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Old 06-17-2006, 07:46 AM
JWM JWM is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 197

Originally Posted by timfel
Hi Derrick,

Hope you're getting better. Came across your heel-toe video yesterday and thought it was fantastic. It had a perfect answer to a problem (getting fast doubles) that I've had for ages, which hasn't really got much better despite a lot of practice. Your method made perfect sense and your teaching style is superb, thank you very much.

Full of enthusiasm, I rushed to my kit to try this new method which I was convinced was the answer to all my prayers. Got sat down at the kit, everything in place, ran through it in my head, all ready to practice this new motion.

I raised my heel as instructed, dropped it for the first stroke... nothing. Nada! My heel hit the heelplate which is not hinged and made not a sound - the pedal didn't operate. Toe was fine, but the heel was silent. I thought this must be what all those guys mean when they say their feet are too big. Tried ramming my toes into the chain drive, but that didn't sound right. I thought all those guys who said it didn't work unless you had small feet must be right! Very disappointed, I retired for the night.

And then I remembered to trust you! You said it didn't matter what size your feet are so I thought about it and went back again. I found it - eureka! When you drop your heel, you're not actually operating the pedal with your heel as I mistakenly thought, but the action of dropping your heel causes your foot to drop and the pedal is operated actually with the middle of the foot. So your heel does hit the floor and that doesn't make a noise, but your foot presses the pedal and that does. I think the name is misleading - I was taking it literally trying to operate the pedal with my heel, rather than feeling the motion and almost letting the pedal operate itself. Having grasped that, it all seems to work very well now!

Would you agree with my findings? Maybe this will help all those people who think their feet are too big. There's a lesson there - trust the teacher!
What you described was also my experience with a size 11 foot on a standard DW pedal. There's no way for my heel to actually play the pedal itself (at least my entire heel). And as you also described--

...but the action of dropping your heel causes your foot to drop and the pedal is operated actually with the middle of the foot.
That's essentially what I find myself doing. Or it also may still be a toe stroke, but a "downstroke" movement for it with the middle portion of the foot making contact with the pedal as well (it almost feels like a "flat" stroke to me!). Some seem to define that as the "constant release" technique that Steve Smith is known for using (and I believe JoJo Mayer does this as well). Tim Waterson's explanation seems to almost fall somewhere in between.

But this much I know... my initial goal was to be able to accent the first note of a double or triple stroke (such as 1e and/or 1e&) with ease. As I started working on it with a metronome (and this BEFORE I even knew all that much about the heel/toe method), I found myself instinctively making what seems to be the constant release movement. I keep the toes on the pedal the whole time, drop the heel for the first accented note and then play a heel up stroke for the second unaccented note (which sets me up to bring the heel down again). But again, the toes stay on the pedal the whole time, and the heel is making contact with the plate, not the pedal itself (although a bit of the top of the heel may be coming into contact... but it's certainly not a FULL stroke with the heel itself).

Whatever method this is specifically, I can say that it is enabling me to accent the first note of a double or triple stroke with great ease. And that's all I really care about now, because I'm kind of getting a little tired of all the particulars of the method/technique! :-)~

Last edited by JWM; 06-17-2006 at 08:09 AM.
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