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  #1  
Old 03-10-2006, 01:13 PM
C.J C.J is offline
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Default Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

I did a search for this subject and couldn’t find anything, but I apologies if this has already been covered.
I'm not particularly interested in copying his technique but I do find it intriguing regarding how he did it. Did he use heel-toe, heel up or did he just have freakishly good twitch muscles?
I heard that he had his pedal tension set quite high. Any ideas?
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Old 03-10-2006, 04:09 PM
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Default Re: BONHAMS RIGHT FOOT - HOW DID HE DO IT?

Its heel-toe and trust me its not very impressive. Impressive "at the time" yes!
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Old 03-10-2006, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: BONHAMS RIGHT FOOT - HOW DID HE DO IT?

i thought it was heel-toe, but after watching his right foot closely i concluded that its either purely is right foot twitching away OR the slide technique...
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Old 03-10-2006, 09:03 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

He used heel-toe, slide and heel down "I got a strong fast ankle". And he used the "state of the art" Ludwig Speed King pedal. Basically, he was good.
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Old 03-10-2006, 09:21 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

yea he was very fast, check out the immigrant song..
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Old 03-10-2006, 11:54 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Ok, I'm obsessive with Led Zeppelin and I had to say this just to get it right, but Bonham never used heel-toe, but he did kind of somewhat have the motion. He actually played with the ball of his foot and added somewhat of his knee with the motion. He played heel up and he would play fast by moving his leg down with his knee(somewhat), and then would hit with the ball of his foot again while brining his knee up and then would start the same process over again, creating kind of a ...ball-ball technice.
First hit-with ball while whole leg going down with knee
Second hit-ball of foot hitting with push of Ankle, while lifting leg.
---
But other times he would would sort of have his leg hovering over pedal and sort of twitch his ankle to hit the pedal.
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Old 03-11-2006, 12:10 AM
Bonzo_88 Bonzo_88 is offline
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Klittle is right. bonham did not use heel toe. watch any vidoe of him, especially the live dvd moby dick, and ull see for urself its not heel-toe.
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Old 03-11-2006, 01:59 AM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KLittle123
Ok, I'm obsessive with Led Zeppelin and I had to say this just to get it right, but Bonham never used heel-toe, but he did kind of somewhat have the motion. He actually played with the ball of his foot and added somewhat of his knee with the motion. He played heel up and he would play fast by moving his leg down with his knee(somewhat), and then would hit with the ball of his foot again while brining his knee up and then would start the same process over again, creating kind of a ...ball-ball technice.
First hit-with ball while whole leg going down with knee
Second hit-ball of foot hitting with push of Ankle, while lifting leg.
Ya know, the technique what you are describing IS heel-toe! ;-) Heel-toe technique is not heel - toe - heel -toe...etc but:
toe downstroke - toe upstroke - toe downsrtoke - toe upstroke... etc
the heel actually never touches the footboard in order to make a stroke.

Listen to what Jojo Mayer says about that: (http://www.jojomayer.com/html/faq_.html#PEDAL)
''The basic idea is to generate the first "down"- stroke launched from your heel up position, generated from your knee, not your toes (important!).Followed by a 2nd " up"- stroke, generated by the calf. So your leg goes :
up-down, up-down,(bam-bam, bam-bam..).

It LOOKS's like a heel toe action but really it is kne (heel) -toe. That's the secret !''
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Old 03-11-2006, 06:34 PM
Breakaway Faction Breakaway Faction is offline
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jammaster
Ya know, the technique what you are describing IS heel-toe! ;-) Heel-toe technique is not heel - toe - heel -toe...etc but:
toe downstroke - toe upstroke - toe downsrtoke - toe upstroke... etc
the heel actually never touches the footboard in order to make a stroke.

Listen to what Jojo Mayer says about that: (http://www.jojomayer.com/html/faq_.html#PEDAL)
''The basic idea is to generate the first "down"- stroke launched from your heel up position, generated from your knee, not your toes (important!).Followed by a 2nd " up"- stroke, generated by the calf. So your leg goes :
up-down, up-down,(bam-bam, bam-bam..).

It LOOKS's like a heel toe action but really it is kne (heel) -toe. That's the secret !''
That is exactly how I was taught top do it. It gives way more power on both of the bass drum hits. It's really the only way to truly do good doubles!
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  #10  
Old 03-11-2006, 08:04 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

In hindsight, he wasn't that fast. I don't have any problems playing the stuff he did (the only problem being 'Good Times Bad Times', but that is a coordination thing, not speed).
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  #11  
Old 03-11-2006, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu_Strib
In hindsight, he wasn't that fast. I don't have any problems playing the stuff he did (the only problem being 'Good Times Bad Times', but that is a coordination thing, not speed).
Very true, Stu! That's really not THAT fast!
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Old 03-11-2006, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

yeeah stu, i was gonna ask earlier in this thread but i decided not to. But is there some secret recording everyone else has that i've missed? because i always hear people talking about his fast bass work or something and I've never heard it. I always think its maybe just people getting confused about his tom/bass triplets.
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Old 03-11-2006, 08:29 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Indeed, the secret video. I wonder the same thing. I wish the DVD footage was out 20 years ago. There are all these myths now. And I get so tired of everybody saying how hard he hit. Yes, he hit hard sometimes. Bonham was a rock drummer, and one of the best, but to me what made him so good was the sum of his qualities and his application. His use of dynamics. How he and John Paul Jones made one of the most forceful rhythm sections ever.
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Old 03-12-2006, 05:17 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by harryconway
Indeed, the secret video. I wonder the same thing. I wish the DVD footage was out 20 years ago. There are all these myths now. And I get so tired of everybody saying how hard he hit. Yes, he hit hard sometimes. Bonham was a rock drummer, and one of the best, but to me what made him so good was the sum of his qualities and his application. His use of dynamics. How he and John Paul Jones made one of the most forceful rhythm sections ever.
He didn't hit hard? His bass drum hits sound like Civil War cannons. You've seen the DVD, and listened to the studio cuts, that's about it, right? Probably.
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Old 03-12-2006, 05:22 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

What's impressive about Bonzo, is that he was doing it 40 years ago, ever since the mid 60's. Other than the occasional advice he seeked out, he could've developed that all by himself. He was doing heel-toe before there was heel-toe.

Not saying that others didn't "develop" it also, he was probably one of a bunch of drummers developing the same techniques at the same time.
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  #16  
Old 03-12-2006, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dothecrunge
What's impressive about Bonzo, is that he was doing it 40 years ago, ever since the mid 60's. Other than the occasional advice he seeked out, he could've developed that all by himself. He was doing heel-toe before there was heel-toe.

Not saying that others didn't "develop" it also, he was probably one of a bunch of drummers developing the same techniques at the same time.
heel-toe technique is damn old! It was invented soon after hi-hat stand. You know that splash-click-splash-click sound? it's heel-toe!
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  #17  
Old 03-12-2006, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

The hi hat 8th notes are pretty darned fast on "Whole Lotta Love though"! I have a very hard time playing those evenly.
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  #18  
Old 03-12-2006, 10:12 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

guys u dont thik a quad on one foot isnt fast? buy the two disc dvd of live performance and watch the moby dick, the one on the site isnt in full. he playys hats and snare with his hands then plays quads with on fooot inbetween beats. anyone who can do this AS powerful as bonham can then truly say i am GOD.
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  #19  
Old 03-12-2006, 10:15 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonzo_88
guys u dont thik a quad on one foot isnt fast? buy the two disc dvd of live performance and watch the moby dick, the one on the site isnt in full. he playys hats and snare with his hands then plays quads with on fooot inbetween beats. anyone who can do this AS powerful as bonham can then truly say i am GOD.
what's the tempo?

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Old 03-13-2006, 04:36 AM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jammaster
Ya know, the technique what you are describing IS heel-toe! ;-) Heel-toe technique is not heel - toe - heel -toe...etc but:
toe downstroke - toe upstroke - toe downsrtoke - toe upstroke... etc
the heel actually never touches the footboard in order to make a stroke.

Listen to what Jojo Mayer says about that: (http://www.jojomayer.com/html/faq_.html#PEDAL)
''The basic idea is to generate the first "down"- stroke launched from your heel up position, generated from your knee, not your toes (important!).Followed by a 2nd " up"- stroke, generated by the calf. So your leg goes :
up-down, up-down,(bam-bam, bam-bam..).

It LOOKS's like a heel toe action but really it is kne (heel) -toe. That's the secret !''
Yea that is heel toe technique. I kind of rock my foot with the heel up and push off the pedal with my toes to get my leg/knee bouncing. I don't force or left my leg up I let the pouncing motion do it. Know what I mean? I don't know if I explained it that well.
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Old 03-13-2006, 05:52 AM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dothecrunge
He didn't hit hard? His bass drum hits sound like Civil War cannons. You've seen the DVD, and listened to the studio cuts, that's about it, right? Probably.
My point being however, he was more that just a hard hitter. No one ever seems to appreciate his finesse. He could bring his roll down to a whisper and build it back up to a roar. He was the first arena drummer I know using bongo's, later conga, and still later timpani to add dymanic to his solo. I own a 26x14 Ludwig kick and that's what they sound like.
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Old 03-13-2006, 06:39 AM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

I don't really get what all this obsession over Bonham's right foot is about. Stuff like "Good times, bad times" and "Immigrant song" sound really hard when you've only been playing a year or two and have had no real technical instruction. But really, it's all pretty easily achievable with some practice. I'd guess about 100 hours over a couple of months would do it.

He wasn't even dramatically fast in the context of the times. I'd argue that Tony Williams had a considerably faster right foot than most of the stuff that you hear from Bonham, and there are any number of guys - particularly R&B, hip-hop and gospel players - out there today who can absolutely nail much faster stuff with considerably more power.

Why can't people just let Bonham be what he was? A great drummer with great groove and feel. He doesn't have to be The Technical God too.

Also, I have to side with the "Bonham didn't hit hard" people on here. Compare live video of Bonham with, say, Stewart Copeland and you'll see what I mean. Stewart was a considerably more physically aggressive drummer, despite having a much thinner, less huge, less boomy sound. What made Bonham's sound so impressive is that he actually got it with very little effort.

Here's the thing with sound: The velocity at which you hit changes the tone of the drum. You'll really notice this once you start recording. Hit very gently and you'll get minimal attack and a lot of tone/sustain. Hit extremely hard and you'll actually get a shorter note, because the extra power doesn't make the tonal body of the drum as much louder as it does the initial transient attack. Bonham's genius was in balancing his attack and the tone of his drums perfectly, which was a combination of drum sizes, tuning and really great dynamic control.

Frankly, I think just reducing that level of skill down to "No, he hit harder than anybody!" is just insulting to the man himself.
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Old 03-13-2006, 07:23 AM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Bohnam did hit hard! But, a lot of drummers hit hard and don't get his sound which was the result of a combination of: 1) using plexiglass drums, and 2) recording his drum parts in a stairwell (per NPR interview with Jimmy Page).

As for foot technique, Bohnam played heel up, way up, with the full weight of his leg. Not heel/toe.
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Old 03-13-2006, 09:54 AM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Two questions:

1 - What are quads (and what tempo)?

2 - Who cares how hard you hit!!!!?????

We have these lovely things called microphones. I am a much louder drummer than Bonzo (with the right amount of amps and speakers).

To wit:

Hitting hard is actually BAD for your technique and speed.

Hitting hard breaks stuff and causes distortion.

Hitting hard makes you tired.

Hitting hard is non-musical.

Playing drums is good. Hitting drums is bad. I tell all my students this. You can only hit a drum or cymbal so hard before it gets its max volume. Hitting it any harder produces no more volume, just ugly distorted awful sounds.
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Old 03-13-2006, 07:57 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Once again Stu hits the nail on the head. You can only hit so hard. On the Bonham drum recording subject, he never recorded with the vistalites. Those were stage drums only. Jeff Ocheltree talks about (and demonstraits with the help of Mark Romans) the classic green sparkle kit and the amber vistalite kits on his DVD "Trust Your Ears". Valuable drum tuning tips on that DVD. As far as recording in stairwells,"When the Levee Breaks" was recorded in a big room (English castle or some such structure) using 2 mics, one being placed halfway up the staircase and one on the second floor overlooking the room. One of the most sampled drum grooves in the history of music.
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  #26  
Old 03-13-2006, 08:00 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry II
As for foot technique, Bohnam played heel up, way up, with the full weight of his leg. Not heel/toe.
Correct! If someone now has a question for me ''but hey, you sayed it was heel-toe'' then my answer is no, I just sayed that the technique KLittle123was describing is heel-toe! :-)
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Old 03-13-2006, 08:08 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Ok:

Part of it was the technique described by KLittle. The other part was how Bonham tuned his bass drum. The tension of the bass head was highly responsive because of how it pushed back when Bonham hit the head. He tuned the bass quite tight, but the dimensions, drum heads, and the felt strips allowed him to get a great sound. The snare drum pushes back when you hit it, allowing the drummer to use a "Rebound" stroke; the tension of Bonham's drum head, coupled with his technique, allowed for the triplets.

Contrary to Stu, I really feel Bonham's triplets are fast. It is not easy to triplet over and over again like Bonham does in Moby Dick. It is possible, but difficult nontheless.

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Old 03-13-2006, 08:17 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu_Strib
Two questions:

1 - What are quads (and what tempo)?

2 - Who cares how hard you hit!!!!?????

We have these lovely things called microphones. I am a much louder drummer than Bonzo (with the right amount of amps and speakers).
It doesn't matter how hard you hit! You can get the same effect regardless. Stu is right: microphones can make your bass drum loud anyway.

Stu: A "Quad" is basically a triplet, but it is spread out over 4 notes. So its really the same motion, but instead of playing three, you play four. I think it doesn't really exists; its just a shortened way of saying "four consecutive notes", so I can see why you would ask (it's kinda odd). You can spread them out over four 16th notes (1e+a) or over two 32nd notes (1e) (8th notes can be done manually unless you are playing at a very fast speed). You aren't really meant to count them like a triplet
(as in 1 TL + TL 2 TL + TL 3 TL + TL 4 TL + TL)

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Old 03-13-2006, 10:44 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

i agree that Bonham had a pretty good right foot. his foot "speed" became popluar and was impressive only to the rock "crowd" at the time. but, bass foot speed had been around for a while and there were a lot of drummers doing it way before he was and much faster and stronger. it just so happened that most of the drummers that were doing it at the time were african-american and their genre of music was not as popular with the masses as was the rock music from bands like Led Zeppelin. drummers like Tiki Fulwood and Jerome "Big Foot" Brailey were doing it way before Bonham was (interestingly, Dennis chambers became the drummer for Parliament Funkadelic after Brailey left, and he says that he learned a lot about having a fast bass foot from Brailey and Tiki, along with various other drummers, like Cornelius Johnson from the Ohio Players). in fact, Bonham is known to have loved and been heavily influenced by motown and soul music, which accounts for his r&b-ish grooves. now, it's not that i'm not giving credit where credit is due. bonham was definately a great drummer, i'm just trying to educate other drummers that think that he was the first to do it.
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Old 03-14-2006, 11:51 AM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by drumbum
but, bass foot speed had been around for a while and there were a lot of drummers doing it way before he was and much faster and stronger....
Not to mention nearly every bop drummer from 1930-1970.
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Old 03-14-2006, 03:30 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

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Originally Posted by Stu_Strib
Not to mention nearly every bop drummer from 1930-1970.
Buddy Rich had a brutally fast bass foot. Check out his single foot rolls and his foot/left hand rolls. Yikes! I've seen short clips of him doing it with his heel way up, wearing dress boots with a slightly elevated heel. If that doesn't scare you, nothing will. And with a Speed King! Double Yikes!
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Old 03-14-2006, 03:59 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu_Strib
Playing drums is good. Hitting drums is bad. I tell all my students this. You can only hit a drum or cymbal so hard before it gets its max volume. Hitting it any harder produces no more volume, just ugly distorted awful sounds.
THANK YOU! Stu that needed to be said.
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Old 03-14-2006, 04:12 PM
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THANK YOU! Stu that needed to be said.
Than YOU Pete. Normally I get nothing but flames for how "negative" I am.
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Old 03-14-2006, 05:24 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Hi Stu,
Was just going over this thread and you hit upon something when you said he played it "evenly". Listening to "Good Times Bad Times" every thump in those triplets is so even. I have always thought that he was getting this with just that right foot. I've been told that there is snare in there, as Buddy often did the one handed roll, but in reverse. I don't here the snare contributing to those triplets at all.
Someone also said, (I paraphrase here) that Bonham was very advanced for his time. I think his playing is still very advanced. The majority of us will continue to have a hard time doing what Bonham did with that one foot. The music I play, jazz, non metal rock, blues, doesn't require me to play double pedal. In fact man people that call me HATE the double pedal sound. They don't want "busy" drums. They want groove. I guess I'm Ok at that. My goal has always been to have a right foot like Bonham's, a one-handed roll like Buddy's, and a jazz right like Shelly Manne. I'm having fun trying to get there!
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Last edited by onemat; 03-14-2006 at 06:33 PM.
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  #35  
Old 03-14-2006, 05:40 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu_Strib
Normally I get nothing but flames for how "negative" I am.
I couldn't of put what you said any better, i can't understand how people would call you negative for a comment like that.....
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Old 03-14-2006, 05:50 PM
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I couldn't of put what you said any better, i can't understand how people would call you negative for a comment like that.....
Well, in other threads people get a bit touchy when you bring their hero's back down to reality level ;-)

Yeah, Bonhams triplets on Good Times, were really only 2 notes they where hand foot foot hand foot foot...sometimes he'd leave the hand out, giving it that really cool, and somewhat difficult to play sound. I have to play the missing hand note on the hi-hat, because I just don't have the coordination to go hand foot foot, hand foot foot, rest foot foot, rest foot foot.

Some serious coordination and internal time keeping going on there for sure!

Someone mentioned fast triplets with the foot on Moby Dick, but I can't think of where they are talking about. He does a lot of snare hi tom low tom foot triplets (technically, 4-strokes, i.e. sextuplet triplets with an attached 8th), if that's what he means, but those aren't very hard. They SOUND fast, and that's why I always over-used that lick when I was starting. It was the first cool riff I learned I think!
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Old 03-14-2006, 07:48 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

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Originally Posted by Stu_Strib
Well, in other threads people get a bit touchy when you bring their hero's back down to reality level ;-)

Yeah, Bonhams triplets on Good Times, were really only 2 notes they where hand foot foot hand foot foot...sometimes he'd leave the hand out, giving it that really cool, and somewhat difficult to play sound. I have to play the missing hand note on the hi-hat, because I just don't have the coordination to go hand foot foot, hand foot foot, rest foot foot, rest foot foot.
Hmm, after I read your post I listened some times to ''Good Times, Bad Times''
it sure sounds like triplets with right foot!
I watched also the bonus footage from Steve Smith's History Of The US Beat, where he plays some Bonham grooves, Steve clarly plays triplets with his right foot in that groove, there are even colseups to his right foot.
Hmm :-)
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Old 03-16-2006, 04:11 AM
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Old 03-16-2006, 01:54 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

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You people are contradicting his technique into something bad, you're taking every thing that he's good at and making it seem like it's some terrible pathetic thing. He had amazing technique, he didn't sit and beat the crap out of the drums to play loud, he actually knew how to control the heads to make them play loud. He started Heavy Rock drumming, and you people just seem to think that he's some little small detail of drumming and that he's not good. I don't care what any of you say, but to me he's still amazing with that right foot and he's still gonna be my drumming idle.

Oh yeah, and Plant once said that he was good at keeping drumming simple and keeping the beat. Isn't that what drummers are supposed to do hold the beat, tempo, and groove with the song? He did an amazing job of that, stop nitpicking.
Am I missing something? Who calls him a bad drummer? Who says he had a bad technique?
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Old 03-16-2006, 02:00 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

Jammaster,

I assure you the part on "Good Times Bad Times" are triplets played hand (on hi hat or snare , or both, depending on which beat) foot foot, hand foot foot. This is a very well known Bonham-ism and has been played billions of times by thousands of drummers! I even have a book that 'scribes it that way.

His foot playing the second and third note of the triplet isn't very hard until you take the hand out, then it becomes a real killer coordination/timing issue.


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Old 03-16-2006, 02:06 PM
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Default Re: Bonham's right foot - how did he do it?

I thought the same but after seeing Steve Smith's dvd I changed my mind.
well anyway I'll play that with one foot 8))
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