By Tiger Bill Meligari
Welcome to the second segment of my lesson designed to develop both the speed and endurance of your single stroke roll while letting you compare your speed to that of the legendary Buddy Rich. If you missed the first part of this lesson, please study Part 1 before working on Part 2.
In Part 1, I had you practice each hand separately and, if you have worked on that, you’ll find it much easier to put both hands together now. Play the first exercise (Exercise #3) as shown in the written notation starting with your right hand first. Then, reverse the sticking and practice leading with your left hand. You should practice enough to be just as comfortable leading with either your right hand or your left hand. Begin at a comfortable tempo and increase your speed only after you can play Exercise #3 for at least one full minute without stopping and without any tension in your fingers, wrists, or arms. A good starting point for your metronome tempo when playing with both hands would be the top speed that you reached when practicing the single hand technique from last time.
Both Hands Should be Capable of the Same Level of Speed and Endurance
Keep a daily log of your top speed and note whether or not you can hold the exercise for a full 60 seconds. Once you perfect the first exercise, move on to the second using the same metronome tempo. If you have trouble playing the continuous triplets of Exercise #4, lower the metronome tempo and find one that allows you to play for a full 60-seconds. Practice starting your single-stroke roll with both right and left hand leads. If you are not able to play continuous triplets at the same tempos with either hand, put in additional practice time on your weak side. With enough of the correct practice, your hands will eventually become equal in terms of speed, power, precision, and endurance.
The Formula for Comparing Your Speed to Buddy’s
Set a metronome tempo of half-note equals 158 and try to play Exercise #4. If you can play it smoothly and cleanly without getting tense, then congratulations! Your single-stroke roll speed is equal to that of Buddy Rich’s! If you can’t, don’t feel badly. There’s a reason that Buddy was considered one of the world’s greatest drummers! With the proper kind of practice, though, you should eventually be successful. If you have no problem keeping up with Buddy’s single-stroke speed, then kick your metronome up to 167 and play the continuous triplets again. If you are successful, double congrats! You are capable of playing at speeds of over 1,000 beats per minute… 1,002 to be exact!
Here’s how to figure out the simple formula using Buddy’s top speed as an example: Multiply the metronome tempo of 158 by 6 (which is the number of strokes you will be playing between each metronome click) and that equals the total beats per minute that you will be playing. In this case 158 x 6 = 948 bpm, which happens to be Buddy’s top speed. This has been verified by a computer expert/Buddy Rich fan who measured Buddy’s speed using his recordings.
So there you go! Have fun with it but remember, if you find yourself getting tense when playing at a particular tempo, slow down and work on it until you can play each tempo on the way up the metronome without tension.
Next time we’ll add another one of Buddy’s favorite techniques to our single-stroke roll. Do you have any idea what that might be?
If you think you know, post a comment below and I’ll be sure to get back to you.
Feel free to email questions on this month’s lesson to me at info@TigerBill.com.
Until next time: Have fun and stay loose!