Jamie Smale: Roll Up, Roll Up Part II


The last in Jamie’s series on measured drum roll.

Read all about it! Welcome to the last of my features on measured drum rolls. Incorporating buzz rolls into grooves can add a lovely layer of sound and is an important addition to any drummer’s bag of tricks.

In all of the grooves, each of the 32nd notes should be played as a buzz. Have a gander at the following grooves.

Examples 1 to 3

In each of the grooves the snare backbeat should be played as a rim shot so that it really penetrates within the texture. Aim for a punchy kick and ensure that the kick placement is precise – co-ordination is key. Practise slowly with a click but try to reach a tempo where the transition from one buzz to the next is not audible; we want a slick sound.

Examples 4 to 6

The next grooves feature a constant quintuplet snare roll. Once again, make sure the kick hits on exactly the right beat and repeat each of the grooves many times until they sit naturally in your hands at various tempos, from very slow to very fast. The rolls should sound softer than the kick and snare, which hold the rhythmic interest within the groove.

Examples 7 to 9

The final grooves incorporate a septuplet roll and, as in the previous three grooves, each quarter beat sees a change of hand (if you start the snare roll with the right hand, the second quarter note beat will start with the left hand and so on). If your weak hand plays the backbeats, make sure there is enough weight in the strokes and ensure that every rim shot has the same volume.

I have enjoyed rolling with you and I look forward to seeing you next time for some Trinity tricks!

Top tips for a consistent attack

  1. Invest some serious practise time in front of a mirror. This will allow you to see if the stick height is the same every stroke.
  1. Once the grooves are sounding great, be sure to record them. That’s the way to see if there is any volume twitching to be done or if there are any glitches in the buzz rolls which need evening out by isolating the snare parts and slowing the tempo down.
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