Questions about the ankle technique?

ThomasEngine

New member
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 a showbox round 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?
 
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brentcn

Platinum Member
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?

Hey, welcome! This might be the first time anyone has ever asked about playing slower, haha!

It's not normal or advisable to use one technique at all speeds. Different techniques are only useful in certain tempo ranges. Obviously, you can test the upper limits of ankle technique, as many have done. But at slower speeds, it's totally fine to switch to more of a "whole foot and leg" technique, where your hip is moving a bit more, and your entire foot, including your heel, makes gentle contact with the footboard with each stroke. When you prepare for the next stroke, make sure your toes are still touching the footboard. Look up Steve Smith's constant release method for a great demonstration.

If, at slow speeds, you're only using your ankle, then you'll find yourself using your abdomen muscles to keep your legs hovering in the air, and you'll get tired pretty quickly. So instead, relax your legs and hips as much as possible, and use your whole foot. As you increase speed, you will eventually switch to an all-ankle approach, and as you decrease, you should try to smoothly and gradually switch back to a whole-leg/foot approach.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
From another thread:

It's not too different from arms and wrist.
Slower motion = more arms and legs
Faster = more wrist and 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).
 
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 a showbox round 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?

I have this exact same issue!! Did you ever figure it out? I have been practicing almost every day for 3 months to a click track, I am stuck at about 180 bpm when I try go slower, nothing happens haha I can’t slow it down or control it at all!

is there something I’m completely missing? It feels like I’m jittering/ twitching out of control half the time
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I have this exact same issue!! Did you ever figure it out? I have been practicing almost every day for 3 months to a click track, I am stuck at about 180 bpm when I try go slower, nothing happens haha I can’t slow it down or control it at all!

is there something I’m completely missing? It feels like I’m jittering/ twitching out of control half the time
Ankle is the wrong technique for that speed, just like you wouldn't use heel/toe or swivel at 150. Slow is legs territory. Unless you want to do it heel down.
 

jazzerooty

Junior Member
Hey, it seems to me that you just ought to relax. I've never heard of "ankle technique." Do you mean with your heel up? You need to relax to play slower. And you need to relax to play faster, actually. Not sure about what style of music you're after. But at slower tempos I play with my heel down.
 

Ghede

Well-known member
+1 over here!

I see some number very consistent with Marthyn's Bass Drum Mastery course! Are you following that as well?

My dominant foot is the right.

With the left foot, I can play constant 8th notes from 180 and up (didn't check how up, not really interested in that now), and with a few bars of "transition" I can adapt to as low as a 165 click, 160 on good days.

The right one is more problematic. I don't manage to sync with 180, let alone below that. To get the motion starting and not stuttering after 5-6 hits it usually takes a few minutes, including managing to relax (a bit, not completely) a really tight and burning shin muscle!
Also, if I stand up, go for a 1 minute walk and sit down again, I am kind of back to square 1.

I'm busy with it for like 1 month now. I see progress (especially in the time needed to get the motion going on the right foot), but it is quite a frustrating process. I think the obvious solution is waaaaay more practice. I just don't want to neglect the rest of my drumming practice, so I guess it will take still a while before I get there!
 
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