I'm having trouble with my double stroke roll

RaxCity

Senior Member
Hey guys, I'm having trouble with doing a double stroke roll...yes I know it's a pretty basic thing, please don't crucify me about that, but I'm having trouble getting my left hand to do a proper double stroke. My right hand is mostly fine, all I need is to do a bit of practice to speed it up, but my left hand is crap at it and I'm having trouble getting my technique right for that hand.

I'd appreciate any advice or exercises I can do to strengthen my left hand doubles before my next lesson in a week or so.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Well, without seeing what you're doing, I'm going to make an assumption (only because I've seen this so many times in my career): You're probably not putting in the time to slow down and really break it down and train your muscles properly.

Your strong hand is always going to get whatever it is you're doing quicker and will always do it better than the weak hand. The solution here is to spend time on the weak side. In most instances do a 3-to-1 ratio where the weak hand works three times as much as your strong hand. [side note: Gene Krupa used to make his weak hand do everything, so if he was right handed, his left hand would open doors, grab items off of shelves, etc.,...I did this and it works wonders too]

Drumming, like anything, requires putting the time in. I remember being a kid, and being part of a drum corps, how much time we spent on proper hand technique, with the whole line playing very simple exercises slowly for hours on end before getting into the music we were playing for the show. When I stopped marching, I noticed I was still putting in about two hours a day just working on hand technique on a pad nice and slow, making sure my hands weren't doing anything wrong. I could spend entire Saturday mornings watching tv working out on a pad.

So I say, really break down what you're doing and go super slow as you train your muscles to do it properly. It definitely doesn't happen overnight. Shut off the computer and your phone and just concentrate on your playing ;)
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Basic & basic. Well.. You'll be working on and improving those the rest of your life.

Plenty of sloppy doubles with weak second strokes to be seen all over, too.

A video would be nice. If there's an issue it will be obvious if we get to see.

If you play matched, the idea is to use the strong hand to inform and teach the weak.

The ratio thing gets true, not only from natural causes, but if you think about it, in a basic rock groove, the ride hand is already getting 4 times the work. I don't do much "TV-practice" anymore, but if I do it's left hand and foot.
 

Sebenza

Member
One thing that worked for me was playing hand to hand doubles at slower tempos with the last double on the beat instead of the first. So when you play 8th notes, instead of RR LL RR LL , play RL LR RL LR and try to ever so slightly accent the quarter notes (the second note of the double).
 

PlayTheSong

Senior Member
I've found triplet double stroke rolls useful for rewiring my brain and enabling my weak hand a bit.

R r l L r r L l r R l l R r l L r r L l r R l l

- and then the same pattern starting with the left.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
I agree on a video but I am willing to bet your playing too fast.

As with most my right had is stronger than my left. But I constantly work on my left and don't play above it's ability.

try this. Can you set a metronome at lets say 60 BPM and do double strokes physically hitting each note? It is going to feel slow but I am betting you can.

Now, Every day, spend 20 minutes a day on this increasing the BPM by 1 every other day.... It is going to feel painfully slow at the beginning (start slower than 60 if it's still hard) Work on keeping even pace between the strokes and the same velocity.

once you get to a day where it's tough to increase the speed maybe you need a few days... You can push so it burns a bit, but don't get sloppy.

also try it on different surfaces.. I have a Prologix blue lightning practice pad which is a heck fo a workout. It has low rebound like a floor tom.. When I go to the kit doubles feel great.

1 BPM every second day for a year would be at 200 BPM.. That is a bit too ambitious and you will most likely stall once you get over 150, but this will get your doubles sounding clean and tight and faster.

Make sure your fingers are not leaving the sticks, keep the pinky's in. I am thinking back to when I was learning, and even the odd time now when I break a plateau. It feels weird, wrong and difficult, I keep practicing and practicing, then one day it just clicks.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
I've found triplet double stroke rolls useful for rewiring my brain and enabling my weak hand a bit.

R r l L r r L l r R l l R r l L r r L l r R l l

- and then the same pattern starting with the left.
I have done this as well.

a few others would be starting on the left

LLRRLLRRLLRR

inverted

RLLRRLLRRLLRRLLRRLLR

inverted starting with left

LRRLLRRLLRRLLRRLLRRL

groups of three (start with left also)
rrrlllrrrlllrrrlllrrrlllrrrlll (proof you are not bouncing the sticks :p)

groups of 4 (start with left also)

rrrrllllrrrrllllrrrrllll


You need to dedicate the time though. I am willing to be you don't spend 30-45 minutes a day on a pad. It will make all the difference.

if you have even more time or get good at all that don't for get diddles

paradiddle,inverted diddle, double paradiddle, paradiddlediddle etc..

The paradiddlediddle helped me with my left hand doing this pattern

RlrrllRlrrllRlrr LrllrrLrllrrLrll
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I agree with the advice here. Slow it down and work on making the double strokes sound as even as single strokes. You can't just rely on rebound for the second stroke on each hand. Some teach that you should actively try to accent the second stroke on each hand, and if you can do that, you will have a very smooth-sounding roll. Whatever issues you're having with your weak hand will get plenty of attention if you do this.
 

81MC

Member
Try ghosting the first note and accenting the second. I found I HAD to slow the tempo down just to be able to focus on keeping that pattern, and it reinforces strengthening the 2nd note which often sounds weaker.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
What Bo and Larry said.

Start over. Relearn your doubles starting at 40 BPM. Make it sound PERFECT before upping the tempo. Slow practice is what your brain absolutely requires when you are attempting to master anything. Slow is fast, meaning slow practice gets way better results, much quicker than fast, sloppier playing.
 

JohnW

Silver Member
I was going to delete my post, since there are too many variables to give a 'one shot fixes all' diagnosis. But since I started thought, 'what the heck?!?' In general, you should get a teacher, but here are some ideas...


'Back in the day' Doubles were considered to be the drummers 'long tone', since the sustain of a snare was so short. And because it's meant to be heard as uniform or monotone, it clearly shows imperfections in your control. Telltale signs of a weak or uneven roll can be a heavy lead hand a weak 2nd stroke in an individual hand, a crushed or rushed 2nd stroke at a particular tempo or maybe it lags. We all have 'blind spots' to varying degrees. Sometimes it's minor and sometimes it's like an annoying verbal tic. These blind spots can be tempos and or dynamic levels on a particular surface with particular sticks before or after a phrase, where part of the doubles are uneven.

Some things to consider:

Make sure your sticks aren't warped. Roll them on a flat surface.

Make sure they're pitched the same. You can tap the shoulder on the side of your head and they shouldn't be more than a quarter step apart.

Make sure they weigh and feel the same. Nowadays major brands match sticks a lot more consistently, but still check.

If you're playing on a pad, make sure it sounds the same everywhere you tap on it. For instance, part of the pad could be over a table leg or glue could be coming off of it making it sound different in different areas.

Bring your left hand up to meet your right hand- don't bring your right hand down. If it means slowing down a little, do it.

In general, bring everything down to half the volume you play at. Then half again. Sometimes you have to practice full, loud strokes, but not all the time.

Try switching between rolls in single and double time.

Try playing it with a triplet (or sextuplet feel): rr ll rr / ll rr ll/. (Just noticed other players mentioned this).

Try other measured roll rudiments ( 6, 7, 9, 11, etc.) and work rolls into phrases.

Try it with brushes, just flicking the tips with wrists to tap the drum head.

Try it on a pillow- not to muscle it into the fabric, but to pull it out after each stroke, only hearing a tap.

Try it as a breakdown: open-close-open (slow to fast to slow). One minute slowly accelerate to your fastest tempo. Hold it for a 5-10 seconds, then decelerate to your starting tempo over the course of a minute.

Try part of the breakdown: start near your top speed accelerate to the top, hold it for 10-20 seconds and the slowly decelerate, maybe 3 or 4 times more slowly than you sped up.

Try a breakdown where you start slowly at ppp, your top speed is FF and then bring it down to ppp.

Start rolls on a single tap so you play RL LR RL LR LR LR LR RL, etc. (beyondbetrayal mentioned this as well).

Using a metronome at a comfortable tempo, switch between one or two bars of Singles, Doubles and unaccented Paradiddles.
 
Last edited:

RaxCity

Senior Member
Thanks everyone for the replies, I have read them all and I appreciate the advice and ideas you guys have shared. I guess the main things I need to do to get my doubles right is to slow it right down and practice it until I get it right. I practiced them for about 20 minutes today and I am seeing some improvement! I will definitely try all of your suggestions when I get better and I get some free time.

Again, thanks for all the suggestions, it is much appreciated :)
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I'd work on quadruple and triple stroke rolls, then doubles come much easier. You want to use stick rebound but you don't want the secondary or tertiary notes to be less-so keep the strokes even.
 

JohnW

Silver Member
Irish Spring. The best exercise for doubles.
F0NZ

As was posted earlier, start slow and work on Irish Spring https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lRpU8zAP0U
I have Bill's 'Stick Technique' book but for some reason never did the 'Irish Spring' exercises, so I just broke it out. You're right- It is an excellent exercise and really gets the blood going! My new pet exercise. I can get it to 190 right now without tension, so I've got some work ahead of me...
 
Last edited:

BillBachman

Gold Member
I have Bill's 'Stick Technique' book but for some reason never did the 'Irish Spring' exercises, so I just broke it out. You're right- It is an excellent exercise and really gets the blood going! My new pet exercise. I can get it to 190 right now without tension, so I've got some work ahead of me...
Thanks for the kind words! Irish spring works primarily the slower tempo's technique for doubles, then there's the next faster technique with the second stroke in the "alley-oop" (wrist/finger combination) becomes more of a downstroke, and finally the third where the forearm pumps to relieve the wrists. Double stroke rolls take a lot of time to master! (And yet is it ever really "mastered?")
 

feldiefeld

Senior Member
Everything that Bill Bachman says is correct..... it takes a really long time to get this stuff, but the "alley-oop" notion and the forearms movements will help immensely. I like Bill's book a lot (thanks Bill), and I also have seen a great video from Weck's Carl Fischer DVD about technique that explains the "alley-ooo" idea.

If you work on your doubles the way Weckl explains it in that video, you'll be on your way. It really works.

Check it out here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJD-L-tyvyE
 
Top