What is the best sticking to use when a drag is preceded by 16th notes?

For example, a drag might occur on the downbeat (LLR) but is preceded by 4 16th notes.

3 Answers 3


I would play it like this:

RLRL (ll)R

Where RLRL represents the sixteenth-notes on beat four, and (ll)R is the drag.

Note that I am right-handed.


It's really up to a matter of preference and chop.

Personally I would veer away from the R L R L (ll)R due to the tap on the left hand directly preceding the double on the left hand, as, although it's technically doable at moderate tempos, it's near impossible to not just smash those three lefts into something that resembles 32nd note triplets rather than a drag; furthermore, I also try to stick to the same stickings for all tempos if possible, rather than modifying them per tempo, so it's less taxing on the mental processor in improvisational situations... Trust me, every bit of concentration saved on technical stuff is allocated towards artistic pursuits, which makes better music.

I would approach it by either starting the preceding 16th notes with the opposite hand:

L R L R (ll) R

or modify the sticking of the preceding like:

R L L R (ll) R

Another possibility for drags that I was hipped to in orchestral snare lessons when I was in college is to double into the accent:

R L R L (lr)R

This feels pretty weird at first, but it's totally legit and some people prefer the sound of it.


I also play the last sticking of the 16th as the first stroke of a double. So mentally it becomes easier for me (ignore the duration info of the notation).

RLR(L ll)R

If you practice your double stroke rolls with inverted accents, you might find it a little more natural to pull this off.

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