In need of double pedal advice!

rrv24

Member
Hi! I'm a prog drummer who's been playing double bass for 10 years now, but it's been pretty sporadic over the last 2-3 years so I'm trying to get into a consistent practice routine for the first time (I've previously only practiced with the songs I needed to play), and I'm having some issues getting past 16th notes at 130 BPM, which I've been able to do before.

First of, I'm conflicted over whether to bury the beater or not. I know a lot of drummers do it at slower tempi, but 130 feels like the spot where I'm no longer able to bury it, but it also feels too slow to let it rebound without it getting sloppy. Any thoughts on this? When I play slower, burying the beater feels consistent, but the moment I stop, my pedaling gets real sloppy and I struggle to control the beater.

Secondly, I'm trying to figure out what the best foot position is for the ankle technique (I'm sitting pretty high), and after my calves started to burn I realized I was playing with my heel angled pretty sharply away from the pedal and only the ball of my foot making contact (a lot of the drummers I've watched have their feet a lot lower even when only the ball of the foot is touching the pedal). I've watched a ton of videos but I'm still not able to understand what the optimum foot position is.

I'd appreciate any feedback!

Edit: I'm trying to focus as much as possible on developing my ankle technique and not pumping my legs up and down like I've done in the past.
 

ColdFusion

Active Member
Hey cool question!

I had to go sit with a metronome for a bit to re-create your scenario. I am a long time fusion drummer that just turned to double kicking a couple years ago. I’m not in a hurry to get blazing speed, but I’m very focused and diligent with slow and medium speed kicking.

I'm no longer able to bury it, but it also feels too slow to let it rebound without it getting sloppy. Any thoughts on this? When I play slower, burying the beater feels consistent, but the moment I stop, my pedaling gets real sloppy and I struggle to control the beater.

So with my metronome turned to different tempos (1/4=110-140, 16th notes) I noticed that I don’t actually bury the beater like I used to at slower speeds. Since I do a lot of direct-line recording I had to fine-tuned the length of my pedal stroke early on, or the notes would never line up nicely and with even dynamic in the final playback. It feels like I come just short of “burying” the beater. That is, I don’t lean on the batter head between backstrokes, but still I am careful to get a “square” hit with each stroke. Square and solid for the recording, but I let off as soon as I get the sound I'm looking for. Whatever rebound there is, I am catching with my foot and always applying tension. My muscles are still engaged on the backstroke. Like the balls of your feet are glued to the footboard.
So it seems like I'm doing exactly in-between burying and bouncing. Controlling, I suppose. As I increase speed up to the 135-140 mark (that's about my limit for keeping it clean) it doesn’t feel like I’m doing anything different, just more quickly.

I'm trying to figure out what the best foot position is for the ankle technique (I'm sitting pretty high), and after my calves started to burn I realized I was playing with my heel angled pretty sharply away from the pedal and only the ball of my foot making contact (a lot of the drummers I've watched have their feet a lot lower even when only the ball of the foot is touching the pedal).
My foot angle to the board is fairly shallow. My throne sits maybe "medium high", with a good amount of angle in my knees but probably not as high as you are describing. I am still pretty close to the pedals. I used to play heel-down to get used to hitting cleanly. Eventually my shin muscles couldn’t keep up with the tempo playing heel down. My heel-up playing position is not radically angled, like the one you describe. But rather just up off the footboard enough to relieve the other muscle groups and get some weight over the balls of my feet. This is probably why I’m able to get accuracy at medium speeds. My particular foot angle and stroke are the “most conservative” use of leverage I needed to get back up to speed after switching from heel down.
I hope all that made at least some sense, lol.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
I'm trying to focus as much as possible on developing my ankle technique and not pumping my legs up and down like I've done in the past.

Both methods are viable and in fact necessary, depending on the speed you're playing. I start using my ankles at about 160 BPM (16ths).

Regarding leg motion, it's mostly calves for me, it just looks like "leg motion" because your legs are in fact going up and down. It's just like bouncing your leg up and down with your foot on the floor. I'm not using any leg muscles other than a short twitch in my calves. When using leg motion my upper legs and hips are completely relaxed.
 
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Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Maybe it would help to boycott burying the beater for a period of time.

If you’re not comfortable with a technique then practicing faster tempos using it might frustrate you out of wanting to practice.

I am not sure how I managed to learn it but I think I read that buddy rich removed the spring from his pedal so that he could learn to let the beater rebound.
 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
Maybe it would help to boycott burying the beater for a period of time.

If you’re not comfortable with a technique then practicing faster tempos using it might frustrate you out of wanting to practice.

I am not sure how I managed to learn it but I think I read that buddy rich removed the spring from his pedal so that he could learn to let the beater rebound.
How could it even work without a spring?
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
How could it even work without a spring?
By rebounding off the head. The only thing that will stop it is you. So you have to learn to get out of its way. I've actually never tried it myself.
 

cornelius

Silver Member
Practice stick control with your feet at the tempo that is challenging for you. Progress from there.
Also - play heel down and let the beater come off of the head. After a while you'll gain strength and coordination in your lower leg which will also help with heel up.
 

Trigger

Senior Member
I find between 130-160 is the most difficult tempo for 16ths on double kick. Up to 130, you can stomp away as fast as you can, and beyond 160 you can let the pedal do the work, but that in between tempo alludes me.
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
When playing consecutive notes with the feet there is no burying of the beater. Burying the beater is used in groove playing with the right foot. I can't think of a reason to ever bury the left (weak) foot/beater.

Check out this video. Marthyn is a gifted teacher and great player.

 

bud7h4

Silver Member
How could it even work without a spring?
By rebounding off the head. The only thing that will stop it is you. So you have to learn to get out of its way. I've actually never tried it myself.

In this video he's demonstrating ankle motion with no springs, but I imagine playing slower leg motion it would be more challenging working with just rebound this way.
 
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rrv24

Member
Hey cool question!

I had to go sit with a metronome for a bit to re-create your scenario. I am a long time fusion drummer that just turned to double kicking a couple years ago. I’m not in a hurry to get blazing speed, but I’m very focused and diligent with slow and medium speed kicking.



So with my metronome turned to different tempos (1/4=110-140, 16th notes) I noticed that I don’t actually bury the beater like I used to at slower speeds. Since I do a lot of direct-line recording I had to fine-tuned the length of my pedal stroke early on, or the notes would never line up nicely and with even dynamic in the final playback. It feels like I come just short of “burying” the beater. That is, I don’t lean on the batter head between backstrokes, but still I am careful to get a “square” hit with each stroke. Square and solid for the recording, but I let off as soon as I get the sound I'm looking for. Whatever rebound there is, I am catching with my foot and always applying tension. My muscles are still engaged on the backstroke. Like the balls of your feet are glued to the footboard.
So it seems like I'm doing exactly in-between burying and bouncing. Controlling, I suppose. As I increase speed up to the 135-140 mark (that's about my limit for keeping it clean) it doesn’t feel like I’m doing anything different, just more quickly.


My foot angle to the board is fairly shallow. My throne sits maybe "medium high", with a good amount of angle in my knees but probably not as high as you are describing. I am still pretty close to the pedals. I used to play heel-down to get used to hitting cleanly. Eventually my shin muscles couldn’t keep up with the tempo playing heel down. My heel-up playing position is not radically angled, like the one you describe. But rather just up off the footboard enough to relieve the other muscle groups and get some weight over the balls of my feet. This is probably why I’m able to get accuracy at medium speeds. My particular foot angle and stroke are the “most conservative” use of leverage I needed to get back up to speed after switching from heel down.
I hope all that made at least some sense, lol.
That's super interesting, thanks for letting me know! I'm curious: do you rely on your ankles or your legs more for each stroke?
 

rrv24

Member
I find between 130-160 is the most difficult tempo for 16ths on double kick. Up to 130, you can stomp away as fast as you can, and beyond 160 you can let the pedal do the work, but that in between tempo alludes me.
I have this issue too, to some extent - I had no problem sitting down and playing 180+ in short bursts, but it doesn't feel as controlled as I would like, and I wasn't able to do that at all consistently below 160.
When playing consecutive notes with the feet there is no burying of the beater. Burying the beater is used in groove playing with the right foot. I can't think of a reason to ever bury the left (weak) foot/beater.

Check out this video. Marthyn is a gifted teacher and great player.

I came across this video! Certainly helped.

I think part of the reason I was confused is because of this video:
He buries the beater with both feet as often as he can, and his foot position also seemed unusual to me, in that his foot was frequently lifting off the pedal, which I wouldn't feel comfortable doing. Thoughts?

I know that burying the beater is impractical at higher tempi, which is why I didn't want to get into the habit with it for both feet at slower tempi.
 

rrv24

Member
Bury.jpg
Here is my foot position when attempting to bury the beater with both feet - as you can see, the angle is quite sharp and this starts to pressure my calves. Below is the position I'm trying to maintain by allowing the beater to rebound (left foot needs more work though)
Rebound.jpg
 

C. Dave Run

Gold Member
Here is my foot position when attempting to bury the beater with both feet - as you can see, the angle is quite sharp and this starts to pressure my calves. Below is the position I'm trying to maintain by allowing the beater to rebound (left foot needs more work though)
When your feet start to point (top picture), make a mental note of it. Dont stop playing, but slow yourself down a bit to get your feet flat again. Pointing is a sign of tension. Tension is the enemy. Tension happens when we try to force things. Relaxed is where you want to be.
 

OHD

Junior Member
Trigger said:
I find between 130-160 is the most difficult tempo for 16ths on double kick. Up to 130, you can stomp away as fast as you can, and beyond 160 you can let the pedal do the work, but that in between tempo alludes me.

I have this issue too, to some extent - I had no problem sitting down and playing 180+ in short bursts, but it doesn't feel as controlled as I would like, and I wasn't able to do that at all consistently below 160.

Train yourself both ways. Go faster than 130 by "stomping the feet" as Trigger says, and go slower than 160 trying to let the pedal do the work. That way you will eventually find a middle ground between endurance and control.
 

toddmc

Gold Member
View attachment 125680
Here is my foot position when attempting to bury the beater with both feet - as you can see, the angle is quite sharp and this starts to pressure my calves. Below is the position I'm trying to maintain by allowing the beater to rebound (left foot needs more work though)
Is it possible to buy yourself another kick pad/ beaters?

I only ask because I had this kind of setup for a few years (2 x Roland KD-7's with reverse beaters) and for me it felt so much better going back to a "normal" beater and upright pad.

Maybe it was due to the reverse beater having to overcome the force of gravity, maybe it was psychological but thought I would throw it out there to see if it might improve your technique?
 
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