THE HEEL TOE THREAD

lefty2

Platinum Member
That was interesting. I can't play without shoes. I'm just now able to play heel toe. Not good, but can do it. I've noticed on most of the videos they do advise to go shoe-less. I tried a couple of times, but no way, it ain't gonna happen. I haven't played with heels though sense the early 90's in a country band. I might try that.
 

Reggae_Mangle

Silver Member
Playing with shoes on helped me get my hits more even, when I played without shoes, it was as though my feet were making too much contact with the pedal and it was very difficult to get an even beat. With shoes on, it was easier to control the second stroke.

You should try a few different shoes and see whether it's easier to play heel toe. Mine don't have huge heels, they're just those generic sports shoes you see with a bit of an angle to the sole.

Another thing that seems to help is adjusting the angle of your legs to the footboard. Sitting too close means you get too much weight on the feet to be able to effectively rebound the beater, sitting too far means you won't be able to get enough of a connection with the board. I like to think of it as sitting on a chair with your legs extended and your feet pointing upward, such that my feet would be sitting directly on the footboard, that's the angle I like to get when playing heel-toe.

All that said, tomorrow I'll try for about five minutes to play barefoot again, see whether I can get the beats even.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
Looks like heel toe to me also. He is real good. I've been playing real slow, maybe around 120 not sure. I think it's helping me get better at it. Lately I noticed some improvement, in terms of vol. and even dynamics.
 

Reggae_Mangle

Silver Member
Looks like heel toe to me also. He is real good. I've been playing real slow, maybe around 120 not sure. I think it's helping me get better at it. Lately I noticed some improvement, in terms of vol. and even dynamics.
Now this is an interesting debate point. Is 120 too slow for heel-toe? I ask that with all humbleness.

What I mean is, the technique seems to be well-suited for fast playing speeds, but at slower speeds, the action doesn't translate, at least for me, into sounding like I was playing straight forward 16ths. Seems to me like the gaps are too large. I find playing that heel-toe at lower speeds extremely cumbersome, more cumbersome than if you were playing say heel up or heel down.

I've been wrestling for weeks with trying to lay down steady heel-toe at 174 and while I succeed one day, the next day I go back to the kit and I sound like a mess. But the results are more even if I just boost up to the 180 region, at that tempo, I find it easier to make my foot motion constant.

If you say you've been getting results, I'm all ears. Perhaps I should dial back my metronome too and experiment a bit, though I find that heel up seems to work best for me up to 150-160. The area between 160 and 180 unfortunately is not going well. Have so much to improve.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
Now this is an interesting debate point. Is 120 too slow for heel-toe? I ask that with all humbleness.

What I mean is, the technique seems to be well-suited for fast playing speeds, but at slower speeds, the action doesn't translate, at least for me, into sounding like I was playing straight forward 16ths. Seems to me like the gaps are too large. I find playing that heel-toe at lower speeds extremely cumbersome, more cumbersome than if you were playing say heel up or heel down.

I've been wrestling for weeks with trying to lay down steady heel-toe at 174 and while I succeed one day, the next day I go back to the kit and I sound like a mess. But the results are more even if I just boost up to the 180 region, at that tempo, I find it easier to make my foot motion constant.

If you say you've been getting results, I'm all ears. Perhaps I should dial back my metronome too and experiment a bit, though I find that heel up seems to work best for me up to 150-160. The area between 160 and 180 unfortunately is not going well. Have so much to improve.


I can do heel toe at any speed, but I get a range of speeds out of my pedal that is "TIGHT"

for example. if it works good from 200-250,,,, i can do 170, but the gaps are too large, and at 260 it falls apart.


if i move the beaters, tension, etc,, i could do 230-270 lets say... but it sucks playing singles and 200 the gaps are too big..

if i pull my beaters back.. tension up, really work my shin muscles i could probably do 150-200 heel toe but faster would be hard.


so although 120 is possible... id just do singles...

i don't play faster than 240 16ths in my band so i usualy have my pedal set that 190-240 is pretty comfortable heel toe.. i can get away with 180 at the slowest.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
Now this is an interesting debate point. Is 120 too slow for heel-toe? I ask that with all humbleness.

What I mean is, the technique seems to be well-suited for fast playing speeds, but at slower speeds, the action doesn't translate, at least for me, into sounding like I was playing straight forward 16ths. Seems to me like the gaps are too large. I find playing that heel-toe at lower speeds extremely cumbersome, more cumbersome than if you were playing say heel up or heel down.

I've been wrestling for weeks with trying to lay down steady heel-toe at 174 and while I succeed one day, the next day I go back to the kit and I sound like a mess. But the results are more even if I just boost up to the 180 region, at that tempo, I find it easier to make my foot motion constant.

If you say you've been getting results, I'm all ears. Perhaps I should dial back my metronome too and experiment a bit, though I find that heel up seems to work best for me up to 150-160. The area between 160 and 180 unfortunately is not going well. Have so much to improve.
I'm not using a metronome so I don't know how slow I'm really playing it. I'm playing it as slow as I can in an effort to get better. I want to play it good and solid, not just barley tapping the head. I do play it much faster also, but not for very long, maybe a minute or so. I'm sure I'll get better. A yr. ago I couldn't play it at all. I'm also planning on getting a good trigger too. I'm just getting started. Plus I'm not young anymore with unlimited practice time. I do appreciate all the help I get from people like you too.
 

Reggae_Mangle

Silver Member
I'm not using a metronome so I don't know how slow I'm really playing it. I'm playing it as slow as I can in an effort to get better. I want to play it good and solid, not just barley tapping the head. I do play it much faster also, but not for very long, maybe a minute or so. I'm sure I'll get better. A yr. ago I couldn't play it at all. I'm also planning on getting a good trigger too. I'm just getting started. Plus I'm not young anymore with unlimited practice time. I do appreciate all the help I get from people like you too.
That's a good way to develop as a player. I am nowadays wrestling with slower heel-toe speeds as well, my music isn't so fast that I even need to hit 210+, so it's essential that I be able to play steadily at tempos lower than that. Never know if someone will ask you to sit in for a session somewhere.

You're too kind, I'm just trying to share what little I know with the users on this great forum. This thread, in particular, is great, so much accumulated knowledge about heel-toe.

You're only as old as you feel! I hope I can keep drumming going ahead, but something tells me that my time may already be up - a neighbour living above my apartment came and complained to me today that he can't stand my playing for 10 hours a day. We came to a compromise, but I have a feeling that sooner or later, someone else is going to complain. Then I'll have to move out or stop drumming jeez.
 

Reggae_Mangle

Silver Member
I can do heel toe at any speed, but I get a range of speeds out of my pedal that is "TIGHT"

for example. if it works good from 200-250,,,, i can do 170, but the gaps are too large, and at 260 it falls apart.


if i move the beaters, tension, etc,, i could do 230-270 lets say... but it sucks playing singles and 200 the gaps are too big..

if i pull my beaters back.. tension up, really work my shin muscles i could probably do 150-200 heel toe but faster would be hard.


so although 120 is possible... id just do singles...

i don't play faster than 240 16ths in my band so i usualy have my pedal set that 190-240 is pretty comfortable heel toe.. i can get away with 180 at the slowest.
As mentioned in my previous post, my music is not really all that extreme, so I don't go above 210. I find it interesting that you have different setups for different tempos, that makes a lot of sense, though I think that might be tough in some situations.

I find 180 the basic speed for my heel-toe as well, but I'm trying to delve into the lower bpm levels, especially the 160-180 area, because I can't play heel up that fast. Talk about a mediocre drummer haha!
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
I find 180 the basic speed for my heel-toe as well, but I'm trying to delve into the lower bpm levels, especially the 160-180 area, because I can't play heel up that fast. Talk about a mediocre drummer haha![/QUOTE]

Talk about a mediocre drummer. Yep that's me too. I play basic rock real good, but everything else, I either can't do it, or just barely able to. I think I top out around 160 heel up. It's been a while sense I've checked my actual speed. I have played 175 heel up, but not all the time. It was one of those rare instances. I should play more with a metronome. I do feel old sometimes. lol.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
As mentioned in my previous post, my music is not really all that extreme, so I don't go above 210. I find it interesting that you have different setups for different tempos, that makes a lot of sense, though I think that might be tough in some situations.

I find 180 the basic speed for my heel-toe as well, but I'm trying to delve into the lower bpm levels, especially the 160-180 area, because I can't play heel up that fast. Talk about a mediocre drummer haha!
hahaha I wouldn't say that at all. Everyone has different strengths. I only play this fast because thats what the guitar players in my band have wrote at for the last MANY years.

If you are maxing out at 210ish because you have no need to go faster try with your beaters a bit further back, i find when i play slow its galopy because the double is too fast.. So I basicly slow the double stroke down to even it out.

opposite about fast, you want the doulbe to hit quick because there is less time between the doubles.

beater height effects this as I've found lowering and raising it has changed how even the strokes are as well.

You may want slightly tighter springs when playing slower as well so your feet don't drop down as quick for the second stroke. depending on the pedals you use you can change the leverage too. Axis have a VDL, i find if i have it forward the doubles are easy and fast, a bit further back they hit harder and slow down a bit. pearl have a power/finesse, trick have something too i believe.

Its a lot of work and playing with settings, but once you have it controlled at a speed its adjusting the speed of the double stroke basically.

That is why i get a range. If i have the VDL forward, lose springs, and can do super fast doubles .. when i play slow it still sounds like

|| || || || || instead of | | | | | | | so i do what I can to slow them down.

you can also focus on your technique by almost fighting the second stroke. but i find this makes for a weaker hit.. that's why i adjust my pedals :)
 

Reggae_Mangle

Silver Member
Funny thing about settings being so important heh. I had my settings down and was getting things exactly on grid when I was triggering midi, but somehow, the settings changed, or I changed my technique.

Now I've been wrestling with my Falcon pedals for the past couple of weeks trying to get that even response again. It's super frustrating. I can get things to sound even at higher tempos, but drop back down to 174 or lower and it sounds like a choppy mess, even more so because it's just the isolated sound of triggered kicks. Even at higher tempos, it's no longer as perfect as when I had *those* settings. I kid you not, it was absolutely stuck to the grid, just as though I was playing singles.

Just got to keep at it I guess. It's a terrible thing. Say, anyone have any idea how to tweak my drum brain so that when a note shows up on the midi grid it shows up as a single | instead of a box? Would make things much easier to just be able to see whether things are on time instead of having to listen to the track from end-to-end.
 

Reggae_Mangle

Silver Member
Need some insight from some of the experienced heel-toe guys out here.

Is it possible to get heel-toe doubles on a single pedal to sound like singles at a high tempo? Or will it always sound like a bit of a shuffle?

By this I mean sort of like how fast singles would sound with the constant release method. Is it possible? I always get a burst of doubles rather than a sound like singles. Is this possible? Or do I need to learn another technique?

I've seen a video by Tim Waterson showing how to do it, but I have a sneaky suspicion that he shifted to constant release for that part of the video. When he plays doubles later in the video, it sounds exactly like I play it, i.e. II II II II, as opposed to I I I I I.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
I was do that when I first tried to learn heel toe. I didn't think it would ever amount to anything so I didn't pursue it. If you work it who knows, it could be really cool.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
Need some insight from some of the experienced heel-toe guys out here.

Is it possible to get heel-toe doubles on a single pedal to sound like singles at a high tempo? Or will it always sound like a bit of a shuffle?

By this I mean sort of like how fast singles would sound with the constant release method. Is it possible? I always get a burst of doubles rather than a sound like singles. Is this possible? Or do I need to learn another technique?

I've seen a video by Tim Waterson showing how to do it, but I have a sneaky suspicion that he shifted to constant release for that part of the video. When he plays doubles later in the video, it sounds exactly like I play it, i.e. II II II II, as opposed to I I I I I.

HT will always have the tendency to produce a louder fist strike, as the heel more powerful than the ball of the foot (toe). You play traditional HT (heel hits first) to get a double, not to play consistent singles.

The Waterson vid is not great in a visually descriptive sense.
 

Reggae_Mangle

Silver Member
HT will always have the tendency to produce a louder fist strike, as the heel more powerful than the ball of the foot (toe). You play traditional HT (heel hits first) to get a double, not to play consistent singles.

The Waterson vid is not great in a visually descriptive sense.
Thanks. I'm getting a bit frustrated with heel-toe, feel like I took the short cut to playing fast and it has it's drawbacks. In 99% of the heel-toe videos I've seen where people are playing double bass, the pattern is sort of like II II II II or alternatively IIII IIII IIII. I've only seen a couple of players that are able to get it to sound like IIIIIIIIIII. I've only occasionally Ben able to get it to sound like singles, most of the time I hear a IIII IIII IIII sort of beat.

But getting it to sound like singles can definitely be done with a double bass pedal. With a single bass pedal, however, I think I have to learn some other technique, I want to be able to play 16ths with one foot, not a shuffle.

That said, I was messing around with them triplets today, quite a nice feel in a musical context. I guess I just need to practice harder.

Man, can Waterson play though. The guys got great feet. Seems really likeable in his videos too, full of great advice.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
Here is my latest heel toe vid for the next year or 2. haha

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtX0k97H46A

I've changed to grooves and ghost notes lately so this stuff is not as exciting.

Great vid on your set up.

It is easy to get caught up in the confusion, but the 'Heel-Toe' technique is just as its spelled out. The heel-makes the first strike, not the toe. Its not called toe-heel, or toe toe.

Heel making the first strike is not an easy technique to get b/c as drummers we're hard wired to make a toe stroke, we're so used to making the first hit with the front of the foot. With heel-toe proper you lead with your heel, not your toe. Heel toe is a useable stroke for doubles, there's great power in the heel.

If you hang your feet off the back of the foot board, you're not doing heel-toe proper, you're dropping your heel to accentuate a second toe strike, a different stroke definition all together, don't know why one would call that heel-toe, 'drop heel', make up any name that fits, but 'heel toe' is the heel striking the pedal board first.
 
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