Rock Perspectives

A Practical Application of the 5 Stroke Roll

by David Garibaldi

The possibilities offered to us by the 5 stroke roll are limitless.
In this article, we’ll look at a few possible ideas for applying the 5 stroke roll in today’s contemporary music.Traditionally, the 5 stroke roll sticking is:rock-perspectives-1 5 stroke rollLet’s put this sticking together in consecutive sixteenth notes. Notice that the right hand single stroke you begin with on the first beat of the first bar, comes back to its original starting point after 20 beats, or 5 bars of 4/4 time.

rock-perspectives-2 5 stroke roll

Begin working this slowly and count aloud (1 e an a 2 e an a 3 e an a 4 e an a) until you can hear the single accent moving through the sixteenth notes. When you are comfortable with this, practice sticking pattern B in the same manner. The sequence of accents will be the same with the only difference being the sticking. When this is comfortable, go through the A and B sticking playing the right hand on the hi-hat and the left hand on the snare drum. We’ve now moved from one sound source to two sound sources. Next, go through the A and B sticking again (with two sound sources) and add quarter notes with both feet.

rock-perspectives-3 5 stroke roll

Now go through the A and B patterns once again, this time alternating your feet:

rock-perspectives-4 5 stroke roll

For great hand/foot coordination, try this “reggae” that utilizes a 5 note combination. Place your left stick across the rim. Your left foot plays the hi-hat while the right hand plays either hi-hat or swish cymbal. Don’t forget the bass drum on 2 and 4. Go slowly, counting aloud to develop ease of execution.

rock-perspectives-5 5 stroke roll


This pattern can now be done in the following ways:
1) As a 5 bar repeating phrase within a standard 8 bar phrase.
2) The first four bars as a 4 bar repeating phrase.
3) The first two bars as a repeating phrase.
4) The second two bars as a repeating phrase.
When playing methods 3 or 4, omit the sixteenth note that falls on 2 and 4 so that the bass drum is heard by itself when the pattern is played. See the example:
rock-perspectives-6 5 stroke roll

If you have the patience to work this material out, you’ll have many doors opened to you in terms of musical perception and understanding. Much is presently available to us if we simply think through the things we’re taught and apply them to our everyday situations.