THE TENOR DRUMMER Advanced How to Play a Cheese Roll

How to Play a Cheese Roll

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A couple years ago, I can’t quite remember when, I was playing some triplet grid flam fives and thought:

“Why doesn’t anyone ever play a drag on the third partial?”

At that moment, it occurred to me that I might have somehow come up with a never-before-played drum rudiment! I hence forth dubbed thee the “Flam Roll”.

CORRECTION: It has come to my attention that this rudiment has been play before (of course) and is in fact a “Cheese Roll” , which is a much better name!

Standard Triplet Flam Fives

flam five drum rudiment

We all know this rudiment by now, but when you add a drag onto the third partial, you get a…

Triplet Cheese Roll

cheese roll drum rudiment

When you break down and look at each hand separately, you see there is a triple stroke made up of the drag on the third partial and the grace note for the next flam. This is the most difficult part of the rudiment.

Here is what each hand is essentially playing:

Right Hand

Left Hand

When you look at it this way, it doesn’t seem quite as daunting. This rudiment is basically at the mercy of your triple stroke chops.

However, the fact that another double comes on the very next partial of the triplet does add some complexity. Neither hand gets a break for too long.

Eighth Note Cheese Roll

Another way to incorporate the Flam Roll is in a duple feel, with eighth or sixteenth notes. This is slightly easier since there are less flams, and only one hand plays the triple strokes.

In this case, it’s actually easier to play left hand lead, since the right hand gets all of the triple strokes.

Left Hand Lead

cheese roll drum rudiment

What the right hand plays

Whereas, if you play the right hand lead eighth note pattern, the left hand plays all of the triple strokes.

Right Hand Lead

cheese roll drum rudiment

What the left hand plays

Put it in the Triplet Grid

Now let’s go back to the triplet feel, so we can work both hands at once. When you get comfortable with it, the real challenge is playing through the triplet grid with the Cheese Roll!

You’ll find the Flam Roll at the bottom as the last rudiment on the page.

As will all rudiments in the triplet grid, we move the accent to each partial of the triplet.

The tricky one here is when the second partial has the accent. This puts the accent on the double stroke right after the triple stroke. This invert-type motion can be difficult, so break it down and focus on it as much as you need to.

Surprisingly, having the accent on the third partial is the easiest, since that’s where our triple stroke starts. You get the benefit of having a nice strong attack and can ride that momentum down to the grace note.

As always, take this slow, lock in with your metronome, and have fun with it!

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