How To play a Single Paradiddle

Welcome to another free drum lesson about rudiments, in this case, “how to play a single paradiddle“. Here you’ll find everything you need to learn this technique the proper way and some exercises to implement your new knowledge over the drum set.

What is a paradiddle?


First, let us define what it means. A paradiddle is one of the 26 essential rudiments of drumming. And the definition of a drum rudiment is a sticking pattern that has been given a specific name.

Being one of the most popular, this rudiment combines single strokes roll and double strokes roll. So please be sure to check our free lessons and after you master them correctly come back to this technique.

The paradiddle can be used for both drum beats and drum fills as well, opening a wide range of possibilities.
A must have under every drummers arsenal, no doubt about it.

Here’s how you play the single paradiddle:

As you can see in the image above you can differentiate each hand: (R) Righ Hand, (L) Left Hand.
So it goes something like this:

Right, left, right, right // Left, right, left, left.

Normally you will accentuate the first stroke of each phrase:

Right, left, right, right // Left, right, left, left.

Is a controlled stroke, and up stroke and two taps. Then the same with the other hand. Controlled stroke, up stroke and two taps.
Is that up stroke that you really need to work on, that’s going to give you speed over time.

So if you just say the word pa-ra-di-ddle you’ll get the sticking pattern, where there’s a diddle is a double.

Once you manage to play it continuously starting with the right stroke you should change the leading hand and instead use you left stroke like this:

Left, right, left, left // Right, left, right, right.

This way you will take full control of both hands and your coordination skills will take of to the nex level.

This is one of our favorite rudiments, once you incorporate the single one you can start playing with some complex versions of it (double paradiddle) but that will come in a future lesson.

The exercise will help you reach new goals as a drummer, improving your coordination at the same time mastering one of the basic rudiments.

It doesn’t matter what type of music you are trying to learn. This technique goes to the roots of rudiments being one of the foundations where you want to build up from.

How to play paradiddles fast?


Before you learn how to run you need to learn how to walk. Being patient is key and it will get you far. The one thing you need to focus on, at first, is every detail.
If you are just starting out don’t worry about speed, the most important thing right now is that you incorporate the proper sequence in a natural way.

Train your muscles right the first time and then start over again. Over time, you’ll get the pattern as a reflex and develop some speed. You want to avoid bad habits because those are going to be hard to break later on.

When you apply what you’ve learned correctly you will notice how you can play it at all tempos with no effort.
Better yet you will be comfortable to spread the technique around the drumset and finding creative ways to combine with other rudiments taking your freedom when playing to another dimension.

If you want to listen some tracks that go along with your exercise Vic Firth has some interesting tracks to check out.

Going from the drum pad or snare to the drum set:


When you practiced the rudiment over and over again changing the leading hand and you are really comfortable playing it you can try it on the drumset and apply in two ways:

  • Start a groove, mix the paradiddle using the hi-hat and snare. When you practice this a couple of times you can add the bass drum. Start with the kick at the same time as your first stroke with the right hand on the hi-hat.
  • Play drum fills, as we mention you can use the technique to combine fills for your drum grooves. Start with the controlled strokes in each tom and complete the rudiment on the snare drum.

Here is an example of how to incorporate it:


Exercise #1, Drumbeat:


Start with your drum bass playing on counts 1 and 3 and play the single paradiddle between the hi-hat and the snare drum. You will play ghost notes on the snare with your left hand. The right-hand will play snare strokes on counts 2 and 4.

Exercise #2, Drumbeat:


In this case, play the drum bass on all quarter notes. And play the single paradiddle spread between the right hand, on the ride cymbal and the left hand, that will alternate between hi-hat and snare drum.

Exercise #3, Drum fill:


Play the floor tom on counts 1 and 3 and the hi-tom on counts 2 and 4. You’ll play the remaining notes on the snare drum.
With this typical drum fill you can play the first notes on toms or cymbals to accentuate. If you listen carefully you’ll discover lots of drummers using this type o fill with the single paradiddle.

Basically, when I play I like to incorporate a lot of rudiments into my playing, being creative things just come out. Tony royster Jr.

As you can see although this technique it might seem simple doesn’t mean that professional players won’t use it.

That is the single paradiddle in it’s most basic form. But try to be creative put the accents somewhere else.
The rudiments are where we start, nowhere we end.

As Tony Royster Jr says when you incorporate different types of rudiments you’ll start to get your drumming to the next level.

When you feel the foundations in a natural way you’ll find losing yourself into exploring new types of playing and mixing what you’ve learned.

That’s when your creativity arrives and you will get to know the unique drummer in you!

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