One of my favorite stickings that I’ve used often in many situations over the years is LLRL-RLRR. Let’s take a look at the basic sticking played on the snare (Ex. 1). 

Now let’s take a look at one of the ways I initially started playing this sticking (Ex. 2). Technically, that’s a reversed left-handed paradiddle followed by a forward right-handed paradiddle. Beat two of the sticking is a mirror image of beat one of the sticking and vice-a-versa. 

I started experimenting with a 2:3 clave and I started to realize if I’m getting a backbeat on 4 when I’m playing a 3:2 clave, and a backbeat on 2 when I’m playing a 2:3 clave, maybe I can get backbeats on 2 and 4 (Ex. 3).

Having my left hand up on the mounted tom didn’t offer many places to put my right hand. I set up a pandeiro to the left of my hi-hat so my right hand was free to move around the kit, and decided to try putting my right hand on my hi-hat while my left hand was on the pandeiro (Ex. 4).

After that, I tried putting my right hand on my cowbell and experimented with the bass drum, landing on the go-go pattern (Ex. 5). I dug this groove so much I wrote a tune around it called “Sprung Monkey.”

What’s great about this sticking is the hands can remain split up—you can put the left hand on the hi-hat and put the right hand anywhere around the kit. This gives the illusion that you have some left hand lead stuff worked out. Ex. 6 is a variation with the left hand on hi-hat with the right hand moving between the cowbell, snare, and toms. 

I love the versatility of this sticking. I really dig the rhythm that the right hand spells out, and that it lends itself well to being split up around the kit, especially moving from a ride source to the high and/or low toms. Have fun and stay funky!