heel toe - help

jamesm049

Member
how do you play heel toe? rrll or rlrl?

i have been working on rrll but I've got stuck around 140bpm, so i started working rlrl and i got stuck again around 140bpm.

any tips would help but can clarify how you play it first as i have been checking all over the people who play it around 300bpm they don't look like the play rrll. so i have gotten completely confused.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
RRLL

If you are doing 300bpm runs using heel/toe, your legs are up/down at 150bpm, your foot is controlling the double stroke. This is why it doesnt look like it's as fast as it is.

The beaters act exactly as sticks do when doing doubles.

FWIW heel/toe isnt necessarily done with the heel/toe. For me it's more like ball of foot/toe.
 

NackAttack

Well-known member
One of the members here, beyondbetrayal, has some easily understandable explanations of his technique. There is more involved than just foot technique when you’re beginning. The tightness of the head, spring tension, beater distance, and foot placement are all things I had to dial in just right. After I was comfortable with the foot movement, I didn‘t need to worry as much about everything else.
This topic tends to get heated sometimes. There is a heel toe thread that is like 30 pages long if you look at the Pedals section.
 

jamesm049

Member
thanks for the replies. is there any particular practice routine that you could recommend?

at the minute in doing 5mins solid at a comfortable speed to increase strength and then trying to play in short burst when i'm playing at the top end of my speed but ive been stuck in the same place for a long time. So i think mixing up my practice might help.
 

toddmc

Gold Member
I found playing along to songs helps- do you find the muscles in your shins burn out the most at first? (This certainly happened to me)
 

jamesm049

Member
a little in the shin, its more the small muscles in the ankle.

whats is it you play along to. what songs? do you just play doubles all the way through?
 
Last edited:

toddmc

Gold Member
a little in the shin, its more the small muscles in the ankle.

whats is it you play along to. what songs? do you just play doubles all the way through?
Mostly thrash so it's consistent doule bass for some songs.

I saw a technique on Youtube that looked like heel toe but the ankle movement seemed to be a lot less pronounced and energy efficient (hopefully somone here knows what it's called). Might be a better alternative?
 

jamesm049

Member
no i'm not using base triggers yet. remember i'm stuck at (16th notes) around 140bpm. i don't think i need drum triggers yet.
 
Last edited:

jamesm049

Member
Yes that's right. Metronome is set at 140bpm quarter notes and i play 16th notes to that but that is when i'm playing flat out in bursts. on a constant run i usually get upto 100bpm.

are you surprised? (from your e-mail its hard to tell).

on youtube it leads me to believe that this technique could be played at 300bpm with 16th notes. This is why i need help. what should i be expecting to play these at? whats a decent level to start playing some metal song with?
 
Last edited:

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
on youtube it leads me to believe that this technique could be played at 300bpm with 16th notes. This is why i need help. what should i be expecting to play these at? whats a decent level to start playing some metal song with?
This is correct. The thing is, heel/toe is a modified version of the basic up/down leg double kick. To play 300bpm heel/toe, you need to be able to play 150bpm with legs. The legs do the same motion, it's the foot that changes. Knowing this, you can swap back and forth between the two once you have both techniques down seamlessly.

What this translates to (more or less) is 150bpm 16ths with legs can become 150bpm 32nds (300bpm 16ths) just by changing how your foot is used. But before you can switch between the two, your leg speed must be up to the task and you have to learn to use the heel/toe motion.

It's no different than switching between singles and doubles with your sticks. You need to learn both techniques before you can switch between the two on the fly.

As for what speeds to start at, whatever your legs are at is as fast as you can go for now. As they get faster, you can increase your heel/toe speed accordingly.
 

SYMBOLIC DEATH

Senior Member
At 140bpm it's probably easier to use your whole leg to play that tempo. As the tempo increases your ankles get more involved and you use less leg (180-220bpmish). Over 220bpm your ankles are the primary drivers and the less leg involvement.
If your using ankles/heel toe to get to 140 your limiting your max speed, because you've already used your top gear.
There's also the issue of you mechanics that changes as the tempo increases. Heel toe mechanics at 140 (more movement) is different than it is at 200+ (less movement).
 

Otto

Platinum Member
As assistance to OP...

I try to practice both rrll rrll and rlrl rlrl...and be able to switch between.
 

jamesm049

Member
thanks for the replies everyone.

otto
i'm already practicing that but still stuck. that's pretty much is my practice routine.

SYMBOLIC DEATH
i'm not using the ankles. i'm using the legs. is there a way to practice/encourage using the ankles?
 

NackAttack

Well-known member
Someone correct me if I’m wrong here, but I can’t imagine doing rlrl while doing heel toe at speeds >180. I mean, I’ve seen videos of people doing crazy stuff like that using the traditional “heel toe” (as opposed to “ball of the foot-toe”) but I feel like those people are the exception. I think if I tried that I would just gallop of into the sunset lol.

OP- I’m a little confused. You said you don’t use your ankles, but that’s required to do any kind of a heel-toe motion. I’m not trying to complicate the conversation, I just think there’s a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding regarding the technique you’ve inquired about.
 

Old PIT Guy

Well-known member
Off topic a little bit, but I'd hear people talking about heel toe for years and I didn't know what it was. I assumed it was literally the heel and the toe somehow involved in the stroke!

So I get to school and guys would show other guys grooves and licks, and one day this guy asks how long it took to develop that heel toe. Huh? I'd been doing it for over 10 years and didn't know it. I also would sort of corkscrew my right foot on faster patterns -- the heel of my foot would swivel back and forth L-to-R in no particular pattern. I've read since (JoJo?) that it has to do with releasing tension. It naturally evolved for me to help whip doubles and 3 stroke patterns with more volume, nothing to do with tension. Then I discover that has a name too - 'swivel technique'. I'm sure one day if I live long enough I'll be eating spaghetti and someone will ask how I developed [pasta face stuffing technique].
 

jamesm049

Member
nackattack

Yes of course i use my ankles. if you read the post that i'm applying to, it says to solely use your ankles at high speeds. that is what i'm not doing. i'm still in the early stages where you also use your legs a lot and cant brake away from that.

symbolic death

how do you concentrate on the basics. its a training/practice routine i'm after. At present i'm doing a 3-5min solid at a good pace (for me) and then switching to trying to play in quicker but in bursts such as playing a five stock roll. As i said earlier in the post i'm also experimenting with rlrl as well but i've been stuck at the same speeds for quite some time. Leaving me to believe that this practice routine needs changing up a bit.
 

SYMBOLIC DEATH

Senior Member
symbolic death

how do you concentrate on the basics. its a training/practice routine i'm after. At present i'm doing a 3-5min solid at a good pace (for me) and then switching to trying to play in quicker but in bursts such as playing a five stock roll. As i said earlier in the post i'm also experimenting with rlrl as well but i've been stuck at the same speeds for quite some time. Leaving me to believe that this practice routine needs changing up a bit.

It's all about practice, practice, and more practice. The only way you can learn to play at higher tempos is to do it, but you have to have the foundation and endurance in place before you get there.

You can't run before you walk, and you can't sprint before you can run.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I personally like the linear cam rather than the elliptical cams. I’d be interested if those playing very fast are using elliptical cams or if the round linear ones are also preferred by you guys.
I like a linear cam. The elliptical cam feels heavier when you first start the stroke. I'm not a fan. I want my pedals to respond to my feet evenly as I move my foot up and down.

Direct drive is very popular amongst the extreme speed guys also.
 
Top