Help me control my kick leg ... Please.

Vinny

Member
The kick has been very frustrating the hell out of me. I'm really having trouble getting my leg to execute what I know and feel is the the beat, if that makes any sense. (I am a beginner)

I've always been able to feel the tempo/beat/groove. In fact, as a kid I drove people nuts because would always smack my hands on a table in perfect cadence with the snare and bass drum parts of a song. Open hand for snare and meaty part of my fist for bass.

To help explain, let me offer this example. The other day I was checking the spring tension on the kick pedal by pressing down with my hand. It just so happened that music was playing in the room. I started to follow the music with my hand manipulating the kick pedal. I was able to coordinate the bass drum strike in the song perfectly using my hand. But then I take a seat on the throne and it's like my leg/foot cant do it.

So why can't I do it with my leg/foot. It just won't cooperate. My hands work the snare and ride cymbal just fine. I've tried playing the bass drum by itself, but that's even worse.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Before I can guide you, I need to know if you understand note-values. Do you know what I mean when I say quarter note, eighth note, triplet, 16th, etc?
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
(I am a beginner)

All things come to all people at different rates. Try clapping and matching the beat with your foot.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Interesting.......

If I were your teacher I would start you out with walking and dancing.

The ultimate goal is having all four limbs work independently. However, in the beginning you need to start out with right hand and right foot working together; and left hand and left foot working together. That way you start out with a simple division of only two parts, left side of your body and right side of your body. You have to master that first. Sounds like you did not start out at the beginning.


.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
Disclosure-I am not a drum teacher, nor would I presume to know what is considered the proper way to "teach" you how to play a bass drum...but...

Have you tried just playing 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4...etc. on your bass drum in time with some music?

Just getting used to the feel of the pedal and the mechanics of what it takes to produce a proper "hit". Even just playing 1 clap 2 clap 3 clap 4 clap. A good tune to try could be Queen's "We Will Rock You"-boob boom clap boom boom clap... Simple right? But maybe not until you get the connection between your mind and that foot pedal. Continue with this type of exercise until the connection is so strong you no longer need to think about it. It will come eventually, but in the beginning you need to boil it down to it's most basic form.

Another thing I suggest is not getting hung up on the details of technique (heel up\down) or notation. From your description the issue is with the physics of playing-just getting your foot\leg to execute the hit. You can certainly worry about the other issues a little later...

Be patient though it will come!
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
There's no way to give advice wih this little info.

As someone else stated, we need to know if you understand the theoretical foundation of music. If you can count and if you have basic hand technique together and so on.

Playing the bass drum and training the feet is generally way more challenging than the hands. It takes more time and most of us really only get to train them at the kit.

Pedals and setup is one thing. I certainly find it challenging playing a pedal that's way different from what I'm used to, but we really just have to slow down and do the work. Those little things, as long as it's working properly, should not hold you back. Do what you have to do to get the sound you want. Let your ears guide you When all is said and done THAT is THE skill that you want.

Play slow enough so that you're coordinated, do the work and be patient. Slow and perfect.

If you want your feet to get in similar shape as your hands, you must train and condition them in the same way. Expect it to take twice the time as your hands. It's just the way it is.

Try different things. Heel up, heel down bury beater, do not bury beater...

Regardless of what technique you end up prefering, you first need to train all those little muscles.


You say you're a beginner. That can mean a lot of things.

If you just sat down at a kit a few days, weeks or couple of months ago that's a VERY short amount of time. There is no quick fix.

Best advice and the standard you get and should get here is to get proper help in person with a qualified instructor. Learn the basics of techniquie, learn to read and play basic notation. This is the writen language that will naturally explain things naturally and also make a world of knowledge available to you.

Work on stuff that fits your current level and you'll find that's the quickest way to success.


If I should sound a little bit condecending I simply don't have the info I need and this stuff is just a blind shot of general advice. It sort of goes for us all.
 
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Vinny

Member
Thanks to all for your replies.

In response to some of your questions, I have taken around 10 lessons. They involved playing basic rock beats. I can also read simple rock drum notation for hh, snare and bass.

I don't have a problem with the basic bass drum beats, like Queen's "We Will Rock You".

I understand note values to the extent that a 16th is counted as [1e+a,2e+a,3e+a,4e+a], and then less counting for 1/8th and 1/4 notes.

I'm thinking it's more of a mechanical issue -- like getting my leg/foot to work with the pedal in order to strike the drum at the exact time. Or syncopation things like two beats then one beat then three fast beats.

I will continue to work on the things you guys mentioned ... and really work on my patience.

Peace,
Vinny

(My pedal is a Gibralter Intruder II.)
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Bass drum coordination isn't easy.

If you want to tackle it head on I'd make that the main focus.

Take a reading page and play it on only the BD.

When you're satisfied with that combine that with quarter notes on the other limbs one at a time. Start slow. Only when completely comfortable do you add to the ostinato.

There's nothing wrong with basic rock beat ostinatos, but they take the focus away. This way you'll be able to dial in one specific thing and make a note of things that trip you and make sure of consistent quality. Same sound, volume and spot on unisons.

There are simple exercises to warm up and condition limbs. A coupls would be.

1) 1 min of 8th notes heel down, shake loose and repeat heel up.

2) A cycle of 2 bars 8th notes, 2 bars triplets, 2 nbars 16th notes. I got this from Dave Weckl.
 

Vinny

Member
Bass drum coordination isn't easy.

If you want to tackle it head on I'd make that the main focus.

Take a reading page and play it on only the BD.

When you're satisfied with that combine that with quarter notes on the other limbs one at a time. Start slow. Only when completely comfortable do you add to the ostinato.

There's nothing wrong with basic rock beat ostinatos, but they take the focus away. This way you'll be able to dial in one specific thing and make a note of things that trip you and make sure of consistent quality. Same sound, volume and spot on unisons.

There are simple exercises to warm up and condition limbs. A coupls would be.

1) 1 min of 8th notes heel down, shake loose and repeat heel up.

2) A cycle of 2 bars 8th notes, 2 bars triplets, 2 nbars 16th notes. I got this from Dave Weckl.
Thanks Arne!

Gonna try these right away.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
So why can't I do it with my leg/foot. It just won't cooperate. My hands work the snare and ride cymbal just fine. I've tried playing the bass drum by itself, but that's even worse.
Well, your hands do lots of sophisticated things on a daily basis: throw balls, operate eating utensils, brush your teeth, open doors, shuffle cards, etc. Your feet walk, run, and jump, and that's about it. So your feet will require more practice to get them to learn a new skill (operate a foot pedal), and you will have to pay close attention to the technique involved. It's not going to happen right away, and it will take many, many slow repetitions.

But there are things you can do to speed up the process. As others have suggested, practice along with music. Also, realize that playing the pedal by itself is not too difficult, but when your hands are playing at the same time, that's when things get trickier.

Can you play 16ths with your foot while your right hand plays 8ths on the ride? Can you play bass drum notes in between the 8ths with your right hand (i.e. the "e"s and "ah"s)?
 

Elpecs

Senior Member
It's been stated before, but patience is key!! Controlling your feet takes more time. If you can record yourself, do it! Especially things that you are not confortable with. Starting slow is also good, I know I always tried to learn things to fast.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Play a basic quarter note rock beat. Snare 2 n 4, high hat on all 4. To start, you'll play the bass drum also on all 4 quarter notes, mirroring your hand on the hats.

Do each of these for a few bars before moving on and starting over when you're through the divisions.

- As mentioned, start with a bass drum note on each quarter note.
- Next, add a bass drum on the 8th notes
- Next, change over to triplets on the bass drum
- Last, play 16th notes with the bass drum.

So the whole time you play these different sub-divisions, your "time" should not alter. You will be playing quarters on the hats, and 2/4 on the snare, without altering time. Only your bass drum leg will alter it's placement.

This exercise really helps cement your muscle memory for playing different subdivisions on the bass drum while also teaching your body that these notes have a "place" in the beat. Start real slow, since you must do this at a speed where you can actually fit in the 16th notes at the end and not be sloppy. It's not about how fast you can go, it's about training your brain and muscles. In fact, to get a good speed to start with, simply attempt to play just the 16th notes on your kick while maintaining the rock beat.

Also, go buy yourself a copy of Dowds "Funky primer for the rock drummer". The early pages have a STELLAR section on bass drum independence.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
One of the exercises that KIS posted quite recently and helped me a couple years ago was simple BD note iteration.

ONE ee and ah TWO ee and ah
one EE and ah two EE and ah
one ee AND ah two ee AND ah
one ee and AH two ee and AH

In it's most basic form....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEKEmqQ-Gjg

Then do it with doubles, then with the hat, then change right hand to 16th notes, and so on and so forth.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
My Mom made me take tap dancing as a kid-maybe that helped with my kick (what is true is when I use the brushes I always think about tap dancing lol)? You need to get a feel for your pedal-is the spring too loose or too tight-I like it loose when I pull the beater with my finger and let go it swings like a pendulum for awhile. Then take your finger and find that sweet spot on the pedal that you have the most control. See if you can do it with one finger you can do it with one toe too. Now whether you play heel up or down start tapping out rudiments, melodies, beats and rhythms using that sweet spot that gives you the most control. You'll get the hang of it as you train your brain and muscle memory. Colin Bailey suggest as much as I here on DW (but more eloquently and more great suggestions) -you can see he has got complete control finding that sweet spot- http://www.drummerworld.com/Videos/colinbaileysettinguppedal.html He is heel down on the sweet spot in that video. Here is video of me playing along heel up-but it's the same the ball of foot (base of your toes) is on that sweet spot , and I've got my beater loose and long as he suggest. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI967JxA_1w
 
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