Exploring Paradiddles in Quintuplet Groupings

Throughout their careers, great drummers such as Zigaboo Modeliste, David Garibaldi, and Dave Weckl have opened our imaginations to the possibilities of paradiddles and their inversions. Is there anything this rudiment can’t do?

I’d describe myself as somewhat of a paradiddle junkie, and I use paradiddles and their many variations in my teaching. But I’ve always been particularly attached to what I call the “five-a-diddle” concept. In this variation, we’ll play quintuplets inside each quarter-note pulse and apply paradiddle-inspired stickings within those groupings. I find that students can often get turned around a bit when playing single strokes in groupings of five, but they seem to find these sticking patterns more musically accessible.

The following five-a-diddle stickings are written with a right-hand lead, but they can also be reversed and practiced with a left-hand lead. Let’s check them out.Paradiddles in Quintuplet groupings 1

Once you’re comfortable playing these quintuplet stickings, try transitioning between a measure of 16th- note paradiddles and a measure of the various five-note groupings. Here’s one variation.

Paradiddles in Quintuplet groupings 2

We can also move the five-a-diddle around the drums to create many musical patterns. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Paradiddles in Quintuplet groupings 3

Paradiddles in Quintuplet groupings 4

Once you’re comfortable with the five-note groupings and are able to move them around the kit, let your imagination run wild, and be as creative as possible with your own combinations.

Next let’s incorporate the previous figures into some fun and creative 8th-note grooves.

Paradiddles in Quintuplet groupings 5

Once the transitions between the 8th-note and quintuplet subdivisions feel smooth, try experimenting with dropping the right hand down to the snare for an accent on beat 4. You can also try playing the bass drum with the right hand within the quintuplet groupings.

Here are a few more examples of grooves that orchestrate five-a-diddles around the kit, along with some variations.

Paradiddles in Quintuplet groupings 6

Paradiddles in Quintuplet groupings 7

Paradiddles in Quintuplet groupings 8

As you can see from the previous examples, the sky’s the limit with this concept. Explore, and create your own five-a-diddle ideas. Happy practicing!

Jayson Brinkworth is a freelance drummer, educator, and clinician in Canada.