Double kick fast and steady one day and sloppy the next

Nilsdrums

Junior Member
Hi!

I have this problem and wonder why, some days I can play double kick sixteenth notes in 145bpm after a little warm-up and one time a few months ago I could easily do 180 bpm for longer periods. But today when practicing I struggled to even play a few bars of 130bpm. I practice around 2-4 hours every day and at least 1-2 hours of that is only focusing on the kick. I have played a little double kick before but I started to practice it seriously a couple of months ago as I've started playing a little for a metal band (Before I mostly played Jazz Fusion and rock).

Advice/any explanation would be greatly appreciated!
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Give it time, this happens to everyone. Literally everyone who is serious about double kick has this issue. I've been doing it for almost 3 decades and still have days when the feet dont want to work. Dont worry about it, play something else for a bit then go back and revisit it. If you keep trying with no success it will get in your head and then you will be mentally blocking yourself. Mental problems are harder to shake than physical ones. A couple of months is not long at all in the double kick world. Dont get discouraged and dont give up. It's a difficult skill to master.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Development is not a straight line.

Not really knowing your level and exactly what you do, if this is focus hard practice, it may be too much. Take a day off, practice other stuff and so on.

Sometimes your standards just change because of devlopment. That can be anything. Your two speeds there are quite different, so different that there would over time be technical differences.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
Been there. During my first year (or more) I felt like I would often lose all the progress I had made.
My advice is
1. play comfortably fast 16ths for about 3 -5 minutes at a time, BUT only on good days. If you're having a bad day, practicing with bad form just creates more problems
2. practice constant single bass notes (one foot only, then the other) - this alone boosted my double bass speed and endurance significantly
3. practice doubles with your weak foot (increases double bass control) - for example just a straight forward, fast rock beat like Kick Kick Snare.

There are eventually more things to work on, like double bass grooves and patterns, but for now it's all about developing muscle memory.

Also, slow double bass and fast double bass are two very different techniques. You don't want to be trying to hammer out 180 BPM with your legs going up and down like they do at 140 BPM.
 
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Nilsdrums

Junior Member
That's a lot of practice. What is the quality of the practicing though? What are you doing?
I do both shorter bursts and longer bars. My main exercise is doing one bar of 8th-notes on right foot, then one bar of 16th notes with both feet(RLRL) and then I repeat but the left foot does the 8th notes this time. I also sometimes just do only those 8th notes for a longer time. Also one exercise is doing a bar of 16th notes then a bar off quad fills(hands and feet).
 

Nilsdrums

Junior Member
Thanks for all the answers! Really appreciate it! I should just view this as when I first trained up chops in my hands. It took me years of playing music and rudiments to get decently good. I just got confused and frustrated with this as to why I could do faster some days and then other days I could struggle with just a bar of something I thought was easy the week before.
I'll give it time and also might turn my double kick practice routine down a little notch with a few days of resting/practicing other stuff sometimes.
 
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Nilsdrums

Junior Member
Been there. My first year (or more) felt like I would take two steps forward then one step back. My advice is
1. play comfortably fast 16ths for about 3 -5 minutes at a time, BUT only on good days. If you're having a bad day, practicing with bad form just creates more problems
2. practice constant single bass notes (one foot only, then the other) - this alone boosted my double bass speed and endurance significantly
3. practice doubles with your weak foot (increases double bass control) - for example just a straight forward, fast rock beat like Kick Kick Snare.

There are eventually more things to work on, like double bass grooves and patterns, but for now it's all about developing muscle memory.

Also, slow double bass and fast double bass are two very different techniques. You don't want to be trying to hammer out 180 BPM with your legs going up and down like they do at 140 BPM.
Those are some good tips! I have been playing some double kick earlier so I can play a few grooves at slower speed with it and I'm fairly independent while playing double kick. I'm mostly having problems with longer fast(140bpm+) double kicks. I'm still early in the process of this so I'll just keep practicing! Thanks!
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I would play the first page of Stick Control with your feet for about 20 minutes every day, very slowly, 8th note=60. Before you play anything else, and also a few minutes in the middle and end of your practice. Slow, deliberate practice is by far the best thing I’ve found for creating consistent improvement.
 

Nilsdrums

Junior Member
Been there. My first year (or more) felt like I would take two steps forward then one step back. My advice is
1. play comfortably fast 16ths for about 3 -5 minutes at a time, BUT only on good days. If you're having a bad day, practicing with bad form just creates more problems
2. practice constant single bass notes (one foot only, then the other) - this alone boosted my double bass speed and endurance significantly
3. practice doubles with your weak foot (increases double bass control) - for example just a straight forward, fast rock beat like Kick Kick Snare.

There are eventually more things to work on, like double bass grooves and patterns, but for now it's all about developing muscle memory.

Also, slow double bass and fast double bass are two very different techniques. You don't want to be trying to hammer out 180 BPM with your legs going up and down like they do at 140 BPM.
Hi again! I know we had this conversation a time ago but I have one question. I now play with the ankle motion and on good days I can do 16ths at 170bpm and play it straight for 3-6mins but today was one of the bad days. I could play completely relaxed with my right foot but my left just can't, when this happens I usually practice constant 8th notes with one foot at that tempo but I'm afraid it would throw my left foot off? I mean the left foot never plays on-beat in a regular 16th pattern so I'm afraid doing straight 8ths when practicing would make it used to that? I mean I'm sure it builds speed good but would it affect my playing so that when I try regular playing with both feet they will just to flams and hit at the same time?
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
. . . . . I'm afraid doing straight 8ths when practicing would make it used to that? I mean I'm sure it builds speed good but would it affect my playing so that when I try regular playing with both feet they will just to flams and hit at the same time?
George Kollias has said that leading double bass with your weak foot might cause this. But working each foot independently is a different thing. And it has probably increased my speed more than any other exercise.

But you don't have to do this. Even though I've seen the benefits, plenty of others never isolate their weak foot and they do just fine. Kollias, one of the best in the world, always practices RLRLRLRL from what I've seen in his lessons.
I saw another great double bass drummer on youtube, Erce Arslan (brilliant teacher) who explained that your weak foot actually learns from your dominant foot while you practice RLRLRLRL, which is similar to what George K. has said.
 
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GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I always thought it a bit odd we have a dominant side-given pathways and anatomy the same. Some people can be right foot but left hand dominant-even more odd. There is a notion of hemispheric dominance-so if right handed left brain, but that really doesn't explain it. In any case it's just like a weak hand-practice and building strength. I remember when I broke my dominant hand my left took over-then when cast off it took me a bit to get the right hand going again-so I was ambidextrous doing different things with different hands-still do a few things like my wallet moved from right to left and stayed. So is it all taught-like left handed children encouraged to use right-so they do different things with both too.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
I always thought it a bit odd we have a dominant side-given pathways and anatomy the same. Some people can be right foot but left hand dominant-even more odd. There is a notion of hemispheric dominance-so if right handed left brain, but that really doesn't explain it. In any case it's just like a weak hand-practice and building strength.
Dominance might not play a big role in double bass (until you start leading with both sides). It's not a complex motion like throwing a ball, swinging a golf club, or playing a drum set. It's just your calf muscle and tibialis anterior (shin) muscle. When I refer to the weak foot, it's simply those muscles which have been used less and are therefore less technically developed.

I also think it shouldn't take long to develop your weak foot if you've been drumming for years. Your body already knows how to play the kick, so you weak side muscles just have to catch up, unlike learning from scratch the way your "dominant" side did.
 

SYMBOLIC DEATH

Senior Member
I always thought it a bit odd we have a dominant side-given pathways and anatomy the same. Some people can be right foot but left hand dominant-even more odd. There is a notion of hemispheric dominance-so if right handed left brain, but that really doesn't explain it. In any case it's just like a weak hand-practice and building strength. I remember when I broke my dominant hand my left took over-then when cast off it took me a bit to get the right hand going again-so I was ambidextrous doing different things with different hands-still do a few things like my wallet moved from right to left and stayed. So is it all taught-like left handed children encouraged to use right-so they do different things with both too.
Lefty's aren't taught or encouraged to use their right hand for things, it's more like we live in a world dominated by right handed people. For example I'm left handed and can use right handed scissors better than left handed ones. Flipping through magazines, I go from the back to the front. Don't even get me started on 3 ring binders and spiral note books.
The one thing to remember about left handed people.....

we're the only one in our right minds.😁
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
One of my best friends in youth was a lefty-I watched him navigate the right handed world. Funny how he did some things left and some right compensating- playing golf, shoot a shotgun, baseball, etc. I think he did finally get left handed golf clubs-but he always shot a rifle or shotgun right handed-he shoots a bow now I'm curious what he does. I think my dominant eye is my left eye-though I've always aimed a rifle and bow with my right eye because handiness -my left eye is better. Handiness and eye dominance aren't the same. Shooting a shotgun with both eyes open I'm a much better aim. I don't really shoot much now but I like to shoot the shit-ake mushrooms.
 

SYMBOLIC DEATH

Senior Member
I bat and swing a golf club right handed, am right footed, and I can write with either hand which doesn't say much for my handwriting in general.
 

iCe

Senior Member
I'm not really practicing playing fast, but Derek Roddy suggests that a good training regime helps. Try to figure out at what tempo you feel like pushing it. 130 for example. Do that every day so it get's comfortable. Push the metronome up after that. Say that at 145 you feel like it becomes sloppy, so set it to 140. Practice that untill it gets better. When it get's comfortable, up the metronome again to 160, if that's sloppy go back to 155 etc.
 
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MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I'm not really practicing playing fast, but Derek Roddy suggests that a good training regime helps. Try to figure out at what tempo you feel like pushing it. 130 for example. Do that every day so it get's comfortable. Push the metronome up after that. Say that at 145 so feel like it becomes sloppy, so set it to 140. Practice that untill it gets better. When it get's comfortable, up the metronome again to 160, if that's sloppy go back to 155 etc.
This is a great idea. Keeping a log of BPM and length of time helps also.

Having a routine and sticking with it will get you results faster than no routine at all.
 
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Nilsdrums

Junior Member
George Kollias has said that leading double bass with your weak foot might cause this. But working each foot independently is a different thing. And it has probably increased my speed more than any other exercise.

But you don't have to do this. Even though I've seen the benefits, plenty of others never isolate their weak foot and they do just fine. Kollias, one of the best in the world, always practices RLRLRLRL from what I've seen in his lessons.
I saw another great double bass drummer on youtube, Erce Arslan (brilliant teacher) who explained that your weak foot actually learns from your dominant foot while you practice RLRLRLRL, which is similar to what George K. has said.
That actually makes sense! Right now i can play 175 bpm which is the fastest my band plays but it does require for me to warm up for at least 30 mins of kick exercises and I can play for a little while after that but if I take a short break and come back I get sloppy. I have my first gig with them(Livestream) next week and am a little worried haha. But thank you for the advice! Very helpful!
 
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