EASY! 5+ Single Stroke Four Exercises for Beginners

Keno Hellmann    Updated on 26 Nov 2022

The single stroke four is the 2nd in the list of 40 drum rudiments. In this blog post, I will show you the basics of this cool drum rudiment and how you can apply it on the drum set.

The Single Stroke Four Drum Rudiment

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In this blog post, I will show you some cool ideas on how to practice and apply the single stroke four on a drum practice pad and on your drum set.

The single stroke four is one of the so-called roll rudiments and it is the 2nd in the official list of 40 drum rudiments right after the single stroke roll.

Download Single Stroke 4 PDF

Here you can download the free single stroke four PDF with all the exercises I discuss in this blog post.

>> Click here and the free PDF download will begin.

If there are any questions, don't hesitate to leave a comment below.

Before you start practicing these exercises, you should have an idea of how the single stroke roll works. The more you are able to play smooth singles, the better the single stroke 4 and related exercises will work.

Let's go!

Practicing the single stroke four drum rudiment

This is what it the single stroke four drum rudiment looks like:

This is the basic version of the single stroke four drum rudiment

Exercise #1: Basic Single Stroke Four Drum Rudiment

Please notice, that the first 3 notes of the single stroke 4 are played as triplets (3). There are no accents or other articulations needed to play this drum rudiment.

It should sound like this:

And here's a second version of it:

Exercise #2 is nearly the same as #1 but kick drums are added at the end:

This is the Single Stroke Four plus 2 kick drum notes

Exercise #2: Single Stroke Four plus Kick Drum Notes

This can take some time, until it really works and starts flowing.

Remember that this exercise and the following are based on 16th notes triplets and this takes some time until you get the triplet feeling.

This is how it should sound like:

Here's the next exercise, you can try:

This is the Single Stroke Four Exercise playing on snare and tom toms

Exercise #3: Single Stroke Four on Snare, Tom Toms & Kick Drum

In this exercise you move your hands from snare drum to the hi-tom followed by the bass drum.

Of course, you should experiment with this idea and find your own idaes and ways on how to apply the single stroke 4 to the drum set.

Here's one which makes use of snare drum, hi-tom and kick drum:

Here's another idea:

This is the single stroke four on snare drum, floor tom and kick drum

Exercise #4: Single Stroke Four on Snare Drum, Floor Tom and Kick Drum

This is the same idea as in the prior exercise, but here we play the first 4 strokes on snare and on low-tom.

This is what exercise #4 sounds like:

Exercise #5 is another idea on how to apply the single stroke four on the drums. 

This time we are going to use snare, hi-tom, floor-tom and kick:

This is the single stroke four using snare, tom toms and kick drum

Exercise #5: Single stroke four drum set application

And this is what it should sound like:

Exercise #6 starts with the two bass drum notes followed by the hands on snare drum: 

This is the Single Stroke Four starting with the Bass Drum

Exercise #6: Starting with the kick drum

Exercise #6 shouldn't be a problem for you to play if you are able to play the prior ones. 

This is how it should sound like:

The very last exercise for now looks like this:

The single stroke four drum rudiment applied to a drum set

Exercise #7

Finally, here's what this exercise should sound like, when you apply it to your drum set:

Conclusion and final thoughts about the single stroke four drum rudiment

Please keep in mind, that these exercises are only a beginning of how to use this awesome drum rudiment.

I really love practicing it and almost daily there are new ideas coming up while practicing.

My personal favorite is exercise #2 and all its variations. 

It's easy to apply and you can use it as a basis to develop hundreds more.

Which one do you like the most and which ideas based on the single stroke 4 did you develop?

Please let me know in the comments and talk soon!

Enjoy playing drums!

Keno Hellmann

Keno is a professional drummer & blogger from Hamburg, Germany.
In his career, he played drums for prominent artists like Elton John and popular German bands like Rosenstolz, Big Soul and others.
Since 2004 he's also teaching drums to students of all age-groups from beginners to advanced and semi-professional drummers.

He loves kitesurfing in Germany's North Sea & Egypt's Red Sea, cooking, and he is a big supporter of the HSV football team.

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