How to Play a 5 Stroke Roll

A five stroke roll is played like this RRLLR or LLRRL. Take a few minutes and watch my video lesson on how to play the 5 stroke roll before you go further into the lesson. Watching it actually played out and hearing the sound might make the following musical notation and exercises easier to understand.

How to Play a 5 Stroke Roll Video Lesson

The five stroke roll looks like this when it’s written down in musical notation:

five stroke roll exercise 1

To figure out how to play it you first must figure out what the base rhythm is. Let’s assume that the tempo of this piece is about 120 to the Quarter note. In this case you would use sixteenth notes as your base rhythm for the roll so when you take away the roll notation and look at the base rhythm you get this.

five stroke roll exercise 2

To play the above base rhythm as a roll you simply bounce the sixteenth notes like this:
five stroke roll exercise 3

And it sounds like this:
five stroke roll exercise 4

Always practice your 5 stroke rolls by alternating your sticking. So you should play RLR then LRL in the pattern above.
The five stroke roll might appear on the front of the beat and when it does you should think of this base rhythm instead.

five stroke roll exercise 5

How to Practice the 5 Stroke Roll

Practice all of your rudiments slowly at first and gradually speed up. Then gradually slow back down. Practicing this way will help you develop better control.

5 Stroke Rolls in a Triplet Pattern

five stroke roll exercise 6

No matter where the 5 stroke roll appears it’s always

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