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 usual way to play a six stroke roll that we will experiment with, but feel free to try it with different stickings and subdivisions.

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.

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 16th note triplets with the doubles between the hi-hat and ride with the snare on 2 and 4.

And also the same with the toms.

Like I mentioned at the beginning, you can also try variations with different stickings. (RRLLRL or RRLLRR for example.) 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.


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