How To Play A Gladstone-Style Triple-Stroke Roll

This month we’re learning to work another of my favorite rudiments, the triple-stroke roll, for maximum speed and control.

Although there are various techniques you can use to play the triple-stroke roll (RRRLLLRRRLLL), I prefer a combination of wrist and fingers using an advanced Billy Gladstone method. I use a downward wrist motion to produce the first right-hand stroke and a finger technique for the next stroke, then another finger in combination with an upward wrist motion to bring me back to my starting position. Repeat this same pattern on the left hand. This allows me to effortlessly execute the triple-stroke roll both with and without accents (as it appears on the official list of PAS Rudiments).

Video Demo
When practicing, be sure to follow my wrist-finger-finger/wrist suggestions and work it two ways. First, play each note at the same volume level and then accent the first note of each of the three strokes using the wrist stroke to make the accent.

Practice Key
W = Wrist Stroke
F = Finger Stroke
R= Right Hand
L = Left Hand
SD = Snare Drum

Practice each exercise with and without an accent on each wrist stroke.

Getting Up To Speed!
When you practice the triple-stroke roll make sure that each stick sounds the same (except when accenting) and play all strokes as evenly as possible. Ideally, it should sound like you are playing the entire rudiment with one hand. Try to get it up to speed, because next month I’ll give you some ideas for applying the triple-stroke roll to the drum set.

Until then, stay loose!

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