Getting Control Over Your Left Foot?

HUdrummer

Senior Member
Hey everyone. I'm trying to start practicing some double bass rudiments, and im learning that I literally have absolutly no control over my left foot. I got the RLRL thing going really good, but when it comes to doing stuff like RRLLRRLL, or RLRLRRLL, or RRRLLLRRRLLL, I just cant get it. Can anyone please help me?
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Other than to say slow down and aim for even and controlled strokes, I'm not sure how much more anyone can offer mate. You've got a few different exercises to break it up a bit, but other than that, it comes down to you practising. The more you do, the better you get....simple.

If there was a magic cure to have you up and playing immediately, it would be out there by now and someone would be making millions by flogging it off. There's not, so all you've gotta do is keep at it.

Rome wasn't built in a day my friend.
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
I'm in the same boat as you, but a couple weeks ahead of you. Keep playing, it gets better each time. Work the 4-way by playing a pattern with your hands while you paradiddle, single or double with your feet. Take the time to analyze your stroke by making your left act just like your right. Just keep at it, it comes around after pushing it and sleeping on it.
 

eliRYO

Member
If you want to work specifically on your left foot, one thing I do (keep in mind I don't use a double pedal) is try and play basic beats and replace bass drum notes with hi-hat notes.

Play something simple like 8th notes on the ride, 2 and 4 on the snare and the bass drum on the & of 1, & of 2, 3 and the ah of 3. Replace a bass drum note(s) of your choosing with the hi-hat (step) and permutate till your heart is content.

Think Kieth Carlock.

Rudiments are beneficial as well.
 

The Modernist

Senior Member
I simple thing I tried when first starting double bass grooves was to isolate my left foot, and play normal grooves, but play the bass drum part with my left foot, rather than right. This built up the quality in my left foot. I then started play the groove with both beat, alternating between right and left foot for each note.
 

Numberless

Platinum Member
Left foot control? Here's a crazy idea - use the hi-hat? ;0)
An even crazier idea, maybe he's not interested in using the HH, maybe he wants to express himself using another instrument! HOW SHOCKING! People want to express themselves through their instruments in their own way! I'm not knocking on the HH but I do think that's it's not necessary for left foot control, extremely useful YES, but if you're not interested in exploring that world, then don't bother.

For the OP, just keep practicing, right now I've been practicing Gary Chaffee comping patterns on the HH. Slow it down as much as you need to and work your way up from there.

Check this Derek Roddy vid if you haven't: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPFEP_stPGI
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
If you keep your heels on the ground and raise your toes as far as they go, about 2 to 300 times every other day, you will strengthen the muscle in your calf that makes that motion, which gives you better control. other than that, like Pocket said, just slow way down and keep at it.
 

mind_drummer

Platinum Member
Left foot control? Here's a crazy idea - use the hi-hat? ;0)

When you have good control of your hi-hat then you can switch to double bass, I mean too many people want absolutely double bass chops & speed without even knowing the basic of the instrument which to me the hi-hat with foot is a foundation of playing our instrument.

Hey OP, just a thought, try this feet ostinato RLL with your left foot on your hi-hat and play paradiddle or double paradiddle or a combo of both over it with your hands. It's a good exercise of limb independance.
 

mind_drummer

Platinum Member
Oh ! To answer your topic

Here's Virgil Donati Limb Independance exercise which involve all limbs using double strokes (Double bass exercise).

Set the metronome to a convenient BPM

Hand__: RRLLRRLLRRLLRRLL
Feet___: LLRRLLRRLLRRLLRR

Move around the kit while keeping the tempo.

N.B: The Left hand work in parallel with the right foot and vice-versa.
 

Shedboyxx

Silver Member
I think left foot 'cross training' is one of the best ways to improve your left foot technique.

I mean that in a few ways. Here's one of the best examples off of Steve Smith 'History of the US Beat' DVD.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wqj3p8rF4ew

Steve has you transitioning between (3) of the most established techniques of playing bass drum. I've been playing this exercise for awhile and have seen some improvement - although my double bass pedal playing is almost non existent on my gigs. 100% non existent on gigs where I'm being paid. :)

Here's another type of approach from Derrick Pope albeit with a little less finesse than our esteemed and more experienced statesman Steve Smith:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSKS9a9NuPc

Most of the posts I see about trying to improve left foot/double bass speed, many being from beginning to intermediate players, have a few things in common. The first being that they aren't addressing the concept of more hours and time = better results. I'm not a heavy metal player or fan but I've caught some parts of interviews with Chris Adler and Jason Bittner. Both allude heavily to the fact that you have to put in an incredible amount of time on improving speed - while playing consistently, evenly and with at least acknowledging if not concentrating on technique. I think the aforementioned posters in this paragraph just don't take that seriously enough and think that somehow 'that's just crazy' or 'that may be good for them' etc. Ask yourself the question: How bad do I want to get faster? What's an unreasonable amount of time to dedicate to specifically practicing toward the goals I have? If it takes much longer than I thought, how am I going to stay encouraged and find MORE time (blow off all TV, surfing web, texting, girl/boy friends, parties, socializing, etc) to put into it. Ex. Chris Adler seems to say that he would practice for DB speed at a certain bpm - for an hour. Then move the metronome up 1-2 clicks and then - practice for an hour. Can you do this without suffering from boredom? When you hit the wall for where you are at, can you hang with the promise that it will come eventually over a long amount of time?

This is the kind of the no-pay work ethic we have to embrace when going for these goals. I know at my age and with my family responsibilities I won't be able to achieve all of the goals I'd like to (unless I marry into money). Prioritization is key for me. Quality for my present gigs comes first then other stuff. If a player has a lot of free time or is willing to make the time, they can advance faster than me within the same timeline (ex. over 2 weeks to 1 month)

Re:Numberless' post
IMHO: As much as thinking creatively and outside the box (not using HH) is a good way to achieve new ideas, not employing facility on an important part of the drum set is a good way to paint yourself into a corner later on. Of course wanting to achieve facility in a rock situation with hi hat and DB (Chris Adler) or in an extreme drumming (Donati, Lang) situation as opposed to a jazz situation with single bass drum and hi hat ( Jack DeJohnette, Tony Williams, countless others) should have a different practice emphasis, However, blowing off decent or good facility on LF hi hat work is not the best approach for anyone. You also lose the 'cross training' benefit. The physical mechanics of hi hat and bass drum are different but the mental and coordination efforts will cross pollinate the other.

Keep going for the gold with dedication and time but don't expect miracles. Do expect and have faith that hard work over time will reap rewards.

Jim
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
One aspect is that it's not just a matter of coordination, it's that playing single bass builds up certain muscles in the right foot that don't get built up in the left.

A way to try to even them out is set up a compilation bunch of single bass tunes, take the beater off your right pedal, and try to play along to all the songs using your left leg for all the bass drum parts. At first, it ends up being more difficult than it sounds as you suddenly find your left leg is using muscles it's not used to using.
 

The Modernist

Senior Member
One aspect is that it's not just a matter of coordination, it's that playing single bass builds up certain muscles in the right foot that don't get built up in the left.

A way to try to even them out is set up a compilation bunch of single bass tunes, take the beater off your right pedal, and try to play along to all the songs using your left leg for all the bass drum parts. At first, it ends up being more difficult than it sounds as you suddenly find your left leg is using muscles it's not used to using.
Same as what I posted earlier, but you have put it in a much more readable way.
 

Shedboyxx

Silver Member
One aspect is that it's not just a matter of coordination, it's that playing single bass builds up certain muscles in the right foot that don't get built up in the left.

A way to try to even them out is set up a compilation bunch of single bass tunes, take the beater off your right pedal, and try to play along to all the songs using your left leg for all the bass drum parts. At first, it ends up being more difficult than it sounds as you suddenly find your left leg is using muscles it's not used to using.

There was a Josh Freese interview in MD where he said he had to play an entire tour (Vandals?) with his left foot on bass drum after he broke his leg doing some silly backstage playing around. IIRC, He said it really helped his left foot.

Dave Weckl said he had to work on his left hand primarily after he cut his right hand (stitches) while working on his studio.

Some disadvantages can work towards your advantage.

Just sayin' :)

Jim
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I realized recently that a HUGE part of the development of my left foot came about while... driving. Yes, driving. I play on the steering wheel of my car when I drive, but at some point I intuitively started playing bass drum patterns on the floorboard with my left foot. In the U.S., that's the foot that doesn't do anything unless you drive a car with a manual transmission (I've owned a few and that does diminish the availability of the left foot for bass drum exercises!).

Well, it isn't like I planned it, but that silly habit wound up paying big dividends for me. My left foot can keep up with my right in most regards. I don't play double bass drums but when I sit behind a kit with two pedals, I have enough strength and coordination to pull it off. And it's done wonders for my hi-hat pedal playing.
 
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