Text, Music, And Video By Tiger Bill Meligari
There is no shortage of drummers today who can play a fast single-stroke roll; however, not so many of them are capable of easily placing accents, at will, within that roll. And because that just so happens to be something that Buddy Rich was especially good at, I’ve based the five exercises in this lesson on the type of accented triplet patterns that Buddy used to such great effect.
Watch my first demonstration on the video. You’ll hear two distinct sounds between the accented notes (loud) and the unaccented notes (soft). To accomplish this, I’m using a technique called the Level System in which accents are thrown from a higher stick level than unaccented strokes. Once you develop this system of accenting at slow tempos, the next step is to gradually increase your speed until you start to feel tension creep in. Take a break, shake out your wrists and arms, and repeat the exercise again. With regular practice, you will be able to play longer and faster each time before tension develops.
Here are the steps to take to perfect this lesson:
- Use a practice pad. Follow the written repeat signs and practice each of the five 4-bar phrases separately until you become comfortable with each one. You’ll notice that these exercises all start with a right-hand lead, but you should practice reversing the sticking to start with a left-hand lead as well. This will help you develop speed and endurance in both hands at an equal pace.
- Disregard the written repeat signs and practice playing the five 4-bar patterns straight through before repeating them again. Write down a metronome time in your workout notebook at a tempo where the exercises feel comfortable for you to play. Then, attempt to raise that tempo a click or two at each practice session until you’ve reached your first goal. I suggest setting 208 bpm as your initial goal on the practice pad before moving on to step 3, which takes these drills to the drum set.
- Play each accented note on a tom (any of your toms) and each unaccented note on your snare drum. There is only one “must” and that is to avoid playing any crossovers. Don’t create any tom patterns that force you to cross one hand over the other. The keyword here is to be creative when applying these exercises to the drum set. That is why I have chosen not to write the tom patterns for you. I want you to use my accented patterns as the basis but be creative as you spread them around the drum set. Note: Add a foot pattern when playing this on the drum set. These exercises are written in 4/4 time so I suggest playing your bass drum on all four quarter-notes and the hi-hat on 2 and 4.
- As in the previous step, you will be playing the accented notes on any tom and the unaccented notes on your snare. But now, I want you to purposely create tom patterns that force you to use crossovers. Crossovers were a huge part of Buddy’s bag of tricks and you will go a long way if you learn to add it to your own bag. Crossovers not only look great for showmanship but they can also produce some incredible sounds that are impossible to duplicate without using crossovers. Note: Add a foot pattern as shown in step 3.
If you have any questions on this lesson, please leave a comment for me below.
Coming in Part 2, the conclusion of this lesson, we’ll take these same five accented triplet patterns to the next level.
Until next time: Have fun and stay loose!
Tiger Bill Meligari