Heel-toe bass technique problems

Drummer11

Junior Member
I am have been learning the heel toe bass technique and i am pretty good independantly with both feet and when i put it together i just get bursts of four hits not continuous no matter how hard i try i cant get the continuous sound that i want i can get the bursts of four really fast and with lots of control i dont think its a practice issue either is there a certain pattern i know its left right left right but is there more to it to get the continuous sound or what????s
 

Arky

Platinum Member
Re: I HAVE HEEL-TOE BASS TECHNIQUE PROBLEMS... HELP??

Welcome to the forum!

How long have you been learning/working on heel-toe? Learning takes time.

What do you mean by "independently"? Do you mean you can do the motions with one foot at a time? Because yes, that's what you have to be able to do before combining both feet.

Do you practice to a click? If so - great. If not, do practice to a click to better lock in with the specific speed. Also, vary your practice speed to learn doing heel-toe at various tempos, to develop a 'tempo corridor' rather than only playing super fast.

Just continue practicing, play a lot of continuous 8th notes with one foot at a time (I guess that's what you call "independently"). If you have enough confidence doing steady 8th notes with your R and L foot in isolation start combining both feet.

One way of combining feet is to just fire away and practice until the synchronisation clears up (that's my current situation with learning swivel). The other way is to start with one foot (playing 8th notes) for, say, 4 or 8 bars, then add the other foot on the off-beat 8th notes (so you get 16th notes with both feet playing) for the same amount of bars. Then eliminate that other foot again to continue with one foot. Do this for longer periods of time - one foot will play throughout all the time while you're temporarily adding and eliminating the other foot. Then switch feet, now lead with your other foot and bring in/eliminate the foot you began with. Watch out for rhythmic evenness.

BTW, which way of heel-toe are you playing?
Heel-toe (one foot), heel-toe (the other foot) [= what I call 'straight' heel-toe], or
heel-heel (R, L foot), toe-toe (R, L foot) [called 'interlaced']?

Basically what I described can be practiced with both methods but with the heel-toe-heel-toe method you're not playing continuous 8th notes of course but bursts of 16th notes. Anyway I recommend learning both ways, this will give you the best potential. If you learn both ways also learn to switch between them on the fly. So if until now you've been only using the 'straight' method - start NOW to learn the 'interlaced' version but continue to work on both ways. When I started learning heel-toe it was easier to learn the 'straight' way (and I hit insane speed after a few months). THEN I got better with the 'interlaced' version. The 'straight' version is still way faster/my top speed technique but both are great to cover a broad speed range.

Some general things: It helped me to start with a medium if not a bit loose spring tension, for better feel of the rebound. Because rebound is what you're working with and what you have to learn to control. For the first weeks/even months I was constantly experimenting with my foot position on the pedals, moving them up and down to get a finer feel for how the rebound works. I'm using moderately high spring tension now but if you experiment with spring tension - take your time, don't make huge changes at one time, this will confuse your feet! Also, don't stick to "heel-toe" actually playing with your HEEL. You don't have to use your heel at all - often times people refer to this technique but actually use the ball of their feet for the 'HEEL' stroke but have their heels hovering off the pedals (that's what I'm doing mostly). This technique is called constant release. It's very similar. My guess is that when you start getting the hang of it and picking up speed you won't be playing HEEL-toe any more but the motion will streamline itself into constant release.
 

Drummer11

Junior Member
Re: I HAVE HEEL-TOE BASS TECHNIQUE PROBLEMS... HELP??

Ive been practicing this texhnique for about three months.. I do not practice with a click i guess i need to practice more individually with each foot i dont know all the technical stuff about this method but when using both feet i go right heel left heel right toe left toe so i guess interlaced and like you said not really heel toe but more middle of foot catch the rebound and then put the toe down and my problem is with even just one foot i cant get continuous 8th notes i get the two notes and then a gap between the next two notes and think ill try and make the gap go away by playing with click like you suggested thank you for the advice!! Also should i practice this continuous 8th note using individual feet with or without hands added?
 

Arky

Platinum Member
Re: I HAVE HEEL-TOE BASS TECHNIQUE PROBLEMS... HELP??

Ah, ok, now I see!
Look: When we're learning new things it's always the easiest way to break things down into the _simplest_ possible elements. So no, don't add the hands for now! Of course keep in mind adding the hands as soon as you get more comfortable with the motions, but it's always one (small) step, then the next (small) step. One bite at a time. If you add more new elements too early it will just be a mess.

It might help to place your foot far down the pedals and do very small motions. But because of the way you're utilizing rebound even small motions will make the pedal move. Thus, you'll get more feel for which motions are necessary to get the pedal moving, and how much power you need. Try this and do _even_ motions (8th notes), trying to avoid that gap. Start with one foot at a time. Avoid mixing up both feet for a few days until you can do 8th notes with confidence.

The 'straight' way will/should come easy some time from now. I think the 'interlaced' version is more challenging in terms of synchronisation.

Also, do you play with footwear? I play barefoot 95% of the time and I think this gives me more feel (but less stability as footwear does support the ankles it seems, and maybe provides more punch).
 

toddmc

Gold Member
Re: I HAVE HEEL-TOE BASS TECHNIQUE PROBLEMS... HELP??

Well Arky about covered everything as usual : )
I use heel toe RR-LL-RR-LL rinse and repeat and that works for me. The main thing I had to get my head around was learning to halve the number of downward strokes (with my leg) to produce 2 hits, especially after trying to do double bass with single strokes for so long.
Stick with it though- I was in the exact same position you are now thinking I'd never get the hang of it and while my double bass is far from perfect it's a LOT easier (for me at least) using this technique!
 

Drummer11

Junior Member
Re: I HAVE HEEL-TOE BASS TECHNIQUE PROBLEMS... HELP??

YeA i play barefoot too this technique is hard for me with shoes on but anyways thanks alot for the help im sitting here on the kit right now and i already feel like these methods have helped tremendously i think i just got too far ahead of myself and thought it was so cool that i could do doubles with one foot and then ended up jumping way ahead of what i shouldve been practicing im just gonna start over fresh with this technique and do it the right way and take it slow
 

toddmc

Gold Member
Re: I HAVE HEEL-TOE BASS TECHNIQUE PROBLEMS... HELP??

Good to hear- there's heaps of videos on Youtube covering this subject, just a matter of finding the right one for you!
 

shadowlorde

Senior Member
Re: I HAVE HEEL-TOE BASS TECHNIQUE PROBLEMS... HELP??

I sometimes think we should have a sub forum just for foot technique or at least a sticky thread. seems a bit to me that the same foot questions keep popping up all the time then disappear ... like a bass technique reference sticky .. with links to the best videos explaining each technique ..


but .. on to your question ..
if you are playing heel-heel toe- toe .. interlaced .. check out some of my videos .. I use a VERY slightly different motion from normal heel-toe .. tell me if they help

Technique basics:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6hb0y2cU2M&list=UUOM455hSfbd1US_fgtRzXDw&index=15&feature=plcp pt 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXtyLMyFWfw&list=UUOM455hSfbd1US_fgtRzXDw&index=14&feature=plcp pt 2

Proof of potential speed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGm_Siis0ko&list=UUOM455hSfbd1US_fgtRzXDw&index=2&feature=plcp

basic exercises 1 foot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E92sl54Bu4w&list=UUOM455hSfbd1US_fgtRzXDw&index=3&feature=plcp

basic exercises 2 feet:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Pv_BcA891U&list=UUOM455hSfbd1US_fgtRzXDw&index=1&feature=plcp


more vids with more diff rhythms for 2 feet soon to come when I have time to record them.




and .. ARKY... you are constantly replying on bass drum technique posts .. maybe it's about time you made a little instructional video on how you went about learning it and what adaptations your body has made to playing it
 

Nickropolis

Senior Member
Re: I HAVE HEEL-TOE BASS TECHNIQUE PROBLEMS... HELP??

It really doesn't seem like a good idea to play without shoes. Even though pedals are low impact, it's still there in smaller quantities. Multiply that by thousands of kicks in practice or shows, depending on your musical style, I'm sure it will take it's toll on your knees.

Maybe I'm just extra careful, I'm only 28 and I've had knee troubles increasing over the last few years, probably need surgery by the time I'm 40.
 

Arky

Platinum Member
Re: I HAVE HEEL-TOE BASS TECHNIQUE PROBLEMS... HELP??

(...) and .. ARKY... you are constantly replying on bass drum technique posts .. maybe it's about time you made a little instructional video on how you went about learning it and what adaptations your body has made to playing it
shadowlorde, you're right! I just don't feel comfy enough yet to record something. I think if you want to teach something you should have it well down. But I'll keep this in mind and prepare a video (wanted to make some on heel-toe/constant release anyway) in the medium term.
 

ocdrums

Senior Member
Re: I HAVE HEEL-TOE BASS TECHNIQUE PROBLEMS... HELP??

Again I ask...Why not toe-heel? It would seem to be the exact same motion, but without having to start with the beater placed into the head. If you don't play with a buried beater this would seem to be hard to do.
 
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