Double Bass Dilemma

jeslin

Junior Member
Trying to learn double bass. Very frustrating, seems like I'm learning a whole new instrument. Although, I've had some success over the first 6 months - showing some improvement from when I first sat down to do this for the first time.

I have been working with a couple of books that are out there that teach you to play a double bass groove along with some cymbal pattern in the right hand. What I'm interested to know from all you well versed double bass guys - how long does it take before you can comfortably play solo patterns with your hands while your feet are doing something different, - say even just 16ths or triplets going at the same time?
 

ian2accurate

Junior Member
Double Bass is difficult. I started about 2-3 years ago. When I first got the pedals I played about 3 hours every day solid double bass. I'm starting up training again on an electric kit and I'm still not able to maintain 130bpm for more than 20 or 30 seconds on the pad.

I can on the other hand, do some decent patterns with my hands such as doubles between hands and feet, double 16ths with quadruple 32nds on hands, and some other fill type patterns. I have also improved at playing different rhythms while keeping a steady 16th or 8th note pattern underneath.

So, in other words, it takes a long time. A lot longer than hands IMO. I might try practicing some metal songs such as Laid to Rest by Lamb of God or some other suitable metal songs, it might help practice separating hands and feet. Just take them slowly and use some tabs to learn/practice sections separately.
 

Tutin

Pioneer Member
Well, on my part it only took a year, I guess everyone's different. Reward yourself when you achieve, but never be laid back about it. Try to top a drummer, & when you do, move on to another. It's the only way really, other than insanely slow practice for hours and years.

Good luck!

T
 

CaptainSticks

Senior Member
Like most metal drummers say...there is no way around it, it just comes from years of practice. Not really an easy way into it.
 

Daphfz

Senior Member
heres an idea... DONT read the books for double bass, do it yourself, dont regurgetate something someone else has told you to play, it's so much more rewarding and easier if you just sit down everyday for a few hour and get some grooves and stuff and experiment :)
 

Crazy+Hands

Senior Member
A few things to consider:

-George Kollias' Intense metal drumming DVD-well worth it...so much knowledge there for your benefit.

-take a look at your pedal settings, it's easy for the pedals to work against you. Check your spring tension and beater angle.

-try playing some double strokes with your feet (RRLLRRLL...) while playing a simple rock pattern on top (8ths on the ride, snare on 2 and 4 or something similar) at a comfortable tempo. this really helped my control with double bass when i started almost a decade ago. Its going to be very difficult at first. Start out slow, but be aware that the motion will completely change as you move up to higher tempos.

-build up your endurance by playing songs like Overkill by motorhead, Angel of Death by slayer, and many others.

-focus on your weak foot by playing "single double-bass" (i.e. smooth16ths, like in a one foot blast beat) along with the same simple rock pattern from above with your hands, Start out playing 16ths with two feet for one or two bars and then try to create that same sound with one foot. When one foot gets tired, switch to the other without stopping. If both feet are getting tired, go back to using two feet and relax for 15-30 seconds, then go back into one foot. Practice this at slow tempos that are comfortable to you for minutes and even hours on end. Focus on using ankle motion to achieve higher speeds.

-always experiment with triplets, quads, quints, etc between your hands and feet.

Stay with it for the long haul and you'll see some results.
 

Tim Waterson

WFD ACEDRUMMER
Trying to learn double bass. Very frustrating, seems like I'm learning a whole new instrument. Although, I've had some success over the first 6 months - showing some improvement from when I first sat down to do this for the first time.

I have been working with a couple of books that are out there that teach you to play a double bass groove along with some cymbal pattern in the right hand. What I'm interested to know from all you well versed double bass guys - how long does it take before you can comfortably play solo patterns with your hands while your feet are doing something different, - say even just 16ths or triplets going at the same time?
Go SLOWLY.
MASTER drummer Terry Bozzio takes EVERY pattern and plays it continuously for 5 minutes straight with just the feet before adding the hands.
I usually just put on a DVD movie and play any ostinatoe with the feet start simple just singles and just play patterns against the feet.START simple 1/4, 1/8, triplets and 1/16 and so on the thing is to reamin relaxed
Good luck and keep us posted
Tim
 

SpiritofRush

Junior Member
There are some really good books and/or DVDs for Double Bass playing. My personal favorite is Jason Bittner's new DVD What Drives The Beat . The great thing about the DVD is that the DVD is enhanced with PDF files, so you could print the exercises out and make a book out of it. He does exercises for evening your feet, playing different combo patterns with your feet, fills incorporating double bass, and more. If you're a metal guy it's a great DVD for coming up with new Ideas, or if you're a beginner at double bass it's great for developing your feet. I think it's the best DVD for that right now. Start off at really slow tempos. I think that's the most overlooked part of double bass playing, because I keep reading in articles in Modern Drummer that 120bpms is the best starting point, but when you get to notes like 32nd notes and sixteenth note triplets it can be really hard. To make sure it sounds like it's written, I play the notes with the hands and incorporate it to the feet. Like Terry Bozzios DVD "Solo Drums". Good luck!
 

schist

Silver Member
When I started playing double bass, I remember playing 16th-notes with each foot at 60BPM for 2 minutes, then putting them together into a 32nd-note roll for the same duration, and just work up from there once you have that sorted (ie. when you can play it cleanly, go up to 64BPM, then 67BPM after than, then 70BPM, 74BPM etc.) Double-bass skill isn't something that'll just come in a few short months - it took me a good year and a bit of serious practice to be able to play 200BPM 16ths, so keep at it.

Also try playing single-bass songs with your left foot only, to build speed and power in that foot (assuming your right foot is your dominant one).
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
When I was a teenager, it took what seemed liked forever to get my double bass together.

6 months really isn't that long. Just keep it up, and it will come to you.

Although I have to say, what is considered double bass these days is far more advanced that it was 20 years ago.
 

rmandelbaum

Platinum Member
Start SLOW, play a bass drum pattern, with noting from your hands, do it for a while and get the feeling of it. then randomly start adding hits with your hands, as you do this focus on the feet, after a while you will ad more and more.

I have been playing double bass off and on for 30 years. the way I learned it was to play along with my favorite drummers, I am sure I was not even close back then but it worked.
 

diosdude

Silver Member
Trying to learn double bass. Very frustrating, seems like I'm learning a whole new instrument. Although, I've had some success over the first 6 months - showing some improvement from when I first sat down to do this for the first time.

I have been working with a couple of books that are out there that teach you to play a double bass groove along with some cymbal pattern in the right hand. What I'm interested to know from all you well versed double bass guys - how long does it take before you can comfortably play solo patterns with your hands while your feet are doing something different, - say even just 16ths or triplets going at the same time?

Took me a few months, but i was determined, as should you be. It's worth it, just be patient. You'll get it.
 

Bryan77

Member
It takes a very long time. I have trouble tuning my two bass drums to the same pitch. So my slow 16th note and triplet grooves sound horrible. The only thing that sounds alright is the faster stuff. Anyone have any tips for tuning two bass drums to the same or close to the same pitch. I know it's the dampening inside the bass drums messing up the tuning because when I tune them without dampening it sounds fine but I really want some dampining. Anybody know what I can use instead of pillows? I can't afford new heads at the moment.
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
TWhat I'm interested to know from all you well versed double bass guys - how long does it take before you can comfortably play solo patterns with your hands while your feet are doing something different, - say even just 16ths or triplets going at the same time?

Most of the answers on this thread just dealt with getting comfortable and faster on double bass but what your are referring to is a high level of coordination.

The truth? It takes thousands of hours of practice...

Your "even just 16ths and triplets going at the same time" is actually pretty advanced. It is a 3 against 4 poly.

Realize this about coordination: You can "master" a certain ostinato and then simply add or remove one note from it to make it impossible to play over all over again.
 
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