One handed rolls look impressive. Having such an abundance of speed in one single hand can make any musicians envious, but the fact is, the technique itself is fairly easy. That is, if you are willing to practice hard.
If you are willing to practice hard, then let’s get right in to it!
The first is a practice pad. Practice pads are much more forgiving than actual drums, and when learning a technique such as the one handed drum roll they are the best place to begin.
Next up you will need a single drum stick. This one is pretty obvious; we aren’t playing the bongos. Lastly, you will need a metronome. The metronome is extremely important in helping you to develop your rhythm.
You may not think it, but every single drumming technique involves rhythm. Drums themselves are the key rhythmic center of a band, so every single technique you learn should be accompanied by a metronome to help keep your timing as perfect as possible.
That being said, don’t start out on a ridiculous tempo either; it would be better to play with absolutely no metronome at all than to begin at an unattainable tempo. It will do far more harm than good.
With all your tools at hand, it’s time to learn the technique. Perform a single stroke with your main hand. When the head of your drum stick strikes the pad, as it bounces up use your three back fingers (middle finger, ring finger, and pinky finger) to bounce the stick against your palm. This will cause the head of the stick to bounce back towards your drum pad.
Once you are able to perform a double stroke by using this technique, try keeping a steady, fluid five stroke rhythm. When performing the back finger bounce, try to use as little wrist as possible.
Unlike most drumming techniques, the one handed roll will only be hindered by use of the wrist as it slows down your stroke and interrupts the bounce created by your three fingers. The goal of the roll is to keep a fluid and consistent bounce.
Once you are able to keep a consistent bounce, you are in the home stretch of learning the single handed drum roll. The final step consists of practice. While this may seem like common sense, many musicians believe that once they learn a technique, they have already mastered it and have no further need to practice it. This is a huge mistake!
Muscle memory is the key to all techniques, and not practicing stops muscle memory from ever taking place. This means when you play your unpracticed single handed roll, it is as foreign to your hand as it was when you first began.
You want to build good habits and great form through practice so that they may transfer to your jamming and regular playing. If you don’t, you will never truly master the one handed drum roll. Just remember; have fun with it. Set aside your practice block every day and stick to it. Good luck!
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