There seems to be a lot of controversy today concerning the usefulness and importance of drum rudiments. This column is not an attempt to justify all of the 26 American Drum Rudiments but, rather, to demonstrate how we can take one of these rudiments, and apply it to the drumset in a creative and useful way. The rudiment that we will explore is one of the most basic, but when played on the drumset, this rudiment can be developed into a contemporary-sounding funk groove. The rudiment we will look at is the single paradiddle.
In this first example, the paradiddle is played on a closed hi-hat. All of the following ideas work best in a medium tempo (quarter note = 92-120). However, you can start at a slower tempo until you are comfortable with these grooves. Concentrate on making these exercises have a good ”feel,” and be sure to play the accented notes much louder than the unaccented notes.
In Example 2, we have moved the accented notes from the hi-hat over to the snare drum. The left hand crosses under the right hand to play the snare drum note on beat 4.
In Example 3, we will play a different bass drum pattern that gives this groove a unique sound. We have also added two more accents on the hi-hat in the first beat of the measure. Also, notice the accented bass drum note and really “lay into” that beat.
In Example 4, we will add the open and closed sound on the hi-hat to “color” the groove even more.
In Example 5, we will take the hi-hat note on beat 3 and play it on the floor tom. Also, note the change in the bass drum pattern.
It should be evident to you now what can be done with the para- diddle, or any other rudiment for that matter, by using imagination and creative thinking. It is not always the rudiments or sticking patterns that are good or bad but, rather, how we choose to use and apply them to our playing.
The following eight grooves are just a small sampling of the many possibilities that can be created by using the paradiddle on the drumset. I hope these ideas provide a good starting point and foundation upon which you can build, create, and develop your own ideas and grooves.