Bass drum technique

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
just like a stick you are never going to use the foot plate only one way

sometimes you choke up on the stick for a desired sound and feel ...
sometimes you choke up on the plate for a desired sound and feel

sometimes you control the stick ... sometimes you allow it to respond to a surface

sometimes you bury the beater ... sometimes you play off the head

on and one and on and on

don't corner yourself into playing one way and always do what is comfortable for you

never listen to anyone who says anything like "this is the correct way and this is the incorrect way"
Very well said. Something I keep seeing is people who get "stuck" on one way of doing things and they end up severely limiting their palate for sounds or working much harder than they need to to make certain sounds happen. It's one reason I think that often it's good to let "need" dictate your technique learning. Sometimes I'll come across something that requires I tweak what I'm doing, or learn a new technique to do it right... I always end up having a better grasp on when and how to use that technique than if I had just drilled it from a book without context.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
I use ALL of my pedal.


When I want to play solid, say doing triplets on the double pedal in a heavy part and it has to be TIGHT, I'll "choke up" and play the top of the pedal by the drum.

When I am playing regular stuff I am in the middleish, sometimes further back.

When I need fast rebound I play the back. For heel toe I am on the back also.


A HUUUUUGE part of this is my throne placement. I tend to sit further back. This causes me to play the back of the pedals. Try moving your snare towards the drums sitting more "over" the pedals. When I do this I am playing further up the pedals. Also my technique changes instantly from mostly ankle to way more leg.


As far as pedal settings being "overrated" I'd say for most drummers sure. Set everything to the middle with a decent beater angle and I can play. For my punk band I gear share often and will play whatever. Different setups, sizes, pedals. It doesn't matter. Drums are drums.

Where the settings do come into play is playing 16th notes over 200,220, or doing heel toe at 240,260 bpm. Small adjustments make a HUGE difference and can really change the feel, and if I am comfortable or totally gassed after a gig. I'm not saying extreme metal is better or harder, just that it is very bass drum driven. It's one of the things I love about my punk band is I can play it on any gear. I hate having to be stressed out about pedal settings when they are off.
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
If your foot and ankle muscles haven't been conditioned, then all the spring and pedal adjustments in the world won't matter. You should be able to use your pedal with very "normal" settings. How it came out of the box is probably just fine.

Sit with your thighs pointing downward slightly. You should be sitting a few inches higher than it takes to make your thighs parallel to the ground. Don't slouch -- sit up straight with your shoulders back.

If you want to challenge your heel-down technique, disengage the spring completely from the pedal, and practice "dribbling" the beater on the bass drum head using your foot. The idea is to press down, and immediately lift your toes, so that the beater can bounce off the head on its own.
True, normally a pedal comes already "setup" for the best performance.
And yes, the techniques you are suggesting are correct.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
So, start with readjusting your pedals and your seat/kick placement. I hope it helps :)
If your foot and ankle muscles haven't been conditioned, then all the spring and pedal adjustments in the world won't matter. You should be able to use your pedal with very "normal" settings. How it came out of the box is probably just fine.

Sit with your thighs pointing downward slightly. You should be sitting a few inches higher than it takes to make your thighs parallel to the ground. Don't slouch -- sit up straight with your shoulders back.

If you want to challenge your heel-down technique, disengage the spring completely from the pedal, and practice "dribbling" the beater on the bass drum head using your foot. The idea is to press down, and immediately lift your toes, so that the beater can bounce off the head on its own.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Hi,

So when I play the bass drum it’s near then back of the pedal not the front like I see mostly everyone do even professionals
Most pros that play jazz are comfortable using both heel down and heel up. A big upside to having a heel down technique is the lower volume.

You were just asking about practicing comping exercises, right? You're having trouble because the muscles in your ankle haven't developed yet. This won't happen overnight. You seem to naturally be a heel-up, back of the pedal person, which is fine. But now it's time to learn a new skill: foot down, toe near the top of the foot board. Press by using the "ball" of your foot.

Go through all your comping exercises heel down. You'll feel some burning in front of your shin (tibialis anterior) as you fatigue that muscle. Keep it up over a couple months and you'll develop strength, agility, and endurance. Look up some ways to stretch that muscle out, massage it regularly, and drink some water before you practice (don't over do it).

When playing, you might find yourself switching between both techniques, or just using heel up for fast, loud things. But in general, when you're jamming with quieter, acoustic instruments (piano, upright bass), your comping will be heel down, in order to be quieter.

One last thing: developing a good heel down technique will give you added speed and finesse when you're playing heel up, because the two techniques share many of the same muscle movements. So, even if you never ever play heel down on a gig, your practice will be worth it.
 

veecharlie

Senior Member
you could try with adjusting your pedal (as mentioned above). Further, maybe experiment with other types of techniques. However, one thing you may not realize, the posture and height of the seat is something that can either help or break your foot technique. For example, I am tall and I have struggled in the past to find my "ideal" height. It would limit my double kick technique so much I would not be able to play them at all. The position of your throne could also potentially annoy you, if you lean too much backwards you will find yourself compensating extra weight on your feet due to the incorrect forward balance of your back, etc.
If I start having an issue with my foot, I always start from there... 99% of the times solves my issue.
So, start with readjusting your pedals and your seat/kick placement. I hope it helps :)
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
I've always played my pedal a little over half-way back on the footboard. To me, that's where I get the most amount of "feel" and power. This is not something I've done consciously - it just turned out that way. Playing heel down would require a lot of rewiring of my brain at this point, but I can certainly see the utility of that style, especially in jazz or quieter music.

GeeDeeEmm
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
Most pedals I've played, whether chain drive or direct drive, whether playing slow or fast, feel best in the center, more or less.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Spring tension, beater height footwear, burying the beater or not and a hot of other things may influence placement.

There is a spot, with general settings, about 2/3 up on the board where you'll find the spot for general bounce.

How it looks when someone else is playing may also depend of footwear and where your put your weight, which is porbabl the ball of your foot unbless you're wearing really thick soled shoes.
 

Peppermint_Sanders

Junior Member
Most drummers who use the heel up technique have their foot placement farther back on the pedal. It's known as the "sweet spot" and allows the player to push the platform down with minimal effort and maximum velocity from the beater into the head. If it feels good, and is producing positive results, I would stay with it.
 

Ikebongo

Member
Hi,

So when I play the bass drum it’s near then back of the pedal not the front like I see mostly everyone do even professionals. For some reason I do not ‘feel’ it and it’s odf just a tiny bit when I try to play near the front of the pedal. But when I’m near the back end of the pedal I really feel the kick more and I place it more accurately. I use heal up when doing this. Is there any pro drummers you guys know of that use this techno’s? Or is this called something and I don’t even know it yet?
 
Top