This excerpt is taken from the complete article that appears in the October 2015 issue,
which is available here.

Basics

Necessary Ruffness

Make Your Grooves Percolate With Subtle Doubles

by Rich Redmond

The ruff is an essential rudiment that’s directly related to the double-stroke roll or buzz roll. The ruff can be played open, with both notes clearly articulated, or closed, which utilizes a short buzz stroke before the primary note. Both techniques allow you to color the music by adding more subdivision, aka percolation, to the groove or fill.

Start by playing a simple beat and sprinkling in a few ruffs in strategic parts of the bar. By adding bass drum variations and open hi-hat notes, you can create a unique dialogue among the limbs.

The ruff can also be executed as part of a sextuplet (16th-note triplet) subdivision. That gives you yet another option for “ruffing up” any groove. I’m a huge fan of having a massive cracking backbeat with simmering ruffs and drags placed in delightful spots between the accents. It makes for a groove that has swagger, earthiness, and forward motion. Have fun!

For transcriptions of the beats demonstrated in the video below, check out the complete article in the October 2015 issue, which is available here.

Learn more about the October Issue of Modern Drummer magazine