The snare drum roll is created by playing alternating strokes R L R L etc, and letting the stick buzz on the drum head while you do this.
In order to play a buzz you have to control the stick so that it stays on the drum head with just enough pressure. If there is too much pressure the buzz will be too short or nonexistent and if there isn’t enough pressure applied the buzz will be too open sounding.
In this video I’ll talk about how to buzz your sticks and we’ll go through this exercise together.
The Quarter Note Buzz Roll for Snare Drum
Snare Drum Buzz Roll Exercise 1
- The above exercise should be practiced with a metronome at the marked tempo. It’s not an exercise in fast playing, but an exercise to get your sticks to buzz for the right amount of time.
- Don’t lift your stick off of the drum until just before you play the next note with that stick
- Repeat each exercise several times before moving on to the next one
- Play this every day so that you will develop a nice smooth buzz roll that will eventually sound like paper being torn.
Snare Drum Buzz Roll Exercise 2:
Practice the following exercises with a metronome at first, but then try them while playing along to music that has a steady beat.
- Set your metronome to Quarter Note= 80
- Don’t play these exercises very fast
- Listen to the buzz of each stick and try to make each buzz sound the same
- When you are buzzing keep your sticks on the drum until you are just about to play the next note
- Play each line 4 times before moving on to the next one
Watch me demonstrate in the video lesson before trying this exercise on your own:
Why are the Rolls Numbered?
Different length rolls are named for the number of strokes that are used to play them. Each buzz stroke is worth 2 and each non buzzed note is worth 1. Therefore if a roll has BUZZ BUZZ TAP it would be a 2+2+1=5 stroke roll. Likewise a BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ TAP is 2+2+2+1=7 stroke roll and so on.
Snare Drum Buzz Roll Exercise 3:
Here are some Eighth Note exercises. These roll exercises will now sound like buzz rolls
- Set the metronome at Quarter Note = 100
- Keep your sticks on the drum until just before they play
- Overlap your buzzes
- RRRRRRRRRR RRRRRRRRRR
- LLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLL
- Don’t play too fast. Work on getting your buzzes to be as long as possible
- Make sure to continue playing the rhythms but add buzzes to the notes when you see the Z on the note stem
Watch me demonstrate these snare drum buzz rolls in the following video lesson