Thoughts on super fast foot speed

drummingman

Gold Member
I was watching a video of a well known drummer in the death metal scene last night. He was doing double bass runs of 16ths at like 240. He was also triggering his kicks. It got me thinking about the fact that when playing double bass at those speeds if one is not triggering the hits are going to be very quiet just because of the pure fact that the beaters can only come back so far when playing that fast. So if one does not trigger it's almost pointless to play at those speeds on the feet.

This leads to the debate of power vs speed. Of course one can play very fast with their feet and still get lots of power. But anything over 220 bpm would seem to require triggering to even be heard over loud band.

One also gets to the topic of using techniques like heel toe which can alow one to play very fast but does not allow for a lot of power, even if they can get consistency with the technique. Which is one of the reasons why I don't recall ever seeing a metal drummer that uses heel toe that does not trigger.

It makes me think of a quote from Jason Bittner where he said something along the lines of how what's most important is to be powerful and solid. But with that said a lot of guitar players in metal expect drummers to be able to play these crazy fast speeds on their feet to match their riffing. But if one does not plan to trigger at those speeds they will never cut through because of how soft they have to hit to even achieve those speeds in the first place.

This is not a pro or con triggering thread by any means. I just think that one should think these things over before they put countless hours into a foot technique that may end up being almost useless on an acoustic kit without triggers.
 

imtombstone

Senior Member
depends on how it is used in the song
if i hear some good fast foot work , and it doesnt really help the song.
it was wrong
but that is me ,
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
While I'm working on continuous release, and heel toe myself. I do think that I may benefit from con. rel. without triggers. I'm not sure yet. I'm almost positive that heel toe can't be used without triggers. I have no plans to buy a sound system, triggers, some kind of sound module, and whatever else is needed, so I can play heel toe. If a mic can't pick it up, then I don't consider it really playing. I can get some power from con. rel. not as much as heel up singles, but I think it's usable. I have one of Jason's videos, and I got to see him at a clinic once. He's really cool. What he says makes sense.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
Once you can play those speeds (correctly with power) you realize 220 or 240 is not as fast as you may have once thought.

It's a tragedy that too many "speedsters" rushed to achieve those speeds and sacrificed proper technique in the process, using weak micro twitching motion and relying on triggers, giving speed a bad rep.

These are imposters, forgive my bluntness. It's the equivalent of using falsetto to compensate in situations where your normal voice range should be used.

Even when I play on an e-kit, the faster I play, the louder the beaters are against the head unless I conciously make an effort to play lighter. And this is up to 280 BPM. I'll try to upload a video this week. I'm still trying to figure out how to record and sync video and sound and all that.
 
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Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
Triggers make the drums cut through the mix like nothing else. Even if you hit hard, those fast runs tend to sound undefined and mushy out front.

Even guys who play double kicks with a full beater stoke, like Kollias, trigger for this reason.

With the new Roland TM-2 you are looking at $199.00 and a trigger for less than $75.00 and you're golden. It's not free but cheaper than a ride cymbal.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
Jeff that's a great point about the live sound, very true. Just to clarify I hope I didn't sound like I was suggesting you don't need triggers with proper technique, I was just pointing out that those who do have poor technique have no power and actually rely on triggers to try and compensate.

I don't mean to turn this into a lesson, but a quick thought:

The most visibly noticeable difference between what I would call proper and improper fast single stroke technique is the position of the feet at the moment of contact of the beater on the drum head. Or more specifically, how much direct input from the ankle/leg is still being applied at the moment of contact. At very high speeds, it should be nearly none.

Incorrect technique: keeping the ball of the foot too far down into the pedal's motion to allow it to return upward far enough to make full use of the pedal's design. It is designed to spring toward the head.
I have seen people able to play 300+ BPM this way, with a tense twitching motion, but it is a pathetic sounding, weak, uneven jibberish. It is truely awful.

Proper technique: do not drive the pedal all the way to contact. Snap the pedal downward with the ankle, allow it to rebound back and let the spring send it forward again. This is not to say there should be a space between your foot and the pedal, but rather just don't try to apply force beyond the initial burst from the ankle.

At high speeds, your muscles should regulate the speed but NOT supply most of the energy and power as they would at slower speeds. <--- very important.
It's actually much easier for me physically to play sustained 16ths at 240-260 bpm than it is to do so at 200. Because at 200 I'm using about the same amount of energy to regulate speed and provide power. Above 240 or so, all I'm doing is regulating speed, and the springs are providing most of the energy to the drum head.

Morpheus: "Do you believe that my being stronger or faster has anything to do with my muscles in this place?"
The Matrix



.
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
These are imposters, forgive my bluntness. It's the equivalent of using falsetto to reach notes higher than your own normal voice range.
While we're being blunt... (and while I feel like playing The Devil's Advocate)

I don't have a dog in this double bass fight, but are you really telling us that the use of falsetto - a vocal technique used deliberately in choral, opera and pop music going back centuries - is the work of "imposters?"

In the 16th C. the castrati were the David Lee Roths of the time. Moreover, that would make dozens of RnB and Motown acts, like the Temptations, imposters. And Prince. And Michael Jackson. And...and...and...

The end result is what matters. The sound produced and communicated to another is what matters. The sound is the bridge between the performer and the audience. To put it really bluntly, no one outside of up-their-own-arses musicians (which sometimes includes me) gives a toss what technique is being used to generate a sound. And sitting around belittling others because they don't use the same means to get their ends as we do is a monumental waste of time.

Go watch/listen to Ginger Baker play and tell me you haven't seen prettier hands. But no one played the music like he did. No one. Go check out Mel Lewis' hands for more instruction on how a butcher's technique can go a long way to making you one of the most musical drummers to ever swing a big band. The conception and execution are what counts. We have to be careful not to mistake means for ends in and of themselves. Remember that Ringo - with his crappy hands - will always have resonated more people into happiness and joy than we ever will.

We have technological means at our disposal now that may render our instrument obsolete, just like so many instruments before it. It's possible that those who harness this technology to their ends are simply acting more rationally, being more efficient and seeking to squeeze out the greatest result from the smallest input. Arguing over the "right" way to play flurries of 16th notes at some gawdawful speed reminds me of the arguments against the drum machine, then against Simmons pads, then against DJs, then against Beat Detective and ProTools and...

Good luck with that.

As far as techniques are concerned, satisfy yourself. But don't ever assume that's the same as satisfying your audience. They're usually operating under an entirely different set of ethical standards.
 
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bud7h4

Silver Member
Don't try so hard to be offended. In the analogy I was merely refering to those who use falsetto to hit notes they SHOULD be hitting with their normal range. For example ME trying to sing tenor.



Okay?


And when refering to an incorrect technique, I'm not decribing what I "like or don't like", I'm describing a technique which

1. makes you work twice as hard as you should
2. does not achieve the same "end result" you're going on about
3. just sounds bad due to lack of power and uncontrolled motion
 
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Boomka

Platinum Member
I'm not offended in the slightest.

A little dialectic never hurt anyone, as your edit implies. :)

"SHOULD" is a dangerous word.
 
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bud7h4

Silver Member
I'm not offended in the slightest.

A little dialectic never hurt anyone, as your edit implies. :)

Right, hold on . . . . . .

(rushes off to look up "dialectic".)


"SHOULD" is a dangerous word.
And a small one, so just read it as it was intended and in context and you'll be fine.
 
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chezchez

Member
Please let me (us) know when you find out an "easy" way to sync video with audio. Now, I'm relegated to using an iPhone 6 just to have it automatically synced. I really want to use my $600 compact camera and sync later.

Thanks!

Once you can play those speeds (correctly with power) you realize 220 or 240 is not as fast as you may have once thought.

It's a tragedy that too many "speedsters" rushed to achieve those speeds and sacrificed proper technique in the process, using weak micro twitching motion and relying on triggers, giving speed a bad rep.

These are imposters, forgive my bluntness. It's the equivalent of using falsetto to compensate in situations where your normal voice range should be used.

Even when I play on an e-kit, the faster I play, the louder the beaters are against the head unless I conciously make an effort to play lighter. And this is up to 280 BPM. I'll try to upload a video this week. I'm still trying to figure out how to record and sync video and sound and all that.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
Please let me (us) know when you find out an "easy" way to sync video with audio. Now, I'm relegated to using an iPhone 6 just to have it automatically synced. I really want to use my $600 compact camera and sync later.

Thanks!
The number of musicians doing this vs the number of videos showing how to do it seems sadly disproportionate.
 

drummingman

Gold Member
Jeff that's a great point about the live sound, very true. Just to clarify I hope I didn't sound like I was suggesting you don't need triggers with proper technique, I was just pointing out that those who do have poor technique have no power and actually rely on triggers to try and compensate.

I don't mean to turn this into a lesson, but a quick thought:

The most visibly noticeable difference between what I would call proper and improper fast single stroke technique is the position of the feet at the moment of contact of the beater on the drum head. Or more specifically, how much direct input from the ankle/leg is still being applied at the moment of contact. At very high speeds, it should be nearly none.

Incorrect technique: keeping the ball of the foot too far down into the pedal's motion to allow it to return upward far enough to make full use of the pedal's design. It is designed to spring toward the head.
I have seen people able to play 300+ BPM this way, with a tense twitching motion, but it is a pathetic sounding, weak, uneven jibberish. It is truely awful.

Proper technique: do not drive the pedal all the way to contact. Snap the pedal downward with the ankle, allow it to rebound back and let the spring send it forward again. This is not to say there should be a space between your foot and the pedal, but rather just don't try to apply force beyond the initial burst from the ankle.

At high speeds, your muscles should regulate the speed but NOT supply most of the energy and power as they would at slower speeds. <--- very important.
It's actually much easier for me physically to play sustained 16ths at 240-260 bpm than it is to do so at 200. Because at 200 I'm using about the same amount of energy to regulate speed and provide power. Above 240 or so, all I'm doing is regulating speed, and the springs are providing most of the energy to the drum head.

Morpheus: "Do you believe that my being stronger or faster has anything to do with my muscles in this place?"
The Matrix



.
Do you think its possible to get power and consistency using heel toe technique as doubles or heel heel toe toe singles at any speed? I very rarely see it done with speed and power and consistency. And as it gets faster it gets weaker, at least thats what I've seen.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
For the life of me I'm not sure why so many of you are infatuated with speed. Aside from the Buddy Rich style drum solo what's the purpose? Trying to see which band member finishes the song first? Takes a lot more to play slower tunes than fast ones. I think you guys have been "whiplashed".
 

drummingman

Gold Member
For the life of me I'm not sure why so many of you are infatuated with speed. Aside from the Buddy Rich style drum solo what's the purpose? Trying to see which band member finishes the song first? Takes a lot more to play slower tunes than fast ones. I think you guys have been "whiplashed".
A lot of great metal is super fast and its great. Speed on the drums can be a very cool thing if used correctly.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Some people like long walks on the beach at sunset for recreation.

Some are content smoke a doobie and watch the LOTR directors cut.

Others jump out of perfectly good airplanes with snowboards strapped to their feet.

Different strokes for different folks.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
A lot of great metal is super fast and its great. Speed on the drums can be a very cool thing if used correctly.
From my observation, and my son's in a metal band, there's no variation. It's play fast as you can, all the time. To me speed is just another tool like cymbal crashes, rolls, any type fill. You throw it in for effect. Okay. I'll take my meds now and go back to bed.
 
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