Paradiddle Inversion Naming Systems

It is common knowledge that the Paradiddle sticking is RLRR LRLL. It is also fairly normal to be aware of the 4 Paradiddle inversions RLRR LRLL / RLLR LRRL / RRLR LLRL / RLRL LRLR. Each of these inversions has a name, but what that name is depends greatly on what naming system you happen to use. There are several competing sets of terminology and some extra non-systematic names that further muddy the waters. It would be nice if percussionists would just pick one set of names, but consensus is not our strongest attribute. Here we will look at several of the naming systems so that you can see what options exist and how to translate if you meet someone using a different system than you are used to.

One of the most common systems, listed first below in the chart, is called PIMA: Paradiddle, Inverted, Mill, Alternating. A very similar system is used on the Rudimental Codex and could be called PIRO: Paradiddle, Inward, Reverse, Outward. Joel Rothman refers to them by the position of the diddle: Diddles at the End, Diddles in the Middle, Diddles at the Start, Connecting Diddles. It is also somewhat common to simply use the syllables of the word paradiddle to show the position of the strokes: pa-ra-di-ddle, ra-di-ddle-pa, di-ddle-pa-ra, ddle-pa-ra-di.

Listed below all of these terms in the chart, separated by the —- are some other names that do not seem to be part of a system. The 4 that happen to line up in a row together are NOT necessarily related in this case. A few could be swapped out for an equivalent term in one of the systems above, for example Outside for Outward or Inside for Inward. Some just have no place in any system and are confusing or even contradictory. Use terms below the —– with caution.




Diddles at End





Inverted paradiddle

Inward Paradiddle

Diddles in Middle



Inside Paradiddle



Reverse Paradiddle

Diddles at Start




Backward Paradiddle


Alternating Quads

Outward Diddle

Connecting Diddles



Delayed Paradiddle

Outside Paradiddle

Reverse Paradiddle

Inverted Reverse Para…

I am not sure which of these systems is the oldest, nor which is considered to be the most officially correct, if any. It is interesting to see the different names. My recommendation is to pick a coherent system over the one-off names at the bottom of the chart. PIMA, PIRO, Diddle location, or Syllables all work well. Making your own concoction is probably unwise, but I cannot stop you. If you happen to know of other names or other systems please contact me and I will add them to the chart.