Snare Drum Instruction – The Paradiddle

The paradiddle is another important snare drum rudiment that will help you get a handle on the sticks. The basic paradiddle is played by the hands with the following repeating pattern:

R L R R L R L L …

Or if you start with the left hand the paradiddle looks like this:

L R L L R L R R …

Both patterns are the same, and only differ in their starting point.

Start practicing the paradiddle slowly and build your speed up gradually, making sure to keep even spacing between the strokes. The paradiddle can be played very fast by making use of the drum stick bounce. I go over this concept in the double stroke roll lesson so be sure to read that lesson if you haven’t done so already.

Once you master the basic paradiddle pattern you can increase its difficulty by accenting (playing louder) certain notes. Try the following variations in which bold type indicates an accent:

  1. R L R R L R L L R L R R L R L L …
  2. L R L L R L R R L R L L R L R R …
  3. R L R R L R L L R L R R L R L L …

The easiest way to accent a note is to give it extra power with your fingers.

Paradiddles on the Drum Set

There is no strict rule that says you must play the paradiddle on the snare drum alone. Place one hand on the snare and the other on a tom and do a paradiddle this way. You can use it as a fill when you play a song.

There is also no rule that restricts the paradiddle to the hands. Doing a paradiddles between one hand and one foot can really get your juices flowing. For a fun exercise, try coming-up with drum beats that include the paradiddle. For example, do a paradiddle with the bass drum and ride cymbal, and then add a snare pattern.

The Double Paradiddle

A close relative of the paradiddle is the double paradiddle. The double paradiddle pattern looks like this:

R L R L R R L R L R L L …

Or like this:

L R L R L L R L R L R R …

All of what I said about the paradiddle here is also applicable to the double paradiddle. Therefore, once you practice the single paradiddle you can do everything over with the double.


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