Heel toe for double bass

drummingman

Gold Member
I wanted to start a thread with the purpose of asking can heel toe using doubles or breaking the heel toe stroke up using singles when playing double bass be played in a way that can have as much even power, and a lot of power, with each stroke as one gets when running on the pedals? I ask because usually when i see someone doing fast heel toe doubles doing double bass it does not sound good at all. The secod stroke almost always gets lost to where i cant hear it when playing fast double bass with it (im talking about when not using triggers. And to me if if only sounds good when using triggers then its not really an effective technique).

I cant say that i have ever seen a heel toe double bass vid when some one is playing fast that has even power. Are there any? If so can you post a link? I look at jojo's single bass heel toe and each hit has power. But i have never seen this when it is applied to double bass playing. Is there a major reason for this

Except this vid i should say.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNzyCeJ8nzA

Notice that at 2:03-2:13 he starts doing right foot heel, left foot heel, right foot toe, left foot toe. It sounds powerful and even to me to be honest. What do you all think about it? At other times he is doing accents. But from 2:03-2:13 it is just straight on with no accents. He is not going all that fast but i would imagine that if one were to practice it they could get it sounding this good at 200bpm and faster doing 16ths. What do you guys think?
 

Mighty_Joker

Silver Member
Can I ask why you would want to do heel-toe for playing double bass?

It is perfectly possible, and in my opinion better, to play up to about 240bpm with straight singles. I certainly do in my band, and most drummers of that genre don't bother with heel-toe for the exact power/balance problems you mentioned.
 

drummingman

Gold Member
Can I ask why you would want to do heel-toe for playing double bass?

It is perfectly possible, and in my opinion better, to play up to about 240bpm with straight singles. I certainly do in my band, and most drummers of that genre don't bother with heel-toe for the exact power/balance problems you mentioned.
Sure man. I am looking for a way to get faster without having to kill myself in the process effort wise. As is the way that i play double bass is by running on the pedals coming from the hip flexors (this is a lot of work at the higher tempos). I cant use the technique where i hold both of my heels off of the pedals just a little bit and just use the ankles because this causes my lower back to be in pain (its not just muscle weakness or something like that. my back just does not like it when i do that and at least once the pain was pretty nasty). I have thought about using heels down to be able to use just the ankles but i find that its hard to get a lot of power and volume that way (and being that my favorite stuff to play is metal i need power and volume a lot of thimes when im playing double bass).

So as far as i know that only leaves heel toe in one form or another (either as double strokes or broken up as singles as right foot heel, left foot heel, right foot toe, left foot toe. This way is the most preferable to me to be honest if i were to use heel toe).

My goal is to be able to play blazing fast double bass with power and volume wihtout feeling like im sprinting in the olympic running as fast as i can on the pedals (which like i said, thats just a ton of work at the higher tempos). I know that i can get blazing fast double bass running on the pedals if i keep working on it. And if that is the way that i have to do it to make it happen God willing i will put in thw work. But i would just like to find a more efficient way of play fast double bass with power and volume.

What technique are you using to get such fast speeds when you are playing double bass?
 

Mighty_Joker

Silver Member
Ah, I see your predicament. Well firstly, let me say that I it is impossible to attain the sort of results you are looking for without hard work and practice. There is no secret technique about it; whether you continue with heel-toe or something else, it will still need a lot of practice to play "blistering" speeds.

Secondly, you won't get those sort of speeds with heel-down. You're right in that while you may get the actual speed, there'll be no power and volume, and you would need to rely on triggers, which you said you were against (me too).

As for me, I don't "use" any technique as such. Just heel-up, right-left-right-left, as you'd usually play the bass drum. I have only sat down and practised pure double bass drumming a handful of times. I got up to my level of playing it by playing fast music. I have been in a fast metal band for about 6 years where I have to play those speeds every practice session, just to play the band songs, and I'm only now really comfortable at the 220bpm+ speeds. As Derek Roddy said: to play fast, play fast.

If the normal heel-up technique hurts you, I would humbly suggest you are doing it wrong. It shouldn't be all ankles, even at fast speeds, there will always be a small, supplementary amount of leg as well, if just for the added power it brings.

I might suggest slowing it down, working with a metronome at a speed you are comfortable playing at, and working from there. I honestly wouldn't bother with heel-toe techniques, just as I don't bother for fast doubles on a single pedal. Just take the extra time with a good, strong heel-up technique and the results should be better.
 

SEVNT7

Senior Member
Drummingman, Thanks for watching. That's me on the video you mention. Yes you can do it fast and even. Why do this instead of straight heal up? Conservation of energy. I "Moellerize " everything, Both feet and hands.Yes I can do this w/ 16ths over 200bpm. That''s not the reason though. I do it so I have control and technique options. and it's not "Heal-Toe" it's "Constant Release" W/ "Heal Toe" you strike the pedal plate w/ both your heal and your toe. Constant release only uses the ball off you foot. Same as "Heal Up.....thanks again...........T
 

azrae1l

Silver Member
perhaps heel toe is not the right technique for you....

not that i can do it or anything but i used to share a studio with a drummer years ago that played blazing fast double bass around 400bpm, loudly i might add, no triggers, effortlessly using the swivel technique, atleast thats what i think it was called. i tried it a few times and got a pretty good double bass going for a few seconds. it's hard but from the few minutes i tried it seems to me if you can get it down good it would be a very good way to do double bass runs.

i'm sure you already know what i'm talking about but incase you don't
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92qdU4jspao
 

antondubkov

New member
Ok for everyone who, like me, spent several months, several hours a day trying to build double bass speed with single strokes. If you know to "not use full leg motion" and you don't - you use ankle motion, but no matter what you still can't play faster than a short burst of 200bpm in singles, or a continuous roll at around 170 bpm even after you have purchased a very good drum pedal, you have set it up correctly and all that stuff, you even spent a few (or maybe many) days trying to learn swivel, but it just doesn't settle with you well and doesn't help with speed -- this is what you need to do: LEARN HEEL TOE. It is surprisingly VERY easy to learn, it will take you 1 or 2 days to be able to play a long, even and effortless roll at any speed from 160 to 220+ bpm, and with just a few hours of practice you'll be able to play any complex pattern of your choice at any speed. Don't listen to people saying "you have to be able to play everything in single strokes", "why do you want to learn heel toe, anything up to 240bpm is easily doable with single strokes", and etc. Well not easily! It could be completely unattainable for many, maybe including you, no matter how long or hard they practice. But luckily there is heel toe. It completely eliminates the problem of fast double bass playing and finally lets you focus on other things. If your feet twitch at 250bpm on your first day of playing a double pedal -- sure, take your time to perfect your single strokes. But if not, if you are like me struggling with double bass speed - heel toe is the answer. Watch Eric Morotti, in his interview he said he switches to heel toe at 150bpm (right - why bother? :)) Many fast drummers use heel toe, e.g. Francesco Paoli and David McGraw. And so can you. P.S. You will probably need a proper pedal for this (a lot of people on youtube use axis, trick, demon drives, speed cobras, or pearl eliminators) and proper settings -- there are videos about this on youtube - do your research and set everything up. Don't listen to people saying "you can do heel toe on any pedal". No you can't (or it will difficult and cause you to give up on the technique). Pedal and the kick pad you are using matter a lot for this as well as the settings (and in general, especially if you are learning -- you need to get a high quality pedal, which will at least eliminate the possible mental block or doubt that you can't play something because your pedal sucks, so DO get a decent pedal). PPS. Uneven volume of the first and second stroke in heel-toe is a non-issue with triggers (and that's what you should be using for metal anyway).
 
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beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
This video is 7 years old and done with a really bad point and shoot camera audio, but using heel toe you can get decent volume and power if you practice. It won't happen over night, and MOST guys in metal bands doing this at 240+ BPM trigger. Heck, even singles at that speed you are not getting full leg powerful hits every stroke due to the speed of it. Plus the notes all blend together so a trigger adds definition. I speed up and slow down on here and should have just tried it at a few constant speeds, perhaps I could make a new one. Either way, Especially when doing it at the slower speeds the hits are pretty even.

 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I wanted to start a thread with the purpose of asking can heel toe using doubles or breaking the heel toe stroke up using singles when playing double bass be played in a way that can have as much even power, and a lot of power, with each stroke as one gets when running on the pedals? I ask because usually when i see someone doing fast heel toe doubles doing double bass it does not sound good at all. The secod stroke almost always gets lost to where i cant hear it when playing fast double bass with it (im talking about when not using triggers. And to me if if only sounds good when using triggers then its not really an effective technique).

I cant say that i have ever seen a heel toe double bass vid when some one is playing fast that has even power. Are there any? If so can you post a link? I look at jojo's single bass heel toe and each hit has power. But i have never seen this when it is applied to double bass playing. Is there a major reason for this

Except this vid i should say.


Notice that at 2:03-2:13 he starts doing right foot heel, left foot heel, right foot toe, left foot toe. It sounds powerful and even to me to be honest. What do you all think about it? At other times he is doing accents. But from 2:03-2:13 it is just straight on with no accents. He is not going all that fast but i would imagine that if one were to practice it they could get it sounding this good at 200bpm and faster doing 16ths. What do you guys think?
Without using triggers, plain old alternating single strokes will always articulate the MOST clearly. The reason you are stuck at slow speeds is because you are not using your ankle/calf/tibialis enough, not practicing frequently enough, not practicing sufficiently long enough, or not practicing exercises that address your technique, speed, and endurance in a way that will build the proper muscle strength, speed, and endurance. Or some combination of these. There is no magic bullet. With a consistent and beneficial practice routine, you'll need three months of everyday practice. You should start to see results after a few weeks. This means you'll not be getting much faster at all, at first.

Personally, I feel you should spend some time developing doubles, as a way to improve your overall technique.

Why not seek out a fast double bass player who is also a good educator, and get some private lessons? You could probably ask someone like Derek Roddy (he used to be on this forum from time to time).

Here he is, blazing singles:
 
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