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.

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