By Tiger Bill Meligari

Drummers always have fun comparing their chops with those of the legendary Buddy Rich. These exercises are based on a lesson that I originally developed for a drum clinic that has become one of my most popular clinics.

Video Lesson
Over the years I have found that it is more efficient to develop a fast and clean single-stroke roll, like Buddy’s, by practicing each hand separately before attempting to put them together. So that’s what I want you to do in this lesson. Practice Exercise #1 playing only the circled notes with one hand as shown on the video. Practice using your right hand and then your left. Start at a slow tempo, such as half note equals 100 on the metronome, and increase the speed only after you can play the first exercise for at least one full minute without stopping. The goal is to be able to reach at least one minute without feeling tension anywhere in your fingers, wrists, or arms. This will help you build both speed and endurance.

After you are able to play Exercise #1 at a particular tempo for at least one minute, non-stop, then try playing Exercise #2 at the same tempo. If you can’t quite reach the 60 second mark, slow the tempo down a bit and practice until you can. Get a notebook and keep a record of this so you can see your daily progress.


Start Slow and Shoot for Perfection!
Take your time when moving up the metronome tempo and don’t increase your speed until you can play each exercise easily and cleanly for at least 60 seconds non-stop. If you find yourself becoming tense when playing at a particular speed, slow the tempo down a bit and keep practicing.

Next time, we’ll be putting both hands together to execute a complete single-stroke roll. I’ll also give you the formula that will let you know exactly where you stand with the speed of your single stroke roll in comparison to that of the late, great Buddy Rich!

If you have any questions on this lesson, post them in the comments below.

Until next time: Have fun and stay loose!