Paradiddle Paradise

Lane Armey

If paradiddles were a food group, they would be the vegetables. Maybe fruit too. Plus the meat and the carbs. You can’t survive without paradiddles!!

Here are 10 important facts on paradiddles.

  1. Paradiddles and all their variants (paradiddle-diddles, double paradiddles, etc.) are the key ingredient to different unique stickings. They are how you transition from one hand to the other. Paradiddles are how you keep the energy of a passage going while getting from the right hand to the left hand.
  1. Playing straight accented 16th notes all off the right hand is a snooze-fest compared to alternating right and left hand accented paradiddles.
  1. They look awesome.
  1. Paradiddles are tailor-made for quad players. Moving around the drums playing paradiddle-diddles feels so good. Mix in some scrapes and crossovers, and you look like a serious quad champ.
  1. If you are playing a triplet roll that’s an odd number of counts, and you want to start and end on the right hand, change the last beat to a paradiddle-diddle sextuplet, and you’re set.
  1. Build sound quality by working one hand at a time. Just play the right hand of a paradiddle, making sure to get great sound quality out of that low-end double-stroke. Then do the same with the left.
  1. Heights are key. No one likes paradiddles all one height. Max out the definition between the accents and the inner beats. Per #6, isolate each hand to focus on the heights.
  1. Make one rhythm have infinite looks and feels. You can play 8 bars of sextuplets as single, double or triple strokes. But mixing them all up is when the fun starts. There are countless ways to make the same rhythm look and feel differently by inserting paradiddles.
  1. Paradiddles are some combination of single and double strokes. This pattern makes it a lot more attainable for less experienced players vs. many other complex rudiments. They’re not necessarily easier to achieve but are certainly easier to grasp.

Whether duple-based or triplet-based, starting on the right hand or left hand, crazy fast or deliberately slow, paradiddle variations are an absolute necessity for all levels of drumming.

About author

Lane Armey

Lane Armey is the battery percussion coordinator for Homestead High School in Cupertino, Calif. In the past, he has worked with various groups including Northwestern University and the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps.

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