Making Music with Marshall

Basic sticking patterns every drummer should know

Posted: 20th April 2022

Drum rudiments are a vital part of drumming, whatever your level. Whether you’re picking up the sticks for the first time or you’ve been playing for years, they’re a building block to improve your game and extend your technical capabilities.

Every pattern you play behind the kit comes from a drum rudiment, sometimes without you even realising.

In this article, we’re going to go through the basics that are essential to getting you on the right track with your playing.

Read time: 7 mins


single strokes

Undoubtedly the most frequently used rudiment in drumming and key to developing beats and fills. It’s played with singular hits with alternating hands (R, L, R, L) or (L, R, L, R) starting with your strongest or most comfortable hand. Aim to keep the speed down whilst keeping each hit consistent at the same volume, this will help you find your form and build up from there.

double strokes

Double Strokes are another very popular rudiment. These consist of double hits with alternating hands (R, R, L, L) or (L, L, R, R) starting with your most comfortable hand. With Double Strokes, it can take a lot more practicing to find the consistent volume of each hit compared to singles due to trying to control the bounce and motion from the first hit, so keep the tempo quite slow and focus on finding your form and build it up from there. 


The Paradiddle is a combination of single strokes and double strokes. It starts with your leading hand by playing two alternating singles followed by doubles (R, L, R, R) which is then repeated by the opposite hand (L, R, L, L) to form the paradiddle. This rudiment works really well as a beat with the leading hand on the hi-hats and the second hand on the snare with a bass drum hit on the first note.

double paradiddle

If you’ve already tried a paradiddle then you’ll notice how similar the double paradiddle is. The main difference between them is the fact you’re playing 4 alternating singles at the beginning compared to 2 in a paradiddle, which is why we call it a double paradiddle. This is a 12-note rudiment and starts with the 4 singles (R, L, R, L) which is then followed by a double (R, R), before repeating the same structure starting with the alternative hand (L, R, L, R, L, L).  


flam stroke

The Flam consists of two notes being played together as one. The first note is played at a lower volume whilst the second plays at a normal volume (L, R) or (R, L) . The key to this is for the first note to hit a fraction earlier than the second so that it’s played slightly off-set, making it sound like it’s a single hit but giving it a fatter and thicker sound. This works brilliantly on the Snare Drum or Toms to add a bit of extra power and volume to them when you hit them.

If you feel like you understand these drum rudiments try them out for yourself! Grab a metronome and follow along starting at 60bpm, once you think you’ve mastered that try and gradually speed it up to 160bpm.

If you’ve followed this article you should now be able to recognise some basic drum rudiments and begin to incorporate these into your own playing when necessary.