Buzz Roll Exercises For Drums

How To Play Buzz Roll Exercises

What is a buzz roll

A drum is a pretty short, articulate instrument. When you strike a snare drum, for instance, the sound doesn’t last very long.

So when we want to create a long sustained sound we play what is called a “roll.” There are three basic rolls you need to master:

  1. Single Stroke Roll – This is playing very fast alternating single strokes to create sustain. This is exactly what we worked on in the previous lesson on rebound stroke. This type of roll works well on larger drums or on cymbals.
  2. Buzz Roll – Sometimes called “multiple bounce roll, pressed roll, or closed roll. This is the technique we will learn in this lesson. Each stick is pressed into the head so it bounces many times. Alternating hands creates a continuous sound.
  3. Double Stroke Roll – Sometimes called an “open” or “rudimental” roll. We will begin learning this technique in the next lesson on Double Strokes. This technique requires playing two precise notes on each hand very fast.

All three of these rolls are very valuable and necessary in different musical situations. Mastering all three of them will put you that much closer to true drumming mastery!

(Note: There is one additional type of roll we will learn as part of more advanced rudiments call the “Triple Stroke Roll.” I consider this a more specialty rudiment and do not categorize it along with the other three.

Preliminary Stroke Number Eight: Buzz Roll Exercises


The basic concept of the buzz stroke is similar to rebound stroke covered in the previous lesson, except we are now going press stick into the head causing it to bounce many times very rapidly. If we press too hard it will choke the stick and it will stop bouncing immediately.

If you do not press the stick hard enough it will only bounce 2 or three times similar to the “dribbling” exercise we did previously. 

The key to a great buzz roll is to apply the right amount of pressure to get the stick past the slow open bounces and maximize more rapidly and close together bounces creating a wash of continuous sound as in buzz illustration below. Practice each hand one at a time and create the sound as in the picture below.

Learn Drumming Buzz Roll Exercises visual representation

Buzz Roll Build-up

Important: is this next exercise, only play one buzz stroke per hand per written note. Make the stroke last long and connect to the next hand’s stroke.

Learn Drumming Buzz Roll Exercises build up notation

Skeletal Pattern of Buzz Rolls

Learn Drumming Buzz Roll Exercises skeletal


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