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-   -   Double bass-speed - struggling, pain (http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=105361)

DustinB 03-20-2013 11:26 PM

Double bass-speed - struggling, pain
Hi, I have been struggling with progress playing double bass, and think I need some help progressing.

I practice playing standard 16's notes and sextuplets and going into 1 foot triplets and 8ths and even jazz 8ths and recently started learning doubles with my feet going from RLRLx4 to RRLLx4 and back and forth also trying to add the RLLR pattern. I'll throw para-diddles in there as well. I am getting there just need more practice for sure. (never ends I don't think)

However when it comes to playing for instance, Bleed from meshugah, I can not keep the consistent RlR L pattern. I know the rhythm and I practice it often but I am not able to play it up to speed. It's been quite some time now since I've learned the herta's in 4/4 from the song, so I figured I could use some help/advice.

Here is the way I have been trying to practice. I play 3 bars of each, over 8th notes on the hats with accents on the downbeat and a snare on the 3.

1)R L R L 16's notes to get comfortable with the speed.

2) RlR L RlR L R L R L R L R L R L (where lower case==32nd) to make sure I'm still on time with the 32nds included.

3) Then repeating RlR L until I land back on 1 on the 4th bar and start back at 1).

Every now and then I will try to play the rhythm over 16th and 8th notes on the snare but that messes with my head pretty fast and I get frustrated...

I generally practice rudiments and new beats from slow to fast back to slow gradually without a metronome ( I do count them and focus on evenness of volume and time).

My main concerns is, when I stand up sometimes my hips will hurt like hell, or sometimes my knees. I can not play loud enough with my heel down on my left foot to compliment the style of drumming, so I play heel up for the most part (with both feet). Sometimes I feel out of balance which I think is do to having a weak core/lower back, which I am already working on. I'll stand on a curb waiting for whatever it is I'm waiting for a lot of times and balance on 1 foot with my heel hanging off and do calf raises. My calves are strong but maybe my thighs arn't, and that's what's the problem?

I have also read a few different threads on other sites of some people developing Osgood-Schlatter , as well as had a friend suffer from it growing up (my memory tells me it was after he started double bass, I only played single until the last few years though). I don't know if this is relevant though...?

Anyone have similar problems maybe? Any advice on how you tackled your problems with speed progression/pain would be appreciated, and anything else you thing might help. Thanks.

EvilDrummer 03-21-2013 03:41 AM

Re: Double bass-speed - struggling, pain
Just adjust your technique so it doesn't hurt, I had the same problem with pain in my upper left leg where it meets the hip. I'm into bodybuilding so I can't say that I have weak muscles :P

It doesn't hurt anymore, I just use my calf more and use the weight of my leg to press down rather than lift the leg up I guess.

You don't need to train your muscles for drumming, however core strength is important, if anything you can work out the core muscles.

When you are practicing, try to play every stroke as relaxed as possible.

I've realised that for the feet you only need singles, doubles and possibly triple strokes. Work on those most of the time. Paradiddles and stuff with your feet is good for control so working on that is important as well but maybe not as much.

RvdP 03-21-2013 10:38 AM

Re: Double bass-speed - struggling, pain
Hey dude,

Are you sitting high or low behind the kit?

What EvilDrummer said will probably work for you, try to play every hit as relaxed as possible.

Here's what you can try:
Sit behind your kit and take the snaredrum away for a bit. Set the metronome at +/- 100 bpm and start playing 16th notes RLRL. Now place your hands on the middle of your upper legs and feel if there is alot of tension there while playing. At relative low tempo's there should be some tension but not alot. When you feel that there is alot of tension actively try to relax those muscles while playing the 16 notes. When you relax the upper muscles you'll have to bring the power from your lower legs and ankles.

Also check out this video in around 2 minutes, Flo talkes about "dribbling" the pedal like a basketball. This is a great way to learn to use the rebound of the pedal against the drumhead.

Hope this helps and good luck!


Arky 03-21-2013 11:03 AM

Re: Double bass-speed - struggling, pain
Dustin, welcome to the forum!

As you might know yourself, there's many parameters involved. Throne balance/height, pedal settings, core strength, practice habits, technique... Your issues are likely the result of one of those parameters or a combination of them.

I think it's crucial to stay relaxed, both physically and mentally. Expel the term 'frustration' from your mind! And always be prepared to think of any progress as a long-term activity.

I've been working on swivel for many months now (and I'm not bad with singles/doubles I think) but that was yet another example of how much effort some things might take to get the hang of them. Recently I've also started working on the hertas (not really a Meshuggah fan here but hertas are simply cool) and it's not easy. (I'm up to 200 bpm, for a few bars - I can play the orig. speed with a different footing though, but also not for too long.) What has been helping me was to not push it too hard, not overfocusing, and to switch between leading with my R vs. L foot quite regularly, every 10 minutes or so. You need to bring your L foot up.
You might have noticed that speeding something up is what your body will do by itself provided you've been practicing the motions correctly and slowly. It just doesn't work overnight so be patient. There will be progress!

A video of how you're typically practicing might help for troubleshooting.
Also, you can use the forum search engine for double bass related stuff like speed, issues, pain etc.

As for pain - you should _never_ have some. Burn is good though. You might want to take up stretching/proper warming up before your double bass practice.

- - - -

I recommend reading this thread - it covers 2 of the very best tutorials on foot technique out there.

Best Foot/double bass DVD?

DustinB 03-21-2013 07:57 PM

Re: Double bass-speed - struggling, pain
Hey thanks for the responses.

I have been working on that dribble technique with my hands after seeing JoJo Mayer's secret weapons video and him talking about that Gladstone method and relating it to bouncing a ball on the drumhead, I feel kinda silly not having thought to apply that to my feet! I actually rearranged my whole kit so anything i hit was perpendicular to the way I play.

I do try to relax in practice, and once I get comfy just focus on making sure I am not holding my breath or tensing up in the shoulders or anything.

I was thinking about it last night, maybe I should invest in a nice throne? I have always just used the cheap $30 ones from GC. But maybe one of the swivel ones where you can fine tune the height more may help? These ones are not the most comfortable to play, and sometimes I practice for 2-3 hours straight and then go stand up and go "ow....ow...." cause my hips/low back hurt.

I know what you mean about the frustration though haha. I used to get so frustrated cause I just want to learn it NOW and move on. I usually switch to practicing something else when I do get frustrated for a minutes and come back.

I will try stretching more and make sure I am warm before playing as well as that dribble method. Maybe i'll invest in a comfy throne as well. Thanks for the videos too I'll check them out.

Another thing I forgot to mention is my pedals. I use the iron cobras but my left pedal does not "flow" like the right one does when you hit it once, it just stops after one or two swings, instead of continuing it's pivot. Is there any points of pedal setup to look for?

RvdP 03-21-2013 08:23 PM

Re: Double bass-speed - struggling, pain
Maybe its also a good idea to devide the practice sessions into blocks of 30 or 40 minutes and then walk around for a few min (get a drink, wc, etc :P) and continue. Instead of 2-3 hours straight.

For the pedal.
On most pedals the linked part (so your left pedal) usually has a bit less response then the one that's direct on the bassdrum. One way to keep this to a minimum in to keep the bearings of the axis in between the pedals clean and lube them with something like WD40.
Sometimes a slightly higher springtension on the left beater might also work to get the same response out of both pedals. Best is to experiment around and see what works for you!

Good luck!

zazylaw 03-22-2013 10:18 PM

Re: Double bass-speed - struggling, pain

Originally Posted by DustinB (Post 1121015)
Another thing I forgot to mention is my pedals. I use the iron cobras but my left pedal does not "flow" like the right one does when you hit it once, it just stops after one or two swings, instead of continuing it's pivot. Is there any points of pedal setup to look for?

I just wanted to add one "trick" I stumbled across on my own double-bass pedal...

Try hitting both pedals at the same time, doing your best not to flam the two beaters (ie. just play a string of 8th notes on both feet, at the same time)... I was playing around one day with my kit and tried this, and it actually REALLY helped me realize I had noticeably different tensions.

Doing alternating strokes I guess was really "hiding" this from me, but once I started trying to do a double hit (again, no flam), it was REALLY obvious that my left pedal needed to be tightened up to match the right pedal.

I also noticed that my bass drum was slightly out of tune, since hitting both strokes at once also made it obvious that one was getting a slightly different sound than the other.

Anyway, just thought I'd share, I was really surprised how easily this helped me realize I had not adjusted both pedals to be as similar as possible!

Brian 03-23-2013 03:03 AM

Re: Double bass-speed - struggling, pain
The unison bd exercise is a good one, you can do the same with your hands. It's so easy to flam but difficult to be in perfect unison.

Another idea is to use less legs and more toe/foot action. This might be redundant, but using down/up, heel toe (much like guys like Jojo Mayer, Steve Smith etc) is much more comfortable than lifting your legs for all of the bd strikes.


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