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Triple Stroke Execrices

   So far we've worked on Single Strokes, Double Strokes, and a few other odds and ends. We'll continue this month with some basic Triple Stroke Exercises, working up to Four Stroke Exercises later. These will help you think beyond the simple double stroke and help build both independence and coordination.

The Concept

   Nothing too elaborate: working triple strokes into normal sticking patterns. If you've never done triples before, you'll definately find these a challenge!


    Triples #1

   Let's begin with a simple triple-stroke roll. It's just three strokes with each hand. Start slow, then speed up, drumming as fast as you can for a full minute, then slowing down. Repeat three times. Try to make it sound like a triple-stroke buzz roll!

Triple Stroke Exercise #1

    Triples #2

   Now let's add a single stroke before each triple. There are two exercises on this bar: do each of them separately, working as above: slow-fast-slow, with three reps.

Triple Stroke Exercise #2

    Triples #3

   As you play this, you'll think: this is the same as the one before it! But, it's not. Instead of starting with a single, we're starting with a triple! You should KEEP the feel of this throughout, counting in your head the beats, so you don't slip into exercise #2 by accident.

Triple Stroke Exercise #3

   Now that you understand what we're doing here - shifting the starting beat, you can come up with the other four patterns yourself, shifting the starting note one note to the right.

    Triples #4

   This one expands on the last one a bit, adding two single strokes before the triple. The beauty of this one is it alternates the hand doing the triple for you: you can play this one for days without thinking about it.

Triple Stroke Exercise #4

   As we did with #3, can you figure out how this one can be shifted so that you're changing the phrasing? Are there four or nine other variations?

    Triples #5

   Let's add a couple more singles to the mix. Break up the pattern we've been working on a bit.

Triple Stroke Exercise #5

    Triples #6

   Now we're going to really confuse you by adding some double strokes to the exercises. These two stickings show you how you can mix up these patterns. Can you think of any other variations?

Triple Stroke Exercise #6

    Triples #7

   Here's a variation on #6. This one alternates the sticking so it can go on forever....

Triple Stroke Exercise #7

    Triples #8

   This is exactly the same as #7, but the phrasing is moved forward. The temptation is to play it like it's written until you realize it's the same as the on you just played, then fall into the mental time of #7. Count it out as you play it so you keep the feel of the phrasing throughout.

Triple Stroke Exercise #8

    Triples #9

   This one feels a bit like a paradiddle. It's a good one to re-write for different phrasing. Try it.

Triple Stroke Exercise #9


   Triple Strokes tend to be overlooked in a drummer's self-education. I hope this lesson gave you a chance to see what they can do for you. We'll continue to develop these in future lessons.

   As always, let me know how you've done!

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