Level Up Your Dubler Trigger-Drumming with Rhythmic Exercises

3 min read • Aykan Esen • 19th Apr 2021
In November we released a video and a PDF document containing a guide to rhythmic exercises aimed at improving Dubler trigger-drumming technique. These exercises can also be re-designed and used to come up with new ideas for beats! 

The concept is based on paradiddles which are 16th note patterns that drummers practice regularly to improve their technique.

Recap of 16th-Note Notation

You do not need experience reading music to be able to do these exercises, but 16th-note notation is very straightforward and can be a great visual guide.

The easiest way to read and write 16th-notes is the “1 - e - and - a” system. There are sixteen 16th-notes in one bar, so in this system you would sing them as shown below:

The rest of the notation changes depending on which 16th-notes are omitted. For example, with all of the second ‘e’ notes omitted here’s how the series of notes would look and sound:
Here are the rest of the possible combinations:
There is one combination that we have left out and this one is what would be left if we took out all of the e’s and a’s, leaving us with 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and. These are simply 8th-notes!

Paradiddles with Dubler

Paradiddles and rudiments are exercises that drummers usually do with practice pads or snare drums. They are series of 16th-notes with alternating patterns and the exercises are written using the letters ‘R’ and ‘L.’ This is to indicate which note is to be hit with which hand - right or left. Here’s an example:
The benefit of practicing lines like these is ingraining them in your memory so that you can apply them while playing multiple drums like toms and kicks or even cymbals and hi-hats. But how does this apply to Dubler?

With Dubler, we’re going to associate the ‘R’ and ‘L’ letters with samples that we have mapped to triggers. In our first example, we have a ‘Buh’ sound mapped to a kick and a ‘cha’ sound mapped to a snare. We’ll treat the kick as ‘R’ and the snare as ‘L.’

With a metronome and hi-hat loop in the background, here’s a performance of the abve paradiddle example:
Even though it’s a simple pattern, it is definitely one that you may not come up with while jamming completely freely. This is the biggest benefit of practicing these kinds of lines and writing your own down.

The first page of exercises in the PDF is comprised of more lines like this - where you sing every single 16th-note without breaks - but the next pages have more complicated and interesting patterns.

Advanced Patterns

The third and fourth pages in the PDF contain exercises with the variations of 16th-note series where rests are used. Here are some examples again using a kick for ‘R’ and a snare for ‘L’:
Of course, there’s no rule that says you only have to use a kick and a snare. In the next example we use an open hi-hat for R and a closed hi-hat for L to try and get an interesting hat pattern going:
Until now we’ve only looked at paradiddles where the rhythm of the notes is identical across the four measures in each bar, but you start to get the best results when changing up the pattern after every couple notes.

These are the types of exercises found on page five of the PDF and here’s an example where we use two different conga hits for R and L:
We recommend trying your hand at all 22 of the exercises we have provided but you can take things much further by writing your own and even adding a third (and fourth!) sound to your patterns.

If you have any questions be sure to leave a comment so we can get back to you!
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Aykan Esen

Digital Content Creator at Vochlea Music