Hi-Hat/Left-Foot questions

Fuo

Platinum Member
Hi All,

At fairly happy with my 3 way independence at this point, but my left foot is clueless so I'm currently working on that (using various exercises from books) and had some questions.

1. When I set out to learn drums (last week) I told myself that everything I do I'll do with a metronome running so that my timing improves, but I'm starting to wonder if that is necessary when I'm working on exercises that are purely for coordination/independence. I'm finding that its making it a lot tougher; I get out of time so I stop and start over instead of just focusing on the independence... Maybe I should get comfortable with the tricky parts at my own speed then turn the metronome on?

2. Heel-Up or or Heel-Down on the Hi-Hat? I know that the answer to that is probably "whatever works for you", but I'm looking for advice anyway ;) I play BD heel-up (I can do heel-down too, to a certain degree) so i started out heel-up on hi-hat, but had balance problems esp. when doing both feet, so I tried heel-down on hats, but that gets confusing so now I find myself bouncing back and forth between the two.

Thanks.
 

hunterde

Senior Member
coordination/independence is when you need the metronome the most. The fact that your getting out of time with the metronome shows that your time needs work. If you go with out the metronome you will damage your time keeping. Set the metronome very slow 60 bpm.
 

Hedon

Senior Member
Hi All,

At fairly happy with my 3 way independence at this point, but my left foot is clueless so I'm currently working on that (using various exercises from books) and had some questions.

1. When I set out to learn drums (last week) I told myself that everything I do I'll do with a metronome running so that my timing improves, but I'm starting to wonder if that is necessary when I'm working on exercises that are purely for coordination/independence. I'm finding that its making it a lot tougher; I get out of time so I stop and start over instead of just focusing on the independence... Maybe I should get comfortable with the tricky parts at my own speed then turn the metronome on?

2. Heel-Up or or Heel-Down on the Hi-Hat? I know that the answer to that is probably "whatever works for you", but I'm looking for advice anyway ;) I play BD heel-up (I can do heel-down too, to a certain degree) so i started out heel-up on hi-hat, but had balance problems esp. when doing both feet, so I tried heel-down on hats, but that gets confusing so now I find myself bouncing back and forth between the two.

Thanks.

1.when you try to play something that is ridiculously difficult for you i agree its pointless to start straight with a metronome. get comfortable coordination wise first to some degree and then have the metronome going

2.i play heel down when i "ride" the hi hat, but if im playing 8th notes or quarter notes ill play it heel up
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
i agree. when i start with a really tough independence challenge i'll always leave the metronome off until i can play it at least very slowly. the metronome doesn't help if you can't play a beat at all! once i get to the point where i can play it very slowly, then i'll turn on the metronome and gradually try to get it up to tempo.
 

Fuo

Platinum Member
Thanks Guys. I've been making some progress.

I'm still not sure about heel up/down though. I'm still switching back and forth between the two depending on what I'm doing... At the low tempos that I'm practicing these independance exercises at (55-60 bpm usually), it's very easy to get lazy and go to both feet heel-down.

And I started some other similar exercises with all four limbs at once and and I practically fell off by throne (when heel up).
 

Unevil

Member
I actually always play hi-hat heel up...I play it heel up because it is the most comfortable way for me to play it, and I also find that I can slightly lift my foot for a quick choke sound on the hi-hat, which is more difficult for me heel down...really I think it all comes down to which way you can play more controlled and more comfortable...I would take control over comfort, however, (maybe just me) because usually when something is less comfortable, it will get more comfortable as you get used to it...when you are comfortable but lack control, you must make a mental note often to work on control, where getting more comfortable is just the way it works over time.

bottom line: pick whichever way you like best, drummers play well using either technique, it is just about finding which one you personally like more...

One thing I believe is that if you copy techniques from everyone else that is successful, you will wind up often losing personality in your performing ability, and will end up a cheap version of the people you mimic; so it becomes nearly impossible to rise above
 

chathamight

Senior Member
for my left foot, i practice heel-toe and heel up at various bpms. rocking between the heel and toe helps me ensure the spacing between notes are correct, helps me to keep a solid pulse during fills, and also helps for balance on the kit. i have found that always playing heel up on the hihat, my balance shifts right b/c of the energy required to keep the leg up. but for super-fast tunes, i shift to heel up b/c the heel-toe technique isn't practical. different situations call for different weapons in the arsenal.
same goes for the kick...i play both heel down and heel up, depending on the situation. there is no either or for me...
 

anthmkc

Junior Member
I had the problem of keeping my left heel up also whenever I used to play live. I think it was just a nerves thing. I noticed it over time and corrected it through practice. I would think that you'd want your left heel up only when you are playing quarters or eighth note on the high hats. It doesn't seem logical to me to have it up any other time because your just wasting energy and compromising your balance having it elevated. Now I am a heel down player most of the time but as the volume level of the song increases, so does my heel. I think of it the same way as the levels concept with drumsticks. But in order to stay balanced and centered I only raise my heels when the volume gets to loud to be heard clearly. If you're playing quarters or eighths on the high hat I'd imagine both feet would be the same way and for me, that way is both elevated. I could see where playing slow/quiet songs it would be kinda difficult to keep your volume consistent and balance centered while playing quarters or eighths on the hat with your heel up.
 

mrbling

Silver Member
im fairly independant. it depends upon what hat style im playing. if its closed heel up then i 'bounce' my heel to keep time, open at all heel down
 

ace76543

Senior Member
I'm finding that its making it a lot tougher; I get out of time so I stop and start over instead of just focusing on the independence

This is exactly why you should focus on playing with a metronome. "Focusing on the independence" is meaningless unless you can play things in time. If you're having trouble, slow the 'nome down to 40 or 50 and playing it ultra slow until you get it, then move up 10bpm until you can play it at that speed, move it up, etc. This is what I do. But if I'm REALLY REALLY struggling on something, I'll turn off the metronome completely until I can play it properly. Only do this if you absolutely must
 

mg33

Member
simple practice idea ....

start with the left foot first ... with the metronome. Then play patterns with the bass drum. Stop the bass drum and play right hand. Then stop the right hand and play the left hand. Keep the left foot going ... and play your fills.

Like building blocks ... start with the foundation of the left foot ... and build on it piece by piece. You will start to notice where the problem areas are ... work on these areas.
 
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