Applying The 4-Stroke Ruff To The Drum Kit

Applying The 4-Stroke Ruff To The Drum Kit

This month we’re going to delve further into one of Buddy Rich’s favorite licks – the 4-Stroke Ruff. We began developing it in my last lesson and will now spread it around the drum set. The video example that follows will put you on the right track, but after you practice the patterns you see here, experiment and I’m sure you'll come up with some cool 4-Stroke Ruff fills of your own!

Video Lesson
Even though you're moving the 4-Stroke Ruff around the drum set, be sure to maintain the Level System that you learned on last month's lesson. To refresh your memory, follow the written Tap, Up, and Down notations shown here in the written notation. They allow you to get your accenting stick up and ready to play the accent one note before you actually need it, which provides you with a smooth sounding accent regardless of how fast you move around the kit.

Practice Key
STT = Small Tom Tom
SD = Snare Drum
FTT = Floor Tom Tom

T (Tap) = Strokes starts and ends at the low level
U (Up) = Stroke starts at the low level and ends at the high level
D (Down) = Stroke starts at the high level and ends at the low level. This stroke produces and accent

Getting Up To Speed Around The Drum Set!
The trick to maintaining your normal single-drum speed while moving around the drum set is to move as efficiently as possible while remaining tension-free at all times! Check out the video for a demonstration of efficient movement around the kit.

Practice regularly for best results and, until next time, stay loose!

For questions on this month's lesson, you can contact me at and please visit for more details and drills on my effortless approach to drumming.

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