Retarded left foot - suggestions?

lxh039

Member
I've been drumming for about 6 years. I've always played rock and funk, but now I'm trying to learn jazz. I got a copy of The Art of Bop Drumming by John Riley and I'm working on the early exercises on page 9. I find that I can do the ride, snare, and bass drum patterns (and all combinations thereof) perfectly, but as soon as I try to add those simple hi-hat chicks into the mix, I go full retarded and completely lose the patterns. It's like I've hit a brick wall, and my left foot is obviously the problem. So, what do you guys think is the absolute best way to improve dexterity and timing on the hi-hat foot? I considered doing Stick Control exercises with my feet, but I don't know how much that would help me to improve my timing within the context of a beat.
 

Muckster

Platinum Member
No big secret. Slow it way down and keep working with it. Gradually you will build it up to speed. Don't get frustrated....this happens to all of us.
 

Hewitt2

Senior Member
Definitely go slow. I'd focus on counting your 4s out loud and spang-a-langing with the ride and bass drum.

Once comfortable, start to emphasize the "2" and "4 in your counts to encourage the hi-hat to be part of the beat.

I can't recall, but I am pretty sure that AOB does not script out the bass drum, hi-hat and ride cymbal grooves on the beginning exercises (just the snare comps). If that's the case, you may want to manually write out this detail into some of the bars and visually follow along until you are comfortable. Sometimes seeing the actual beats makes it easier to incorporate.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Indeed. There are a number of threads on this (including my own). When I switched from the "mash the pedal on the beat" to heel-toe technique, there was a huge gap in coordination I had to (and still need to) fix.

I echo the above. Start slow. Fix coordination gaps as you would any foot ostinato. I tend to play hand patterns over top of them till I can begin working on groove, though there's probably a better way.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Go join a soccer club and kick with your left foot. While you're at it, do everything with your left hand too. That always helps ;)
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
you may want to manually write out this detail into some of the bars and visually follow along until you are comfortable. Sometimes seeing the actual beats makes it easier to incorporate.
+1. It's pretty difficult to just "imagine" where the hi-hat notes will fall in relation to the snare comping exercise, at first. Circle or highlight the parts where the left foot is supposed to play in unison with the other limbs, and read the part carefully as you play it. Focus on playing slowly, smoothly, and accurately. It will take a while, but it'll sink in over a few days (assuming you're practicing every day).
 

amsie

Junior Member
When I do stick control exercises, My teacher made me do my bass on 1 and left foot on 2, then bass on 3 &, then let foot on 4, and so on. My teacher made me do all the RLRRLRLL, RRRL, LLLR, RRLRLLRL and all the other patterns in the book doing the footwork as above. Boring and hard but I can tell you that I don't have any problems with my left foot and I've only been playing 9 months. Yes I started off slow and retarded and it's awkward but after a couple of weeks I was flying through them. That's what I like about my teacher, he is strict and makes me do things that feel awkward and difficult but it works.

Paul
 

vxla

Silver Member
Rock your left foot on 2 and 4 in jazz, as well as anything else you play. It's a good way to get the feel in your foot, and you can start getting into other movements from there.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Don't forget to rock your foot when on the practice pad as well. Remember to change up the HTHT to THTH occasionally. I was progressing horribly until I started incorporating it into my stick control.
 
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