As a drummer, you should have a solid understanding of how to create your drum rudiments. As you might know, the word “rudiment” comes from the Latin word “rudere,” which means breaking or destroying.

These exercises are designed to improve your coordination and timing by breaking down complex rhythms into their simplest form so they can be mastered one by one. There are dozens of different rudiments, but today we’ll focus on the most useful ones that are easy to implement into your playing.

If grooves are sentences, then rudiments are the letters. The whole point is to play rudiments with your muscles and not brain memory. Meaning when you repeat some rudiment enough times, you don’t have to think about it.

Then, your hands are doing all the work as you taught them to, and your brain stays “unemployed.” The purpose of all this is not to think about rudiments but focus more on sound, energy, and emotion.

Drumming needs to be musical so avoid rudimental drumming.

First, let us talk about these rudiments, and later on, we will answer all the rudiment-related questions.

## What are drum rudiments?

Most of the rudiments are created out of two basic ones:

- Singles R L R L, leading with left and right
- Doubles R R L L, leading with left and right

Let’s take a single paradiddle as an example:

*R L R R L R L L*

You might have played this rudiment without thinking about what it is made of. Let’s deconstruct it:

First, we have two singles *RL,* then two doubles *RR*, two singles again *LR*, and two doubles at the end *LL.*

Do you see? Although this rudiment, as many others, may seem complex, they are made as a combination of singles and doubles.

Now when you know how rudiments are made, try creating your own. Yes, that’s right, you can create your own rudiments and explore drumming very easily.

Here is how. Let’s say you want to create rudiments out of 9 strokes.

Here are few examples:

*R R L R L R L L L*

*R L L R L L R L R*

*L R L R R L L R L*

Ok, let’s start with singles and build from there.

## Single stroke roll

Singles are usually played and practiced in 16th notes meaning if you play metronome, it will play quarter notes by default. So you need to play four while the metronome plays only one.

Although the single stroke roll is effortless, we can make it more complex by adding accents.

We will have bold accented hits, all others need to be very dynamic, so when you speed up, you can still hear a difference in dynamic.

**R** L R L

R **L **R L

R L **R **L

R L R **L**

**R L** R L

**R** L **R** L

**R** L R **L**

R **L R** L

R** L **R **L**

R L **R L**

There are ten variations. You can use them in licks by mixing them, let’s say

**R** L R L R **L** R **L**

or

R **L R** L **R** L R **L**

You should “glue” them all together and play one or a few bars each. Here is an example:

**R** L R L **R **L R L **R** L R L **R** L R L R **L** R L R** L** R L R **L** R L R **L** R L

One bar of accents on one and one bar of accents on two. But, the idea is to play like this the whole exercise and go through all accents.

## Double stroke roll

Let’s move into doubles, where we can also play with accents. Basic doubles are just RRLL, assuming you are starting with the right hand.

Let’s go through variations of doubles.

R R L L

L L R R

R L L R

L R R L

R L L R

Here is an excellent exercise for double stroke roll.

**R R** L L **R R** L L **R R** L L **R R** L L

**R** L L **R R** L L **R R** L L **R R** L L **R**

L L **R R** L L **R R** L L **R R** L L **R R**

L **R R** L L **R R** L L **R R** L L **R R** L

Here is a version that starts with the left hand:

**L L** R R **L L** R R **L L **R R **L L** R R

**L** R R **L L** R R **L L** R R **L L **R R **L **

R R **L L** R R **L L** R R **L L **R R **L L**

R **L L** R R **L L** R R **L L** R R** L L** R

With just these two exercises we have shown, you have many possibilities, but let’s move on and see what you all can do with paradiddles.

## Paradiddles

So we have a single paradiddle that we already discussed R L R R L R L L

Most drummers are familiar with only this one paradiddle and not all the variations. This is a single paradiddle, but we can add more singles and make a double paradiddle or triple paradiddle. Here is how this looks:

R L R L R R L R L R L L – double paradiddle

R L R L R L R R L R L R L R L L – triple paradiddle

Next, we can change the sticking:

R R L R L L R L – version 2

R L L R L R R L – version 3

Now, let’s go through accents of basic single paradiddle:

**R **L R R **L** R L L

R **L** R R L **R** L L

R L **R **R L R **L** L

R L R **R** L R L **L**

**R L** R R **L R** L L

**R** L **R** R **L** R **L** L

**R** L R **R** **L** R L **L**

R **L R** R L **R L** L

R **L** R **R** L **R **L **L**

R L **R R** L R **L L**

Did you notice a similarity with the first exercise of single stroke rolls?

The accents are the same. You can do the same thing with the other two versions of paradiddles.

Let us give you a hint of what else you can do. Use fragments of paradiddle and make loops but leave some space to make it more interesting. Like this

R L R R R L R R R L R R L R L L R L R R

or

R L R R L R L R R L L R L R R L R L L R

All this can be done with different accents and by adding a foot. Here is an example:

R L R R L R L R R L L R L R R L R L L R

F F F F F F F F

We already show you the massive potential that these three basic rudiments have. The devil lies in variations, and if you move around only one rudiment like a single paradiddle, you can get 30 variations easily.

Here is an additional example of what else you can do with any rudiment.

Let’s take a single paradiddle again:

R L R R L R L L

instead of accents, you can play flams; it will look like this:

**FLAM** L R R L R L L

Of course, you can move it around like the accents. One more concept is to play the 32nd note instead of the accent.

Let’s move on and see what else is out there.

## Triple stroke roll

Triplets are generally subdivided into groups of three notes.

The best way to start with triplets is to play them with the metronome in 4/4 time signature.

While a metronome plays only one note, you play three until the next metronome sound.

The basic triplet looks like this:

R L R

L R L

R R R

L L L

You can also add flames: FLAM R L or FLAM L R

You can also move accents around:

**R** L R **L** R L

R **L** R L **R** L

R L **R **L R **L**

**R L** R **L R** L

**R** L **R** **L** R **L**

**R** L **R** L **R** L

R **L** R **L **R **L**

R **L R **L **R L **

After you get comfortable playing all these accents, you can mix them. The next step is to play rudiments made of 8 strokes like paradiddles in triplets. Finally, you will get something that drummers call three over four.

If you are playing two triplets in one bar equals six strokes, you are getting into a six-stroke roll, and that’s precisely what we are going to cover next.

## Six stroke roll

The basic version is R L R L R L, but you can do whatever you want as long as it has six strokes. Here are the most common variations:

R L R R L L

R R L L R L

R R L R L L

L R R L L R

R L R L R R

L R L R L L

Of course, you can add accents, flams, 32nd notes but let’s do something more interesting. Let’s replace some notes with a foot and create a hybrid rudiment, for instance:

F R R L L R

F R L R L L

R L R L L F

This kind of chops gain popularity through gospel music and drummers like Calvin Rodgers, Aaron Spears, Teddy Campbell, Chris Coleman, etc.

Let’s switch gears and talk about the “uncomfortable” drum rudiments.

## Odd Time signature

In western culture, almost all rhythms are in four except for jazz which is played in a triplet feel, but it is still in 4/4. There are some variations like jazz waltz in 3/4, but most of this genre is in 4/4 time signature.

This is the reason behind not being comfortable with time signatures like 9/8, 7/8, 11/8, and so on. If you want to master this kind of rhythms, we suggest you check out some easter countries drummers like Volkan Oktem from the Turkish band Laco Taifa. These guys eat odd time signatures for breakfast.

Another great example is the song Seven Days by Sting, featuring Vinnie Colaiuta on drums. This song is in 5/8, but it almost sounds like a 4/4 feel that you can dance to.

Basics of odd time signatures are the rudiments like five-stroke roll, seven stroke roll, nine stroke roll, and so on.

## Odd drum rudiments

Now, the world here really expands into a sea of possibilities, so it is impossible to cover everything, but we will give some ideas, so you have a foundation to build further.

In this chapter, we are going to talk about quintuplets, septuplets, and ninetuples.

The best way to count these odd drum rudiments is to subdivide them. Here is how you can do it:

5 become 1 2 3-1 2 or 1 2-1 2 3

7 become 1 2 3-1 2-1 2 or 1 2-1 2-1 2 3

9 become 1 2-1 2-1 2-1 2 3 or 1 2 3-1 2-1 2-1 2

Of course, these are not all variations; you can subdivide them however you want.

Here is an excellent video of Anika Nilles showing how she develops quintuplets

Just to give you a hint on septuplets, here is a cool rudiment by Vinnie Colaiuta:

FLAM R L L R L L

Here is a video lesson of the same.

An advanced way to play odd-time rudiments is to play them over the bar as Vinnie does.

## Conclusion

The purpose of this article isn’t to give you a hundred rudiments but to teach you how to create your own so you can make a thousand.

The concept with throwing accents, 32nd notes, loops or flams is applicable on every drum rudiment.

It’s all about the concept and not the licks themselves, this kind of approach will give you a world of possibilities and not only one lick. It will spark your creativity and teach you to build and create.

There is still a lot to cover like flam drag, ten stroke roll, inverted flam tap, thirteen stroke roll; you name it, but more of that in some other article.