Inconsistent bass drum volume with feathering


Senior Member
I’m currently studying out of the art of bop drumming by John Riley which is a book on jazz. I’m learning to play comping exercises with the snare and bass drum and I’m still having trouble keeping consistent volumes with the bass drum feathering. I’m using heel down. Sometimes I press down on the pedal too softly so that no note comes out or sometimes I’ll hit it too hard and it doesn’t sound subtle like it should be. Is this something that just comes with time? Or is this a technique issue? With the comping of snare and bass I’m keeping the regular typical ride pattern in jazz and 2 and 4 on hi hat foot.


Platinum Member
I think you should use it. Treat the variations in volume as actual musical events, and try to make them sound good. Over time your accuracy and technique will improve. In general, playing exactly uniform, unbroken, very soft quarter notes on the bass drum is not really a requirement in any modern music. I don't think perfecting it-- away from a gig that actually requires you to do that-- is really necessary.


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
As long as you keep your volume in a reasonable range, the variations won't make a difference. Obviously a note that jumps out isn't ideal, but don't stress... it's just jazz. :O

Seriously, it's just a matter of practice to get the volume more consistent.



Platinum Member
Slight variations won't hurt the music and you'll eventually develop more consistency with it.

I'm an advocate for feathering, but the honest truth is that people aren't really going to call you out for not doing it in 2017. I kinda/sorta think the fact I do it is a subconsciously-appreciated thing that musicians like without necessarily naming it, but I could be wrong about that, too.