Can’t play heel up double bass anymore

sickpuppyseth

New member
I’ve been playing drums for like 6/7 years. i’ve played in several heavier bands and always played very balanced fluent double bass. nothing too fast over 160 bpm. I played heel up and used a lot of my toe with very loose spring tension on iron cobras. For christmas i got an axis direct drive longboard double pedal and i’ve always wanted one. i was struggling to play double bass at first and my leg would twitch after trying to play a beat and start playing uncontrolled triplets almost. ive always played full leg heel up, and now when i try to do it i have absolutely no control and start automatically using my ankles. even when switching back to the iron cobras, i do the same thing. and now when i play also, i’m getting off balance, which has never happened before. i start leaning to the right. i’ve messed with all different combos of different spring tensions and seat heights. i even put my iron cobra springs on the axis. nothing has helped. like i said i’ve been playing for YEARS and have always been so consistent and good about faster mid tempo double bass parts. always like playing heel up because it cut through very well and sounded the best. please someone help and tell me what i’m doing wrong, i don’t even care about using the axis so much anymore, i just want to be able to play smooth double bass again like i have for years.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
ive always played full leg heel up, and now when i try to do it i have absolutely no control and start automatically using my ankles.
Your body wants you to start developing your ankle technique for more speed. 160 is about the transition point for switching between leg/ankle. It varies for everyone, but 160 is near that point.

Dont freak out about it. If you get it in your head that you cant do it anymore, you wont be able to. This is a normal growth hurdle for double kick.

Set a click for a slower tempo and show yourself that you can still do it. Bump the click up by 5bpm increments until it starts to feel wrong. This is your transition point. Start learning to use your ankle there.
 

sickpuppyseth

New member
Your body wants you to start developing your ankle technique for more speed. 160 is about the transition point for switching between leg/ankle. It varies for everyone, but 160 is near that point.

Dont freak out about it. If you get it in your head that you cant do it anymore, you wont be able to. This is a normal growth hurdle for double kick.

Set a click for a slower tempo and show yourself that you can still do it. Bump the click up by 5bpm increments until it starts to feel wrong. This is your transition point. Start learning to use your ankle there.
we’ll see, i can’t even play the slower tempos heel up now. i could NEVER play super fast. but i had very solid mid and slow tempo heel up double bass ability. now even at those slow/mid tempos i lose balance and my feet stutter and can’t keep the tempo. i used to use full leg motion heel up for these tempos.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
How often do you work on double kick? You might just be out of practice.

If the answer is nearly everyday, you are psyching yourself out. No reason you can all of a sudden no longer do something you once could. That would be like suddenly forgetting how to walk.

If it makes you feel better, I've been running both feet since 1992 and some days my feet just dont work. It's not often anymore, but if I cant drum for a few weeks, they are sloppy when I finally get to.
 

sickpuppyseth

New member
How often do you work on double kick? You might just be out of practice.

If the answer is nearly everyday, you are psyching yourself out. No reason you can all of a sudden no longer do something you once could. That would be like suddenly forgetting how to walk.

If it makes you feel better, I've been running both feet since 1992 and some days my feet just dont work. It's not often anymore, but if I cant drum for a few weeks, they are sloppy when I finally get to.
i practice everyday. have always been VERY good at mid/slow tempos with heel up and loose spring tension. it all started when i started converting to my axis pedals from iron cobras. i know direct drive has a different feel. i read a lot about how it’s important at times when switching to direct drive to tighten your spring tension and slowly work down. but now even on my iron cobras i can’t do things at all i could before. not sure of any good strength exercises or what i may be doing wrong. also, when i played my iron cobras before, my toe was super far up the pedal, almost touching the chain and i had the beaters bedded on the kick when i wasn’t using them.
 

sickpuppyseth

New member
i practice everyday. have always been VERY good at mid/slow tempos with heel up and loose spring tension. it all started when i started converting to my axis pedals from iron cobras. i know direct drive has a different feel. i read a lot about how it’s important at times when switching to direct drive to tighten your spring tension and slowly work down. but now even on my iron cobras i can’t do things at all i could before. not sure of any good strength exercises or what i may be doing wrong. also, when i played my iron cobras before, my toe was super far up the pedal, almost touching the chain and i had the beaters bedded on the kick when i wasn’t using them.
it’s been about a solid month since this started and i just feel even more set back
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I dont know. I cant think of one reason that all of a sudden you have lost it other than it's now in your head that you cant do it any more.

Has there been seat height/position changes? Rearranged the drums maybe?
 

Old PIT Guy

Well-known member
Was there any noticeable loss of control you can recall before you began playing the Axis pedals, or did this issue coincide entirely with the change of pedals?

It's odd that after switching back to the original pedals you still have difficulties after a month and you don't mention anything indicative of an injury.

No other physical symptoms anywhere else?
 

JohnRick

Member
Maybe pointing out the obvious regarding posture, or missing something, but assuming you are sitting with your thighs resting on the seat as well, in order for just the lower leg to move (i.e. ankles)? Ass quite far back. Else that is crucial.
 
Hi there.

I suffered the exact same issue when I transitioned from my old Cobras to a Pearl Demon Drive. Just like you, I was not a fast double bass player, but had very solid playing in mid range tempos ..100-150 bpm. When I switched to the DD pedal i was lost. I couldn't play any of the songs I'd been rehearsing with my band for well over 2 years at that point. And going back to the Cobras didn't help either.

What I think worked for me was lowering the spring tension by quite a lot and lowering my ankle's position a bit. And practice. Basically in the DDs high spring tension will result in the foot plate coming back much quicker then I was used to, effectively throwing my dumb (left) foot off balance. Now, I am by no means an expert, so take that with a grain of salt - but that's how I believe I got over it.

The process was not quick either. I don't usually have a lot of spare time on my hands, so practice happened only 2-3 times a week, for about 3 solid months, until I was not just back, but maybe slightly better with the DDs.

Now I'm busting my balls to teach my dumb foot to control it's damn ankle.. and it just doesn't want to cooperate 😆 I can feel the pedals being able to go so much faster than I can (my right foot easily does 8th @ 200bpm), but so far ankle technique is eluding me on my left foot.

But at least I got back my full leg motion to a good place, so don't despair. Take a brake, try setting your springs to low tension, and basically relearn the correct motion & balance. You got it once, you will surely get it again
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
Your body wants you to start developing your ankle technique for more speed. 160 is about the transition point for switching between leg/ankle. It varies for everyone, but 160 is near that point.

It's funny that you called that tempo out. That's the exact max tempo for me "riding the bike" with double bass. Occasionally I'll get on a double bass practice binge doing a long exercise and that's the ceiling! If I suddenly get motivated I'll work on the next gear--it's just so rare that I'm in a situation to use speeds beyond that. (Pretty much never?) It's better to have chops than not though...
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
No other physical symptoms anywhere else?
This is a good question, it seems really odd that you’ve just lost the muscle memory. How are you with playing eighth notes on the hi-hat? Any difficulty maintaining a steady pulse with your left leg? :unsure: (y)
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
It took me about 4 years just to experiment on double bass and weed out all the incorrect things I was doing. It was a frustrating process of learning then unlearning bad habits. After about 5 years I was finally able to play well on any pedal(s). And it took that long despite practicing double bass for hours every day.

A couple of things that may help; the sweet spot on direct drive is a bit further back on the foot board than Iron Cobras. Secondly, if your beater heights are set shorter, it makes DD less controllable. DD doesn't have a cam (which helps control chain drives), so the only factor facilitating control is the pendulum of the beaters. You need to be able to feel that pendulum sway. Taller beaters add the little bit of "weight" for more feel. This doesn't slow down Axis pedals, so that's not a concern.
 
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toddmc

Gold Member
Where's beyondbetrayl when you need him? 😁

There's HEAPS of other, more efficient double bass techniques out there these days besides good old heel up (personally I use heel toe when I need to go above a certain bpm).

Pick the one which works best for you and run with it (y)
 

SVBJECT

Well-known member
I think its mostly all been said before, but as a vote of confidence, watch this guy.
Played in one of the fastest bands in the world, TERRIBLE foot technique, one up, one down, but he makes it work. He also talks about balance a lot and I've been following his advice (practicing literally balancing on your stool without feet touching the ground and without curling your legs up, for a few mins before practice) and to start with it was killing my core muscles and I could barely do it, but now I'm pretty sorted and my speed and balance are WAY better.

Before, the minute my second foot got involved at anything more than 8ths 120bpm, ish, then I'd be struggling to sit straight, now, I can sit on my stool without touching the ground comfortably, and my legs are free to do whatever, so I play feet up and am pushing single stroke 16ths at around 200bpm.

I've also found weights help - I know there's a bit of a are they good are they bad? debate, but on this balancing thing, if you can play double kicks with a 5kg weight strapped round each leg, you will never topple again!
 
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toddmc

Gold Member
I think its mostly all been said before, but as a vote of confidence, watch this guy.
Played in one of the fastest bands in the world, FUCKING TERRIBLE foot technique, one up, one down, but he makes it work. He also talks about balance a lot and I've been following his advice (practicing literally balancing on your stool without feet touching the ground and without curling your legs up, for a few mins before practice) and to start with it was killing my core muscles and I could barely do it, but now I'm pretty sorted and my speed and balance are WAY better.
I know what you're saying. Went to a drum clinic of his and had a go on his kit. The bass drums heads were SO loose they were flapping in the breeze- no idea how he gets to those speeds but somehow he manages?
 
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