This roll, like most, can be found in the world famous drum instruction book, Stick Control (for the Snare Drummer) by George Lawrence Stone. I give full credit to my first drum instructor, Scott Moreno, for shedding light on how easily this roll can be used when sitting behind a full kit. Take a look and we'll go on... (for non-drummers: R=right hand / L=left hand)
It is a fairly easy sticking pattern. What makes it one of my favorites though is that by simply starting off with your right hand for one eighth note, it creates a forward motion in the natural pulse of the measure. Much more interesting than RRLLRRLL. Try accenting beat 1 & 3 and you will immediately hear what I am talking about. Practice it without accents at first - nice and smooth at around 80 BPM - and internalize this feeling. Keep in mind though that this particular pattern is fairly obsolete at slower tempos unless you are doing some tasty brush work or the sticking is in the groove you are doing. Once you start moving up the metronome ladder, you will really begin feeling how the sticking pattern works for speed and pulse. Below is a sixteenth note version of the sticking pattern...
I would say that once you get to playing the 16th note version above at around 140 BPM, you will then notice your wrists doing less work than needed because of the bounce back from the snare drum propelling the stick, e.g., diddling.
You've come this far so how do you apply it now?
It is a great train beat! In fact, it is my go-to beat when playing a straight eighth-note feel in a boogie woogie song. Try it out! Since the sticking pattern naturally has a forward momentum built into it, I feel it is perfect for recreating the sound of an old train chugging along. All you need to do is feather the bass drum on all four beats of the bar, keep time with your other foot on the hi-hats on 2 & 4 (I prefer a light splash), and then start the beat out with brushes on the snare. Try just accenting 2 & 4 for a rockin' feel or during a shout chorus. For a more traditional boogie woogie/swing feel, accent 1-2-3-4 or none at all. And remember, these are just suggestions based off of how I use them in real musical settings. Their are no rules. Liberating, eh?
This roll can also be used for lighting fast fills in a pinch especially in a jazz setting. Personally, I use this sticking pattern in the tempos around 180-220 BPM when I need the speed of the 16th note but only want to use the energy required of the bounce of diddle. It is great between the ride cymbal and snare drum while comping at faster speeds as well.
The sky really is the limit with this sticking pattern but here is one last idea to play with. Try accenting beats 1-2-3-4 on the rack tom with all other notes staying on the snare drum. It requires a sweeping-away motion of the arm that is a little awkward at first. Once you get the hang of this, I'm fairly confident that you will begin naturally coming up with your own uses of the roll between drums and cymbals.
Remember to practice slow with a metronome and count out loud. Hope you enjoy!
I just arrived in Brussels, Belgium for a quick three week tour with Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. After two flights totaling about 11 hours of flight time - I had definitely listened to quite a bit of music. I usually take this time to study what the musicians were doing or even make notes for charts that I would like to play in the future. One tune that came up and has always tickled my ears since I first heard it in my early teens - is the song, "The Monster" by Buddy Rich on the Krupa and Rich album. This particular tune, recorded in 1956, features Buddy Rich (drums), Thad Jones (trumpet), Joe Newman (trumpet), Ben Webster (tenor sax), Frank Wess (tenor sax), Oscar Peterson (piano), Freddie Green (guitar), and Ray Brown (upright bass). The interplay at the beginning between Oscar Peterson and Buddy Rich is absolutely incredible especially considering the blistering tempo that hovers around 300bpm. The song then opens into a platform for a saxophone battle followed by a trumpet battle. What comes of this is aural magic! One thing that always strikes me about Buddy's playing - and is especially evident in this song - is how articulate his single stroke rolls are. "The Monster" is a real gem that stands the test of time in the history of Swing and Jazz. Enjoy!