and this would be a closed version of a five stroke roll. As long as you have three motions in your arms, rolling on the first two motions, and tapping on the last one, you have yourself a five stroke roll, no matter which version of the roll you'd like to do.

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