Double bass noob help

Big_Al47

Senior Member
Just started getting into playing double bass....I can play 16ths. at 60bpm with no problems, but when I speed it up a little, to say 66bpm, the pedals feel "mushy" and I can't get as much volume as I can with the slower speeds. Same thing happens when I try to play triplets at either bpm.

I've tried adjusting the spring/tension as well as the height of the pedal off the floor, but I still get that weird mushy feel, almost like your stepping on an orange or something.

I will bring this up to my instructor, but we aren't working on double bass in a formal setting, this is something I'm doing on my own using the double bass encyclopedia book, still on the "starters" section, so I haven't even tried playing beats or anything, just the foot stuff for now.
 

Big_Al47

Senior Member
Forgot to add, using a Tama Iron Cobra Jr. double pedal that I bought used from Craigslist, if that makes any difference
 

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
Just started getting into playing double bass....
After a month you'll see some real difference, then keep going. Just keep at it at slow tempos and don't up them til you're tight on the metronome clicks at current speed. The same thing applies to just about everything you want to learn on the drums :)
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Just started getting into playing double bass....I can play 16ths. at 60bpm with no problems, but when I speed it up a little, to say 66bpm, the pedals feel "mushy" and I can't get as much volume as I can with the slower speeds...
First, good luck with your new resolution, it's not an easy task by any mean, as you'll have to devellop 4 ways independance at the kit and have a good "balance" of your body while playing.

Which foot technique do you use? Which foot do you lead with?

I played double bass for 28 years or so, and for 80% of double bass patterns, I lead with the left foot (I'm a right handed drummer), it helps me for power and stamina, I practice with a metronome, and the left foot being the weaker one is playing on the "down" beat while the right foot is playing the "up" beat for 8th & 16th notes, for triplets I start with the right foot, but sometimes I "cheat" doing triplets like this LRR, the left foot being on quater note and the right foot doing a shuffle pattern on the "up" beat. I'll get plenty of power using this method.

As for the setting of the pedals, try all sorts of adjustements, but also check you seating position (height and distance from the pedals), it's crucial for a good balance for double bass drumming, it's a completely different balance than what's working for you as a single bass drum player...

Hope this helps.
 

moontheloon

Silver Member
the worst thing to do is just play fast.....theres no point

set the metronome slow and go through subdivisions

play eighth notes on yr right hand....and 2 and 4 on the snare

on the kicks play

quarter notes 4 measures
quarter note trips 4 measure
eighth notes 4 measures
eighth note trips 4 measure
16th notes 4 measures
5lets 4 measure
sextuplets 4 measures
7lets 4 measure

and so on all the way to 12...then work your way back to quarters the same way

this way you will be able to execute anything you will ever need to play in any song ever....

also look up the marching snare exercise called "pantera".....and work on that with your feet


you will literally need nothing more than those 2 things

have fun
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
Observations from another player developing double technique:

Set the pedals to be identical in tension to each other for starters. If you don't get the mushy feel when just playing with your dominant foot, but you get it when playing the weak or both feet, then that tells you it's your technique. Which it should be, right? I also got past the "blaming the hardware" stage by playing my left pedal with my right foot. What do you know, the pedal sounded great with a good foot working it. This confirmed for me that it wasn't the pedal, it was my foot.

I've gotten a lot from doing my best to make my left feel like my right, and using the same technique for both feet. It's not natural, but it comes. You're teaching that foot a new thing, and it's your weak foot, so it will take time. It is very important in the early stages to go slow enough to play the cleanest technique you can. The speed will come later.

G/L!
 

Big_Al47

Senior Member
the worst thing to do is just play fast.....theres no point

set the metronome slow and go through subdivisions

play eighth notes on yr right hand....and 2 and 4 on the snare

on the kicks play

quarter notes 4 measures
quarter note trips 4 measure
eighth notes 4 measures
eighth note trips 4 measure
16th notes 4 measures
5lets 4 measure
sextuplets 4 measures
7lets 4 measure

and so on all the way to 12...then work your way back to quarters the same way

this way you will be able to execute anything you will ever need to play in any song ever....

also look up the marching snare exercise called "pantera".....and work on that with your feet


you will literally need nothing more than those 2 things

have fun

Awesome, thanks! When you say "go to 12" are you saying that I should be able to play 12 notes on the double bass per click on the metronome?


Observations from another player developing double technique:

Set the pedals to be identical in tension to each other for starters. If you don't get the mushy feel when just playing with your dominant foot, but you get it when playing the weak or both feet, then that tells you it's your technique. Which it should be, right? I also got past the "blaming the hardware" stage by playing my left pedal with my right foot. What do you know, the pedal sounded great with a good foot working it. This confirmed for me that it wasn't the pedal, it was my foot.

I've gotten a lot from doing my best to make my left feel like my right, and using the same technique for both feet. It's not natural, but it comes. You're teaching that foot a new thing, and it's your weak foot, so it will take time. It is very important in the early stages to go slow enough to play the cleanest technique you can. The speed will come later.

G/L!

I have the tension just about equal on both pedals. I will keep it slow :)

Hey guys,

If you're looking for double bass help, I've started a website with resource sheets that'll quickly solve your problems.

https://sites.google.com/site/4waycoordination/

Everything's completely free, enjoy!
Thanks, I will check it out!
 

BassDriver

Silver Member
Forgot to add, using a Tama Iron Cobra Jr. double pedal that I bought used from Craigslist, if that makes any difference
I have the same set of pedals and am also a beginner to double-bass drumming.

The pedals (although pretty cheap ones) are often not the problem. My drum teacher can play fast rhythms on the same set pedals with no problem.

You described the feel as "mushy"...

...there could be a few things influencing this.

  1. Is the drum head of the bass drum worn out or broken. If it is broken it would have a mushy feel if you hit it.
  2. Make sure the spring tensions for both pedals are set to comfortable settings.
  3. When practicing rhythms at faster tempos take note of where your feet are placed on the footboard. Find the right "sweet spot" on the pedal to place your feet for a particular tempo. Sometimes it is necessary to have the feet rest slightly back on the pedal for faster playing.
  4. Do your heels rest on the pedals (heels down) or hover above the pedals (heels up)? If you have heels down you might not have much range of movement and less power (this does not mean that heel down is bad technique, it just has less power than heels up).
  5. How do you strike the drum. Do you bury the beater into the head?...or do you let the beater bounce off the drumhead quickly?

If nothing in that list is the cause of your trouble, you just have to practice your technique better. Stay at the slower tempos longer
 
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Big_Al47

Senior Member
I just practiced again for a little while, I can play triplets fine with either foot, I get 3 nice, loud thuds on either my left or right foot at different tempos and both pedals feel great. However, when I slow it down, even to 60bpm and try to play triplets with both feet, either RLR or LRL, I get nowhere near the same volume and the pedals feel like crap. It's almost like it can't compensate for the speed or something. Is that normal?
 

MattA

Senior Member
I just practiced again for a little while, I can play triplets fine with either foot, I get 3 nice, loud thuds on either my left or right foot at different tempos and both pedals feel great. However, when I slow it down, even to 60bpm and try to play triplets with both feet, either RLR or LRL, I get nowhere near the same volume and the pedals feel like crap. It's almost like it can't compensate for the speed or something. Is that normal?
So with your above problem/questions, did you consider the below points as answers. What foot technique are you using on the pedals, heel up or down? And are you burying the beater into the head or letting it rebound. It sounds to me that if you start exploring these two aspects and their uses, your issue may resolve.

  1. Do your heels rest on the pedals (heels down) or hover above the pedals (heels up)? If you have heels down you might not have much range of movement and less power (this does not mean that heel down is bad technique, it just has less power than heels up).
  2. How do you strike the drum. Do you bury the beater into the head?...or do you let the beater bounce off the drumhead quickly?
 

invincibledrummer

Junior Member
u c playing fast is not equal to playing good... regarding volume dnt worry changing squashy orange into proper pattern will take time work on ur foot technique like u play heel-toe or sliding!!! point is let ur muscles learn... nd wen dey learn u will save many oranges!!! stick to a pattern play it at different tempos without stopping... i mean like start from slow den gradually increase it again go slow gradually ...!! nd make it time in min to play continuously without mistake nd without stopping, say three min. continuously ..!!!! do this i guarantee just a month nd u wiill be good at this!!
 

Big_Al47

Senior Member
I normally play heels up 95% of the time. I tend to keep the beater head planted on the head until I need it again. I will try practicing it heels down as well and try to let the beater bounce back.

I'm up to 72bpm but still taking it very slow and doing the exercises as they are in the book, i.e. use accents, etc.

Thanks again for everyone's help. Still having a lot of fun with this.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
I normally play heels up 95% of the time. I tend to keep the beater head planted on the head until I need it again. I will try practicing it heels down as well and try to let the beater bounce back.

I'm up to 72bpm but still taking it very slow and doing the exercises as they are in the book, i.e. use accents, etc.

Thanks again for everyone's help. Still having a lot of fun with this.
Have you considered to use the heel-up technique and letting the beater to rebound from the batter head? I believe it's called "the Steve Gadd Technique", I switched to this technique about 20 years ago and it has improved my feet skills dramaticaly, it's a more relax approach to play the bass drum as you're resting your foot/feet and leg(s) muscles when not hitting the kick. :))
 

MattA

Senior Member
Have you considered to use the heel-up technique and letting the beater to rebound from the batter head? I believe it's called "the Steve Gadd Technique", I switched to this technique about 20 years ago and it has improved my feet skills dramaticaly, it's a more relax approach to play the bass drum as you're resting your foot/feet and leg(s) muscles when not hitting the kick. :))
Yeah + 1 for sure. Heel up Unburying the beater is not only good for the sound of the drum but for saving your leg muscles and developing a relaxed approach to speed.
 

Big_Al47

Senior Member
Have you considered to use the heel-up technique and letting the beater to rebound from the batter head? I believe it's called "the Steve Gadd Technique", I switched to this technique about 20 years ago and it has improved my feet skills dramaticaly, it's a more relax approach to play the bass drum as you're resting your foot/feet and leg(s) muscles when not hitting the kick. :))
Yeah + 1 for sure. Heel up Unburying the beater is not only good for the sound of the drum but for saving your leg muscles and developing a relaxed approach to speed.
I will certainly try that. Thank you very much, I appreciate all the help/advice.
 
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