One Hand Roll

Years ago I went to a concert by Buddy Rich. It began with the lights down and Buddy playing a drum roll–nothing surprising there. When the lights came up it was revealed that he was playing it with only his left hand! Much amazement from the audience. In the intervening years (about 45) I have doubted my memory of this feat, so astounding did it seem. I went on youtube yesterday to see if I could see any film of the great drummer performing this trick; and yes they have film of him doing it, along with other fancy things with right hand and feet. Not only that there were videos offering to teach you how to do the same trick yourself (it mainly involves deft use of the index finger to rebound the stick quickly off the bounce). I started practicing it: it’s certainly not easy but I can now see how it is physically possible. I wonder if I will master it at this late stage of my drumming career. I felt both disappointed and elated by this discovery.

1 reply
  1. Colin McGinn
    Colin McGinn says:

    There are actually several ways to do it, which I’m working on. You have to get the fulcrum point right and then flick with your fingers underneath the stick (I’m now talking about the right hand one hander). It’s quite feasible though certainly needs practice. But no one can do it like Buddy did.


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