The drag paradiddle #1 combines the single paradiddle and the drag in a unique pattern that’s great for snare solos and creative fills. Learning this drum rudiment will help you improve your stick control.
Not to be confused with the single dragadiddle, the drag paradiddle #1 (sometimes known as ‘dragadiddle #1’) is one of two variations on a pattern that’s great for practicing your articulation. It’s typically played in 6/8 time.
Each paradiddle starts with a drag (two grace notes that lead into it) and is sandwiched between two single strokes, each of which you accent.
Here’s what a drag paradiddle #1 sounds like:
You can use this tool to practice along at the tempo that’s best for you (it’s the one Drumeo members use when practicing with the 3000+ play-along tracks inside our members area).
While this might sound like something you’d hear marching drummers play on a snare drum, you could try incorporating it into rock fills and solos around the drum kit.
Make sure your paradiddles and drags are tight before you start working on this rudiment. It’s up to you how much space you want between the drag’s grace notes: you can play it tight or loose (like a triplet).
Follow these tips to help you play more smoothly and consistently.
When you’re first learning how to play something, it’s fine to test it out without a metronome as you get used to the pattern. But you shouldn’t go click-free for long. The metronome will help you develop a better internal clock and show you exactly where the timing of your strokes is inconsistent (or where it’s right on the grid).
You can buy a physical metronome at a music store or download a metronome app online.
While it might be tempting to get up to speed as quickly as possible – especially if you’re feeling confident – make sure each of your drags sounds like two separate notes and that your technique is solid.
Be honest with yourself and don’t increase the tempo until you’ve really got it down. Don’t just say “it’s good enough”. Develop control first, and speed will come later.
Try setting your metronome to 60 BPM, then slowly work your way up 5 BPM at a time.
If you’re a right-handed drummer, you probably default to starting everything with your right hand. Even though the drag paradiddle #1 alternates naturally, make sure you practice starting the whole pattern with your weaker side. This will give you more confidence and control when starting with either hand.
It’s easiest to correct your posture or grip immediately if you’re watching yourself in a mirror. Try to set up a practice pad and a snare stand in front of a full length mirror if you can.
You’ll be able to notice if you’re gripping your sticks too hard, or if your stick height doesn’t look right. Use your reflection as a window into how you’re doing. It’s like becoming your own drum teacher!
While playing in front of a mirror will help you fix issues on the fly, you might not realize during your practice when something is wrong. Sometimes we don’t notice issues while we’re in the middle of playing – especially if we’re concentrating hard.
Whether you’re propping your phone on your dresser or capturing it all with a camera and tripod, it’s helpful to watch your practice sessions and critique yourself from a ‘third party’ perspective.
Once you’re comfortable playing it on a practice pad, try the drag paradiddle #1 around the drum set. Here are some exercises to get started.
Any surface can be part of the pattern!
With enough solid practice, you should start feeling more confident in your playing. Once you’ve mastered the drag paradiddle #1, you should learn the drag paradiddle #2, which uses skills you’ve already developed.
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