Double pedal for a bebopper?

jazzerooty

Junior Member
I've been considering the purchase of a double pedal. I'm a bebop drummer whose heroes are the jazz drummers of the 50s and 60s. Seems like drummers who're into the same bag I am, think double pedals are bs. But I see nothing wrong with them--especially if you learn to actually play them with skill. Rules are for breaking, right? I may go there.
 

Neal Pert

Well-known member
Well, when it comes to jazz I guess it's true that "rules are made for breaking" to a degree. The thing is, to play jazz at a high level most people will expect that you're REALLY familiar with the tradition-- those rules-- and that you're making a contribution within the tradition. So, I guess really that the question you'd have to answer is how your fellow musicians would respond to it and whether it'd keep you from getting gigs. I think pretty much all the bass players around here would hate it because any fast and repetitive stuff would muddy what they're doing.

Huge segments of the jazz musician population really like to act like nothing's happened since 1959. I wish it were otherwise, but it isn't.

I'm trying to imagine a way to make a double pedal actually sound authentic in a bebop context. Solos? Fours? Comping? Love to hear what you come up with.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Well, when it comes to jazz I guess it's true that "rules are made for breaking" to a degree. The thing is, to play jazz at a high level most people will expect that you're REALLY familiar with the tradition-- those rules-- and that you're making a contribution within the tradition. So, I guess really that the question you'd have to answer is how your fellow musicians would respond to it and whether it'd keep you from getting gigs. I think pretty much all the bass players around here would hate it because any fast and repetitive stuff would muddy what they're doing.

Huge segments of the jazz musician population really like to act like nothing's happened since 1959. I wish it were otherwise, but it isn't.

I'm trying to imagine a way to make a double pedal actually sound authentic in a bebop context. Solos? Fours? Comping? Love to hear what you come up with.
On the one hand, even Louie Bellson said, "if you can't say it with a few drums, then you might as well go home", but part of me argues the "nothing's changed since 1959" attitude is mostly true. Drumming and music haven't changed a lot since then. The drummer's job has never changed since the early 1900s when the bass drum pedal was invented. So part of me agrees that yes, the rules can be bent or broken, but the reality is, the music hasn't changed much to warrant a different approach. The drummer still needs to maintain the time and groove, if you can't do that, then you should go home. If you can do that and add new elements, then more power to you - but even in our modern rock contexts, double bass sometimes doesn't always work there, either. Your job is to provide the time feel, and that is never going to change. We can't seem to venture too far away from 4/4 time - so the interesting thing the last few decades has shown is different guitar tunings - expanding on the sound of chords and such in modern music. So the drummer hasn't even been asked to contribute anything because he still needs to hold it together. I think Bruford and Bozzio have been the only guys to push the envelope so to speak. Cobham really did his best to expand upon the Bellson idea of the big double bass kit, but none of that has been a requirement of the music they made.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
You can certainly use a double pedal during solos. If you skip to about 6:40, you see Horatio "El Negro" Hernandez switch his left foot from the clave to the double pedal for some really cool soloing.

 
Last edited:

toddbishop

Platinum Member
What are you going to do with it, I guess. Have you worked something up with it where it makes sense to use it in that context. And who are you playing with and how are they going to feel about it. It will make a weird impression on players you don’t know— you’re putting them in the position of having to guess why you would bring that— and making it easy for them to dismiss you as clueless if they feel there is any question about your musical judgement.
 

SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
I've been considering the purchase of a double pedal. I'm a bebop drummer whose heroes are the jazz drummers of the 50s and 60s. Seems like drummers who're into the same bag I am, think double pedals are bs. But I see nothing wrong with them--especially if you learn to actually play them with skill. Rules are for breaking, right? I may go there.
Go there! I’m in my fifties and just found a great deal on my very first double pedal - a used Iron Cobra powerglide- and loving the challenges and new creative opportunities. Plenty of jazz drummers playing double bass for decades. Do it!
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Good thing about music styles and drumming is the lack of rules. Rules are constrictive. Buy your double pedal and have fun. Music = have fun.
 
You can get some fine used pedals for less than $100, so it's not a huge risk to try it. It should at least help to develop the left foot even when playing just the hi hat. See if you can come up with some applications that you like and that would fit into the music. Your band mates might want to hear more hi hat than bass drum rumbling during the head and their solos, so don't overdo it if it impedes the groove. If it doesn't work within a Bebop context, you might still learn a few things for other situations - just make sure not to totally annoy your current band mates while working on it. :D
 

Neal Pert

Well-known member
Just pointing out that the OP said he's...
a bebop drummer whose heroes are the jazz drummers of the 50s and 60s.

Of course there are fusion drummers playing double bass pedals. Of course there are guys playing all kinds of music on bop kits or small bass drums or whatever. And of course rules are, in a sense, made to be broken. But the further that late 50s hard bop thing recedes into history, the more its advocates seem to be enforcing rules about what is and isn't "real jazz." I've been playing that music professionally for decades with the best players in our area and I'll tell you-- the specificity of what people like in the genre is exhausting. It's why I've by and large stopped booking or taking jazz gigs. It's tiresome. I don't want to feel like I have to play like Billy Higgins.

I want to reiterate that I'm all for creativity and experimentation and all that. But I'm also saying that in most towns showing up with a double pedal to a jazz gig would make the other players pretty skeptical that you know what you're doing. Then again, if you're otherwise correct for the idiom and you using your a** off, you might get away with it. And really-- music is about what you can get away with. :D
 

someguy01

Well-known member
If you're being judged on your equipment choices, not your playing abilities, perhaps that's the thing to examine. If any equipment choice makes other players skeptical, well that's their issue. The only justification I've seen in this thread for not getting a double pedal and experimenting is basically, jazz snobbery.
Jazz musicians have done their chosen genre a great disservice with the snobby attitude. It turns the casual listener away, it makes the whole genre the butt of jokes, it keeps some from even wanting to learn the music. I've never understood it.
 

Neal Pert

Well-known member
If you're being judged on your equipment choices, not your playing abilities, perhaps that's the thing to examine. If any equipment choice makes other players skeptical, well that's their issue. The only justification I've seen in this thread for not getting a double pedal and experimenting is basically, jazz snobbery.
Jazz musicians have done their chosen genre a great disservice with the snobby attitude. It turns the casual listener away, it makes the whole genre the butt of jokes, it keeps some from even wanting to learn the music. I've never understood it.

Oh, I agree about the jazz snobbery.

Then again, I think all genres have a certain amount of this. A bass player who shows up with an upright to an audition with a metal band or a guitar player who comes to a folk gig with a BC Rich Warlock will get similar looks and similar negative judgments.

But overall yes-- I completely agree with you. It's why I've mostly stopped playing jazz gigs.
 

Old PIT Guy

Well-known member
Go for it. It’s better to have tried something and later think better of it than to resist an urge and wonder what might have been.

As for snobs, they're not particularly bright (since they're snobs) so in the end they don't particularly matter.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
It's worth a try. Music is all about trying sonic ideas. Let us know what you find.
 
If you're being judged on your equipment choices, not your playing abilities, perhaps that's the thing to examine. If any equipment choice makes other players skeptical, well that's their issue. The only justification I've seen in this thread for not getting a double pedal and experimenting is basically, jazz snobbery.
Jazz musicians have done their chosen genre a great disservice with the snobby attitude. It turns the casual listener away, it makes the whole genre the butt of jokes, it keeps some from even wanting to learn the music. I've never understood it.
I guess Rock guys would also be skeptical if you show up with congas instead of a hi hat. You better make that setup work if you don't want to get angry looks. :D
I don't believe that all Jazz players are snobs. There's a lot of experimentation going on but Bebop is a style with a certain sound/clichees. If you rarely use the hi hat, some musicians will complain.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Well I guess it should teach us never judge a book by it's cover. But there is "snobbery" in everything so I'd expect it in music as well. I remember the strings in our orchestra excelled at snobbery and being finicky-I grew to Love them for their consistency though LOL. Really it's just being a strong advocate for something a person believes strongly in or I guess it could be the person is an egomaniacal ass so that's there nature (plenty of people like that-I have friends and family members that fits the bill). I've learned to overlook those faults-I got plenty of my own I figure folks overlook in me. (I think some is genetic). I was pretty rabid about research for years (I guess I still am) and what I considered crappy or lazy (mediocre) research that you could tell was a punt just for a publication when just a few more experiments would make a great paper you could publish in better journals (all that publish or perish can encourage productivity but can also encourage quantity over quality). There is always some "click" with bar hopping, bands, musicians, social groups, scientist, etc. where select friends are special and a mutual masterbatory society where we can stroke our egos to climactic bliss ROFL.
 
Top