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Accented doubles, for Kit & Congas

This concept came about primarily from some Conga material I was working with. There are many stickings such as Paradiddles that use singles and doubles combined. However, most of the time the accents come on single strokes or maybe on one of the individual double strokes. There are certain techniques on Congas and other multi toned drums where it is useful to accent both of the doubles in these type of patterns. Lets look at a basic sticking in example one. You can see it is the paradiddle but misplaced so it is starting on the double ‘RR’

Ex 1

This is very typically a pattern that is most useful on Congas where the ‘RR’ and ‘LL’ accent on either open tones or different drums. To make this sound smooth it is important to accent both of the doubles. (Having said that, one of my Indian teachers maintained that the second double should be slightly more accented at higher speed. The ear is tricked into hearing both equally).

When I tried this with sticks I found it to be a really great warm up which gave me something entirely different from regular paradiddles and stickings. Run through all these examples with sticks on snare drum.

Like much drumming, it can easily be made interesting by combining groups of twos and threes. Lets look at a slightly longer version of this sticking. This is equivalent to the double paradiddle displaced to start on the ‘RR’

Ex 2

Next up we combine elements of these two units to make slightly more interesting patterns. To begin with we will use this form, 3 + 3 + 2. Notice that the pattern actually spans over two bars with the first bar starting with the ‘RR’ and the second bar starting with the ‘LL’ I personally really like these long ‘symmetrical’ stickings, esp on multi toned drums such as congas. Even around regular drum set toms or on the snare as accents it can be interesting as well. It is also a killing warm up!!

Ex 3

Next up, 3 + 2 + 3

Ex 4

Then of course, 2 + 3 + 3

Ex 5

Really concentrate on getting the accented notes to come out evenly and distinct from the no accented notes and try to push the tempo up.

Next we go one stage further and spread a pattern over four bars. We are still using the same building blocks but configured…

3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 2 + 2

Ex 6

Up until now we have been accenting only the doubles, ‘LL’ and ‘RR’ within the patterns. We will continue to accent all these doubles but begin by moving them out onto the floor tom and small tom. As I previously mentioned, accenting these doubles is really great as a warm up, especially on the toms but it also provides some interesting phrasing possibilities. Lets start by accenting the ‘RR’ and ‘LL’ on the toms with this simple 6/8 sticking. Simple as this sticking might appear, it is a really good work out and definitely worth persevering with once we get to add some other accents.

Ex 7

Next up we pick out a couple of single accents on the snare. All the non accented snare notes should be ghosted quietly and not over stressed.

Ex 8

In example three we add some different accents on the single strokes. All the doubles continue as previously, accented on the toms.

Ex 9

Example four sees us expanding the pattern out so it makes up a bar of 4/4. The first part of this example is the same as example three with identical accents. We then add group of four sixteenths orchestrated on the snare and bass drum.

Ex 10

Next we use the same 3 + 3 + 2 formula but arrange the sticking so it extends symmetrically over two bars. By ending on the right hand on the last sixteenth of bar one gives us the option of playing the second bar with the opposite sticking.

Ex 11

There are limitless options with these stickings and accent permutations. Of course, if you have more toms then it would be easy to make melodic phrases over longer periods of time. This approach can be great for developing solo concepts and also for putting together fills with a melodic angle. It also works great on percussion and melodic drums such as Congas as we will see below.


There are many approaches to Congas covering traditional rhythms but not so much material which comes from a purely technical angle. I am continually surprised by how effective basic drum rudiments such as Paradiddles are in creating interesting melodic patterns on Congas. Of course, these approaches are not from a traditional angle but do provide some really great options for non idiomatic playing.

Lets take the basis of the simple sticking pattern we have developed over earlier.


We will now develop this for three congas. As an important note, for the purpose of this lesson I am assuming the Hi conga is in the middle of your set up with the low drum on your right and the mid conga on your left from the players perspective. The layout of multi conga set ups is by no means standardized and can also consist of any number of drums. It is also common to use sets of two drums. In this instance you can still use these patterns and approaches by playing the open notes notated on the mid conga as open notes on the hi conga instead. This will lead to different melodic material but interesting all the same.  The notation key is below.

Also, I am choosing to not notate any accents as with the previous articles. This is because the different tones of the drums speak for themselves in the overall shape of the rhythms. All the finger tip strokes should be played very quietly as ghost strokes.

This first Conga example demonstrates how easy it is to create a melodic groove with such a simple hand pattern.

Ex 12

Next we have a different accent pattern but with the last ‘R L’ of the bar on the low conga and mid conga respectively.

Ex 12.5

Then more action with the right hand moving around the drums for accents and open tones.

Ex 14

Then a continued look at the 6/8 feel with some different accents and open tones. It is amazing how many different grooves can be created with one basic hand pattern. Bear in mind we have used the same hand pattern for all the Conga examples so far yet they all sound completely different.

Ex 15

Finally we will extend this out to expand the 6/8 into one bar of 4/4.

Ex 16



"You were born an original; don't die a copy."













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