This lesson discusses some drum kit technique fundamentals such as finger control, rebound and the essential Single Stroke Roll.

It’s interesting after all this time, real flaws in my playing that were preventing me from moving forward were a couple of simple fundamentals. A lack of finger control was keeping me from being relaxed and my single strokes (that were frankly, awful) were preventing me from being comfortable across many areas.

I always thought of single strokes as being relatively basic and as such, I would spend more time on other areas of learning. How wrong I was. I had a lesson with a great teacher in Melbourne and he quickly sought to rectify a problem that was clearly holding me back.

In this lesson, I spend some time talking about how to go about approaching finger control and subsequently single strokes and why I think they’re both so important. For me, I approach finger control by having my thumb facing the ceiling and the first finger as the balance point. The idea is that the remaining fingers act as propulsion, throwing the stick to the drum and letting inertia or rebound bring the stick back on its own. It should feel like bouncing a ball. The thumb really doesn’t move. If you can repeat the action in both hands, you can get a fast single stroke roll as you’re only making the down stroke and the rebound is doing the rest. In time, you can even work on playing the up stroke too making it possible to play on even the deadest of surfaces (floor toms with loose tuning etc).

Single strokes are the most natural rudiment we can play. If you can practice finger control in one hand and really get the feel of playing the one stroke repeatedly, you’ll quickly make the move to playing with both hands. This technique can filter down to your double strokes (basically two single strokes played consecutively) and then the paradiddle, where you can use the finger control to the double in the rudiment faster thus increasing overall speed.

Love to hear your thoughts on this one. Check out the video for more detail on all this!

Enjoy the lesson.


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  1. Hey Adrian, this was a great lesson. I’ve been drumming for over 40 yrs now, and I feel I’m just barely scratching the surface of what it is that I need to learn as far as drumming is concerned. I’m self taught and therefore, I have spent since around 2008 learning how to, and cleaning up many bad habits. I have been having a lot of trouble trying to stay loose while increasing my speeds. I have even purchased (and they have helped amazingly) a pair of the Vic Firth Hinge-Stix. Plus I have two different types of stick grips that help in that area as well. I have many health challenges that hinder my success at increasing my speed. Fibromyalgia/Myofascial Pain/Chronic Fatigue Syndromes, both Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis, Hepatitis C, Chronic Neck, Spine, Low Back, Hips, Knees and Wrists Pain, Delta Level 4 Sleep Deprivation/Chronic Insomnia, and more. However, I do not let any of this get me down, and currently I practice for 3 hrs daily on my hand technique and speed, and then in the afternoon, I practice foot technique for 1 hr or more in the afternoon. Anyway, to make a long story short, I really enjoyed the lessons that I have taken advantage of here on your site/page, and I just wanted to thank you for the great lessons. God Bless, stay loose and happy drumming as Tiger Bill says.

    Cal Talbot

    1. Hey Cal,

      Thanks so much for your comments. Appreciate it very much.
      It’s really cool to know guys like yourself are having a look at the videos. Your dedication to practice is inspiring!
      Please stay in touch. Nice to hear from you.

  2. Hi there,

    Thanks for the lesson – I shall give it a go this weekend.

    I was particularly interested to read Cal’s comment as not only does it look as if he has a Roland kit like me, I struggle with CFS as well – although I don’t put in half (or even a tenth!) of the practice hours! Exhaustion and a variety of pain does make drumming an interesting challenge on occasions. If Adrian is able/willing to pass on my email address to Cal, I’d be more than happy to swap notes directly if that’s of any use.

  3. Hi Adrian, You are awesome! Not only your skills but also importantly your big heart to share valuable info free with anyone who are interested in this great instrument! I played drums in a school rock band when I was in high school and law school later. But I gave it up and worked averagely 18 hours a day as a lawyer for the past 28 years. I have decided to retire early in few months and to enjoy my life. Of course drumming is one of my favorate things to do. Your lessons and videos are amazingly helpful. Thank you!
    Hi Cal, Solute to your passion! Jack

    1. Wow. Thanks so much for your comments. It’s very much appreciated. It’s these kind words that make this site worth doing! Thanks for being on board. Stay in touch. A

  4. Hi.. Appreciate your wonderful instruction on finger control for single stroke Rolls. I am an eighty year old man that played in the marine corps drum and Bugle, marching bands concert band etc. during the Korean War. The marines band members also are trained for combat and guard duty and are subject to much training . I enlisted in 1953 and got out in 1956. I had a very good rudimentary drum instructor during high school years. When I left the marines, I played evenings to supplement my income for thirty years and although it was very difficult I retired from the drumming gigs at the age of 52. The one point That I want to state here is that I never heard of any drummers in the Corps having this finger controlled technology. I’m 80 now and going to try to develope this art. I hope to develope this before I pop off. Working at it while. I. Watch tv. Thankyou so much.

    1. Great to hear from you John. Some amazing stories there.
      It’s always interesting hearing from people about this ‘finger control’ technique. I’m not sure how it’s developed. For me, it’s come from watching drummers like Dave Weckl and Jojo Mayer. I liked the lighter touch it enabled.
      Hope you get it happening! Check in and let me know how you’re doing. Thanks for getting in touch.

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