problems with double bass 16ths


Senior Member
Hey guys,

wondering if any of you have run into this problem. I used to play in a pure death metal band about 2 years ago and was able to play 16ths no problem to about 180-190, then 200 for about 12 bars or so. I got busy with work, moved away etc and started a new life in another town. Now I'm back in a metal band thats a bit more modern/melodic death/thrash type stuff.

I can't play 16ths anymore, from about 140-200bpm. Over 200-215 though, I can sloppily play 16ths that are more or less on time, pure heel up and all ankles.

Its that range where you have to use a combo of leg and ankle that I can't do 16ths. 8ths, 8th triplet, even 16th triplets at the lower speeds (under 155) I can do no problem, and tight.

My hands have gotten way better since when I was playing meat and potatos death, but my legs have gone to shit, as far as double kick. single kick doubles and stuff like that have gotten better though.

For some reason, unless I'm playing slow, or flying, I fall right off on 16ths. what do?


Platinum Member
I have similar problems (13-14 months into drums now). The last 6 weeks or so I was focusing on lower speed to build up control in my problem range (ca. 150-190 bpm). That is, to build up control I was going way slower than that, in fact very slow but steady and with good punch. I had never concentrated on the hip flexor motion before and noticed that while ankle motion works very well, the hip flexor motion was so-so and the hip flexor of my weaker (left) foot is even stronger than my right one.

From my experience there is no short cut but to build from below, starting with very low speed. Don't rush, be patient and wait for the control to come. If you were able to do it in the past then it will probably take you less time to get there again. I max out towards 240 bpm with heel up and way more with heel-toe, but as I said there's still that problem range.

It was discouraging to practice slowly for weeks (with some faster playing for variation, but the focus was on control). Then a week ago I did some test to a click and learned there is quite some progress in the 190-180-170-160 range (I started at 190 and 'built' my way down the tempo ladder). This control is still 'fresh' and I need to consolidate it more. So take your time, a few weeks should be enough to get you going. Control is paramount, the more you put into control without rushing, the better in the long run.

Start super slow. You can switch between practicing both feet and one foot at a time. Concentrate on the hip flexor motion. - This is for acquiring control, finally when playing e.g. 180 bpm you _won't_ use the hip flexor as much as when you're practicing it way slower. But you'll need some of that motion. I was sometimes exaggerating the motion, even lifting my feet off the pedals. This can be practiced without any pedal, and basically almost everywhere. As always, sitting position/throne height/posture is an extremely important factor. Find the most comfy position for you. I tend to speed up when practicing, but when I was speeding up with those hip flexor exercises and felt I had not sufficient control I stopped/slowed down and started from the beginning, going sloooow. As I said, a few weeks will/should do.
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Gold Member
I have similar problems (13-14 months into drums now).
You've been playing drums for little over a year, and you can play clean 16ths on the double pedals at 240 BPM? Man, I'd love to see that; furthermore, I'd really like to see your playing in general. Talk about focusing on the wrong stuff...



Platinum Member
it took me about 7 months to hit 240 bpm/heel up [PS: with a dw 2002 pedal - nothing fancy], not 14 months. Also keep in mind it's my max tempo, not a tempo I can play comfily for hours. Since then my max speed with heel up hasn't improved, but heel-toe has significantly. Guess how I did it? Practice double bass for several hours a day, almost daily and you might end up in the same speed region. --- Don't want to hijack that thread, but if you want to read more info on my 'drumming career':

What I'm practicing (from the Derek Roddy Forum)

I don't have a video cam and imagine I had one - aren't there plenty of YouTube vids on "I can play at ... bpm" or "2 minutes @ ... bpm doublebass"?? Really, who needs videos like that? And if you don't believe what I wrote in my post, simply don't believe it. I'm also playing the guitar for 21 years now and have no video so far. I'll change that in about 1 month and record several instrumentals on the el. and ac. guitar, all original material. It's my nature to be interested in technique (el. guitar = shred, prog, melodic metal style, acoustic guitar = percussive style) so it was most natural for me take up double bass like sports.

(...) Talk about focusing on the wrong stuff...
Could you elaborate on that? I simply don't understand what you meant.
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