A Progressive, Grid-Based Approach to Developing Modern Licks from an Ancient Rudiment


One of the most common ways to practice displacing rhythms so that they start on different partials of the beat is by applying them to the grid, which is a classic exercise that involves shifting the accent pattern back one subdivision at a time across a measure of 16ths or triplets. In this lesson we focus on applying the single paradiddle to a 16th-note grid.

When playing paradiddles as 16th notes, you’re already accenting the quarter-note pulse. Keep a quarter-note pulse with your hi-hat foot to ensure that everything is locked in time.

July 2020 Rock and Jazz notes

To shift the paradiddle to the “e,” add an extra left-hand stroke to the fourth paradiddle in the sequence. To shift the paradiddle to the “&,” add an extra left-hand note to the eighth paradiddle in the sequence. Repeat that process in the fourth measure to shift the paradiddle to the “ah.” Continue to keep a quarter-note pulse with your hi-hat foot throughout.

July 2020 Rock and Jazz notes

Now repeat the same exercise, but accent the first two notes of each paradiddle.

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This time accent the first three notes of each paradiddle.

July 2020 Rock and Jazz notes

To put these displaced paradiddles into context, play an 8th-note funk/rock groove for two measures, and then two measures of displaced paradiddles. The exercises below show a few ways that the displaced paradiddles can be voiced around the drumset. Use these to fuel your own creativity. Experiment, and come up with your own fills that implement the various exercises in this lesson.

July 2020 Rock and Jazz notes

by Nick Costa

Nick Costa is a master lecturer at the University of the Arts and a percussion teacher for the Philadelphia school district. He is an educational artist for Ludwig, Zildjian, Roland, Vic Firth, and Remo.