BASICS

Six-Stroke Success

Variations on a Classic Roll

by Rich Redmond

The six-stroke roll is easily one of my favorite rudiments. I was hooked on it after hearing the first few bars of the Temptations’ “My Girl.” This popular lick has crept its way into all types of music—from big band to soul, classic rock to fusion, and beyond. Adding more to its credentials, the six-stroke roll can be used in grooves, fills, and solos.
 

For this lesson, we’ll use a six-note grouping that begins with an accented stroke, continues with two sets of unaccented (tapped) double strokes, and closes with another accented stroke. This grouping has a powerful sound and really swings. At first, try playing the rudiment on the snare, and play the accents as rim shots. Also, practice these with a variety of ostinatos on the kick drum.

Halfway through these examples, we’ll place the accents on toms, cymbals, and bass drum, and we’ll mix up the sticking. There’s no end to the possible sound combinations you can create. Drummers have been using the six-stroke roll for decades. Now it’s your turn!

Six-Stroke Success 1

Six-Stroke Success 2

Six-Stroke Success 3

Six-Stroke Success 4
Rich Redmond drums for country star Jason Aldean, is an award-winning clinician, and is an active session drummer in Nashville and Los Angeles. His recent book/DVD, FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids (coauthored with Michael Aubrecht), is available through Modern Drummer Publications.