Using Rudiments to Solo

Rudiments have long been the basis for musical ideas on the drum set. For this reason, you should learn how to play each of the forty internationally recognized rudiments (see www.pas.org). Some rudiments are more important than others. For example, the pataflafla is not as central as each of the roll rudiments or even the more universal flam accent. However, this doesn't mean that the pataflafla won't hone your chops. At the end of the day, no rhythm or sticking is a waste of time; they are all instructive and educational. Bottom line: If it challenges you, you're learning something valuable.

As you work your way through each of the forty rudiments, don't forget about rudiment inversions/variations, too. These can be just as useful and practical as any of the rudiments included in the formal list. Check out Charles Wilcoxon's book Modern Rudimental Swing Solos for the Advanced Drummer for some great rudimental variations (see Appendix A).

Where can I see rudiment playing in action?

Have you ever seen a drum and bugle corp. perform? If you have, chances are, you've witnessed some of the most awesome rudimental snare drum playing on the planet. Drummers who dedicate themselves to playing “corp. style” usually have blazing fast, yet clean and precise, rudimental chops. If you haven't observed this style of drumming yet, make it a priority.

When applying rudiments to solos, begin by implementing rolls. Figure 10-2 shows you a twelve-bar drum solo that uses a variety of rolls. For ease in reading, all of the rolls have been written in long hand, meaning they are spelled out as thirty-second notes. As you reach the end of the solo, you will see some crash cymbals used in the right hand. Feel free to crash on the ride cymbal if you do not have an actual crash positioned off to your right side. You will notice the use of long rolls (aka double stroke), five-, six-, and nine-stroke rolls, plus three-stroke ruffs. You will also see two new rudiments, the seven-stroke roll (measures one and ten) and the eleven-stroke roll (measures eight and nine).

FIGURE 10-2: Using rolls

As previously mentioned, any rudiment can be used as the basis for soloing. Figure 10-3 shows you a twelve-bar solo using paradiddles and flams. Take note of the flam-eighth note motif used in measures four, eight, ten, and twelve, and be careful of the triplets in measures seven and nine. As always, make sure your flams are clean. You will need to use proper form to ensure the grace note and main note don't land on top of each other, creating an unwanted flat flam.

FIGURE 10-3: Using flams and paradiddles

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