What Is A Paradiddle In Drumming? The Single Paradiddles+ | Learn To Drum!

By Evan C

Have You Seen Where I Placed My Paradiddles?

If you’ve just started drumming, I’m sure you’re wondering what is a paradiddle in drumming? It makes sense with so many different drum rudiments, so what is it?

Here’s What A Paradiddle Is

A paradiddle is combination of two single strokes followed by a double stroke. When a paradiddle is played repetitively, you always end up playing the next paradiddle pattern starting with the opposite hand (RLRR LRLL etc.).

It is one of the 40 essential rudiments in drumming and also one of the most popular.

Rudiments Are A Blast

That may answer your question, but let’s look at the paradiddle more in depth and with best practices in mind. There’s a lot of ways to look at this phenomenal rudiments!

What Is A Paradiddle In Drumming Really?

What we discussed is the single paradiddle. The sticking pattern is really a hybrid of the single stroke roll and the double stroke roll. These are two other of the most popular drum rudiments.

So, if we were to start with the right hand (R), then the first note of the next paradiddle would be our left hand (L) as I mentioned above. I just wanted to provide more context to the letterings.

R L R R \ L R L L \ R L R R \ L R L L

What is a paradiddle in drumming other than 8 strokes, which consist of 2 alternating notes (strokes) followed by a diddle.
Paradiddle (mostly written with an accent on the first note of each beat)

Single strokes are played: RLRLRLRL

Double strokes are played: RR LL RR LL

This is why a paradiddle looks like a mixture of single strokes and double strokes.

How To Become Efficient With The Paradiddle:

One of the best ways to play the paradiddle well (and anything else with drumming) is to start slow and really pay attention to every single stroke you’re playing.

You can start by making sure every stroke is even and then eventually (if you want more variety), you can include any accent pattern. The paradiddle is mostly notated with the first note accented of each part of the paradiddle.

You’ll want to get down your stick control and muscle memory before anything else. Playing fast is pointless if you’re playing sloppy. No one is impressed by sloppiness.

Paradiddle – slow to fast to slow

Start out on a practice pad and get comfortable with how it feels. I recommend using a metronome and start at an uncomfortably slow speed. As you get better, increase it to faster tempos.

Another great exercise is increasing from quarter notes to eighth notes to 16th notes back down to eighth and then quarter notes.

This is sometimes called ‘pyramid’ exercises and are great at letting you test the waters as you get to the faster 16th notes and even 32nd notes. I’d recommend this with a metronome as well.

With these two exercises, you’re able to work on your stick control, but you can also see how it feels as you get faster.

A different way of getting used to faster speeds is starting slow and building up speed until you can’t go any faster and then slowing down. This exercise doesn’t require a metronome, but is also helpful in attaining faster speeds and pinpointing your flaws.

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Paradiddle doubling 'pyramid' exercise
‘Pyramid’ exercise doubling

As you feel more comfortable you can transition it to the snare drum on your kit or different percussion instruments. At this point you can start doing drum fills and drum beats where you’re able.

It may be a little weird as you get to the rack or floor tom with faster speeds. This is because there can be less rebound on these drums, but the more you practice it the better you’ll get.

I mentioned accents with your paradiddles. Feel free to practice those along with even strokes as well. If you are accenting the first note of every paradiddle (Rlrr Lrll), make sure there is a clear accent there on every first note.

Paradiddle with accented first note of each beat and ghost notes everywhere else
Accents on 1st note of every beat and ghost notes follow

Drummers may also accent one note and have the rest be ghost notes (a soft note/stroke played between regular or accented notes).

A lot of novice and professional drummers alike may use the momentum of the first accent to get free strokes for the last two strokes of each paradiddle (R rr… L ll) and may use techniques such as the Moeller method or push pull technique.

You can also accent other notes within the paradiddle, like the second, third or fourth. This will take more time to build up as the accents feel displaced (at least to me, I’ll be honest that I’m still working on those).

One of the great things about them is there are so many different ways to play them. What is a paradiddle in drumming with different sticking?

These are inverted paradiddles, which just changes the sticking around on the single paradiddle and creates more of a challenge.




All of this allows us to get different sounds around the kit, which also can give us creative ways in going about making drum parts.

These are the basics of paradiddles plus a little more.

This is the most frequently used rudiment, along with single strokes and double strokes. These rudiments are essentially the building blocks of drumming and really great rudiments to get down.

Different Types of Paradiddle Rudiments:

2 double paradiddles in a measure
1 measure of double paradiddles (2 double paradiddles in this case)
1 measure triple paradiddle
1 measure triple paradiddle
1 measure of paradiddle-diddles
1 measure of Paradiddle-diddles

While basic paradiddles have a slew of things you can do to alter them, there are also a few different paradiddle rudiments.

A double paradiddle is played: RLRLRR LRLRLL

A triple paradiddle is played: RLRLRLRR LRLRLRLL

A paradiddle-diddle is played: RLRRLL RLRRLL (right hand lead) & LRLLRR LRLLRR (left hand lead)

The double paradiddle, triple paradiddle, and paradiddle-diddle are the other paradiddle rudiments, denoted on the sheet music above. These are really awesome to learn as well and open up your creativity.

Paradiddle pyramid
Single Paradiddle to Double to Triple to Double to Single (up and down – repeat the process)

Drumming Better Everyday

I hope that you’ve found this free drum lesson helpful! What is a paradiddle in drumming, other than one of the most VAST practice gold mines?!

I recommend incorporating all of this in your next practice session. The paradiddle is an extremely useful rudiment and can add more creativity to your drumming skills. Come up with other ideas and watch your drumming soar!

There are more rudiments that incorporate the paradiddle, but we’ll save that for another day. Lots of great stuff!

Going Forward With Rudiments

What is your favorite rudiment? Are you a fan of any of the paradiddle variations or is there another one you favor? I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions in the comments below!

Want FREE drum hacks to help your drum chops foundation and get you on the right track?

Get those by clicking here.

Until next time, stay attuned!

-Evan C.

About the author

Hi there, I'm Evan and I love drums.. Also, I love music! I've been playing drums for most of my life and nothing beats the thrill I get from it. I hope to be able to provide you with insightful tips and reviews on things within the drum and music world!

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