The six-stroke roll is one of a handful of popular rudiments commonly applied to the drum set. Let’s explore some of the ways we can orchestrate it.
Here is the rhythm for the six-stroke roll (without accents) that we will experiment with. The sticking is R LL RR L. (I will be demonstrating these starting with my right hand, but also try these starting with your left.)
Now move the first and last notes to the toms while keeping the middle doubles on the snare. This makes a cool fill.
You can also do the same thing with the crash cymbal and kick drum on the first and last notes.
And let’s move around the toms.
The most commonly used application of this rudiment is as a fill commonly heard in Motown songs. Move the first note to a tom and add two more quarter notes.
And here is one of my favorite ways to apply it; playing it as a straight 16th note triplet beat between the hi-hat and ride cymbals.
All of these variations of the six stroke roll are a good example of creative applications of the rudiments. Give them a shot and have fun coming up with your own.