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Steve Smith's Swing Paradiddles

These are some of the building blocks I use to create interesting phrases using flams. I like to put flams on diddles, which gives you a hip sound and they are fairly easy to play. These are not exercises, they are building blocks that you can use to increase your vocabulary and come up with creative phrases on the drumset. Start with the paradiddle in its basic form. Put the flam before the 'diddles'. A diddle is two Rights or two Lefts in a row. Play the examples slowly with a swing feel. As you play them faster, they become more even but if you start by swinging them they will have a better feel at higher tempos. At first play the examples on the snare drum then try moving the accented note of the flam to a tom and you will be on your way to coming up with your own applications of this concept. Enjoy!

4 / 4

>

>

L R

R L

Variation 2 puts the "diddle in the middle". Play the flam on the first note of the diddle.

4 4
R

>

>

R L

L R

Variation 3 with the diddle in front is my favourite variation and the one I find most useful when improvising.

4 / 4

>

>

L R

R L

Variation 4 with the diddle as a "pick up". This is a very syncopated and swinging variation.

4 / 4 4 / 4
R

>

>

R L

L R

Four variations in sequence, Right Hand Lead.

>

>
L

>
R

>
L

L R

R L

R L

L R

> /
j
L R

>

>

>

R L

R L

L R

2 You can play the sequence starting on any variation. Here I start with Variation 3 using Left Hand Lead.

> /
j
R L

>
L

>
R

>

L R

L R

R L

/
L

>

>

>

>

R L

L R

L R

R L

Now play the paradiddles with flams in triplets. Variation 1. Notice that in each measure the sticking reverses.

4 / 4
> /
L

>
R

j 4

j 4

>

j 4

L R

R L

L R

j 4

j 4

>

j 4

R L

L R

R L

Variation 2 in triplets.

> 4 / 4
R

3 > j
R L

>
4

>
4

L R

R L

> /
L

3 > j
L R

j
R

>
L

>
4

L R

3 Variation 3 in triplets.

4 / 4
> j /
R

j
L

>
R

3 >
R

j
R

>
L

j
L

>
R

3 >
L

j
L

>
R

j
R

>
L

4 Variation 4 in triplets.

4 / 4
/
L

> j
R
R

3 > j
L
L

j
R

>
L

4 j
L

4 j
R

>
R

3 >
L

j
L

>
R

Variation 3 played at three speeds: half time, triplets and double time. This will increase your vocabulary and rhythmic awareness. Play all four paradidle variations.

4 / 4
j

> > j
R L R
R L

> > j
R L R
R L

L R

L R

/
j j
L


j j
L R L
L R

R L

L R

R L

R L

> > > > > > > > j j j j j j j /


j
L R

R R L

L R

R R L

LR

R L

L R

R L