How to Play Paradiddles Like A Pro: Essential Tips and Exercises

So you want to play paradiddles fast like a pro and are looking for tips on how to do that properly. Paradiddles, those delightful combinations of single and double strokes, are the bread and butter of drumming. They hold the key to unlocking speed, coordination, and musicality on the drum kit.

In this blog, we're diving deep into the world of paradiddles to equip you with essential tips and exercises that will have you playing paradiddles like a seasoned pro. Together, we will unlock the doors to precision, speed, and musicality, transforming your drumming prowess into a force to be reckoned with.

What Is A Paradiddle?

Paradiddle is simply a quick succession of drum beats slower than a roll and alternating left and right hand strokes in a typical l-r-l-l, r-l-r-r pattern. 



​​Paradiddles are important because they enhance coordination, speed, precision, musical versatility, hand technique, and lay the groundwork for more advanced drumming techniques. Incorporating paradiddles into your practice routine will undoubtedly elevate your drumming skills and unlock new possibilities for musical expression.

The Secret To Playing Paradiddles Like A Pro

To play like a pro, it is essential to apply the same technique and principles when transitioning from slow tempos to faster ones. Starting at a slow pace allows you to focus on mastering the fundamental aspects of the technique, such as hand placement, grip, and stroke execution. By practicing at a deliberate and controlled tempo, you can ensure that each stroke is accurate and consistent.

As you gradually build up the speed, you will notice a significant difference in the height of your stick. At slower tempos, there is more time available for each stroke, allowing you to lift the stick higher. This increased stick height provides a greater range of motion and allows for a more relaxed and controlled stroke.

However, as you progress to faster tempos, the limited time available for each stroke necessitates a shorter stick height. With increased speed, the strokes become more compact and efficient. The height of the stick during faster playing is reduced to maintain control and facilitate rapid successive strokes.

By understanding and adapting the stick height to different tempos, you can maintain a balanced technique and achieve a faster level of playing. Practicing at various speeds, from slow to fast, enables you to develop the muscle memory and control necessary to execute paradiddles flawlessly across different tempos and musical contexts.

The Different Variations of Paradiddles

With all the different variations of paradiddles, for a beginner, I understand how it can be confusing. Where do you start? How do you choose which variations to practice more? My suggestion is master the basic paradiddle and try to consider musical context before learning how to pay the others. What style are you interested in playing now? I’m asking what you want to play “now” because I get how one can change. Think about that and then start focusing on what’s common in the style or genre that you want. 

There are several variations of paradiddles, each with its own unique sticking pattern. Here are some of the commonly known paradiddle variations: 

1. Paradiddle: I already shared this above.

2. Inverted Paradiddle: The inverted paradiddle is a variation where the sticking pattern is reversed compared to the basic paradiddle. It begins with a double stroke followed by two single strokes. The sticking pattern for a right-handed drummer is R R L R (or L L R L.

3. Paradiddle-diddle: The paradiddle-diddle expands on the basic paradiddle by adding an additional double stroke at the end. The sticking pattern for a right-handed drummer is R L R R L L  (or L R L L R R.

4. Double ParadiddleA double paradiddle is a drum rudiment consisting of a pattern of alternating single and double strokes. It is typically notated as "RLRLRR LRLRLL" or "RLRRLL RLRLRR" where "R" represents a right-hand stroke and "L" represents a left-hand stroke. The double paradiddle helps develop coordination and speed by combining single strokes and double strokes in a repeating pattern.


5. Triple Paradiddle: The triple paradiddle incorporates three sets of double strokes into the pattern. The sticking pattern for a right-handed drummer is RLRLRLRR(or LRLRLRLL R L L R R L L for a left-handed drummer).

6. Flam Paradiddle: The flam paradiddle combines flams (a grace note followed by a primary note) with the paradiddle. It involves adding flams to the beginning of each stroke in the paradiddle pattern.

Practice Songs You Can Play Paradiddles With

Playing paradiddles within songs allows you to understand how they fit into the broader musical structure. It helps you develop a sense of timing, phrasing, and coordination within real music rather than just practicing isolated rudiments. This application enhances your ability to use paradiddles creatively and effectively in various musical situations.

 Here are my 2 songs you can practice playing with: 

1. Cognitive Distortions - the entire groove features a paradiddle-diddle 

2. They Thought I Was Gone Pt. 4 - many paradiddles on the tom-toms throughout the solos. I use paradiddles a lot here. 

Remember, practicing paradiddles within songs not only strengthens your technical proficiency but also enhances your musicality, allowing you to apply the rudiment in a meaningful and expressive way. It provides a practical context for developing your sense of groove, dynamics, and improvisation skills. So, dive into these songs, embrace the paradiddles, and enjoy the process of incorporating them into your musical repertoire.

Developing Your Paradiddles Speed

In my years of experience playing and teaching, the fastest way is to play the paradiddles simply. Do it slow, then fast, then back to playing it slow. Muscle memory plays a significant role in playing paradiddles faster. When you practice paradiddles regularly and consistently, your muscles become familiar with the sequence of strokes and develop muscle memory for executing them.

 But hey, don't limit yourself to just the paradiddle and paradiddle diddle. There's a whole world of rudiments out there waiting for you to explore! Experiment with different combinations, like the double paradiddle, triple paradiddle, or even the paradiddle diddle. These variations will give you more tools to express yourself on the kit and keep your drumming grooves fresh and exciting.

 If you are looking to get next level with your playing, check out my signature Freddy Charles Practice Pad and books for hand development.

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