Heel up or heel down?

toddy

Platinum Member
you should start doing george kollias foot lesson. get his DVD and follow it. and practice slow. 70bpm is too fast.
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
I was at a Dave Weckl masterclass years ago and he asked the group whether we played heel up, down or mixed. Everyone said mixed. He asked us why. The group answer was something to the effect of "heel down for low dynamics or accuracy" and "heel up for power"

He smiled and said "I play heel up all the time". "Playing heel down to me is like playing with your wrist only, not letting the arms move at all."

Since then I'm heel up only and I've never looked back. I feel much more like I'm actively addressing the kit and not just sitting back on my butt.
 

renardvert

Silver Member
I've also noticed that a lot of the great drummers I see seem to be playing heel up all the time. In fact, I don't know much famous drummers who play heel down. JR Robinson is one to come to mind. Apparently that Zoro plays heel down all the time too. There might be others.

I've been playing heel up pretty much all my life but I've been messing around with the concept of heel down lately because I wanted to develop that softer touch on the kick. Something that I can't pull off right yet is playing sambas. I can't seem to pull them off heel down and it bugs me. Colin Bailey's book, Bass Drum Control, has been helpful to me as I have been working on those exercises all heel down and I feel I'm doing much better than I was. I also ordered his dvd which seems to be really great. I also ordered Michael Packer bass drum dvd which has been recommended to me.

I mentionned softer playing before and I wanted to add that I see a lot of jazz drummers who seem to be playing there bass drum heel up mainly. Guys like Bill Stewart and Ari Hoenig. I kind of assumed that to be able to play like they do, they would have to play heel down but apparently not.

I'd be curious that you guys share clips of drummers playing their bass drum in various positions so that I can see some different techniques.

It's not that clear here but you can see Bill playing heel up for that kind of song, a freaking fast samba:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK9ikaLbzvs

And here's Ari doing his thing, heel up:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyKSL-9kpOg

Thanks!

I was at a Dave Weckl masterclass years ago and he asked the group whether we played heel up, down or mixed. Everyone said mixed. He asked us why. The group answer was something to the effect of "heel down for low dynamics or accuracy" and "heel up for power"

He smiled and said "I play heel up all the time". "Playing heel down to me is like playing with your wrist only, not letting the arms move at all."

Since then I'm heel up only and I've never looked back. I feel much more like I'm actively addressing the kit and not just sitting back on my butt.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
for jazz/funk stuff i do heel down as i get the control for dynamics.

heel up for power and consistency.

metal heel up/flat foot technique..... basically a hybrid of the two. for speed
 
B

britchops

Guest
I play heel down and have no idea how to play heel up. I would like to try it but I lose balance with out my heel down.
How do you keep balance comfortably?
Practise the Moeller Heel-Toe technique and that'll cover your foot technique for most of the time.

All the Best

TJ@ www.britchops.co.uk
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I was at a Dave Weckl masterclass years ago and he asked the group whether we played heel up, down or mixed. Everyone said mixed. He asked us why. The group answer was something to the effect of "heel down for low dynamics or accuracy" and "heel up for power"

He smiled and said "I play heel up all the time". "Playing heel down to me is like playing with your wrist only, not letting the arms move at all."

Since then I'm heel up only and I've never looked back. I feel much more like I'm actively addressing the kit and not just sitting back on my butt.
I know this post is years old, but to me the use of large muscle groups for fine control is counterproductive. If I'm going to do something precise with my fingers, like work with a small tool, or even when hand writing, I will brace my forearm and maybe wrist to a tabletop. To me, in drumming, resting the foot on the footboard accomplishes the same thing. I don't need to be lifting my entire leg to play a soft, controlled stroke. Seems like wasted energy to me.

Dave can obviously play anything heel-up that he wants to, I just don't think there's anything wrong with dropping the heel in certain situations.
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
I'm almost always heel up because of two main reasons: 1 I can get a lot more power and acceleration into the beater with the addition of my leg, and 2 playing heel up allows me to move my foot around the pedal for different leverage.

1/2 the time I bury the beater which is very helpful for balance (especially when doing medium/slow tempo double bass and/or 4 way coordination), and half the time I drop the heel down on the heel plate when the beater hits so that it can bounce off the head.
(Matt Ritter has done a great video on this technique called "unburying the beater").
This is exactly what I do as well. I was at a weckl clinic many years ago where he told us he played almost exclusively heel up. I copied him.
 

renardvert

Silver Member
I see that answer quite often and it always makes me wonder what you would do if you wanted to play jazz/funk stuff with power and consistency and then rock stuff with control and dynamics.

It's as if you do one or the other but not both. I want to be able to play heel up and heel down with control, dynamics, power and consistency. Does it make sense?

for jazz/funk stuff i do heel down as i get the control for dynamics.

heel up for power and consistency.

metal heel up/flat foot technique..... basically a hybrid of the two. for speed
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
I see that answer quite often and it always makes me wonder what you would do if you wanted to play jazz/funk stuff with power and consistency and then rock stuff with control and dynamics.

It's as if you do one or the other but not both. I want to be able to play heel up and heel down with control, dynamics, power and consistency. Does it make sense?


I see what your saying... its not a rock hard rule... i guess heel down is for more dynamics.. heel up for power..

most of the time i find i'm doing heel up anyways. i can be dynamic either way. and i can get power either way.
 

longgun

Gold Member
I've been mainly a "heel-down" player most of my drumming life, but I do play both. I'm more comfortable with heel down, as that's how I learned
 
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