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By Tiger Bill Meligari

Welcome to the fourth and final installment in our series 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, who was capable of maintaining single strokes at speeds of up to about 950 beats per minute (bpm).

If you missed any of the prior three lessons, please practice them first before working on this.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Video Lesson
In Part 3, we practiced each hand separately. Now we’ll put both hands together. If you worked regularly on the prior six exercises, you should find these final two exercises to be relatively easy to play. The goal of this lesson is to maintain a precise accented single-stroke roll, which was one of the trademarks of the great Buddy Rich.


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First, practice each of the two exercises as written and shown in the video demonstration, and then reverse the sticking and practice starting with the left hand.

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Clean, Equal Speed is What We Need!
If you worked on last month’s lesson correctly, both of your hands should be just about equal in speed. This will allow you to play a clean, effortless accented single-stroke roll when you put both hands together. Regardless of how much you improve, you should continue to keep a daily log and keep raising the bar on your speed and endurance.

Your ultimate goal should be to be able to play any pattern, not just a single-stroke roll, at top speed with maximum power and precision and with as much endurance as you want. When you aren’t limited by your chops you’ll find your creativity will greatly increase, as will your musicality. Drummers who don’t have to worry about their chops while playing can fully concentrate on making music and enhancing what their band members are playing.

Keep Comparing Your Speed to Buddy’s
If you regularly use the formula I gave you to compare your speed to Buddy’s, it will serve as the inspiration for you to continue to improve your chops. Here’s a quick refresher: Multiply your selected metronome tempo — let’s use 167 bpm, for example — by the number of strokes you will be playing between each metronome click — let’s use six — and that equals your total beats per minute. In this example, 167 x 6 = 1,002 bpm.

Even if you eventually reach and surpass Buddy’s speed, there’s no reason to stop there! I truly believe that there is no end to the speed, power, precision, and endurance you can generate with regular practice and with the proper application of Tension Free Drumming concepts. So, you should constantly be creating new goals for yourself during your practice sessions.

I hope you had fun chasing after Buddy’s speed during this series.

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments below.

Until next time: Have fun and stay loose!

Tiger Bill Meligari

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