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In this quick tip, Keith Carlock breaks down his favorite lick – one he says he adapted from Elvin Jones, and has become something of a signature.

It’s a simple paradiddle-based pattern: two notes on the bass drum, right hand left hand, and a roll to finish it: KKRLRRLL

The key to getting the dynamic hill-and-valley sound is to put the emphasis on the first four notes (KKRL) and keep the following roll quiet. Keith refers to that first kick-kick-right-left section as the ‘accent’.

From there, you can start mixing it up around the kit to make it more interesting. You can also make the roll longer. Try doubling it up: KKRLRRLLRRLL

You might change out the paradiddlediddle for other rudiments if you want to make it your own.

Use this lick in fills, in solos, as a transition, or maybe at the end of a song where you want to play a powerful flurry of notes. There are so many ways to adapt it, and even Keith is still finding new ways to play it. Now it’s your turn. Take it away!


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