Double bass vs single bass drummers


I always thought guys that use a single bass had a better sounding groove. A lot of double bass players sound impressive but sometimes very robotic and it can lack “ feel”. Im not knocking double bass drummers because a great drummer will use double bass when warranted. I just think a single bass has more feel. Of course certain music may need a double bass.


Platinum Member
As a double bass drummer and a metalhead, I just wanna say that the robotic machine gun feel IS the feel. Metal kids don't want dynamics. They don't get hung up on how loose a groove is. They want in your face brutality. They want speed. They want intensity. They do not care about your ghost notes. They do not get off on cymbal swells. Room to breathe is room for more notes. A drummers feel is going to be different with each genre. So what you perceive as lack of feel might be exactly the right thing for the song.


Junior Member
I am not a double bass drummer but someday aspire to learning how to play double bass drums properly. That said, I'm not sure I agree with you. Guys like Vinnie Colaiuta, Dennis Chambers and Terry Bozzio all play double bass. But I would never describe their playing as robotic or lacking in feel. In fact, I think all three of them play with a tremendous amount of feel. What I think you are really trying to say is that when a drummer moves his left foot over to the second bass drum and actually starts to play double bass drums, that can tend to have a robotic feel, but only while playing the double bass. So I agree with MrInsanePolack that the robotic "feel" while playing double bass IS the feel. When playing straight 8th or 16th notes with double bass drums it is difficult for it not to sound robotic. Listen to Steve Smith on Jean Luc Ponty's Enigmatic Ocean Part I. At around 2:05 he starts in with the double bass drums and the feel does become more robotic than the rest of the first part of the tune.

And then take a listen to Vinnie on Eternity's Breath with Jeff Beck on Live from Ronnie Scott's. Vinnie is doing double bass in spurts which I don't think has a robotic feel. I think it really all depends on the music and how the double bass drums are being implemented.



Well-known member
absolutely agree with the top 2 posts...and have grown up in the metal/punk scene as well as the groove/jazz scene.

When I think of groovy metal double bass, I go right to Tim Alexander of Primus; Vinnie Paul of Pantera, Mike Bordin of Faith No More....

I mean, if you listen to Pudding Time by Primus, even the running double bass part in the middle is phat!!!

I find groove in some of Gene Hoglands playing with Strapping Young Lad...the song Love...

but I think the more important thing is that "Groove" is not just space with funky syncopated bass parts...groove has to happen within, and be defined, by a style. I even find groove in classical music

some songs that other songs that groove, but are not the mainstream definition:
Gangland by Iron Maiden (single bass)
Hot For Teacher - Van Halen
Red Hot - Motley Crue
Bleed - Meshuggah


i guess im just a single base guy and like hit hat action as the other guy mentioned.
i am a former metal head and saw all the originals and appreciate great double base action.
charlie benante, dave lombardo.