|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
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’
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
Next up, 3 + 2 + 3
Then of course, 2 + 3 + 3
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
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.
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.
In example three we add some different accents on the single strokes.
All the doubles continue as previously, accented on the toms.
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.
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.
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.
USING THIS CONCEPT FOR CONGAS
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
R R L R L R L L R L R L
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.
Next we have a different accent pattern but with the last ‘R L’ of the
bar on the low conga and mid conga respectively.
Then more action with the right hand moving around the drums for accents
and open tones.
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
Finally we will extend this out to expand the 6/8 into one bar of 4/4.
"You were born an
original; don't die a copy."