Quintuplets Lesson I

Here’s the first part of a series of lessons on sixteenth-note quintuplets, a group of five notes in the space of a quarter note.

We start with a warm-up, playing the quintuplets with an alternate sticking (RLRLR LRLRL) without accents, and the bass drum on quarter notes. The next step is to add accents, playing various combinations. We start slowly at 60 bpm repeating every line at least four times. An additional, advanced way to practice the exercise is to play the accents adding flams and drags.

quintuplets accent exercise
Fig. 1

Once we mastered the exercise we can apply it to the drumset, playing the accents on the toms and cymbals or between the hi-hat and snare (right hand on the hi-hat in unison with the bass drum and left hand on snare).

The next section called rolling in quintuplets is useful to work on rolls, playing a diddle (32nd note) with various combinations (Fig. 2). The sticking is the same RLRLR LRLRL, but when we play a diddle we must use a double sticking: RR or LL. As a variation, we can play the diddles with an RL or LR sticking.

quintuplets exercise workout
Fig. 2

Here are two sticking variations: the first is a double-stroke roll and the second is a paradiddle (no. 5 of Stick Control). Another additional sticking can be a five-stroke roll, alternating the hands: RRLLR LLRRL. When we practice the exercises with these stickings is important to play the quarter notes with the bass drum or hi-hat.

* white square: right hand, black square: left hand

quintuplets sticking
Fig. 3

Here’s the link to download the PDF of the lesson.


quintuplets accent exercise

To apply the exercises to music, here are two songs with a groove based on quintuplets. Keep on drumming!

From 1:48.


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