The “Basic” Basic Rudiments + EXTRAS

Carl warming up

Carl warming up

The foundations of any instrumental performance are always crucial. Paul Baloche calls it the “blocking & tackling” of good musicianship… you HAVE to do some basic things to create a strong foundation in your playing. If you have had any formal training as a drummer you probably studied the 40 International Rudiments. I do recommend downloading the FREE pdf file from the Percussion Arts Society website.  You should work on these to develop the drumming vocabulary you need to play almost any combination of ideas.

If you are just getting started with rudiments, or if you just want the “basics” of the basics I recommend this simple approach: Work on a simple combination of patterns that will create a strong foundation for the others. Because almost all music can be broken down into “duple” time ( which is subdividing or feeling everything in “2”)… or in “triple” time which is felt in “3”, you should practice basic sticking patterns counting with different subdivisions in mind.  *For instance the “duple” time list goes like this:

Counting 1 e & ah 2 e & ah 3 e & ah 4 e & ah  — play the following patterns/ repeating as many times as you like… I’d say at least 2 bars/ but 4 bars is better…. or until you feel you have it under control. – YES, USE A METRONOME – Start slow at first, and then everyday pick different tempo markings and learn to control the patterns at whatever speed you choose. **You may also play these on a practice pad if you like, but also be sure to have time playing the patterns around the drum set too.**

A Single Stroke Roll – R L R L   R L R L  R L R L  R L R L,

a Double Stroke Roll – R R L L  R R L L   repeat….;

then a Paradiddle – R L R R  L R L L    repeat….;

then a few variations – R R L R  L L R L ……..  R L L L   R L L L…….   R R R L  R R R L…..   L R R R  L R R R ……                                 L L L R  L L L R ……    R R R R  L L L L.

For the triplet feel you can count – 1 la lee  2 la lee  3 la lee  4 la lee,   etc. etc.    OR 1 trip let 2 trip let…  OR even – tri-pa-let  tri-pa-let     & so on. Whatever counting method helps you focus on a triplet feel is fine. Now play these patterns:

A Single Stroke Roll —  R L R  L R L  R L R  L R L     repeat….

A TRIPLE STROKE Roll  — R R R  L L L  R R R  L L L     repeat….


NEW – * A PARADIDLE-DIDDLE – R L R R L L    R L R R L L  /                                                                                                       OR – start it left handed – L R L L R R  L R L L R R

AND  variations —   R L L  R L L…….  R R L  R R L…….    L R R  L R R …….  L L R  L L R ………   R R R  L L L ……  *NEW –  ALSO TRY playing doubles in a triplet count  R R L L R R   L L  R R L L  – You can count this as 1 & 2 & 3 & // or tri-pa-let  tri-pa-let… etc.

ONE MORE NEW EXERCISE: Many of you asked how to get you kick drum involved in these patterns. You could have the feet play a constant groove as you play the hand patterns. **Simply walking on the main counts : kick on 1, hat on 2, kick on 3, hat on 4.  OR… Kick drum on all 4 pulses (1/4 notes) ; hi-hat on 2 & 4. These are very common. Try any foot pattern you like, but start with these simple ones first.

Also try playing the sticking patterns with the kick drum as part of the pattern… Such as the “R’s” being your hands & the “L’s” being the kick. This is a great foot coordination exercise.  Yes, you could use the hi-hat foot as part of the pattern, but let’s start with the kick for now.   (As a hi-hat primer you could play constant 1/4 notes or 1/8 notes with your hi-hat foot as you play these hand & kick combinations. BUT, only do that after you’ve got the other parts working smoothly. / It’s OK to build one piece at a time.)  OK… here we go…. **A very popular fill idea is to play 2 notes with the hands & 2 with the kick:  R L k k  R L k k  — that’s right, left, kick, kick, etc.  Count 1 e & ah, 2 e & ah, & so on. You can also start with the kick & finish with the hands, or any combination you like, but start with this basic stamina builder. YES, use a metronome. AND… lastly try playing a group of 6 notes… 4 with the hands 2 on the kick…   R L R L k k  R L R L k k.  Be sure to count this pattern in a “3” pattern — 1 & 2 & 3 &    OR  “I like” — tri-pa-let  tri-pa-let.     OK,,, that’s plenty to build upon.

Of course you can play as many variations of the patterns as you choose, but I recommend starting with these. Also the classic drum book “Stick Control” by George Lawrence Stone is a great technique builder that would expand these ideas. But the idea of this post is to give you a vital starting point. Almost all other patterns will be built on these. OK… there ya go…. get to work and see how your control and stamina will grow. Be sure to count slow & steady at first. Then gradually build speed. Your goal is to keep it smooth and relaxed… NO TENSION!

Matched Grip

Matched Grip


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About Carl

Carl has been a professional drummer & percussionist for over 30 years. He has played on over 80 Integrity Music projects; Maranatha Praise Band recordings 7 thru 10, & numerous other Christian, Pop, Country, Jazz, & Commercial projects.


  1. Hey Carl, Very nice…Yes that’s right it’s all true…I still haven’t shown you all my strength exercises or drum material…hope to see you at the next “Well”…Blessings, Ralph : ))

    • Hi Ralph, Thanks for the thumbs up. YES,,, we must get together & jam a little. I’m in to learning more… We’ll hook up soon & share some drum ideas and other stories. Blessings, Carl

  2. Thanks for the share Carl! God bless you and your ministry!

  3. Carl,
    When doing the Paradiddle-diddle try it like this: RLRRLL RLRRLL RLRR LRLLRR LRLLRR LRLL RLRR LRLL RLRRLL RLRRLL RLRR LRLLRR LRLLRR LRLL and so on. You can gain a lot of speed while reversing the combination!! ALso have you thought of adding Flamadiddle taps ( Right handed flam) FLRRL FLRRL FLRRL. It was good seeing you again this past weekend in CT. Say hi to Paul for me I was surprised that he remembered me after all these years!!!!! Shoot me an email if your going to be in the area again. I would love to get together and go over some more rudiments.



    • Hey Kevin, Yea,, that’s a cool option too. Great ideas. / Just trying to give drummers & basic starting place with rudiments, but for sure we all should keep building upon a strong foundation. Thanks for ideas… I’m gonna try these myself. 🙂 Ciao, Carl

  4. Hey Carl,
    Thanks for the post, especially for the PAS link!

  5. Kelly Owen says

    Hi Carl!
    Thanks again for another great tip on the fundamental rudiments! The paradiddle diddle has been my new favorite lately ! I’ll use these exercises on my students as well! I use Stick Control, but I like your fun ideas, and how you explain them, … it’s not too confusing! Have a great time w/Paul.
    Your wife was AMAZING @ CMS!!!! She’s far above Rubies for sure! Hope to see you soon at the WELL!
    Praying for you both!

  6. Excellent article on basic drum rudiments. Thanks.

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