Offset Paradiddles with Accents – mmmmm. Do this!

Posted on December 3, 2012


Here’s a little exercise I’ve been taking around with me everywhere I go- on the kit, practice pad, steering wheel, the kitchen counter- everywhere.

As you can see, the exercise starts with a single paradiddle accented on the first beat. The pattern then shifts forward in time, one 16th note per bar, altering where the paradiddle starts on the 16th grid. The player may repeat any one-bar pattern as many times as he or she wishes in completing the whole cycle.

Any hand motion or accent technique used in playing the standard paradiddle in the first bar should be preserved as the paradiddles displace throughout the exercise. If the paradiddle pattern is fairly ingrained in your muscle memory, the above exercise becomes a great ear training challenge. Your ear wants to hear the accented first note of the paradiddle as the downbeat, no matter what part of the 16th grid it happens land on. The trick is to prevent the actual downbeats from “magnetizing” to the accents.

I’ve been using this to try to tune my ear to the “e” and “a” of the pulse. (Inspired by JoJo Mayer’s great maxim that a drummer cannot really play faster than he can hear). Usually I’ll play the first or third bar for a set number of repeats and then switch to either bar 2 or 4 and see how long I can stay on it before my downbeat “magnetizes.” Try it out. And of course, increasing the speed makes it even harder.

I have included a video of me demonstrating the exercise at slow, medium and fast tempos. Hope this is of use to someone out there. Happy drumming!

PS: 3/27/13 –

New things I’m doing with this exercise:

Interchange the different displaced accents more randomly- out of order, switch on beats other than “one.”

Add bass drum to the accented notes.

Play around kit.

Play accents on cymbals.

Play same sticking / accent pattern in triplets- 8th and 16ths!