Tag Archives: Rudiments

Stick Control Double-Stroke Roll Exercise

In the same vein as an earlier single-stroke roll exercise, we’re going to use George L. Stone’s Stick Control to help develop our doubles. First, we want to convert the exercises from page 5 of Stick Control into triplets. For example exercise 5 (paradiddles) will looks like this:

Para - Full Score

We then add 2 bars of 16th note double-stroke rolls. Apply this method to all of page 5:  

Stick Control Doubles Exercise - Full Score 2


After you’ve mastered page 5, move onto pages 6, 7, 8 and beyond.

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The 4 Minute Warm-Up

Over the last few months I’ve been posting a series of exercises intended to target specific areas for your warm-up. We’ve had the Permutating Flam Paradiddle and Flam Triplet exercises and I’ve now added a third Six-Stroke Roll exercise in both singles and doubles.

Below is a consolidation of all three, to be played continuously. In the (roughly) 4 minutes it’ll take to complete the exercise, you’ll have warmed-up your single-strokes, double-strokes, paradiddles, flams and six-stroke rolls.

N.B. You may need to adjust the tempo slightly between pages.


The 4 Minute Warm-Up - Full Score

2The 4 Minute Warm-Up - Full Score

3The 4 Minute Warm-Up - Full Score

4The 4 Minute Warm-Up - Full Score



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The ‘Tain’ Phrase – with Video

For musicians nowadays, the internet has become an indispensable educational tool and the opportunity to see as well as hear so many great players can provide plenty of inspiration for study. On a recent journey into the depths of YouTube I was drawn to the playing of the great Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts and especially his performances with Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis & Kenny Garrett. Playing in videos such as the one below sees Watts in characteristically adventurous mood:

Below is a phrase that, although not a direct transcription of his playing, I think captures a characteristic of the ‘Tain’ phrasing. It’s a variation of the triplet paradiddle-diddle played as a 3 beat phrase with rolling triplets that move over the bar line.
  • Firstly, work through the phrase slowly, until it feels comfortable in your hands. Try and ‘ghost’ the snare and kick, with the the ride cymbal as the most prominent voice.
  • Next, play the phrase as a 4 bar loop between the ride cymbal and snare drum and repeat.
  • Now work through the different orchestrations of the phrase: Numbers 1 through 5.
The 'Tain' Phrase1 The 'Tain' Phrase2

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Developing the ‘Blushda’

Here’s a rudiment I stumbled on a few years ago during a lesson with the great Troy Miller. He showed me some interesting ways to apply the Swiss Army Triplet around the kit but I realised the phrase also sounded great if you ‘diddle’ the 2nd note of the triplet (i.e. add a double stroke). This gave the rudiment a fluidity that I hadn’t heard before. For a few weeks I even felt smug that i’d invented my very own rudiment until, unsurprisingly, it turned out the Blushda goes back decades, featuring on many a Tony Williams solo. I do like to think, though, that stumbling across it in this way gave me a (misguided?) sense of ownership.

First play a Swiss Army Triplet (no. 1) then add the diddle on the second triplet (no. 2). I’ve heard other drummers reverse the sticking of the flam (no. 3) but for today we’ll stick to the original sticking. There are plenty of options for orchestrating this phrase around the kit (no. 4). Try and come up with some of your own.

I normally use The Blushda more as a 4 over 3 cross rhythm (no. 5) that lasts two bars. Try that with a slow click and once you’re comfortable, experiment with orchestration (no. 6).

The Blushda variation (no.7) requires some quick hands but sounds great around the kit (no.8) especially with the right hand on the cowbell and the left hand moving around the kit, a la Stanton Moore.

Happy practicing!




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Rudiments: Practical vs Technical

Rudiment’s are important to me. If you’re a regular visitor to these pages, you probably already know that, but it may also surprise you to hear that I don’t use them a huge amount in my playing. As discussed here, just because something’s value isn’t immediately clear, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth developing. Some of the more abstruse rudiments may sound unmusical and technical, but they can also be your best tool for developing technique. There are really two types of rudiments: practical and technical.

Examples of practical rudiments include paradiddles, double paradiddles, swiss army triplets, six stroke rolls or flam taps. These sound melodic the moment you begin orchestrating them; countless lessons have been taught on the value of using these rudiments around the drum set and for good reason.

Technical rudiments, on the other hand, helps us develop our speed, touch and feel, but may not necessarily be useful in a musical context. Mamadadas, drag flams, triplet flamadiddlediddles. These are great practice tools, but working them into your playing will, more often than not, sound contrived or unnatural.

I’ve been working lately on trying to expand my practical rudiment repertoire; the list of rudiments I would feel comfortable using on a gig. For some time, i’ve been curious to see how a ratamacue, a windmill or a reverse flam accent might sound as part of my kit vocabulary. For me, the first step on this path has been to sit down at the kit and experiment. I play around with timing, length and orchestration and see what sticks. It’s really down to preference as to which rudiments you persevere with. I will say though, however long you spend orchestrating a flama flama flam flam, it still won’t end up sounding good.

I’ll post my progress on here as I start to find applications for as many rudiments as possible. My first post will be an exploration of the ‘Blushda’, a version of the swiss army triplet that I find I can use in almost any context. Let me know if there are any rudiments you’d like to see me apply on the kit and i’ll post the results on here.

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