Double Bass Drum Futility

MisterZero

Senior Member
9 years and counting. That's how long I've spent trying to get fast double bass drumming. And I'm still no good. I understand that there are no shortcuts, but I'm not taking a short cut....

Any advice? Is it possible it'll never come around?

I've told my kids that hard work and perseverance will yield results in everything. I'm not so sure anymore. I'm so deflated on this. I can't believe I still haven't mastered or become at least "pretty good' at it.

Anyone know any teacher in Buffalo area that could help? I might give this one more year and quit.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Jason Horsler, a former regular contributor here, wrote a book based on the concept that 'perfect practice makes perfect'.

So, while you may be devoting a lot of time to working your feet, if your methods are flawed, you won't make progress. For example, many drummers start working on a figure slowly, and then speed up, until they lose the feel. Then they repeat the process. Unfortunately, they never get beyond that certain speed, because they've trained themselves the play and speed up, not to actually learn the figure. The correct approach is to practice slowly, and stay slow. Increasing speed comes later, not while still learning the figure.

It's stuff like that makes a difference.

Agreed that a local teacher can help with the learning process, and they can probably demonstrate some techniques that can help.

Bermuda
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Perhaps you're being too hard on yourself?

To me it seems the definition of "fast" keeps changing.

I used to be very into double bass, but it never even crossed my mind that double bass would evolve into the extreme drumming we find today.
 

MisterZero

Senior Member
Thanks guys. It' s not even as though I play metal anyway. But, whenever I see a band play, the drummer, at the end of a song, throws in these fast double bass rolls along with cymbal washes. it could be any band, and these guys do it with ease. It looks so simple. It's almost like I'm doing it COMPLETELY wrong. I even asked the one guy after the show how he was able to get so fast with his feet. He just said 'practice'. Ugh, "no duh". The worst part, he'd been playing drums for 7 years....gasp. I've been trying this one thing longer.

Great point, Bermuda, about my practicing. Maybe my approach is severely flawed. Time to get an expert. I've Youtubed the heck out of this. These punk kids going unbelievably fast!! (That made me sound old).

Yes, Drum, who would've known it got to this speed?!?
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
You really need to check out George Kollias' double bass drum book. It reviews the different leg motions that occur at the different tempos.

What I usually see when people are stuck at a certain tempo is that they are using the form for the slower tempo and trying to simply speed it up. It doesn't work that way. The MOTION changes.

In nature we see this all the time: A horse doesn't use the same gait as it accelerates. It goes from a walk to a trot to a canter to a gallop. Each one of those motions is different, and optimized for a certain velocity. If a horse tried to trot and simply sped up that gait, it would never get up to speed.

At slow tempos: Full leg
Midrange: Leg and ankle
Fast: Ankle motion

If you are using your full leg aka "running on the pedals" you will never comfortably play fast.
 

Servant

Junior Member
Hard and quality work, perseverance and good technique will yield results in everything :)

Stick with George Kollias, Eugene Ryabchenko and the last JoJo Mayers' DVD. George has two DVDs, one book (two more are coming) and an online lesson forum (very very good material). Eugene has a youtube channel where he publishes excellent tutorials. JoJo's new DVD is not for the double bass, but you can simply apply the techniques described to both feet ;)
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
Mister Zero, I feel your pain. I think it's been 10 or more yrs for me. I've only bought one book, Dom Famularo's pedal control, and one CD, Jason Bittner's what drives the beat. I've watched countless youtube clips from famous metal drummers like George, Derik,Gene, JoJo, and many others. Also of non famous, and some are children. By the way I'm 54 and have been playing since 1969. I can use heel toe, continuous release, and basic heel up techniques. I can do swivel with my primary foot for a short amount of time. Continuous release feels the most promising to me. I've been working on that for quite a few yrs and still not very fast. I'm not going to pursue a technique that requires triggers to be heard. If a mic can't pick it up then i don't consider that really playing the drum. That's how I feel about swivel. I don't think I can get the power I need with it. Heel toe maybe, maybe not, I'm not sure yet. It's only been a couple of months that I been able to play heel toe, so I'm not real sure about how loud it can be played. I've worked on stuff so hard that my legs hurt for days afterward. Still I can only play good up to 160 BPM. I can play heel toe faster around 180 but can't sustain it for very long, and it's not very loud yet. As I get more use to doing it I think I'll be able to do it louder. I refuse to give up though.
 

MisterZero

Senior Member
Thanks guys,

Here is me a few months ago using the "floating something", sorry I forgot the name. It kind of works, hurts my Achilles like heck. But I cant always do it. And it requires a build-up. I can't just nail it on command.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzrsceZ_XjI


Here is the heel-toe, which is probably gonna be my savior. I don't like it because I feel like it's cheating. (It's RRLLRRLL). This video isn't my best work on this technique, I have it down tighter now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3YGeDXwUkE
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
good double kick takes years to get fast, and sweating..

but I guess how much do you practice it? you say your not a metal guy, so when i was learning it,being in a metal band I was doing 16th notes in songs at 200+ bpm for extended periods.. If you only dedicate a few minutes a day its going to be much harder. also... its different playing during a beat vs just using your feet.

one thing i know is that rubber pad isn't going to help you get fast.. your settings and set up make a large difference... some other peoples kits i absolutely suck with double kick. but that pad will have next to no rebound.

a few things that helped me were to actually loosen my springs, and tighten my batter head a fair bit.. .that rebound helps me play fast and not have my ankles/legs burn up. A lot of metal guys say to max your springs for speed, but as long as your feet arn't going faster than your pedals its not really necessary.

I also notice you play heel down? That shouldn't be an issue but I know for me it would be hard to play very fast like that.

the tight bater head (very tight) will help for heel to also.

Lastly, once you hit blistering fast kick for MOST people it gets a bit quieter. if your trying to hammer the drum super hard every time its not going to be easy to get fast. Id recommend wood beaters for some extra volume. I'm not saying tap the drums as light as you can, but don't be a gorilla to make it easier.

I find the pedal makes a difference.. longboards made my life so much easier. I have played axis, demon drives, tricks and all the works.

The demon drives hit quite hard and are very fast. When i had the axis they lacked a bit of power but I often had issues of my feet going TOO fast and having to focus on not speeding up.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
You really need to check out George Kollias' double bass drum book. It reviews the different leg motions that occur at the different tempos.

What I usually see when people are stuck at a certain tempo is that they are using the form for the slower tempo and trying to simply speed it up. It doesn't work that way. The MOTION changes.

In nature we see this all the time: A horse doesn't use the same gait as it accelerates. It goes from a walk to a trot to a canter to a gallop. Each one of those motions is different, and optimized for a certain velocity. If a horse tried to trot and simply sped up that gait, it would never get up to speed.

At slow tempos: Full leg
Midrange: Leg and ankle
Fast: Ankle motion

If you are using your full leg aka "running on the pedals" you will never comfortably play fast.

also. THIS POST nails it..

the midrange is the hardest...

i can play slow.. and i can play fast,, 160-200 is the hardest range for me... once i hit 200-220bpm it gets easy on the ankles... then i go heel toe for 220-240
 

MisterZero

Senior Member
thanks guys. Beyond, I don't play heel down. the V-drums video shows me using a floating method that I had seen on Youtube. And, I probably practice it a half hour a day, I guess.

I play heel up and bury the beater. I'll try an instructor, as the youtube vids aren't cutting it.

The fact that you say certain tempos are difficult, even slower ones, means I am most assuredly doing this wrong.
 

SlitYourDrums

Senior Member
Ok, a few questions.

1. What kind of pedals are you using?
2. How tight is the spring tension?

Because where what pedals you use don't matter a lot (proved here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tM2OGL_VkM ), some SP's aren't going to perform the same as Pearl P900's, as these to Demon Drives. But what is most important is your spring tension. You will NEVER reach high speeds with low tension. As for technique, I would recommend learning Heel-Toe. Far easier than the famed swivel.
 

MisterZero

Senior Member
thanks, Mil. I use Tama Iron Cobras on my Grestch and Pearl Elims on my Rolands. I've been messing with tension as you have said, and I'm not really sure what I like best. Loose tension is tough when I'm NOT trying double bass rolls. I don't like the feel when doing "regular' playing.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I feel the pain. I like the Tama Iron Cobra but get frustrated and just take off the other beater and pedal and play it as a single. I'll get all motivated and bold and try again and put it on but then acquiesce. I think the main problem is I don't really play much music that really needs it so I just kind of "exercise" to get better with the double-I think I just analyzed and diagnosed my own problem-play some metal dude. LOL
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
Ok, a few questions.

1. What kind of pedals are you using?
2. How tight is the spring tension?

Because where what pedals you use don't matter a lot (proved here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tM2OGL_VkM ), some SP's aren't going to perform the same as Pearl P900's, as these to Demon Drives. But what is most important is your spring tension. You will NEVER reach high speeds with low tension. As for technique, I would recommend learning Heel-Toe. Far easier than the famed swivel.

Its easy to achieve high speeds with llow spring tension. just need a tighter batter head.

pedal makes a large difference though.. demons are very fast


how fast are we talking i guess? 180?200?220? 16th notes.. what are you maxing out at?
 

Servant

Junior Member
Max spring tension help to get a better swing from the pedals and since the pedals are always in a "ready" state it's actually much more easier to go fast. This is the advice I got from Kollias, Ryabcheno and others, it has worked very well for me.

You may want to experiment and see what works the best for you.
 

MisterZero

Senior Member
Actually, now that I think about it, I never really told you guys where I'm failing. I'm not looking to do 200 BPMs or anything like that. I'm actually crapping out at 120 BPMs. some days I can hit it, some days I can't. I'm not looking for SUPERfast, just a solid 16th note double bass roll for tunes in the 110-140 BPM range. So, I should be using full leg motion probably(?).
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I am not a double bass drummer at all, but I did notice you say that you bury the beater. I would think that would slow you down. Like I said, I don't know a thing about this but it seems to me if you let the head help you by allowing it to rebound the beater for you, you could up your numbers. It's got to take time to hold that beater against the head, time that you don't have if trying to get faster.
 
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