Your personal double bass journey

Rev97

Junior Member
So I started off learning the double bass recently, and I try to practice daily. I know that speeds of 180+ are a long way ahead, but I'm willing to put in the effort. But I would just like to know what YOUR journey with the double pedals was - when did you start, how good/bad were you when you first picked it up, how much time did you put into it, and where you stand now.
I just feel it would help motivate me (and other drummers like me) when we see the practice paying off for people who were once in the same place we are now.

Share as much as you'd like to; I'm sure it'll be an interesting read!
 

blinky

Senior Member
Well, my journey came with a return ticket. Started out maybe 5 years ago or so, practiced off and on for maybe 3 years and then sold my double pedals. I came to the conclusion that it wasn't for me, and not for the music I prefer either. That's not to say that I don't enjoy others double bass playing, but I can't see myself investing all the time necessary to become somewhat proficient at it.
Now my next thing beside building my hands is the brushes instead. That will require some time too, but it's more in line with what I like.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I bought one about a year ago, discoversed the gig I bought it for doesn't require it, and now just use it as a single pedal. There are very few non-drummers who care about double bass at all, and it's just not worth the effort to work up chops I will probably never use.
 

hwy145

Senior Member
My journey started in the 80's-90's with the first version pearl released. From sheer leg and foot speed, and no practice (repetition), I could play as fast as I wanted, albeit sloppily (I was 15-16). As I started to refine, or attempted to, I developed a balance issue. I'd tense up immediately, and couldn't play. Th I've put 100's of hours in, and I've never been able to play single stroke bass drum rolls- even at slow speeds. It has been a huge stumbling block- not because I need to or even use double bass. It's been a challenge that I've been unable to overcome for 30 years.
Fast forward, I've been using dw 9000's and I have heel stackers on my slave, which allows me to have more stability than before. I can rest my foot on the elevated heel, thus eliminating some of the balance issues. It's not a definitive solution, but it seems to be moving me forward. I'm actually playing things that I've not been able to play.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
I bought my current kit in 1981 from a kid who had them less than a year, and didn't want them any more. It was a double-bass kit, which was far more than I needed for the style of music we were playing. (I don't know if the double-pedal existed at that point or not, but if it did, it was likely more expensive than I would have shelled out for.)

I tried the double bass thing for a couple gigs, and quickly decided that I didn't want/need the hassle, and traded one of the kicks out for other toms and a stand and such. I never really learned to do much with the second kick, other than basic rolls.

I stopped playing shortly thereafter, as the family and career took priority. When I started playing again a few years ago, double pedals were plentiful and relatively inexpensive, especially on the used market. I bought a cheap set, and use them for almost all my gigs. (I keep a single pedal in the gear box, and on small quite gigs in constrained spaces it will make a reappearance.)

I still do mostly rolls tho... lol. I don't have a great solution for practice at home, re double pedals. I use my Roland e-kit for practice, and I fashioned a second pedal from another single pedal and a piezo. It's not ideal, tho, so I'll be looking at a proper second pedal for the ekit someday, and perhaps then I'll get better with it.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
When I was a new drummer, growing up in the mid-80's, Neil Peart was the guy. I had to have two bass drums, rows of toms, and so on. So I took a 20" kick from one kit, a 22" kick from another, and tuned them as alike as I could. The pedals I had were horrible little import pedals, completely terrible, breaking all the time. But hey, I had two bass drums!

Flash forward to 1996. I got rid of those drums finally and took ownership in a single kick kit. As I was picking up stands and bits to go with it, there was a used Pearl P122TW double bass pedal sitting there for $150 that felt better to me than the DWs and other high-end pedals sitting nearby, so that went out the door with me too. I used that pedal for nearly 15 years in a variety of musical settings. I never tried to determine a top speed or anything like that, but I do know that on a recording of a song at 180bpm I kept clean singles going for over two minutes (but pretty much the only time I ever did that).

In 2012, I moved up into a DW double pedal, but ironically, the only person for whom I really play double bass anymore is myself. It's not really needed in any of my current playing situations, and especially in my main gig, where it seems an indulgence more than anything. I mostly use it to add on to certain fills, but 95% of my playing is with one foot anymore, and I don't really miss it.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
My journey's not real exciting. I got a Dbl. bass set around 82. I don't think there were any metal bands playing 180 + back then, so I wasn't pursuing that. Stryper was my biggest influence. Now I'd like to play August Burns Red music, but that's not happening real soon. Next I picked up a Tama Pro Twin pedal, used that for many yr. The Iron Cobra Jr. Dbl. was next, I used it for 7 Yr. Now I'm using Tama Speed Cobra for the last 5yr or so. I play heel up, and not very fast at all. Around 160 I'm topped out. I've tried to learn quite a few techniques and I can do them, but they just aren't working out very well. Lately I've learned how to play doubles by bouncing the beater off the head. Playing close to the back of the pedal, and just pushing down with the ball of my foot, getting 2 notes. Just like I play fast Dbl. on the snare. (Some people call it heel toe, but I think that's not a good name for it. It's the same motion though). I can play well over 200 like that, and it's getting better as far as quality goes, smooth even notes. Also I'm able to keep the volume up. I'm not using a trigger. I want to get it going good without one. Then after I'm good at it I'll use a trigger. I'm still pursuing heel up ankle motion also. I feel like that is a necessity, and it's starting to show some improvement. My weak foot is getting better at it. My primary leg can do it reasonably. Probably from doing those big song endings, where you're crashing the cyms with both hands and playing the kick as fast as you can.My progress has been very slow, but I'm old and stubborn and I'm gonna keep on keepin on.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I started back in 1980 with playing other peoples double base. Obviously, I sucked, since I had no good way to practice. I got my own double pedal finally around 89. Still sucked! Couldn't get the left pedal to do anything but bind up. never looked at it again till last year, when I just felt I had to learn it, for no other reason than to know how.
It's the best I've been, but I still suck at it. It does add color to some fills, which is always good, but the likelihood the pedals will ever leave the house in a gigging situation is slim to none. I just like playing them. I don't care about speed, but rather the challenge of independence and adding some color.
It has helped my HH work quite a bit and I've been working on open handed technique and playing left handed when possible. Having a left pedal really helps confuse things just that much more. Overall I'd say it's been worthwhile, but no more than learning any other critical technique or independence exercise.
 

poekoelan

Member
While I do practice different beats / grooves with double bass, lately I've been concentrating on something different. More in the realm of fills. I've been practicing different 16th and 16th triplet phrases that use all four limbs and are broken up around the set. Steady streams of notes that last for one or two bars. Some of them have a very cool sound going for them, others not so much. But either way, I'm liking where it's taking me.
 

axisT6

Senior Member
My journey led me to these conclusions:

1. Define your DB goals.

2. Faster speeds require certain pedal settings (not what you think) and head tensions.

3. Practice rolls and patterns.

4. Play relaxed and comfortable.

5. Practice with a metronome.

It does not have to be a long arduous journey. Keep at it.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
Returned to drumming at age 40, this time with a focus on double bass. Fast forward 8 years and I'm finally playing single strokes with all the speed I need to play just about anything I want (about 280 bpm) It is very gratifying, and many times I almost gave up. There have been many plateaus along the way, and in some cases I actually regressed before progressing again, mostly regarding pedal control rather than speed.
 
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lefty2

Platinum Member
Returned to drumming at age 40, this time with a focus on double bass. Fast forward 8 years and I'm finally playing single strokes with all the speed I need to play just about anything I want (about 280 bpm) It is very gratifying, and many times I almost gave up.

Sounds like you're where I aspire to be 280. Good for you. I hope to feel that gratification too.
 

drummerfish

Senior Member
i started playing drums in 83 and got my first dbl bass kit is 93.

by the time i got the kit i had played long enough to know not to be intimidated with a dbl bass kit (not to sound like a ego thing) and for me the trick was how to balance on the throne in order to play the kit fluently.

of course it took some time to be solid with it then learn how to use it in different ways (patterns) as well as having power.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
My journey began and ended in 1992.
Bought a double pedal, tried it for a month, decided it didn't suit the type of music I played, so I sold it. End of story.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I never owned a double pedal. I'd buy one just to faff about on at home.

It seems like it would be fun and challenging, in a practice situation.

I don't really care for that much bass drum in the music I like listening to.

The challenge would be the big attraction for me.
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
Never had a double or double pedal in my youth and when I started playing again 4 years ago I thought I would need to have that ability. I worked at it for a bit, just enough to be able to throw some 16ths in but never enough to do blast beats. The fact is that I don't really care for blast beats, I may admire the skill of players that can but I just don't think it is an appealing compliment to most music and certainly the music I play. So doing the setup at gigs alone was not really worth it let alone putting in the practice time. So I now only use the one pedal from my DW double pedals. I will be buying a new and better single pedal shortly. The few songs I could use it I think using other drums to complete the rhythm is fine, not even band mates notice to be honest.
 

Galaxy

Senior Member
I started playing a regular 5 piece kit when I was around 15 in a punk/hardcore band. I was never that great power wise with the "skank" beat with one foot and a friend offered me a second bass drum pretty early on so I play that punk beat with both feet. A double pedal is an absolute necessity for me and I can't live without it,haha.

I played for maybe 6 months with the 2 kick drums with mismatched pedals before I was able to get a used Yamaha chain drive double pedal which had a much more matched feel and started putting nice long strings of 16ths in the music we were playing. That was 20 years ago. The bands broke up and I sold my kit and quit playing until last year when I had some friends starting a metal band ask me to come play. I've had a set for the last 3 years but no throne so I never played it but that good old Yamaha double pedal came back with that set and I have been stomping it pretty hard for the last year.

I just started really focusing on getting that snap out of my ankle on my left foot and it has helped. I am not fast at all but I feel it is my left foot that limits my overall speed. I can hit a pretty even and steady 130bpm right now and need to get to 135 for one of the songs we are working on. Relaxation seems to be the key,and just playing as often as possible to a metronome. I plan to buy a direct drive double pedal in a few months and we'll see if that helps at all with speed over my trusty chain drive.

I don't really intend to get super fast, that stuff is pretty impressive but doesn't sound that great to me. Someone mentioned triggers above and I feel the same way,not yet. Until I can kick those pedals hard and even and a little faster,there's no need. I get a pretty triggered sound out of my kick already for the music we play which is kind of doom/ slam/hardcore. Right now I'm working toward 150 bpm and I'll go from there.
 

greenstar323

Senior Member
The singer in my band aspires to play metal, but really we play a lot of grunge and "hard" rock whatever that means. Sometimes just for fun I break out the double bass for some songs, but have never gigged with it.

I got my double pedal probably 10 years ago and can do quick spirts with it but not straight 16ths at 200 bpm or anything like that. At one time I did attempt to practice out of the stick control book with my feet. If anything it did make my left foot a little stronger but I never stuck with it long enough to get better.
 

Xcelerationrules

Junior Member
New drummer here.
I just like a double bass setup because with double tom holders,I can suspend 4 drums right out front easily.
With stands,the drums get set to the side more.
I have standard kick pedals on each bass drum.
Any reason to buy a double pedal?
Thanks.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I got a DW5000 double pedal when I started.

I really just did the basic technique stuff with it as I did with my hands.

For a couple of years I had routinepushing conditioning pretty hard.

I don't really practice doble pedal stuff much now. I'm not a metal guy. I even played single pedal for a while as part of downsizing my kit and slowly building up again.

Fast constant double bass is not my thing and I find that the work I did put in make it so I have the general technique and comfort for my use, which is just a little bit of doubling up here and there.

Still play a double bass shuffle sometimes and I also play left handed just for balance quite a bit.
 
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