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Old 02-23-2018, 04:25 AM
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Mastiff Mastiff is offline
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Default Another heel up/down thread

I've always played heel up, but I've been trying to play some fast (to me) 16th note patterns (such as two 16th on either side of a snare hit: &a e&) and have been struggling with consistency. What I've noticed is that I can go do doubles really fast, and I could even play all 5 16ths in a row (&a2e&) but leaving the one 16th out causes trouble because the beater gets an oscillation going that I have to temporarily stop, then get the momentum up again in a short time.

So, contrary to what I always thought, I'm finding I can do some of these patterns better heel down because my foot is always on the board controlling the oscillation of the beater.

I guess I'm looking for opinions on whether I'm going down a dead end if I start working heel down for speedy 16th note (funk style) grooves. I've always thought heel down was for nuance, but heel up for speed.

Certainly not as much power in the heel down hits, but it seems loud enough.
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Old 02-23-2018, 04:47 AM
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AzHeat AzHeat is offline
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Default Re: Another heel up/down thread

I just posted the opposite here:
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...d.php?t=140580
I found I can't go fast enough heel down. Goes to show you how different we all are...
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:16 AM
AndeeT AndeeT is offline
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Default Re: Another heel up/down thread

It’s definitely not a dead end road, and while it is great for nuance l, it’s fair to say it can do the ‘medium’ level dynamics OK, just not super loud hits that only the weight of your leg can give. It’s also great for unmuffled tone.

I would say stick wit both. There are many great drummers that have amazing technique both up and down. Even guys like George kollias (OK not funk...), whole usually play all heel up, still have impeccable heel down. Developing you heel down will help out a little with heel up as well, as it works your tibilis anterior, wich is important in both techniques
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Old 02-23-2018, 06:33 AM
Sevenchaos Sevenchaos is offline
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Default Re: Another heel up/down thread

I train both.
My opinion is that there isn’t ”right” or ”wrong” when it comes to playing.
As long as it feels good, sounds good and you are playing in tempo, i dont care about techniques so much.
I have noticed when i play faster patterns or 16ths constantly with my foot, i automatically go to like ”flat foot mode”. Feels like im getting better control and can keep tempo much better.
I just actually one day found out that there is technique which is called flat food. I didnt know that when i started to use that technique. My feet just went there automatically so thats why i earlier said that you shouldnt be to worried about techniques, as long as it feels good and natural.
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Old 02-24-2018, 06:44 AM
beyondbetrayal beyondbetrayal is offline
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Default Re: Another heel up/down thread

I think people get "heel up" wrong often as well.

heel up just means not on the board. it doesn't mean have your foot angled and your heel 4 inches above the pedal... i find it is easier to play faster with my heel hovering about an inch or less above the heel plate. still heel up but much easier to control the rebound.

I do a bit of both myself, but heel down would kill me on long runs of 16th notes
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Old 02-24-2018, 08:03 AM
AndeeT AndeeT is offline
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Default Re: Another heel up/down thread

For sure. There are limited ways to play heel down, but heel-up is really an umberella term for anything that means you aren’t doing heel-down!

Heel-up can contain; moving your whole leg (for either muffled or unmuffled strokes, depending on where your leg is at the end of the stroke), moving only your ankle in various ways (pure ankle strokes, a swivel, rocking/constant release, heel-toe, e.t.c)

Just heel-up vs heel down is grossly simplified

And yes, heel down requires a lot more muscle training, to get past that burn you will feel
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Old 02-24-2018, 11:00 PM
JJKK JJKK is offline
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Default Re: Another heel up/down thread

For me, heel up works for speed, but I have to practice even heel up techniques at slow tempos to get it working faster (learning swivel has been a slow process).

Heel down gives me a good control over short bursts of speed, but it requires too much muscle endurance for me.
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Old 02-26-2018, 05:00 PM
beyondbetrayal beyondbetrayal is offline
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Default Re: Another heel up/down thread

The reason most people find they have more control with heel down for playing quiet,fast, or tight is because they lack the core strength to hold both legs up while playing.

While sitting in a chair, on the couch, in the passenger seat of a car try doing things like hovering both your feet flat 1 inch off the ground. It is tough to do with good posture for a 5 minute period (a song)

This is the reason why guys will rest their left foot on the hats, leave the beater buried etc. So when keeping time on the left foot a lot of people get thrown off because their core strength and balance is out of wack when both feet are up at the same time.

I have been doing a ton of core strength exercises as of late and it has made a difference, plus who couldn't benefit from a few crunches/planks here and there anyways.

When you can play pure ankles without resting the beater your feet will FLY, or using full leg strokes without having to lift UP before you make each hit.

I was a left pedal rester for years when using a double pedal. I also noticed seat height, and how far forward or back you sit on the throne can greatly change how this works.. too far forward or too high you need to balance with your feet. I am sitting further back on the throne these days and my balance has greatly improved.


It's the little things like this that sometimes get overlooked and they make a HUGE difference in your playing.
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Old 02-26-2018, 05:50 PM
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Mastiff Mastiff is offline
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Default Re: Another heel up/down thread

Good points. I often use the technique of hovering over the pedal and using mostly ankle/toe action. I don't use double pedal, but if hats are in the mix you have to be able to balance and hold your legs out to keep from being awkward. I'm still working to improve this myself, since I like to lean in a bit normally, but can't balance that way without any leg support.

Regardless of this though, there still seems to be something to the control you can get with the heel planted. Hovering your leg and working (essentially) with your toes on the pedal gives less control over the beater rebound and oscillations. With low spring tension and heel down the beater just follows your foot. Having said that, I'm not happy with the power and endurance of heel down and am trying to dial in the heel up approach.
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