BASICS

The Tap Nine

Embellishing Backbeats With a Modified 9-Stroke Roll

by Rich Redmond

The traditional nine-stroke roll consists of four alternating double strokes followed by a single stroke. It can be played open (clearly articulated) or closed (buzzed). This is a popular rudiment in marching and concert percussion idioms, and I’ve found a practical way to apply it to the drumset.

The world dances, sings, and claps along to music largely because of the drummer’s backbeat. By beginning and ending the nine-stroke roll with a single stroke, you can embellish your backbeats. I call this variation a “tap nine.”

Play the tap nine after backbeats to add length to the groove or glue phrases together. You can also apply it to the hi-hat to create feels that work well in funk, fusion, techno, dance, or rock. Adding the tap nine to accent patterns on the snare with common bass drum patterns creates grooves that straddle the line between traditional marches and New Orleans funk. Crafty drummers can apply these in singer-songwriter or commercial studio situations. I use this figure often to set up a Motown phrase on beat 3 or a classic-rock fill on beat 4.

Practice the exercises below to help incorporate the tap nine into your playing in a musical way.

The Tap Nine

The Tap Nine

The Tap Nine

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.