Foot Power

BonsaiMagpie

Junior Member
I'm playing heel up, but I really struggle to put power into the pedal. I'm starting to get the timing right on some intermediate straight beats and some beginner shuffles, but the volume is really lacking. I actually had a recording last week where the bass drum was inaudible because the snare was so prominent. Any tips or exercises to develop a strong consistent kick, especially on double strokes in a shuffle beat?

Just FYI, not looking for info about triggers, different pedals, new heads, different bass drums etc.
Thanks
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Sure, I have plenty of exercises. IMO, it works out best when you practice about five or six different exercises each day. There isn't one "magic" drill, because everyone's physiology is a bit different.

Is your bass drum playing too quiet when you play medium tempo single notes? Or only when you play doubles? If it's during all playing, then maybe your pedal is set up so that the beater is too close to the batter head. Without enough distance from the head, you can't get much volume. But, if it's just during doubles, then your leg is probably tense, and you're not relaxed, and/or engaging your ankle enough.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
What kind of pedal are you using? Strap drives generally give you the most power. Direct drives really require some practice to get any real power on them.
 

BonsaiMagpie

Junior Member
Is your bass drum playing too quiet when you play medium tempo single notes? Or only when you play doubles? If it's during all playing, then maybe your pedal is set up so that the beater is too close to the batter head. Without enough distance from the head, you can't get much volume. But, if it's just during doubles, then your leg is probably tense, and you're not relaxed, and/or engaging your ankle enough.
Well the trouble is I play very fast. I'm usually playing in the 90-120 bpm range, not had too much trouble with singles but they aren't great, not delivering a huge punch like I would like. I don't have the beater hugely far back, because I find it starts to hit my shin or the top of my foot if I do, probably about 45 degrees, but could be less.
I think you're right about the tension, I definitely don't feel comfortable playing doubles, I assumed that was a lack of practice or bad technique. But I've been playing for over 5 years now.

What kind of pedal are you using? Strap drives generally give you the most power. Direct drives really require some practice to get any real power on them.
I'm using the Yamaha DFP9c, and I'm using the chain on it. I got this because i foolishly thought, buy one fantastic pedal once and you won't need to buy one again. 😅
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I'm using the Yamaha DFP9c, and I'm using the chain on it. I got this because i foolishly thought, buy one fantastic pedal once and you won't need to buy one again. 😅
I’d make sure all the settings are close to the middle of their range. And just practice really slowly and deliberately for at least 10 minutes every time you practice. Go slow to go fast
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Have you tried adjusting the spring/head tension? Both aid in rebound. Perhaps the pedal isnt coming back fast enough for a solid second stroke? Perhaps you are outrunning the pedal? Just thinking out loud here.

I know for me to learn heel/toe double bass I had to change head and spring tensions to get it to work properly.
 

BonsaiMagpie

Junior Member
Have you tried adjusting the spring/head tension? Both aid in rebound. Perhaps the pedal isnt coming back fast enough for a solid second stroke? Perhaps you are outrunning the pedal? Just thinking out loud here.

I know for me to learn heel/toe double bass I had to change head and spring tensions to get it to work properly.
I used to have the tension at max, but I've found about 3 quarters to be right for the rebound and force required to play singles. The heel toe feels good, but the volume is very low compared to a single.
 

Hewitt2

Senior Member
I used to have the tension at max, but I've found about 3 quarters to be right for the rebound and force required to play singles. The heel toe feels good, but the volume is very low compared to a single.
I used to spend days and hours messing around with my pedal tensions, angle, beater or pedal type, etc. Ultimately it was wasted effort and time that would have been better spent actually practicing. You go down a bit of a black hole futzing around with your pedal. Good fundamental technique is vastly more important that your pedal set-up and will actually make you more resilient if you decide to change pedals or tensions at some future point.

So my vote is to set it and forget it. Keep practicing using things like the fatback exercises or bass drum control which were great tools for me.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Are you using heel/toe for double bass? And are you also trying to use heel/toe for the shuffle rhythms you mentioned earlier? A video of your foot while playing would really help. This is the sort of thing that I usually teach in a lesson. Not being able to see and hear your playing makes it a guessing game.
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
Get your push pull nice however you do it. Just straight singles around 200 bpm lets everything have bounce and flow without getting too crazy about it. I use groups of two, three and sometimes for extra credit, four. It's just a "foot stick."
You'll get it quick once you let some pressure off yourself and just let a technique grow.
 

Alain Rieder

Silver Member
If you seriously work on the exercises of my Time Manipulation drum book in a relaxed manner, your technique and control will grow.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
where do you motivate from....the knee? the hip? just your ankle? Personally, I motivate from the hip first, then through the knee and down to the ball of the foot...I use all of the weight of my upper leg, and "stomp" down - but not hard, especially when I am playing fast, or quiet. I have found over the years that as my quad muscles got stronger, and my core, I can now "float" my legs and get great, smooth, strong strokes in "normal" tempos.

As One Up mentioned above, throne height can be huge. My throne height is so that my upper legs are almost parallel with the floor, putting my lower leg at a 90* angle. I have found in almost all cases with my students that if they sit too low, they can not get power. I always make sure their knees are never above their waist. I also see a LOT of drummers sitting too high, at least for me. I think if your waist is above your knees, your legs are already extended a bit...

I learned on an old Ludwig Speed King pedal, and then got a DW5000 double kick in the 90's. I still use that pedal. Felt beater end, spring tension allows the beater to fully rebound back. When I am not playing, it sits at about a 45* angle.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Practice getting a full stroke out of every note, with the beater coming all the way back to the at rest position. It helps to have your toe further back on the pedal. You can adjust the pedal to have a longer throw-- with the beater height, and how far the pedal brings it back. It'll start messing with the action if you get too crazy with that. Medium tension is best. Wood beater and no muffling also helps.
 

BonsaiMagpie

Junior Member
There's some very good advice here, thank you guys. As requested I'll take a video of me playing tomorrow so my problem is a bit less difficult to diagnose.
 

BonsaiMagpie

Junior Member
Sorry guys, as per usual I've worked out that the power is fine if I just practice. While I was trying to record a video for you all I had a breakthrough. I think I was just stumbling over something new. Thanks very much for all your advice yet again 😊
 
Top