Strictly Technique


Exercises for Control

by Bill Bachman

In this lesson we’re going to work on a fun and challenging hybrid rudiment that does wonders for developing finger control. In the exercises, the right hand plays one note, the left plays two notes, and then the right plays three more notes. The sticking reverses before repeating the entire phrase.Playing the triple strokes with equal velocity can be challenging, but the biggest hurdle is going from the triple stroke almost immediately into a double stroke when the sticking alternates. The one- and three-note groupings are accented, while the double strokes should be played as low taps. Here’s the rudiment.

Exercises For Control 1

The first note should be played as a free stroke with a full rebound to prepare for the accent that follows on the triple stroke. The triple strokes should be played as two free strokes followed by a downstroke. The last stroke of the three-note grouping should be a downstroke because of the low diddles that follow. Be sure to practice these exercises very slowly at first so you can focus on the accuracy of the stick heights and stroke types. Here is the pattern with the stroke types labeled
(F = full, D = down, T = tap, U = up).

Exercises For Control 2

Now we’ll break up this rudiment and put it into an exercise. The exercise may not look like much, but it can be challenging to play at even a medium tempo. The first three bars contain the same pattern, but the lead hand alternates. The fourth bar serves as a turnaround. After those four bars, repeat the exercise with the opposite sticking until you’ve cycled back to the beginning.

Try to play all three beats of the triple stroke at the same volume (incorporate the fingers as the tempo increases), and use a low alley-oop (“drop/catch”) wrist/finger combination for the low diddles. Make sure that the isolated accents are played as loose free strokes (i.e. full strokes). I recommend starting this exercise slowly (40–50 bpm) so that you can pay careful attention to each stroke type. As you increase the speed, use the arms to initiate the double beat to give the hands a little assistance. Here’s the exercise with the stroke types labeled. Enjoy!

Exercises For Control 3

Bill Bachman is an international drum clinician, the author of Stick Technique (Modern Drummer Publications), and the founder of For more information, including how to sign up for online lessons, visit