What is an Inverted Paradiddle?

November 6, 2023

Navigating how to play an inverted paradiddle may feel like stepping through a rhythmic mirror – familiar yet disorienting. I’ve navigated this inversion, and I can assure you, it’s a rewarding twist that will elevate your playing.

Incorporating the inverted paradiddle into your practice will invigorate your drumming with a syncopated edge that’s sure to capture attention.

Short on time? Remember, the inverted paradiddle switches up the classic pattern to RRLR LLRL.

Let’s get those sticks reversed and ready to roll!

What is an Inverted Paradiddle?

An inverted paradiddle rearranges the familiar single-double sequence of a standard paradiddle, creating a pattern where the double strokes come first. This small adjustment generates a unique sound and feel, with the pattern written as RRLR LLRL. It’s a useful technique for adding complexity and interest to drumming phrases.

How to Play an Inverted Paradiddle

Mastering the inverted paradiddle means getting comfortable with the flipped sticking:

  • Slow down the pattern: Practice the RRLR LLRL sticking slowly, ensuring you understand the inversion.
  • Emphasize dynamics: Work on keeping the volume consistent across all strokes while also practicing accent variations.
  • Alternate leading hands: Start the pattern with your left hand as well (LLRL RRLR) to build equal proficiency on both sides.
  • Gradual tempo increase: Use a metronome to practice, starting slowly, then gradually speeding up as your execution becomes more confident and clean.

Different Versions

Inverted Paradiddle Variations: The inverted paradiddle, RRLR LLRL, may not be as commonly spoken of as its relatives, but it provides an equally fertile ground for creative exploration:

  • Accenting: By moving accents, you create different expressions: RRlr Llrl or rrLr llRl.
  • Version 2 – RLLR LRRL
  • Version 3 – RLRL LRLR

Exercises for Mastering Inverted Paradiddle

Exercise 1: Accent Placement: Practice playing the inverted paradiddle with different accent placements. For example, accent the first note (Rrlr Llrl) and then shift the accent to the second note (rRlr lLrl), and so on.

Exercise 2: Split Between Limbs: Assign the right-hand part (RR) to the floor tom and the left-hand part (LR) to the snare. Then switch it up, or incorporate bass drum (BD) for a fuller kit utilization, like RRBD LLBD.

Exercise 3: Speed Building: Start slow to ensure accuracy and clarity of each stroke, then gradually increase the speed while maintaining clean execution. Utilize a metronome to keep your progress measured.

Exercise 4: Incorporating Fills: Use the inverted paradiddle within drum fills, moving across the toms and snare. Experiment with dynamics and orchestration, perhaps accenting the toms and playing ghost notes on the snare.

Exercise 5: Playing Alongside Patterns: Combine the inverted paradiddle with other patterns. For instance, play a basic rock beat for four bars, then insert an inverted paradiddle fill. This helps with practical application within a musical context.

Wrap Up

The inverted paradiddle, with its less intuitive sticking pattern, poses a unique challenge that, once overcome, greatly expands your rhythmic vocabulary. Whether for dynamic solos, intricate fills, or complex grooves, the inverted paradiddle can be the key to unlocking a new level of drumming dexterity. 

As you grow more comfortable with these exercises, your ability to infuse your playing with nuanced rhythmic textures will undoubtedly increase, making your drumming more expressive and versatile.

Denis Loncaric
Denis Loncaric

My name is Denis. I am a drummer, percussionist, music enthusiast, and blogger. Drums have been my passion for 15 years now. My idea is to write about the things I like and I am interested in. I want to share my drum passion with fellow musicians who walk, talk, and breathe drums.

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