Bass pedal problem. HELP!

\o/

Senior Member
Say i'm playing an 8th note beat (1+2+3+4+) and i play the bass drum on 1, 3 and the + of 3.

If i'm playing it HEEL UP at a reasonable tempo i just can't do it so i'm relaxed and have full control over the beater. My foot either starts twitching, or i land the first hit, but the second hit of the double stroke (the + of 3) has unwanted bounce so i get very faint ghost notes. I know in the context of my bedroom it's really difficult to hear but i don't want to ingrain bad technique into my playing. I just can't figure out how to do it without burying the beater or getting the bounce without tensing up. This is really annoying me because i have no problem with hard practice, i just don't know HOW to practice it so when i get faster it's going to be clean. HELP!

Also, my pedal is a shitty stagg one and it seems impossible to get the tension so i can rest my foot lightly without it moving. It's almost like i'm hovering, having to literally hold my foot in the air even though it's on the pedal. If that makes sense.
 
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MattRitter

Senior Member
This is really annoying me because i have no problem with hard practice, i just don't know HOW to practice it so when i get faster it's going to be clean. HELP!
You're not alone. Many people are willing to practice foot technique, but don't really know how. For this reason, I made an entire DVD on the subject. Of course I'm biased, but I think my DVD would be very helpful to you. Most people seem to get something out of it. It's been talked about countless times here over the years. You can check it out by clicking on the link in my signature below.

It's almost like i'm hovering, having to literally hold my foot in the air even though it's on the pedal. If that makes sense.
OK, this confirms it - I think you should completely stop all bass drum practice until you have a copy of my video. Holding your foot in the air is one of the worst things you can do. You're lucky you haven't injured yourself yet.
 

\o/

Senior Member
Well it sounds interesting but unfortunately i'm not in a position to pay for that right now so i'll just hang about and see if there are any free advice-givers. Cheers though, i'll definitely be checking it out once i have some money.
 

wsabol

Gold Member
OK, this confirms it - I think you should completely stop all bass drum practice until you have a copy of my video. Holding your foot in the air is one of the worst things you can do. You're lucky you haven't injured yourself yet.
haha. this.

In almost all cases, heel up is synonymous with burying the beater. No one ever does what you do with the hovering leg, and most don't even try to unbury the beater with heel up. So don't beat yourself up over it.

The one way I've been able to get heel up without burying the beater is from Matt Sansalone. His video on bass drum technique is great. Rest your foot on the pedal so that your foot is relaxed and the beater is not touching the head. Lift your leg up from the thigh (don't push off with your foot), and drop it back down on the pedal. You foot stays relaxed the whole time.. after the stroke, your foot should come back to that same resting position.

I don't use that technique very often, I'm mostly heel down. But its something that works.

Good Luck.
 

MattRitter

Senior Member
The one way I've been able to get heel up without burying the beater is from Matt Sansalone. His video on bass drum technique is great. Rest your foot on the pedal so that your foot is relaxed and the beater is not touching the head. Lift your leg up from the thigh (don't push off with your foot), and drop it back down on the pedal. You foot stays relaxed the whole time.. after the stroke, your foot should come back to that same resting position.
Yeah, that sounds like what I teach. Who is Matt Sansalone? I never heard of him, and Google didn't help. Funny that another Matt out there has a bass drum video teaching my same techniques.
 

MattRitter

Senior Member
Can anyone just give me some advice which isn't trying to sell me something?
Wow, you are definitely new around here. No one is "trying to sell" you something. As most regulars on this forum know, I have posted over 400 times since 2007, and MANY of my posts have been extremely long and detailed explanations of bass drum technique. All you need to do is search around and you can find some of those posts. I have a full-time teaching practice in New York City where people pay a lot of money to study with me on a weekly basis. I honestly don't care one way or the other about your $25. I recommended my DVD because it is the solution to the problem you asked about! It seems clear that you don't really want help, but instead are looking for some sort of quick fix that doesn't exist.
 

\o/

Senior Member
Wow, you are definitely new around here. No one is "trying to sell" you something. As most regulars on this forum know, I have posted over 400 times since 2007, and MANY of my posts have been extremely long and detailed explanations of bass drum technique. All you need to do is search around and you can find some of those posts. I have a full-time teaching practice in New York City where people pay a lot of money to study with me on a weekly basis. I honestly don't care one way or the other about your $25. I recommended my DVD because it is the solution to the problem you asked about! It seems clear that you don't really want help, but instead are looking for some sort of quick fix that doesn't exist.
I clearly don't want help? No, i joined a FREE forum to get FREE advice. I buy plenty of material but i'm skint at the moment. For someone to say 'i know the answer but buy my dvd' is a bit offputting to be honest. You could have just given me some pointers if you really wanted to help. I would be more willing to buy the full DVD if your post didn't seem like an advertisement. And i'm not really bothered about my time spent around here - i'm courteous and polite and take all advice on board. I also wasn't just talking about you. I had two different responses and both mentioned buying video's which i said i can't afford. I appreciate you pointing me towards your material but as i can't afford it it would be better to say nothing at all if the advice is going to cost me money. Otherwise it's like dangling a carrot in front of my (frustrating) dilemma without actually helping me work on the problem. I hope you understand.
 

Duckenheimer

Senior Member
Can anyone just give me some advice which isn't trying to sell me something?
There was a very good post written prior to this one of yours with technique explanation.

The best videos and teachers don't come free.

I clearly don't want help? No, i joined a FREE forum to get FREE advice. I buy plenty of material but i'm skint at the moment. For someone to say 'i know the answer but buy my dvd' is a bit offputting to be honest. You could have just given me some pointers if you really wanted to help. I would be more willing to buy the full DVD if your post didn't seem like an advertisement. And i'm not really bothered about my time spent around here - i'm courteous and polite and take all advice on board. I also wasn't just talking about you. I had two different responses and both mentioned buying video's which i said i can't afford. I appreciate you pointing me towards your material but as i can't afford it it would be better to say nothing at all if the advice is going to cost me money. Otherwise it's like dangling a carrot in front of my (frustrating) dilemma without actually helping me work on the problem. I hope you understand.
Actually he pointed you to extremely extensive free bass drum advice as well. Both posters provided briefer specifics (for free) that will directly help you work on the problem if you take them on board.
 

\o/

Senior Member
I understand that stuff doesn't come for free - i'm in the process of finding a teacher. I know if i have an attitude people won't be willing to help me. I didn't mean the post in the tone it came across in. It's just real frustrating and it seemed like people were holding the answer from me unless i paid for it - i know that's not the case but it's been a bad drum day. My apologies =)
 

MattRitter

Senior Member
You could have just given me some pointers if you really wanted to help. I would be more willing to buy the full DVD if your post didn't seem like an advertisement.
Your bass drum problem requires a complete rethinking of your entire bass drum concept. It's not about "pointers." If it were that simple, I would never have made a DVD to begin with, and it certainly wouldn't be over 2 hours long. I honestly don't care about advertising to you. I tried to answer your original question...and the answer is a full overhaul of your entire approach. That can only come from private lessons and/or something like my DVD. It can't come from a paragraph of text on a drum forum. Thats why my previous posts on the subject have always ended up being extremely long...and people STILL get confused about it. Heck, in 2004, I wrote an entire Modern Drummer article about it. Afterward, I received countless emails from around the world with people still wanting more details and clarification. I think it's just not the type of thing that can be thoroughly explained in writing.

I appreciate you pointing me towards your material but as i can't afford it it would be better to say nothing at all if the advice is going to cost me money. Otherwise it's like dangling a carrot in front of my (frustrating) dilemma without actually helping me work on the problem. I hope you understand.
You really think it's better for someone to not offer advice at all if the advice might mean some money needs to be spent? I'm sorry and surprised to hear that this is your take on it. Sometimes, we have to spend a little money to solve important dilemmas. Again, you seem to be looking for a quick fix. I can tell you that it doesn't exist...not for the situation you described in your opening post. Like I said before, from what you described, I recommend that you completely discontinue all bass drum practice until you get on the right track. Otherwise, you're asking for an injury that will cost you money in doctor bills.

That's my advice, take it or leave it. Over and out.
 

\o/

Senior Member
Your bass drum problem requires a complete rethinking of your entire bass drum concept. It's not about "pointers." If it were that simple, I would never have made a DVD to begin with, and it certainly wouldn't be over 2 hours long. I honestly don't care about advertising to you. I tried to answer your original question...and the answer is a full overhaul of your entire approach. That can only come from private lessons and/or something like my DVD. It can't come from a paragraph of text on a drum forum. Thats why my previous posts on the subject have always ended up being extremely long...and people STILL get confused about it. Heck, in 2004, I wrote an entire Modern Drummer article about it. Afterward, I received countless emails from around the world with people still wanting more details and clarification. I think it's just not the type of thing that can be thoroughly explained in writing.



You really think it's better for someone to not offer advice at all if the advice might mean some money needs to be spent? I'm sorry and surprised to hear that this is your take on it. Sometimes, we have to spend a little money to solve important dilemmas. Again, you seem to be looking for a quick fix. I can tell you that it doesn't exist...not for the situation you described in your opening post. Like I said before, from what you described, I recommend that you completely discontinue all bass drum practice until you get on the right track. Otherwise, you're asking for an injury that will cost you money in doctor bills.

That's my advice, take it or leave it. Over and out.
Well i receive your advice with good grace. And i know there are no quick fixes when practicing - i'm a guitarist and bassist of well over 10 years and i know that to fix something you have to put the hours in. The frustrating bit is not knowing WHAT to practice, because on guitar i know exactly what to do to correct any problem i'm facing. I suppose i'll just make sure i'm entirely relaxed whilst playing bass drum and only play things at a tempo which is comfortable until i can afford your DVD. Thanks again.

EDIT: There was no sarcasm in my above post, if i could get your DVD at a price i could afford right now i'd be STRAIGHT on it - i want the damned thing! By the way, i've seen a preview of it on youtube and read reviews - you know you can get paid for being a youtube partner when you get a certain amount of views? I think it's something you should look into because you could offer snippets of your method to people for free and still get paid for it, because i'd definitely subscribe.
 
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M

mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
I would be grateful that Matt is providing information. Although Matt is out to sell copy (and that's his right) he also has provided you with very useful information. I struggle with my technique from time to time and the best advice is to go and find a reputable teacher. Failing that, DVDs and magazines - which is precisely what Matt has advised.

I'm not a wealth of knowledge on these subjects but I know that technique issues are ones that build over time. Right now I'm struggling to unlearn some basic mistakes I made very early on that are ingrained into my playing - I'd hope that with the wealth of resources that are available (and some of them for free) that you would be less aggressive towards Matt Ritter - who is an acknowledged expert in this area.

What to practice is entirely down to what you want to achieve musically. If you want to be able to have total control over beater movement and dynamics; then that's where to start looking. If you want speed, look for advice on that. Don't just practice technique with no discernible function - that way leads a slippery slope.
 

MattRitter

Senior Member
Thanks for the kind words, Mediocrefunkybeat.

By the way, it occurs to me that my Modern Drummer article might still be available through the magazine. It ran in the December 2004 issue. If anyone is interested, you can probably call Modern Drummer and have them mail you a copy of the article. I know they used to be willing to do that sometimes. I think they might charge like $2 or something ridiculously small like that. The article is in writing, of course, so it's not going to be as thorough as a video...but it will definitely be a step in the right direction, and it will map out some basic exercises. Just a thought.
 

\o/

Senior Member
I would be grateful that Matt is providing information. Although Matt is out to sell copy (and that's his right) he also has provided you with very useful information. I struggle with my technique from time to time and the best advice is to go and find a reputable teacher. Failing that, DVDs and magazines - which is precisely what Matt has advised.

I'm not a wealth of knowledge on these subjects but I know that technique issues are ones that build over time. Right now I'm struggling to unlearn some basic mistakes I made very early on that are ingrained into my playing - I'd hope that with the wealth of resources that are available (and some of them for free) that you would be less aggressive towards Matt Ritter - who is an acknowledged expert in this area.

What to practice is entirely down to what you want to achieve musically. If you want to be able to have total control over beater movement and dynamics; then that's where to start looking. If you want speed, look for advice on that. Don't just practice technique with no discernible function - that way leads a slippery slope.
I don't feel that i've been clear enough - i wasn't being aggressive. I don't intend to be insulting towards ANYONE that offers advice - i simply meant can anyone point me towards free info. I understand that i came across as aggressive but i wasn't being.
 

\o/

Senior Member
Thanks for the kind words, Mediocrefunkybeat.

By the way, it occurs to me that my Modern Drummer article might still be available through the magazine. It ran in the December 2004 issue. If anyone is interested, you can probably call Modern Drummer and have them mail you a copy of the article. I know they used to be willing to do that sometimes. I think they might charge like $2 or something ridiculously small like that. The article is in writing, of course, so it's not going to be as thorough as a video...but it will definitely be a step in the right direction, and it will map out some basic exercises. Just a thought.
Well once again thanks for your advice - like i said i meant can someone give me free info - i wasn't trying to be a spoilt brat and discredit you as a salesman. I've done my research and you clearly know what you're talking about, or world class drummers wouldn't have sought your advice.

You should definitely look into the youtube thing though - some people are making a living off that alone. Being such a respected member of the drumming community you'd definitely garner some warranted attention.
 

MattRitter

Senior Member
like i said i meant can someone give me free info
If you click on my name, it will give you the option of seeing all my previous posts. There are a lot of posts to weed through, but a good many of them are about bass drum technique. Some of those old posts are a couple pages long! Like I said before, I don't know how helpful it will be to just read this stuff in writing, but you can try. I obviously thought it had some value at the time, or I wouldn't have written those posts to begin with...but lately I'm thinking that long written explanations are not always good for communicating the details of physical technique. Anyway, it's free, so you lose nothing by checking it out. Best of luck.
 

mainedrummer

Junior Member
Can anyone just give me some advice which isn't trying to sell me something?
What advice I'll offer is keep searching on youtube - there must be thousands of drummers posting stuff about bass drum technique - heel up, heel down, heel-toe methods, whatever. Watch them, pick out what looks good and PRACTICE! If you don't have the money to pay a teacher (the fastest way to get "there") you HAVE to get a good bass pedal - keep watching on ebay or craigslist - you won't do youself any favors by using your "shi**y stagg one". For instance, I've used a Ludwig Speed King for over 50 years and only recently changed to DW double pedals. Properly set up and lub'ed the Speed King is a good pedal. I've seen a couple go on ebay for under $50 - I know that could be a lot if you don't have any money, but you've got to have the proper and good tools of the trade. (I hope that doesn't come off as trying to sell you something - I'm not selling my SK pedals!)

Mainly, figure out what you want your bass pedal to do and PRACTICE. No-one ever got good by continully search around for free stuff - JUST DO IT!

Good Luck . . .
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The heel down technique can handle (I'm guessing) 85% of any drumming you're likely to encounter, why don't you start there?

There's 2 main rules:

1. Keep your heel down.
2. Let the beater rebound fully.

That will give you plenty to work on.
Heel down offers the most control IMO
If you lift your toes (with your heel down) like 300 times every other day, you can develop the muscles almost anywhere, but bass drum practice is the best.
The goal is a quick strike and a full rebound.

That's why I like playing in socks. I actually incorporate my toes and use them to push the pedal down to take some workload off my ankle. You can't do that in shoes.
 
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