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Flam Paradiddle

 

The flam paradiddle is exactly how it sounds: a flam added to a paradiddle. This awesome-sounding drum rudiment is perfect for beats, fills, drum solos and more.

flam paradiddle drum rudiment notation
The flam paradiddle

What is a flam paradiddle?

If you’re already familiar with flams and paradiddles, you’ll probably find this rudiment a breeze. Just add a flam to the start of each paradiddle grouping!

The flams add extra flair to your paradiddles, so it sounds awesome when played at full speed.

Here’s what a flam paradiddle 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).

Click here if you want to learn how to read drum music

Tips for playing flam paradiddles

First, master the flam and the single paradiddle separately.

The biggest challenge here is consistency. Your double strokes and flams should be tight and there should be very little space between the grace note and the primary note.

Mind that gap: never play two notes at exactly the same time. That’s something else called a “flat flam” or a “double stop”. 

Here are some tips to help your flam paradiddles.

Practice with a metronome

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.

Start slow

While it might be tempting to get up to speed as quickly as possible – especially if you’re feeling confident – make sure you’re really starting each flam with a soft grace note and that your double stroke 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 and slowly work your way up 5 BPM at a time.

Alternate your lead hand

If you’re a right-handed drummer, you probably default to starting everything with your right hand. Even though flam paradiddles alternate naturally within the pattern, try starting the run with your left hand too. It may still trick your brain.

Practice in front of a mirror

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!

Film yourself practicing

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.

How to play flam paradiddles on the drums

Once you’re comfortable playing them on a practice pad or a single drum, try moving them around the drum set. 

You can keep the pattern on one drum or break it up between multiple surfaces. Try the following exercises to get started.

#1:
#2:
#3:
#4:
#5:

Any surface can be part of the pattern! This rudiment sounds awesome between the snare and toms.

If you’re a more advanced drummer, you could also challenge yourself by breaking up the sticking between your hands and feet.

What’s next?

With enough solid practice, you should start feeling more confident in your playing. If you can get comfortable with all 40 rudiments, you’ll be able to do virtually anything on the drums. The flam paradiddle is just one of many useful patterns that’ll give you more creative ideas and control.

The next rudiment on your to do list should be the single flammed mill. It’s similar to the flam paradiddle, but with reversed sticking.

Download a free rudiments poster PDF here


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