The snare drum is one of the most used instruments. Not only is it part of every drummer’s kit, it is also used as a sole instrument by marching bands, military bands, and school bands.
In this lesson, we will discuss one of the oldest techniques in snare drumming; the Swiss Army triplet drum rudiment.
Before you dive straight into the lesson, though, it is important that you take a step back and observe your fluency with two rudiments; the single stroke and the double stroke. You should also consider your ability to alternate between hands.
The single stroke is the most basic stroke in all of drumming; one stroke with one hand. If you have trouble keeping a steady roll, you should sit down with a metronome and your drum pad in your lap and practice. It is important that all of your note lengths are perfectly even, and that you have absolutely no difficulty whatsoever when playing a steady rhythm.
You want your rolls to be fluid. If you find your playing is choppy, or that you hesitate between strokes, it is best that you keep practicing until you are perfectly comfortable with each and every stroke.
This is due to hesitation being a key factor in poor execution of the Swiss Army triply drum rudiment. Confidence in your ability is crucial and if you don’t quite have it quite yet, don’t worry; take your time to build it.
Next is the double stroke. This is the second most basic drum rudiment. It simply involves two consecutive strokes with one hand. It is best that you wait until you are fluent in double strokes with both hands before you approach the Swiss Army triplet drum rudiment, as the double stroke is a large part of it.
When you double stroke, you stick should come no more than three or four inches from the drum head. The more distance you have to travel, the longer it takes you to follow up with your second stroke. This means there is more chance of your note values being uneven.
Just like with the single stroke, take your time with your double stroke. Use a metronome, and wait until your confidence and skill are level. You want absolutely no hesitation between strokes when you double stroke, and if you aren’t at that level yet, take your time to get there.
The Swiss Army triplet can be played one of two ways; double stroke to single stroke in a right, right, left pattern, or double stroke to single stroke in a left, left, right pattern.
This depends on your primary hand. Your off hand should perform the double stroke, while your main hand plays the single stroke. Your double stroking hand should follow the double stroke rule of no more than three or four inches height. Your main hand, performing the single stroke, should drop eight to ten inches.
Practice with a metronome. When you feel comfortable, switch your hands, performing the double stroke with your main hand, followed up by the single stroke of your off hand.
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