Paradiddles 101 (An introduction to paradiddle expansion)
Before you read this article....
There is an accompanying PDF for this article for sale at our store. It contains 15 pages of paradiddle concepts that can help you to exponentially improve your paradiddles.
But before making your decision, check out this article, which gives the first few steps towards paradiddle mastery.....
The paradiddle is my favorite rudiment. The way that the pattern flips back & forth between lead hands gives a lot of character and can be used to great effect in drum grooves, drum fills, drum solos etc….
Today I’m going to talk about a practice routine that you can use to develop them to a high level. In this first part we are going to look at permutating the paradiddle. Permutation is a simple and effective way to get more mileage out of your patterns.
Part I Permutations without Accents
Let’s look at the basic paradiddle and its three permutations:
R L R R L R L L
R L L R L R R L
R R L R L L R L
R L R L L R L R
When practicing these it’s important to do it with a metronome, or to play some sort of foot pattern to help reinforce the time, and to not lose your sense of where the beat is. Quarter notes on the bass works well as a starting place. It’s also good for coordination.
Part II Permutations With Accents
The next step in achieving paradiddle mastery is to add accents to the patterns from Part 1. You will still permutate the pattern in the same manner as the last step, but you will accent the first note of the original paradiddle as it moves through the permutations.
Accented Notes are capitalized:
R l r r L r l l
r l l R l r r L
r r L r l l R l
r L r l l R l r
Part III - Permutations with Accents on the Toms
Here we will repeat the same as Part 2, but will now place the accents on the toms. I recommend Right Hand = Floor Tom Left Hand = Small Tom
Part IV - Orchestration
Now let's go in a bit of a different direction....
The next step is to move the paradiddle around a bit and discover what else we can do with the pattern. Before moving ahead in this blog post, I strongly encourage you to freestyle with the paradiddle for a session or two to perhaps unearth some patterns that work for you. After that you can check out these four patterns.
*Accents are to be once again played on the toms.
Accent first note
a) R l r r L r l l*We already did this one, AND spent time permutating it. But Part IV is a separate category and thus, we see pattern once again.
b) r l R R l r L L
c) R L r r L R l l
d) R l r r l R l l
Part V - Change Speeds
In the videos above I showed how to play them slowly, and then I would do another clip doubling the speed. But paradiddles work with any rhythm! They really do! Try it with triplets! It might sound and feel kinda wonky at first, but practice it slowly and you will get it eventually.
Practice it as sextuplets. Again, a triplet-based rhythm. Although the paradiddle is a four-note pattern, you can still use it with triplet-based rhythms.
Part VI - Add Something
Although not commonly taught, adding new rhythms to the the paradiddle is perfectly acceptable :-)
Check out this pattern below:
Is that still a paradiddle? I would say yes, but maybe some of you would say no. Let's take a closer look at what I've written and break it down a little bit.
A) Single Paradiddle
B) Single Paradiddle doubling the second note
C) Adding a Flam to the first note (Flam Paradiddle!)
D) Adding a single tap between the doubles
So while by definition, this pattern at the top of Part VI might not be defined as a paradiddle, as I clearly laid out in the diagrams below it, the pattern is a direct descendant of the paradiddle. Why is this step important? Because we always want to be expanding basic concepts. That's what the great drummers do and that's what you need to do if you want to reach a high level. Which, if you're spending time reading about paradiddles, then you must at least be interested in improving your drumming abilities.