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  #1  
Old 07-09-2010, 05:02 PM
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Lloonnee2 Lloonnee2 is offline
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Default Using the right foot to hit the bass pedal...

=-Introduction-=
I first got interested in drums when, well, I liked the way they were able to keep the beat in my church band.

A few months later, after practicing with some chopsticks, I purchased my first set of drumsticks, a 8AN and 5A Vic Firth sticks. Unfortunately I didn't realise at that time that the different letters and numbers actually meant something, so I had to go back to the shop and buy a new pair of twin 5A sticks when someone told me that the original sticks I bought weren't a pair. All this time, however, I was practicing using the sticks on pillows and bolsters.

About mid-june, I bought my first drum pad, and practiced my hand technique using the drum pad and the dual 5A sticks. It was going quite smoothly, until I got a (rare) chance to actually use the drum set in church, and realised that throughout my entire time I that I was interested in drumming, I hadn't at all worked on my footwork.

This meant that while my hand was able to keep up with the beat, my feet were either struggling to press the pedals accurately, or remained motionless, because I was accustomed to playing both the high-hat and the bass drum with my right hand while I was practicing, instead of moving my right foot.

=-End of intro-=

Hence, I'm posting thread hoping that someone will answer my question, which will be explained below.

As my footwork needs a crapload of practice to be on par with my hands, I'm wondering how I should kick the bass pedal. I read online that there are two ways to kick the pedal, namely the one with the heel grounded, and the one with the heel in mid-air. I tried both methods, but I'm having problems with both.

My problem with the method where the heel is kept to the floor of the pedal, is that after a short span of playing (20 s or so), the muscle in the region around my ankle starts cramping, which causes my foot to hit irregularly. Some of the drummers in my church that I talked to use this method to play the kick pedal, but when I asked them about the pain (as a result of the cramping), they said that they felt no pain. The plus side of using the method, is that I am able to hit single and double beats accurately when doing so.

My problem with the method whereby the foot is suspended, is that everytime I move my knee down, it produces a double beat despite my attempts to make the hammer hit the bass drum only once. This method also causes me to hit irregularly at times, as moving my knee down would sometimes produce a double hit, or no hit at all. The plus side of using this method, is that no part of my right leg cramps.

Having said that, I'm not sure which method my right foot should use. One method stops me from playing after twenty seconds or less, the other gives me random hits when I use it.

Questions
-Is it normal to have cramps when using the first method? My muscle that cramps is muslce which becomes taut when you tense your foot.
-Is it possible to use the second method to hit a single hit? I'm thinking that the 2nd hit is more of a reflex hit, since it's softer than the first hit, and occurs only a split second after the first hit takes place.
-Which method should I use, given what I've said above, and how can I remedy the problems I typed about?
-Are there other methods of using the right foot to operate the kick pedal?
-Is there any practicing I can do with my foot to solve the problems as said above? I do go to church once a week to practice on the drum set for an hour recently, so I should be able to practice a bit to solve this problem, if someone has a solution.

Thanks for reading >.<
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  #2  
Old 07-09-2010, 05:31 PM
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Hentex Hentex is offline
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Default Re: Using the right foot to hit the bass pedal...

Some1 will answer this much better, but i only just glance read and have to go to work. But it sounds like you need to go right back to basics of rock drumming and get simple 4/8th note kick drum patterns sorted like...

8th on hihat, 2 and 4 on snare, and 1 and 3 on bass drum.
Then 1 2 3 4 on bass drum, 1& 3&, etc etc.

Work on bringing them tempo of them up. But just coz your hands are good expect your feet to be total beginners feet and give them the time they deserve to learn.

Have fun!

Oh and heel up, keep your toes on ur pedal. No point learning heel down yet as i think thats a jazz thing. You need to slow down if its bouncing and double hitting, coz thats just weird or your bass head is far to tight and bouncy.
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:41 PM
Vic_Vinegar Vic_Vinegar is offline
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Default Re: Using the right foot to hit the bass pedal...

Sounds like you might be hitting the pedal flat-footed. Just keep your toes on the top part of the pedal, and don't touch the bottom half of it. Also, for additional help just put shoes on and practice on a hard floor while sitting down, without a pedal. Just practice tapping there and then move on to the pedal. In addition to what Hentex said, once you're comfortable with the bass on the quarter notes, then move on to putting the bass on 1 &, 3 &, then 1 ah, 3 ah, then 1 e, 3 e...etc. Hope this helps.
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:41 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Using the right foot to hit the bass pedal...

OK I'll give this a try
First off welcome to DW.
Heel down, I was taught an exercise where you strike the BD head with the beater, and allow that beater to rebound fully. One full hit, and get that beater outta there. This works the muscle in the middle front of the shin, and as you know when you work a muscle, you feel it. Not cramps mind you, just exercising a muscle. This also pulls the fullest tone from the bass drum, and you develop great control.
Then there's burying the beater, which I don't do, (because of the multiple bounces) that can be done heel up or heel down. I would suggest letting the beater rebound fully, and skipping this technique, my opinion only. Burying the beater does make for a certain sound, but I think the fully rebounding beater produces a more pleasing tone, JMO.

Heel up, you just suspend your thigh in one place and work the pedal with your ankle joint. You don't drop the whole leg, at least I don't. Keep that beater rebounding, it's a harder technique, but it's worth it for the nice round tone you get.

My right shin has a lump in the front middle, it's the muscle I use for playing heel down. I am trying to play hi hat heel down too after a lifetime of playing the HH heel up, and slowly that muscle is starting to develop like the one on my right leg.
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:46 PM
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Fuo Fuo is offline
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Default Re: Using the right foot to hit the bass pedal...

IMO its good to learn both heel up and heel down. With heel down, the soreness should start to go away with practice (months of practice), just don't push yourself too hard and risk injury. Play at slow tempos, for short periods of time until its comfortable and slowly increase tempo and duration. And play relaxed, don't allow yourself to tense up.

Make sure your throne height and distance are correct and comfortable. When sitting with your feet on the pedals, your legs should form a ~90 degree angle (maybe a little more than 90 but not much).

The bouncing/double tapping with heel up is probably a control problem that you just need to practice more, but you may have the springs on the pedal too tight.
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Old 07-10-2010, 04:02 AM
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jjmason777 jjmason777 is offline
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Default Re: Using the right foot to hit the bass pedal...

I use both heel up and heel down. I would suggest just concentrating on making the bass drum go boom. That is, don't think about technique so much, just try to keep a steady beat going. Let your foot figure out how it wants to do it. Everybody's body mechanics are different. Once you see how your foot naturally moves to execute the stroke, then you can start to refine the movement for more control.
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  #7  
Old 07-20-2010, 03:16 AM
Chief2112 Chief2112 is offline
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Default Re: Using the right foot to hit the bass pedal...

It's funny, I just started learning about 3 plus weeks ago and started with heel down. The problem I'm having more than anything is not burying the beater with heel down. I've tried all kinds of different tension on the pedal with no luck. Not sure what I'm doing wrong but it just doesn't feel right.

I've tried some heel up too but just not comfortable with it. I just started learning the beat to "When the Levee Breaks" by LZ and I can do it heel down but when I try heel up my timing is all screwed up and my right hand on the hi-hat stops cooperating with my right foot. LOL

I'm still working on it. I think the tip about not using your whole leg with heel up might be what my problem is.

If anyone has any suggestions on letting the beater rebound on heel down I'd love that.
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  #8  
Old 07-20-2010, 05:58 AM
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dairyairman dairyairman is offline
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Default Re: Using the right foot to hit the bass pedal...

don't keep pushing forward with your toes after you hit. back off immediately after you hit the drum.
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  #9  
Old 09-05-2010, 12:40 AM
Russian Drummer Russian Drummer is offline
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Default Re: Using the right foot to hit the bass pedal...

I'm not sure if you are doing this already, but when I play I keep the pedal pressed down. With the beater pressing into the head, I lift up and bring my foot back down. That way, my legs use no energy while "idling".

Also, if you want to play heel-up, you don't always have your heel up in the air. I play with my feet flat on the pedal, and then lift my heel when i go to strike, to give it a little for leverage.

Just my two bits...
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Old 09-06-2010, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: Using the right foot to hit the bass pedal...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russian Drummer View Post
I'm not sure if you are doing this already, but when I play I keep the pedal pressed down. With the beater pressing into the head, I lift up and bring my foot back down. That way, my legs use no energy while "idling".

Also, if you want to play heel-up, you don't always have your heel up in the air. I play with my feet flat on the pedal, and then lift my heel when i go to strike, to give it a little for leverage.

Just my two bits...
I agree. I have been playing for 24 years and always played heel down, I find it more procise but saying that in the last few years I have started playing heel up also for more power. One thing I think you should look at is your pedal, try some adjustments, especially the spring, I like mine pretty loose but responsive. What pedal are you using?
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  #11  
Old 09-06-2010, 03:22 PM
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GRUNTERSDAD GRUNTERSDAD is offline
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Default Re: Using the right foot to hit the bass pedal...

I'm guessing you are sitting to low. Try adjusting your throne. As soon as I say this you will discover you are sitting too high. Try adjusting both ways.
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