Rudiment Lesson Series: Introduction / Grip & Stroke

March 10, 2011 5:15 pm in Concert, Drumset, Marching by Web Team

In this new video lesson series, Dr. John Wooton will introduce each of the 40 Essential Rudiments. Along with a basic explanation, Dr. Wooton will give you tips on how to improve your playing, as well as how to apply the rudiments – whether you are a marching percussionist, concert percussionist or drumset player.

The videos in this segment serve as an introduction to the series and provide the foundation to all rudimental drumming by describing the fundamentals behind a relaxed grip and basic strokes (the “real” rudiments)!





John Wooton’s Vic Firth Implements of Choice:

Like the MS1‚ but with extra length for more leverage and power.
L = 17" | Dia. = .695"  [enlarge photo]

American Classic® Kinetic Force 5A
Additional dense material in the butt end of the sticks allows them to be played longer‚ harder and faster with less fatigue.
L = 16" | Dia. = .565"  [enlarge photo]

New to the rudiments? Here’s a quick suggestion!

In order to facilitate learning the rudiments in a systematic way, Dr. Wooton suggests that you approach them in this sequence (rather than how they are listed on various rudiment charts or posters). This “tier system” approaches the most fundamental rudiments first, providing you with a base on which to build. Each successive tier adds on the basic skills learned in the previous tier.


John Wooton’s “REAL” Rudiments: The Four Basic Strokes

Single Stroke Roll

Multiple Bounce Roll

Double Stroke (Open) Roll

Single Paradiddle


Drag (Ruff)


Single Stroke 4
Single Stroke 7
Double Paradiddle
Triple Paradiddle
5 Stroke Roll
9 Stroke Roll
7 Stroke Roll
Flam Tap
Flam Accent
Lesson 25
Single Drag Tap


13 Stroke Roll
15 Stroke Roll
17 Stroke Roll

Six Stroke Roll
10 Stroke Roll
11 Stroke Roll

Single Dragadiddle
Drag Paradiddle #1
Drag Paradiddle #2
Flammed Mill
Swiss Army Triplet


Triple Stroke Roll
Flam Paradiddle
Double Drag
Flam Paradiddlediddle
Single Ratamacue
Double Ratamacue
Triple Ratamacue
Inverted Flam Tap
Flam Drag



Dr. John Wooton is the director of percussion studies at The University of Southern Mississippi. He is well versed in many percussion instruments but has specialized in rudimental snare drum, drum set, marimba, vibraphone and steel pans. Dr. Wooton directs the Percussion Ensemble, Steel Pan Orchestra, Graduate Percussion Ensemble and the Samba Band. He also performs regularly on steel pans as a soloist or with his band, KAISO!, and plays vibes for the USM Jazz Quintet.

From 1988 to 1992, he served as percussion coordinator/pep band director for the University of Iowa bands. As an instructor and performer, Dr. Wooton has been associated with five P.A.S.I.C. Marching Percussion Forum champions. He marched snare drum for four years with the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps of Rockford, Ill. (1981-84). During those years, Dr. Wooton held the Drum Corps Midwest Individual Snare Drum title and the Percussive Arts Society Snare Drum Individual title. From 1987 to 1989, he served as the percussion caption head for the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps. For the 1990-91 drum corps seasons, he served as program coordinator/percussion arranger for “Nite Express” Drum and Bugle Corps of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Since joining the faculty at Southern Miss, Dr. Wooton, along with establishing a strong percussion studio, has introduced the USM Steel Band, Pop Percussion Ensemble, Samba Band and Salsa Band. He has served as the president of the Percussion Arts Society, Mississippi Chapter, and is presently a member of the Percussive Arts Society Marching Committee. Dr. Wooton gives clinics around the world representing Pearl Drums, SABIAN Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks., Remo Drum Heads and Row Loff Productions Publications.

Dr. Wooton is the author of “The Drummer’s Rudimental Reference Book” – ”Perhaps the most definitive rudimental technique book of our time” – Thomas L. Davis. Wooton’s latest publication, “Dr. Throwdown’s Rudimental Remedies” (The rudimental method for what ails you!) includes 25 lessons, organized on a specific technique and/or rudiment. Accompanying play-along tracks for every exercise and each track is set in seven different tempos starting with “Tempo del Learno” all the way to “Ludicrous Speed.”

You can find out more information on Dr. Wooton’s books and performance schedule at his Web site:

Check out John’s latest book 

“Dr. Throwdown’s Rudimental Remedies”

A fantastic compilation of rudimental exercises written and collected throughout the years by Dr. John Wooton. Included is an accompanying DVD of Dr. Wooton performing many of the exercises and etudes. An enormous amount of downloadable play-along tracks are included on the DVD as well as insightful philosophies from Dr.Throwdown, himself!

This is a GREAT BOOK!!! I am really digging it! My kids are loving it, playing along with groove tracks, various tempos…very cool!!! Thanks John!!

– Ed Argenziano

A big part of my learning experience with the drums was in school drum lines and concert bands/orchestras, so I had to have the rudiments down cold. John Wooton is one drummer that I’ve met that just blows me away for two reasons: his command of the drumsticks is phenomenal & he can apply any rudiment in a MUSICAL way in just about any genre of music because of his background as a steel pan maestro. He’s a double threat like me – that’s why I love him. This book/DVD is a must buy!!!!

– Ricky Sebastian


buy now


buy now

The Drummer’s Rudimental Reference Book

This book is packed full of lessons and exercises. Neatly organized into 41 different sections, this book covers rudiments, one-handed exercises, stick control, timing, relaxation, odd-groupings, back sticking, & tenor drumming. A must for the private instructor and band director!

“This book can be used for beginners as well as advanced rudimental performers. It can also be used for individual and ensemble situations. Superior performance can be obtained if this book is used properly. I highly recommend it to any teacher and student at any level.”

– Marty Hurley – Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps

“John Wooton’s book, The Drummer’s Rudimental Reference Book, is an excellent collection of exercises to develop the author’s five stroke method. The text contains detailed explanations for the production of each stroke and graduated exercises for their application. The exercises are medium to difficult and can be used with either individuals or a drumline. (My students particularly enjoy the flam rudiments.) This book is a necessity for every serious drummer”

– Dr. Robert Schietroma

“John Wooton’s Rudimental Reference Book is packed with intuitive exercises that should assist drummers young and old in solving the problems of correct rudimental execution. If teachers and students will follow this method to the letter, it could become the definitive rudimental technique book of our time.”

– Thomas L. Davis – Percussion and Jazz Studies, University of Iowa