Paradiddle--Hi Hat

double bass man

Junior Member
When you play the paradiddle--RLRRLRLL--do you find it difficult to play the 2 & 4 on the hi hat? Is this something you have to work at? No problems in playing the paradiddle on it's own--at all tempos. Any advice welcome.

I have no problems playing 4 beats on the snare and 2 & 4 on the hi hat.

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Is this something you have to work at?
Sure, like all things that are new. :) Do you use a sort of rocking motion? The heel goes down on 1 and 3 and you close the Hi Hat on 2 and 4 - this might help. Are you left handed or why do you play it as LRLL? Starting with RLRR might be easier because the left hand and left foot are on the same counts. Also, ending with RLRR makes it harder to get back to the Ride or Hi Hat after a fill.
at all tempos
What are "all tempos"? There has to be a lower and upper end.


Platinum Member
Try 8th notes with your hi hat hand until you are comfortable doing the paradiddles with your feet. I had the same problem. Playing 8ths with my hand meant I was playing on every note of the paradiddle, but it allowed me to hear and feel the pattern at speed.

EDIT: I completely misunderstood the issue. I thought the paradiddles were being played between hats and kick, and the hats were getting screwed up with the hands. Ignore what I said, unless you want to play paradiddles with your feet. It makes for a cool rhythm.
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Platinum Member
Get a click going, put your foot down on 2 n 4, your other foot on 1 n 3 and play your practice patterns!


Hi, independence takes a while to develop. Start very slow, and work it up. You might want to write it out, make a sort of a map to follow. I do not recommend "rocking" your foot on the high hat pedal. If your goal is independence, rocking your high hat foot is a habit you'll have to unlearn as you progress.

double bass man

Junior Member
Thanks guys for your useful info. All I want to play is a 'minimal' drum set up--that is snare / hi hat and ride cymbal. (At my age to old to be carrying around bass drum and toms!-plus lack of space to use a full kit. )

Been playing now for less than a year. My mistake in saying in my post that that I said I play the paradiddle LRLLRLRR! I do play it RLRRLRLL--I will amend my post.

I play the hat heel down and work the hat with the ball of my foot. I find the 'rocking' motion is OK for a short while then fatigue sets in. Do you find the same? No problem with heel down.

The paradiddle---are there endless variations?


Platinum Member
The paradiddle---are there endless variations?
Pretty much.
Single paradiddle: RLRR LRLL
Double paradiddle: RLRLRR LRLRLL
Triple paradiddle: RLRLRLRR LRLRLRLL
Paradiddle-diddle: RLRRLL LRLLRR

You can start the patterns anywhere you want, forwards and backwards. I wont do the math, but that's a ton of variations.

As you can see it's pretty simple how they work, either more singles on the front or more doubles on the end. That's it.


Senior Member
Page 5 of stick control. Do the first column every day for 15-20 minutes and add in your foot patterns as you get more comfortable with the hands. Start slowly. You are trying to build muscle memory so you don't need to focus on all your different limbs. This can take time when you start so be patient.
The paradiddle---are there endless variations?
It depends on when you stop calling it a Paradiddle. If you want endless combinations, try this link:
A bit less excessive: The four permutations of the Paradiddle with one accent (some of them are a lot trickier than others):

double bass man

Junior Member
Thanks for your good replies guys.
Further questions:
a) If there are 12 strokes to a paradiddle are they played as triplets in a 4 beat bar measure?
b) There seem countless combinations of paradiddles. How many would you use as 'mussel memory'?
c) When a drummer is taking a solo do they know what they are going to do? Are they counting the bars of music--say a 32 bar sequence? If the solo is long--say 5 minutes or more would they just give a 'routine' easy to pick up intro to the band? Nod his head / look at the guys to come in?
(Hope this makes sense!)


Senior Member
The beauty of a paradiddle is that you practice leading with your 'weak' hand. I'm right handed, so naturally my paradiddles start with RLRR LRLL and most of the time in 16th notes. That way the R (bold in the next example) always lands on 1 and 3 for a continuous flow:


When you start playing 8th notes the feel will shift more to your other hand leading

1e2e 3e4e 1e2e 3e4e

With that way your left hand is leading and that can feel awkward when your new to the drums.

What by the way a great exercise is, is the one below. Learned this years ago from a teacher and is a great warm-up exercise. Be sure to use a metronome though!
Start with 4 bars of single strokes
Follow with 4 bars of paradiddles
Follow with 4 bars of triplets
Repeat until dinner is ready :p

That is a great way to get comfortable with leading with your 'weak' or off-hand. Not to mention the different feels.
And on a closing note: i love the paradiddle. I use the double stroke on the end so much that i've unconsciously (well not anymore now i think about it) incorporated it into fills, because when i do a single stroke roll and a RR on the end, it opens up my left hand to hit something else after the fill like my left side crash/china (really handy when you do a fast fill).
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"Uncle Larry"
This is what I do when I reach a stumbling block. Just sing, don't play, the stumbler. In your case play the paradiddles....and without using your HH foot at all...just sing "chick" (grunts work too) on the 2 and 4. When I have a stumbling block, even just singing the part in question will throw my other limbs off.

If you cant sing the part, you can't play the part. So before playing we have to get our brains on straight, meaning practicing singing the stumbling part, but don't move the limb. After a few minutes you'll be able to sing or grunt the "chick" on 2 and 4. without it messing up your paradiddles. When you can sing the 2 and 4 part while playing paradiddles, now you can attempt playing the 2 and 4 with the hi hat foot. The hard part is getting the brain separated so it can do 3 different things at once. That's at the top of the list. When you can sing it while playing paradiddles, you're 90% there. The remaining 10% you still have to get comfy with, like a foal taking the first steps. But if you can sing it, you conquered the brain part of the problem, which is definitely the most important aspect.

Putting a metronome on, set to play the ostinato part in question, (the 2 and the 4) so you can hear where it's supposed to land...while you play the paradiddles...that's really helpful to me. Use the metronome as a helper to learn it. Slow things down.

You really should be able to get past it in an hour of focused practice, and then you have it for life.