Learn the basics of paradiddle drumming with our comprehensive guide! From history to technique and variations, we cover it all. Perfect for drummers of all skill levels looking to improve their speed, coordination and muscle memory.

What is the Paradiddle Drum Pattern?

A paradiddle is a drumming pattern made up of four strokes: a right hand stroke, a left hand stroke, a right hand stroke, and a left hand stroke. This pattern is often written as “R L R L” or “L R L R.” The paradiddle can be played on any part of the drum set, including the snare, hi-hat, or cymbals.

The paradiddle has a long history in drumming, dating back to the early 20th century. Many of the most famous drummers of the past and present have incorporated paradiddles into their playing, including Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, and Steve Gadd.

How to Play the Paradiddle Drum Pattern

Playing the paradiddle pattern may seem simple, but proper technique is essential for a clean, clear sound. Here are the basic steps for playing the paradiddle:

  1. Start by placing your hands in the correct position on the drum or cymbal. Your right hand should be positioned above the drum or cymbal, with your left hand below.
  2. Begin by striking the drum or cymbal with your right hand, then your left hand, then your right hand again, and finally your left hand again. The pattern should be “R L R L.”
  3. Practice this pattern at a slow tempo, focusing on proper technique and control. Make sure each stroke is clean and even.
  4. Once you feel comfortable with the pattern, gradually increase the tempo.

Variations of the Paradiddle Drum Pattern

One of the great things about the paradiddle is that it can be easily modified and adapted to create new and interesting patterns. Here are a few variations to try:

  • Reverse paradiddle: This variation reverses the order of the strokes, so the pattern becomes “L R L R.”
  • Double paradiddle: This pattern adds an extra stroke between each pair of paradiddle strokes, creating a pattern of “R R L L R R L L.”
  • Triple paradiddle: This pattern adds two extra strokes between each pair of paradiddle strokes, creating a pattern of “R R R L L L R R R L L L.”

These variations can be applied to any part of the drum set and can add complexity and interest to your drumming.

Using the Paradiddle Drum Pattern in Drumming Exercises

The paradiddle drum pattern is a fundamental rhythm that can be used to improve a drummer’s speed, coordination and muscle memory. Here are a few exercises to help integrate the paradiddle pattern into practice:

  • Start by practicing the paradiddle pattern at a slow tempo, focusing on proper technique and accuracy. Increase the tempo as you become more comfortable with the pattern.
  • Use a metronome to help keep time, starting at a slower tempo and gradually increasing the speed.
  • Incorporate the paradiddle pattern into drum fills and solos.
  • Experiment with different variations of the paradiddle pattern such as the flam, drag, or double paradiddles.
  • Practice the paradiddle pattern in different time signatures such as triple meter or odd time.
  • Incorporate the paradiddle pattern into practice on different drums and percussion instruments, such as snare, hi-hat or ride cymbal.

Practicing the paradiddle pattern in various ways will help to solidify the muscle memory and make it more natural to play. As you become more comfortable with the pattern, you’ll be able to incorporate it into your drumming with ease.


The paradiddle drum pattern is a fundamental rhythm that is essential for any drummer to master. It is a simple yet versatile pattern that can be used in a variety of musical genres and drumming exercises.

By understanding the history, technique, and variations of the paradiddle pattern, and incorporating it into your drumming practice, you can improve your speed, coordination, and muscle memory. Incorporating the paradiddle pattern into your practice routine can help you develop a strong foundation in drumming, and open up new possibilities for your drumming skills.

The paradiddle drum pattern is a key component of drumming, so take the time to master it. With practice and dedication, you’ll be able to play the paradiddle pattern smoothly and accurately, and it will become an essential part of your drumming vocabulary.

Additional Resources

  • Ludwig Witt’s “Syncopation” book, which includes the paradiddle drum pattern
  • Online drum lessons and tutorials that focus on the paradiddle pattern
  • Drumming forums and communities where you can ask questions and share ideas with other drummers

Remember that the paradiddle drum pattern is just one of the many rhythms that you can learn, but it is a great starting point to develop your drumming skills. So, start incorporating it into your practice routine and see how it can improve your drumming.