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How To Play the Paradiddle Diddle

Here’s my simple and modern approach to playing the Paradiddle-Diddle Exercise. 

If there was ever a rudiment that was so versatile and so impressive sounding that you immediately looked like a pro playing it, it would be the paradiddle diddle exercise.  The paradiddle diddle, often confused with the double paradiddle is also referred to as the 6-stroke roll.  The technique is a grouping of 6 notes that flow very smoothly in a triplet feel when played at fast speeds.  It is also an excellent technique to use to execute very fast patterns on the drum set.  One trick is to be sure to accent the first note.

What Is A Paradiddle-Diddle?

The Paradiddle-Diddle is a rhythmic pattern that expands on the classic Paradiddle by incorporating an additional double stroke at the end. Its sticking pattern can be represented as RLRRLL or LRRLLR, depending on the starting hand. Essentially, it consists of six strokes—two single strokes followed by two double strokes and another two single strokes.

This popular percussion rudiment is like a roller coaster ride for your drumming skills. It combines the finesse of single strokes and the rapid-fire energy of double strokes, creating a dynamic and thrilling sound. 

When executed with precision and control, the Paradiddle-Diddle can create mind-bending patterns and polyrhythms. It allows you to explore syncopated accents, unleash lightning-fast fills, and inject your drumming with an extra dose of creativity.

The paradiddle diddle is found in all great drummer’s toolkit.  You’ll find most of your favorite drummers using this lick to fly on the snare drum, making it look so easy.  For good reason the paradiddle diddle is an excellent rudiment to really learn to master. Starting out on the practice pad is a great way to really hone in on the feel of this rudiment.

Getting Started With Playing The Paradiddle-Diddle Exercise.

As with any exercise, I recommend starting out extremely slow.  The speed will certainly come with this one in time, especially since it is designed to revert back to the starting hand position as you flow with it. 

To execute a paradiddle diddle follow the sticking in the image below:

 Paradiddle diddle

Once you get comfortable playing the paradiddle diddle at a solid speed of around 60bpm, you can then start to inch up the metronome.  Work on this until your hands begin to play almost on their own.  If you remember, I mentioned the paradiddle diddle is also called the 6-stroke roll.  If you search around drum books or the internet you may find various different stickings of how to play a 6-stroke roll. 

I encourage you to play around with this exercise until you really feel confident.  You’ll be surprised how good a paradiddle-diddle feels to play when you’ve mastered it. You can even try to do an inverted paradiddle-diddle, a reverse left-hand stroke. But that’s a lesson for another day.

What Are Paradiddles Good For?

They are fantastic for building speed and agility around the drum set. Picture this: you're grooving on the drum set, and suddenly, you want to unleash a rapid flurry of notes across the toms or snare drum. That's where Paradiddles come into play. With their unique sticking pattern—RLRR and LRLL—they enable you to execute swift and seamless movements between your hands. 

Paradiddles are the secret sauce behind those blazingly fast drum fills and lightning-quick patterns that leave audiences in awe. By practicing Paradiddles, you're training your hands to work together in harmony, reinforcing muscle memory, and improving your ability to execute complex rhythms flawlessly.

How Do You Get Better In Playing Paradiddle-Diddles?

In my opinion there is only one functional sticking to play the paradiddle diddle/6-stroke roll, and that is the one I’ve illustrated above.  Theoretically any 6-note combination could essentially be labeled the paradiddle diddle or 6-stroke roll, but only the above allows for maximum speed.

If you’re looking to improve and know what are the other things you can do, here’s what I can recommend: 

  1. Embrace technology: Take advantage of modern tools and resources available in 2023 to enhance your practice. Utilize drumming apps, metronome apps, recording software, and online lessons to refine your technique and track your progress. If you're looking to take your hands to the next level, you may want to check out my 2nd book "Fast Hands". The exercises are advanced and designed to help you develop speed, stamina and coordination.
  2. Focus on accuracy: Like I said, start slow until you get comfortable. The speed and flow will come in time. 
  3. Incorporate dynamics: Experiment with different dynamics while playing the Paradiddle-Diddle. Practice accenting the first note of each grouping to add clarity and definition to the exercise. Explore variations in volume and experiment with ghost notes to create a dynamic and expressive performance.
  4. Record and analyze your practice: Utilize recording technology to capture your practice sessions. Listen back to your recordings and analyze your performance. Pay attention to areas that need improvement and identify any inconsistencies in your technique. This self-analysis will help you refine your playing and make targeted adjustments.
  5. Seek inspiration from drumming community: Engage with the drumming community both online and offline. Connect with fellow drummers, attend workshops, watch performances, and seek inspiration from the drumming community. Share your progress, exchange ideas, and learn from others to fuel your growth as a drummer.

If you're just starting out playing the drums, you may also want to check out the following article. I also offer my signature Freddy Charles Practice Pad for further hand and technique development. 

Whether you're a beginner looking to master the paradiddle-diddle or an experienced drummer seeking to refine your technique, I hope that this blog post offered you comprehensive guidance and valuable insights to help you excel in playing this essential drum rudiment.

I highly recommend checking out my course on mastering the traditional grip.