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  #1  
Old 08-30-2013, 07:27 AM
Deimos Deimos is offline
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Default Double Kick & Balance. Need Help.

Hello

I have been playing double bass for about 3 years now and still struggle to get above 80bpm for anything longer than 8 Nd beats. I believe it may be to do with balance. Because when just playing with one foot, I can play at 110bpm quite comfortably for about a minute, but as soon as it comes to using both feet I literally can't even hit the bass drum. It is very frustrating and now every time I attempt i just get pissed of and don't play for the rest of the day. Does anyone have any insight into this? I have tried many settings on my pedals and distances from my pedals.

I should note that about 1 in every 10 days i am able to do it for whatever reason. And I also have scoliosis (curvature of the spine), but it is only mild so I don't think that's the problem.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by Bernhard; 08-30-2013 at 07:57 AM. Reason: Edited by Arky: spelling (drum terminology:)
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  #2  
Old 08-30-2013, 08:09 AM
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MrInsanePolack MrInsanePolack is offline
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Default Re: Double Kick & Balance. Need Help.

Are you relaxed when you try to play with both feet? Do your legs and feet get all tense? Are you centered between the pedals and are they even distances away from your center? If it is a question of balance, you need to analyze what it is that sets you off balance. When you start to play what does your posture do? Also, do you play heel up or down?

Just from reading your post I would guess you aren't relaxed. There is no reason that your feet stop working properly when you add the second one. Try to relax, maintain proper posture, and BREATHE (very, very important). Learning to use both feet can be a frustrating journey, but don't let it get in your head. If you don't think you can do it, you wont. So stay positive, relax, breathe, and remember that even doubles and speed aren't built in a day. The concept is easy, the journey is lifelong. As the turtle says, slow and steady wins the race.
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:21 AM
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Arky Arky is offline
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Default Re: Double Kick & Balance. Need Help.

You're right - balance is super important for drumming. And finding good balance can take a while (I'm not there yet.) You have to experiment will all parameters involved, like

- seat height (actually, even which throne you're using), where you're actually sitting on the throne (centered vs. more towards the edge - and centered tends to provide firmer balance but some might not like the feel),
- distance between throne and pedals,
- pedal settings (spring tension, even pedal angle, distance between the pedals),
- your trunk muscles/core strength,
- whether you're sitting straight (regardless of your curvature of the spine, meaning you're not leaning forward or backward).

It's normal to be able to lock in on one foot at a certain (fast) tempo and not being able to hit the same speed when using both feet. The difference shouldn't be that high though. I'd recommend to forget about speed for now and slow things way down. You have to start reprogramming yourself and be super aware of your motions, your sitting position and how the motions feel. Don't try to push yourself, start from scratch. Make sure you sit comfortably, then place your feet on the pedals. Don't play, just check whether it feels ok. If not - identify what it is and adjust accordingly.

As for the foot motions/technique, I've restarted building control when I started focusing on short bursts/groupings of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 notes just recently. Until that I've been practicing half-mindless endless 16th notes at medium to decent speed but while this has some benefits or endurance effect, I noticed it didn't give me the control for short/broken up patterns I wanted. Actually I started doing those 'bursts' at very low speed and have been speeding them up very gradually and only to a speed where I'd have acceptable control. Which isn't really fast for now. Also, make sure to play the last notes in a relaxed way so your feet would rest flat on your pedals. You don't want to keep your heels up all the time (assuming you're playing heel up).
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  #4  
Old 08-30-2013, 08:33 AM
Stomper4x4 Stomper4x4 is offline
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Default Re: Double Kick & Balance. Need Help.

Yeah man, I know exactly how you feel. While I don't think my problem is as acute, it is similar. The suggestions made by the guys above are spot on.

I feel like, when I play double bass with Heel Up, I don;t have one foot planted any more to keep me from feeling off balance. I feel like I will tip forward almost, and my legs do tense up also. Now I think strength is a big part of that. I recently returned to drumming after many years off raising kids and such so while this was not a big deal when I was 19, it is now that I am older and not as naturally strong.

So for now, I do double bass heel down or sometimes heel/toe. Dave Weckl also said he plays double bass heel down because he gets that off balance feel too, so we're in FINE company!

My plan to fix it is a few sit ups each day, but mostly I am running through Stick Control just using my feet and hoping that tunes everything up nicely for me. Good luck!
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  #5  
Old 08-30-2013, 08:34 AM
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lefty2 lefty2 is offline
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Default Re: Double Kick & Balance. Need Help.

You might try playing simple beats with your left foot(I'm assuming that your right handed). and then start adding your right.Your throne height might be too high. Your legs should be almost parallel with the ground. That's debatable though. Quite a few drummers sit higher than that. It would be great if you could post a video. The quality doesn't need to be real good. I've been working on Dbl. kick for many yr. and still don't play very fast. As the previous post said, It's a journey. Some people pick it up faster than others, but don't give up .You'll get better I'm sure.
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  #6  
Old 08-30-2013, 11:10 AM
DustinB DustinB is offline
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Default Re: Double Kick & Balance. Need Help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deimos View Post
Hello

I have been playing double bass for about 3 years now and still struggle to get above 80bpm for anything longer than 8 Nd beats. I believe it may be to do with balance. Because when just playing with one foot, I can play at 110bpm quite comfortably for about a minute, but as soon as it comes to using both feet I literally can't even hit the bass drum. It is very frustrating and now every time I attempt i just get pissed of and don't play for the rest of the day. Does anyone have any insight into this? I have tried many settings on my pedals and distances from my pedals.

I should note that about 1 in every 10 days i am able to do it for whatever reason. And I also have scoliosis (curvature of the spine), but it is only mild so I don't think that's the problem.

Thanks in advance.
You been spying on me?! haha jk

I have mild scoliosis and spina bifida as well. And I had this problem for awhile, and honestly I'm still fixing it but it's not quiet as bad.

what has helped me, is going on walks everyday for 1 hour. Squats! Make sure to stand up leading with your butt, keep feet and thighs in a line together, put your elbows between your knees and push them apart, should be a good idea how wide you need to be, also I was told by a doctor that your knees can go past your toes, just depends on your body make up, BUT KEEP YOUR HEELS ON THE GROUND. Headstands (you should be able to see your hands) and while your in a headstand, do a bicycle pedaling motion(this also helps with knee pain! A LOT! haha trust me). Hike up a mountain once a week if you can as well, helps a lot for those muscles(wish i could do it more). Also play only in short intervals. Like for 20 minutes and take a break. Over time you'll be able to go for longer. I used to play for 3 or 4 hours, and it would just kill my left hip.

I could play 16ths notes at 120 bpm with my right foot but i couldn't play past like 70 or 80 bpm with my left foot. I can play both feet independently and together at about 115 comfortably.

I like to play Sanford Double Beat with my feet instead a lot. As well as playing to a metronome practicing quarter, 8th, 8th note triples, and 16ths notes with 1 foot.

Also like stated before, make sure your relaxed and breathing normally. Also try alternating single or double strokes, from slow to fast and back down gradually. Good luck mate. I know it's frustrating, because you know it in your head and your having issues executing it. But stick with it. Turn that anger into motivation :)

Here's a link to sanford double beat. Practice the hell out of it, with both feet and hands :)
http://www.snarescience.com/exercises/sanford.pdf
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  #7  
Old 08-30-2013, 01:41 PM
drum4fun27302 drum4fun27302 is offline
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Default Re: Double Kick & Balance. Need Help.

It took me a while to be relaxed. I found out it had everything to do with my core and my balance on the stool. Single bass, I always had my left foot on the hihat , turning me into a tripod. Double , all that was gone and I had the be able to stay on the throne with both feet of the ground and playing with my 2 hands/arms.
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  #8  
Old 08-30-2013, 02:55 PM
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Reggae_Mangle Reggae_Mangle is offline
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Default Re: Double Kick & Balance. Need Help.

Deimos, one way of improving your balance is to sit lower to the ground. I found this helped me greatly when I was having double bass troubles. Another suggestion is to play play heel up, but push down with the ball of your heel, rather than pushing downward with your toe. Your heel will not make contact with the footboard, but you'll find your toes automatically add downward pressure and propel the beater forward.

Another suggestion I can give is to focus on playing even strokes at whatever tempo you can keep it together for more than 8 bars. Doesn't matter if it's 100 bpm or even 50 bpm. The idea is that one foot should follow the other foot CONSISTENTLY, especially at the initial stages of finding your balance. Once you are able to maintain your balance well enough to get a consistent pattern with your feet, build up speed. Play faster than you can sometimes, just to get a feel for it, but alternate with playing slower and getting those consistent strokes.

Don't get disheartened, even though it is easy to do so. Do you want to give up drums forever? The best approach when you're faced with adversity is to persevere! Let us know how you're progressing!
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  #9  
Old 08-30-2013, 07:04 PM
DustinB DustinB is offline
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Default Re: Double Kick & Balance. Need Help.

I forgot I found this not too long ago: This dude Elliot Hulse (professional strongman i think), does video responses for people and this one in particular was in response to a kid with scoliosis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1IoKYSPiJ8

He's got tons of stuff on the nervous system/muscle imbalances. Just something to look into. I know working on strength training and form being the number one focus instead of strength, has helped me begin to balance out and it's really helped me with drumming.

Just something to think about, thought it might be useful for you as well. I definitely recommend watching at least his videos on the nervous system/muscle imbalances.

edit: If you can invest some money into your health, I'd recommend maybe seeing a physical therapist and/or a chiropractor or maybe sign up for a Tai Chi/QiGong class.
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  #10  
Old 08-31-2013, 07:22 AM
Deimos Deimos is offline
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Default Re: Double Kick & Balance. Need Help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrInsanePolack View Post
Are you relaxed when you try to play with both feet? Do your legs and feet get all tense? Are you centered between the pedals and are they even distances away from your center? If it is a question of balance, you need to analyze what it is that sets you off balance. When you start to play what does your posture do? Also, do you play heel up or down?

Just from reading your post I would guess you aren't relaxed. There is no reason that your feet stop working properly when you add the second one. Try to relax, maintain proper posture, and BREATHE (very, very important). Learning to use both feet can be a frustrating journey, but don't let it get in your head. If you don't think you can do it, you wont. So stay positive, relax, breathe, and remember that even doubles and speed aren't built in a day. The concept is easy, the journey is lifelong. As the turtle says, slow and steady wins the race.
You are right, I ussualy am not relaxed while trying to go fast with the double peddle, I will try and change that. Thanks for the encouragement. I play heels up btw.
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  #11  
Old 08-31-2013, 07:27 AM
Deimos Deimos is offline
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Default Re: Double Kick & Balance. Need Help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arky View Post
You're right - balance is super important for drumming. And finding good balance can take a while (I'm not there yet.) You have to experiment will all parameters involved, like

- seat height (actually, even which throne you're using), where you're actually sitting on the throne (centered vs. more towards the edge - and centered tends to provide firmer balance but some might not like the feel),
- distance between throne and pedals,
- pedal settings (spring tension, even pedal angle, distance between the pedals),
- your trunk muscles/core strength,
- whether you're sitting straight (regardless of your curvature of the spine, meaning you're not leaning forward or backward).

It's normal to be able to lock in on one foot at a certain (fast) tempo and not being able to hit the same speed when using both feet. The difference shouldn't be that high though. I'd recommend to forget about speed for now and slow things way down. You have to start reprogramming yourself and be super aware of your motions, your sitting position and how the motions feel. Don't try to push yourself, start from scratch. Make sure you sit comfortably, then place your feet on the pedals. Don't play, just check whether it feels ok. If not - identify what it is and adjust accordingly.

As for the foot motions/technique, I've restarted building control when I started focusing on short bursts/groupings of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 notes just recently. Until that I've been practicing half-mindless endless 16th notes at medium to decent speed but while this has some benefits or endurance effect, I noticed it didn't give me the control for short/broken up patterns I wanted. Actually I started doing those 'bursts' at very low speed and have been speeding them up very gradually and only to a speed where I'd have acceptable control. Which isn't really fast for now. Also, make sure to play the last notes in a relaxed way so your feet would rest flat on your pedals. You don't want to keep your heels up all the time (assuming you're playing heel up).
Thanks for all the advice, I'm going to re-arrange my whole kit this weekend to try and get a more comfortable feel. As it is now its kind of crammed into the corner of a room in an attempt to save space. I have actually just started doing the George Kollias Speed & Control workout which is similar to what you're talking about in the way of doing short bursts, so hopefully that will help a bit.
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  #12  
Old 08-31-2013, 07:30 AM
Deimos Deimos is offline
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Default Re: Double Kick & Balance. Need Help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stomper4x4 View Post
Yeah man, I know exactly how you feel. While I don't think my problem is as acute, it is similar. The suggestions made by the guys above are spot on.

I feel like, when I play double bass with Heel Up, I don;t have one foot planted any more to keep me from feeling off balance. I feel like I will tip forward almost, and my legs do tense up also. Now I think strength is a big part of that. I recently returned to drumming after many years off raising kids and such so while this was not a big deal when I was 19, it is now that I am older and not as naturally strong.

So for now, I do double bass heel down or sometimes heel/toe. Dave Weckl also said he plays double bass heel down because he gets that off balance feel too, so we're in FINE company!

My plan to fix it is a few sit ups each day, but mostly I am running through Stick Control just using my feet and hoping that tunes everything up nicely for me. Good luck!
Yeah that is very similar to how I feel while playing. I have also started doing a few sit ups, as well as push ups each day in an attempt to build core muscles. Its good to know its not just me, thanks.
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  #13  
Old 08-31-2013, 07:33 AM
Deimos Deimos is offline
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Default Re: Double Kick & Balance. Need Help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lefty2 View Post
You might try playing simple beats with your left foot(I'm assuming that your right handed). and then start adding your right.Your throne height might be too high. Your legs should be almost parallel with the ground. That's debatable though. Quite a few drummers sit higher than that. It would be great if you could post a video. The quality doesn't need to be real good. I've been working on Dbl. kick for many yr. and still don't play very fast. As the previous post said, It's a journey. Some people pick it up faster than others, but don't give up .You'll get better I'm sure.
That is a good idea, i'll put that into my daily routine. I have always felt a little high on my throne, but its the lowest it can go. I might look into getting a new one which can go lower.
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  #14  
Old 08-31-2013, 07:48 AM
Deimos Deimos is offline
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Default Re: Double Kick & Balance. Need Help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DustinB View Post
You been spying on me?! haha jk

I have mild scoliosis and spina bifida as well. And I had this problem for awhile, and honestly I'm still fixing it but it's not quiet as bad.

what has helped me, is going on walks everyday for 1 hour. Squats! Make sure to stand up leading with your butt, keep feet and thighs in a line together, put your elbows between your knees and push them apart, should be a good idea how wide you need to be, also I was told by a doctor that your knees can go past your toes, just depends on your body make up, BUT KEEP YOUR HEELS ON THE GROUND. Headstands (you should be able to see your hands) and while your in a headstand, do a bicycle pedaling motion(this also helps with knee pain! A LOT! haha trust me). Hike up a mountain once a week if you can as well, helps a lot for those muscles(wish i could do it more). Also play only in short intervals. Like for 20 minutes and take a break. Over time you'll be able to go for longer. I used to play for 3 or 4 hours, and it would just kill my left hip.

I could play 16ths notes at 120 bpm with my right foot but i couldn't play past like 70 or 80 bpm with my left foot. I can play both feet independently and together at about 115 comfortably.

I like to play Sanford Double Beat with my feet instead a lot. As well as playing to a metronome practicing quarter, 8th, 8th note triples, and 16ths notes with 1 foot.

Also like stated before, make sure your relaxed and breathing normally. Also try alternating single or double strokes, from slow to fast and back down gradually. Good luck mate. I know it's frustrating, because you know it in your head and your having issues executing it. But stick with it. Turn that anger into motivation :)

Here's a link to sanford double beat. Practice the hell out of it, with both feet and hands :)
http://www.snarescience.com/exercises/sanford.pdf

Its good to know someone else is in the same position as me. I don't really have time for most of that exercise but I will add in squats to what im already doing. I will also start practising the sanford double beat, thanks for the advice,
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Old 08-31-2013, 07:49 AM
Deimos Deimos is offline
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Default Re: Double Kick & Balance. Need Help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reggae_Mangle View Post
Deimos, one way of improving your balance is to sit lower to the ground. I found this helped me greatly when I was having double bass troubles. Another suggestion is to play play heel up, but push down with the ball of your heel, rather than pushing downward with your toe. Your heel will not make contact with the footboard, but you'll find your toes automatically add downward pressure and propel the beater forward.

Another suggestion I can give is to focus on playing even strokes at whatever tempo you can keep it together for more than 8 bars. Doesn't matter if it's 100 bpm or even 50 bpm. The idea is that one foot should follow the other foot CONSISTENTLY, especially at the initial stages of finding your balance. Once you are able to maintain your balance well enough to get a consistent pattern with your feet, build up speed. Play faster than you can sometimes, just to get a feel for it, but alternate with playing slower and getting those consistent strokes.

Don't get disheartened, even though it is easy to do so. Do you want to give up drums forever? The best approach when you're faced with adversity is to persevere! Let us know how you're progressing!
Will do thanks for the tips
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  #16  
Old 08-31-2013, 11:55 PM
DustinB DustinB is offline
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Default Re: Double Kick & Balance. Need Help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deimos View Post
Its good to know someone else is in the same position as me. I don't really have time for most of that exercise but I will add in squats to what im already doing. I will also start practising the sanford double beat, thanks for the advice,
If your 1 in a million then there are 7,000 others just like you :) (keep it pg i guess)

I would recommend those hand stands as well as the squats. You have to use your whole core/back and really strengthen your shoulders and posture, and keeps your neck strong as well as when you add the bicycle pedaling motion to it, it really works the hips and low back/core as well as is therapeutic to the knees :D It is by far my favorite exercise.

I just found this video the other day as I have been having trouble progressing to full handstands, and after trying just half of the video before the speed part, I felt it was the motions i was missing to get into a full handstand. Could really feel it in the shoulders.
http://gymnasticswod.com/content/kip...rogression-pt1

I would almost recommend working the headstands only if that's the only exercise your going to do. If you don't squat right you can really mess your self up. You should be able to get your butt to your calves. Make sure when you go to stand up, you are leading with your butt not your torso. The torso kind of automatically just follows your behind.

The other thing that could really help you is leg raises and all the different forms on the ground/if your strong enough to hold yourself up on a bar or tree or w/e. Any of that pedaling motion i think is the most important.

But remember it's all connected so make sure you have a routine that hits the entire body, just make balance/function your main priority over strength. We want to feel very grounded on our feet in my opinion.

Push, pull, squat, walk/run, pick something off the ground. Are like the biggest things... push up, pull up, squats, run, and dead lifts are best in my opinion if you can't do anything else. But i'd throw headstand/handstand because of the neck and shoulder and that whole area.


If you stick to just your push ups and sits ups, you eventually will create a muscle imbalances and develop a rounded gorilla like upper back and rounded shoulders. Look up thoracic extension. Also read up on muscle imbalances, and the nervous system. Body works as one, gotta train it as one. Unless your a bodybuilder and that is your job and you have trainers to help you balance muscles out independently.

lol editing again. Another very important thing for you to look up would be "upper cross syndrome/lower cross syndrome" very important. especially if you have a desk job.

Last edited by DustinB; 09-01-2013 at 12:06 AM.
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  #17  
Old 09-01-2013, 06:53 PM
MrInsanePolack's Avatar
MrInsanePolack MrInsanePolack is offline
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Default Re: Double Kick & Balance. Need Help.

I hate to burst some bubbles here, but if the key to better double bass was sit ups, push ups, squats, and headstands, all double bass drummers would look like weightlifters. The key to playing good, even, consistent double bass is repetition. Pick 'em up and set 'em down. If you can't sit on your seat seat comfortably and lift both feet off the ground while staying balanced your seat is the issue. Find a height where you can do so and stick with it.

If your pedals are too far away and you play heel up, doubles make your legs push. You don't want to push, you just want to set your foot down.

If your pedals are too close and you play heel down, your ankles are not able to lift your toes as easily as they should because your muscles and tendons are already stretched due to the angle of your shins.

Relaxation, breathing, your seating, and repetition are what you need. I have absolutely no issues with exercise, but exercise won't make you a better drummer. Drumming will. And drumming in itself is good exercise. The more you do it, the more the muscles you need to drum will develop and strengthen.
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