Getting Used To Heel Down/Up Change?

Souljacker

Silver Member
My teacher has been getting me to switch from heel down to heel up recently saying it's better for control and speed. I've been playing heel down for 7 years. So naturally I'm trying to get used to the change.

I'm just wondering how long drummers here found it took them to feel comfortable with the transition and did you stick with the change or go back to your original ways?
 

MLdrum

Senior Member
I started out playing heel up. Then did some heel down for a while on some low volume jazz and singer/songwriter stuff. Nowadays I've found myself using both within the same song. I think some things, like doubles, are easier to play up to speed and controlled utilizing heel up. Other things, like letting the beater bounce naturally off the head, is easier playing heel down (although in recent times I've been practicing playing off the head with heel up). I also get less fatigued when I play heel down, because the rest of my leg can relax more. But when you need power, nothing beats heel up ;-)

Edit: So, I actually never went from one to the other. I learnt both almost from the beginning, and I feel I have benefited quite a bit from it. I don't think you should try to "forget" your old technique. Rather embrace the new and combine it with what you already know. I think it's almost like different grips on your sticks. French, german or american. Limiting yourself to one technique will limit your ability to execute new or different tricks/chops/fancysmancystuff/grooves/etc. Not saying that there are some things you'll never nail because of your way of playing, but I think it will become easier if you're able to switch between the different ways of playing.
 
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wildbill

Platinum Member
My teacher has been getting me to switch from heel down to heel up recently saying it's better for control and speed. I've been playing heel down for 7 years. So naturally I'm trying to get used to the change.

I'm just wondering how long drummers here found it took them to feel comfortable with the transition and did you stick with the change or go back to your original ways?

I play heel down mostly, for a long time, and recently started trying heel up. For myself, I still have much better control with heel down, but that may change with more practice.
I agree with more speed potential. More speed came pretty quickly. It's the control that's going to take some time.

Also, I wouldn't look at it as giving up one technique for another. More like just having more options.
 

brady

Platinum Member
I'm with the others. Definitely don't depend just one technique. Use both to accomplish whatever you're trying to play.

My first drum teacher taught me heel up. I later went to heel down since I played mostly jazz and blues.

Matt Ritter, who is an occasional contributor on here, has an excellent DVD called Unburying The Beater. He may see this and chime in. Maybe send him a PM?

His DVD teaches a sort of hybrid of both heel up and heel down. I now use his technique for playing louder music. If you are re-learning a bass drum technique it may as well be this one since it has the best of both worlds.
 

Souljacker

Silver Member
I play heel down mostly, for a long time, and recently started trying heel up. For myself, I still have much better control with heel down, but that may change with more practice.
I agree with more speed potential. More speed came pretty quickly. It's the control that's going to take some time.

Also, I wouldn't look at it as giving up one technique for another. More like just having more options.
That's how I feel too, more control heel down and comfortable with the feel of the technique. My leg is a bit unsteadier heel up at the moment. My teacher also talked about how I should play heel up cos it gives a better bass drum sound, its definitely punchier and probably less muffled.
 
A

audiotech

Guest
I use either one depending on the style or tempo of music. Same thing goes for the bass drum pedal. Many years ago, I first learned the heal down technique. With time, switching between the two becomes very fluid and instinctive.

Dennis
 
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K.Howden

Senior Member
I come from the opposite. I used to play heel-up all the time until around three years ago, when I started learning jazz at BIMM and it took a few months to get used to the feel of it. Devoting time to listening to the differences between heel-up and heel-down and playing them in different contexts really helped me identify where to use them and importantly, why they were beneficial within those contexts. I tend to switch between the two on auto-pilot now, even within a single song.

Hope you're having a pleasant weekend,

Kev
 
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