Questions about the ankle technique

Hey guys new to the forum here. Been working on learning the ankle technique to improve my double base speed and control. Just started learning it about two weeks ago and I noticed that I can play around 180 to 230 BPM naturally with this technique but I cannot slow it down to save my life.

Does anybody have any advice on how to slow down so I can use the ankle technique as low as 150 BPM?
 

Old PIT Guy

Regular Poster
I'm not really too versed on the 'ankle technique', but if you're referring to what some call 'floating ankle' or fluttering, etc, I think that's a result of fast twitch, and if that's so, there's a delineation where below it you're in control and once past it not so much. Have you tried going the other way and working up to the point of flutter (slow to fast) and then when you feel yourself start to switch to twitch (for lack of a better description) back it down so you're in control and repeat this process to hopefully lower the point where the flutter takes over? Just a thought.
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
You've just been playing double bass for two weeks and you can play 16 notes at 230 bpm with ankle motion? You're faster than Dave Lombardo after only 14 days?

You may be deceiving youself into thinking that little twitches for a few strokes constitutes playing at a certain tempo but I'm not sure.

Nobody really uses ankle motion at 150. Most people are throwing in a bunch of full leg motion all the way up to 170 or so.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
You've just been playing double bass for two weeks and you can play 16 notes at 230 bpm with ankle motion? You're faster than Dave Lombardo after only 14 days?

You may be deceiving youself into thinking that little twitches for a few strokes constitutes playing at a certain tempo but I'm not sure.

Nobody really uses ankle motion at 150. Most people are throwing in a bunch of full leg motion all the way up to 170 or so.
Perhaps he isnt yet versed in double bass speak and is only playing 8ths.
 
I'm not really too versed on the 'ankle technique', but if you're referring to what some call 'floating ankle' or fluttering, etc, I think that's a result of fast twitch, and if that's so, there's a delineation where below it you're in control and once past it not so much. Have you tried going the other way and working up to the point of flutter (slow to fast) and then when you feel yourself start to switch to twitch (for lack of a better description) back it down so you're in control and repeat this process to hopefully lower the point where the flutter takes over? Just a thought.
That’s a great idea I will definitely try that. Thank you
 
You've just been playing double bass for two weeks and you can play 16 notes at 230 bpm with ankle motion? You're faster than Dave Lombardo after only 14 days?

You may be deceiving youself into thinking that little twitches for a few strokes constitutes playing at a certain tempo but I'm not sure.

Nobody really uses ankle motion at 150. Most people are throwing in a bunch of full leg motion all the way up to 170 or so.
I actually never said I was doing 16th notes. I’m playing eighth notes 1 foot of the time because I’m still learning. I signed up for the bass drum mastery class by marthyn. His recommendation is to try to get the technique down at whatever BPM comes naturally. For me that was eighth notes at about 180 BPM and I’ve worked my way up to 230 and my way down to about 175 but I can’t get it any slower. And I cannot play the flat foot technique faster than about 160 BPM
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
That’s exactly what I’m doing. I actually never mentioned if I was playing eighth or 16th notes. The speed does not really matter to me at this point I’m just trying to be able to control it at slower tempos.
Thank you for your comment

Got it, sorry for the misinterpretation.

I've done Marthun's course. It's great but can be intimidating.

I normally utilize full leg motion up to about 180. I can start ankle about 140 but it doesn't feel as powerful as the full leg.

Playing ankle too slow is too hard at the beginning in the same way that playing full leg over 190 is hard. Think of a horse, it can walk, trot, canter or gallop. All of those are different motions suited for certain speed ranges. If a hore tried to tro at 40 MPH it would be a spastic motion that would be slow and drain energy. If it tried to gallop slowly the motion wouldn't flow. We are the same way.

I would suggest playing along with lots of songs in the 140 bpm range with full leg. You need lots of reps to program your muscle memory.

Follow Marthyn's rules for learning ankle motion after the full leg. You may find the progression natural as the body learns its way.

Give yourself time. I would estimate it takes about 100-140 hours to really burn a new motion into your muscle memory. At an hour a day, you're looking at about 4-6 months and you'll see major change.

Good luck
 
Yeah it seems a little intimidating on the ankle motion side. He moves forward very quickly and I’m still trying to get the motion down correctly.

that’s a great analogy, I’ll definitely work more on the full leg motion for now. Thank you
 

Vapor Trail

Junior Member
Can you guys expand a bit on Marthyn's course? I've been playing for decades, but cut my teeth playing single pedal (as a fan of Nicko McBrain). I'm late to the double bass party. I have some skills, but balance and endurance have never clicked for me. His course worth it?
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
. . .
that’s a great analogy, I’ll definitely work more on the full leg motion for now. Thank you

It's not too different from arms and wrist.
Slower motion = more arms/legs
Faster = more wrist/ankles

The speed at which you transition from leg to ankle motion depends a little bit on the pedals and settings. On chain drive pedals I start using ankle motion at about 160 (16th notes) and on direct drive pedals it's at about 165.

Whatever the rate of speed which your beaters sway by themselves is the absolute minimum speed for ankle motion. Trying to use ankle motion below that speed creates space between your foot and the pedal as they get out of sync.
A major function of leg motion is that it completely controls the rebound speed below the natural sway speed of the beater(s).

On a side note, nobody was criticizing you about 16th vs 8th notes. Just a heads up, the topic of bass drum pedal speed is almost exclusively discussed in 16th notes. That way everyone's on the same page. If another note value is relevant, it is specified.
This protocol was added to the Geneva Convention in 2004.
 
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Can you guys expand a bit on Marthyn's course? I've been playing for decades, but cut my teeth playing single pedal (as a fan of Nicko McBrain). I'm late to the double bass party. I have some skills, but balance and endurance have never clicked for me. His course worth it?
He has a section where he explains how to improve balance as well as endurance.

So far, for me, there are a few tips that are helping me but I can not seem to use the ankle method at all with any kind of accuracy or consistency. I’m flailing around off tempo for a month and a half and just about ready to go back to my old way of playing (heel up but pressing with my toes instead of lifting my heel)
 

Vapor Trail

Junior Member
He has a section where he explains how to improve balance as well as endurance.

So far, for me, there are a few tips that are helping me but I can not seem to use the ankle method at all with any kind of accuracy or consistency. I’m flailing around off tempo for a month and a half and just about ready to go back to my old way of playing (heel up but pressing with my toes instead of lifting my heel)

Thanks for the info
 
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