Seven useful rudiments

People always seem to want to know what's the deal with rudiments, what do you use them for, and which ones are the best, coolest, most valuable. So here I'll just shotgun some of my favorites:

Four-stroke ruff
Just a super-useful embellishment. Indispensable when playing brushes. A proper, classically-executed 4SR is three very soft grace notes and a main note, played as tight as you can make them— it should not sound like a rhythm. On the drums we have more freedom with them. You can also do them rock & roll style, and make a 16th note triplet out of them, a la Neil Peart. And you can put them around the drums to make a lick that was very popular in the early 70's.

Six-stroke roll

Either 16th note or sixtuplet form. Hip, and fun to play. Steve Gadd plays them a lot, as does Dave Weckl.

Here's how they are played, and how they are usually written in 16th note pulsation form— a Stewart Copeland-like thing is to play these on the hihat:

Paradiddles — first inversion

It's just a hip rudiment. It's all over this performance, which basically defined modern fusion drumming— just move your right hand to the cymbal or hihat, and add bass drum. You can also mix up the accents between the two single notes. Useful for sambas.


This very old-fashioned rudimental flourish happens to be very good for getting your shuffles together.

Continued after the break:

Page of Ten-stroke rolls

Here's a pretty straightforward page of ten stroke rolls, open, in a variety of rhythms and meters. A ten stroke open roll consists of four doubles and two taps— one at the beginning and one at the end, or both at the end, or both at the beginning. In a few cases there is a third tap, which traditionally would make the thing into an eleven stroke roll— according to Wilcoxon, anyway— but I'm not going to go there; I'm reserving the eleven stroke name for a roll with five doubles and a tap.

If you don't have it already, my page of six stroke rolls is a good companion to this.

Get the pdf

Article in Drum! Magazine now

Judging by this check I just received in the mail, I apparently have an article in the April, 2013 issue of Drum! Magazine— my third. Hopefully that's still in the stores. The piece is my transcription of Vinnie Colaiuta's playing on the guitar solo from Frank Zappa's Keep It Greasey, in 19/16, along with a short analysis and tutorial on how to approach playing in that crazy meter.

My previous Drum! pieces are available on line, too.

QOTD: Dave on practicing

If you come to my house and walk into the room where I'm practicing, you're going to hear me sound like I can't play. That's because I'm working on stuff that I can't do so I can  improve. 

— Chris “Daddy” Dave, Modern Drummer interview, Feb. 2010

Transcription: Aretha Franklin — Chain of Fools

You've probably never heard of the drummer here, Roger Hawkins, but he played on a bunch of huge records, and must have one of the most divergent personal fame : musical exposure ratios ever. The song is Aretha Franklin's Chain of Fools, and Hawkins's playing on it is my idea of a perfect rock performance.

There's a fair amount of repetition, which I've indicated with slashes to make it read a little easier— where those are present, just keep playing the main groove for that section. The snare drum is played strongly throughout, except notes in parenthesis, which are played softly.

Get the pdf

Audio and background on Hawkins after the break:

2013 Europe tour taking shape

This way to Hot Club
Dates for my group's November, 2013 Europe tour— our fourth— are starting to firm up:

Tuesday, November 12
Hot Club de Gand — Ghent, Belgium

Sunday, November 17
Hannut Jazz Festival — Hannut, Belgium

Saturday, November 23
Lokerse Jazzklub — Lokeren, Belgium

Tour personnel will be:
Jean-Paul Estievenart — trumpet
Weber Iago — piano
Olivier Stalon — bass
Todd Bishop — drums

Basic 16th note rhythms

Have I ever told you I like using the easy parts of Syncopation? Here's part 2 of that library piece from the other day, in this case converting the quarter note exercises to 16th notes in 2/4, presented for no other reason than to flesh out that book a little more fully. And I have a few students who can use it right now.

Get the pdf