The Single Paradiddle

Single Paradiddles

The paradiddle (see figure 1) is one of the 26 standard rudiments in rudimental drumming.

Actually, there are a variety of different paradiddle rudiments that comprise the Paradiddle Family, but the main essence is derived from the Single Paradiddle shown below:

The Basics

But lets take a step backward a bit to review the very basics of the Single Paradiddle.

The Single Paradiddle is basically comprised of the following combination of left (L) and right (R) drum strokes:

R – L – R – R

Followed by a second combination of drum strokes beginning with the left (L) hand instead of the right hand.

L – R – L – L

Alternating Left and Right

Now we can see the ingenuity of the Single Paradiddle, and the basis of all paradiddle-type rudiments, that of allowing some sort alternation between the left and right hands. And thus, the Single Paradiddle can virtually keep going and going like so:

R – L – R – R – L – R – L – L – R – L – R – R – L – R – L – L etc, etc……

You can begin with either left or right hand (it really doesn’t matter). The rudiment is virtually the same either way you begin. It’s always the same pattern, two different strokes (R and L, or R and L) followed by two of the same strokes (RR or LL). And that’s basically all there is to the Single Paradiddle, what’s written below:

Tips On Proper Execution

When practicing Single Paradiddles, it’s always a good idea to follow a set of rules or guidelines that will help you in becoming better at performing them. Here are some technical tips when practicing Paradiddles (which really apply to any rudiment you play):

  • Start Off Very Slowly – This can not be over-emphasized. Starting at a very slow tempo will actually help you play faster later on down the line. Don’t try to play any rudiment fast right away. Get used to the mechanics of the rudiment first before moving on to a faster tempo. Patience is definitely a virtue here. And practicing slowly is actually “the key” to playing faster.
  • Be Aware Of The Upstroke – As there is a basic downstroke in drumming, in order to properly execute the Single Paradiddle, you must be very much aware of the upstroke. Simply make sure that the sticks rebound back to the “up” position.
  • Emphasize The Accent – You’ll notice below that the Single Paradiddle contains an accent at the first downstroke of each of the two groups. It is VERY IMPORTANT to play the accents when executing paradiddles. It will help you play them better especially at the faster tempos if you play the accents.
  • All Remaining Strokes Are Lower – And thusly, the un-accented strokes are at a lower volume and the sticks rebound of those un-accented strokes are lower too. This REALLY helps you play Single Paradiddles much more fluidly at the faster tempos!
  • All Levels And Speeds – Try practicing Single Paradiddles in the following variations:
    1. From slow to very fast and back to slow.
    2. From very soft to very loud and back to very soft.
    3. At one tempo setting for several minutes.

Here’s a good example of the paradiddle.

In Conclusion

That’s pretty much the Single Paradiddle in a nutshell. Remember, it’s best to first practice paradiddles at a slow tempo first until you feel very comfortable to move on to faster tempos. The idea is to become very “fluid” to the point where you can easily go from slow to fast, soft to loud, and all the variations in-between.

Good luck! And keep practicing!!!

. . . .



Carlos Rull

Carlos Rull is a musician living in the San Diego area. His interests include Yoga, Eastern Philosophy, Zen Buddhism, and Gardening. He plays drums, piano, and composes New Age & Ambient music, and his albums are available on iTunes and

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