Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Four-stroke ruffs

Carrying on with some Philly Joe-ish ideas, here is a simple sheet on the four-stroke ruff, a rudiment you'll hear plenty of if you're checking him out.

The four-stroke ruff is more a sound than a sticking, because just about any sticking you can come up with is valid.  The most common sticking, and easiest place to start is with single strokes.  It's also common to see this labelled as the "Single Stroke Four".

The least common, but still worth trying out is double-strokes:

Two paradiddle inversions are common as well, particularly in classical repertoire:

No matter how balanced one's hands may be, each of these stickings gives the four-stroke ruff and different sound and feel.  That final one was a favorite of Philly Joe's.

To practice these, try starting with metered triplets and 8th notes like so:

By playing them in that order, one hand stays on the beat throughout the entirety of the passage.

But remember that a ruff is technically comprised of three unmetered grace notes rather than triplets.  They should be played very close to the primary note.  Experiment with different degrees of openness and closed-ness, playing them somewhat wide so as to hear each note individually and also crushed down to create one fast sound.

Drop me a line for a PDF of this all on one sheet.

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Philly Joe Jones three-beat triplet phrase

If you dig in to Philly Joe, you'll hear this signature phrase come up a lot.  It's simply three triplets, often played more than once so it rolls over the bar, with an accent on the first note of the first triplet each time.

You could, of course, simply play this as single strokes with no problem.  But it is generally accepted that Philly Joe played it R L L, followed by a paradiddle-diddle, like so:

To my knowledge, Philly Joe played it primarily (maybe even exclusively) off the right hand as notated above.  But we never miss a chance to create an exercise and work on something in both directions.  So, to get familiar with it try releasing with a quarter note and then starting with the left, back and forth:

Once it feels comfortable play it multiple times in a row on each hand until it resolves, and then again, flip it to the other side.

If you're practicing this on the kit, with the hi-hat on 2 and 4, it would be worth shifting the whole by a beat as well to experiment with different placements.

Another thing that Philly Joe would do with this lick is launch into with another single stroke triplet, preceded by an accent eighth note.  Again, try this leading both left and right.

And, again, shift that by a beat for more options.

As always, drop my an e-mail if you would like a copy of all of this on a neatly organized PDF