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  #1  
Old 08-07-2014, 08:44 PM
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JohnnyLawRwb JohnnyLawRwb is offline
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Default Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

Hi everyone. I'm new to legitimate drumming and need some help. As a background, I've played bass consistently for around 13 years and in various bands. I was in a death metal band around college and was always jealous of my drummer...I wanted to play so bad but I had none of the following: money, time, equipment or space for it. So I bought Rock Band as a substitute. I got pretty good, learning the basics and playing exclusively on Expert (you're as close to playing the song as possible, if you're unfamiliar), and was pretty satisfied.

Fast forward, graduated law school, found a job (thank God, market is poop), and decided to legitimately pursue drums. I picked up a cheap electronic kit (Ion Rocker, essentially an Alesis kit made for Rock Band but it's a legitimate kit), upgraded all of my heads to mesh, and bought an old Tama Power Glide with a Yamaha KP 65. I love it. Believe it or not Rock Band helped immensely in training my hands, separating my limbs, etc. I've translated it to a real kit and can play various full songs. My "skill" level is enough to play A Favor House Atlantic by Coheed & Cambria completely, if that helps give an indication of where I'm at. Also, air drumming in the car while driving has helped way more than I expected, especially in training my left foot, as I have to play bass with that in the car (I do realize how ridiculous this sentence is, btw).

Here's my problem. I don't know if my technique is off or I just need to develop speed, but I feel off with my kick. I haven't started double bass yet, FYI, not biting off more than I can chew, this is strictly one foot work. I'm working on triple kicks right now and just cannot get comfortable with it. The song I'm using as a start to practice is Emergency by Paramore, it has a lot of triples at a reasonable speed I feel like I can grasp. Here's a link if you want an example, they're all over the song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgJ8BZi3vTA

Anywho, I play heel up. And my heel is pretty high. I JUST learned to properly adjust my chair distance and height, and that has helped. However, I don't really get the simple mechanics that I should be doing. I have the ball/toes towards the middle front of the pedal. To play the faster kicks, I find myself tensing my calf/shin and almost twitching to try and get them, which is just a mess and I know is incorrect. I have no problem playing slower stuff on the kick, this song gives a good indication of my current "breaking" point in terms of speed, as I can't hit it consistently but can manage it a majority.

My friend/drummer of 13 years told me the correct motion is to keep your ball/foot in place and essentially drop your heel to do your hits. It's good when I can get it but it's inconsistent and the timing throws me off, since the hit is registering after the movement (snapping back the ball/toes to register the hit).

So I guess my question becomes, what is the actual driving force behind heel-up bass kicks, and can anyone describe the entire process in complete idiot language for me? When I do my quick twitches and other faster stuff, the force feels like my foot jumping off the pedal and smashing back down, like a hopping motion, quick eventually kills my shin/calf. If it's the leg, which is mostly what I'm reading, is it what my friend suggested or is it more of a lift/drop? What should my foot be doing, if anything?

Hope this all makes sense. Thanks for your help guys. Just trying to do it the right way and I can't find anything on this at this level. Sorry for the wall of text.
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  #2  
Old 08-09-2014, 03:07 PM
Monkey_Relish Monkey_Relish is offline
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Default Re: Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

OK, I'm NEW to drumming , so know diddly squat about just about anything to do with drumming. And I'm crap, but improving.

But what I don't seem to have any problems with is the bass pedal.
What works for me and my small foot, is what your drummer friend describes.

The mechanics are as follows :-
The first motion is that you drop your leg, with your foot parallel to the ground.
Your foot could angled up or down a bit, but the first motion is to use your whole leg on the downstroke. The ball of my foot is 3/4 along the pedal.
I let my heel hit the back of the pedal, behind the hinge,but not hard. The main force is on the back of ball of the foot. I can also do it with my foot angled down a bit, and my heel doesn't hit the pedal, but my preference seems to be to let the heel hit lightly.

The second motion is to lift the leg, and pivot your foot down. Lifting your leg initially releases the pedal, and the beater off the drumhead. But, as your foot pivots, you press down on the pedal again with the front of the ball of your foot.

This way you get two hits for one down/up motion of your leg. I find that the second motion is almost a reflex action. I think this is what is called the heel toe method, though you don't use your heel or toe to do the actual stroke, just the back / front of the ball of your foot.

Now all that may make absolutely no sense, but it's what I figured out from facetube videos, and posts on here, and it works for me. It also helps that I have small feet.

Wayne
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  #3  
Old 08-10-2014, 05:57 AM
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JohnnyLawRwb JohnnyLawRwb is offline
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Default Re: Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkey_Relish View Post
OK, I'm NEW to drumming , so know diddly squat about just about anything to do with drumming. And I'm crap, but improving.

But what I don't seem to have any problems with is the bass pedal.
What works for me and my small foot, is what your drummer friend describes.

The mechanics are as follows :-
The first motion is that you drop your leg, with your foot parallel to the ground.
Your foot could angled up or down a bit, but the first motion is to use your whole leg on the downstroke. The ball of my foot is 3/4 along the pedal.
I let my heel hit the back of the pedal, behind the hinge,but not hard. The main force is on the back of ball of the foot. I can also do it with my foot angled down a bit, and my heel doesn't hit the pedal, but my preference seems to be to let the heel hit lightly.

The second motion is to lift the leg, and pivot your foot down. Lifting your leg initially releases the pedal, and the beater off the drumhead. But, as your foot pivots, you press down on the pedal again with the front of the ball of your foot.

This way you get two hits for one down/up motion of your leg. I find that the second motion is almost a reflex action. I think this is what is called the heel toe method, though you don't use your heel or toe to do the actual stroke, just the back / front of the ball of your foot.

Now all that may make absolutely no sense, but it's what I figured out from facetube videos, and posts on here, and it works for me. It also helps that I have small feet.

Wayne
Thanks for the feedback! I'm 6'2" with a size 12 haha so definitely don't have little feet on this end. I feel like I do what you're talking about with the leg press followed by a foot flick, but that only gets me as far as two strokes. I feel like, at my level, I need to reset after that motion, so I'm capped at 2 hits really and I need a quarter note to reset.

The track I'm playing is around 84 BPM. I downloaded a great metronome program on my Android phone and timed myself. I'm comfortable with quarter note kicks up through around 65 bpm. I went as high as 90 before I called it a session, but was down to probably 50% efficiency around there. Starting at 65 I lost it a bit, a few twitches built in. Once I found my groove I was good typically, but I couldn't just turn it "on." Got real sloppy around 80ish.

I'd love to hear from some vets on if my understanding of the technique is correct, or what I'm wrong with. I'm clueless lol, but I'm genuinely committed to learning, and learning the proper way. I understand how to train to build up my speed, but I don't want to build the foundation on improper technique and have to start over down the road.
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  #4  
Old 08-10-2014, 06:42 AM
evogel evogel is offline
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Default Re: Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

I think that aside from a great teacher to work one on one with, check out Matt Ritter's DVD,Unburying the Beater. All of the proper motions and a lot of other things you need are on this extremely well put together DVD.
http://www.unburyingthebeater.com/

Another terrific DVD is by Tim Waterson. This one covers the gamut of BD techniques and Tim has amazing feet that will definitely astound you but like the above DVD by Matt Ritter, this one also has a ton of great, practical information.
http://www.twothreeonetwomusic.com/

This site has a load of great info as does Youtube but while a lot of those videos may look impressive, a lot of them also do not offer any practical information that will lead you through the proper motions and/or exercises to get to where you need.

A couple of books with exercises that have helped me over the years are Colin Bailey's Bass Drum Technique, (which now has a great DVD available to go along with it) and The Good Foot by Frank Briggs. There are several others but these two books have been just fantastic for me.

HTH
Eric
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Old 08-10-2014, 12:50 PM
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Liebe zeit Liebe zeit is offline
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Default Re: Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

Recently my bass drum technique took a leap from playing tunes with bass drum on all the 1/8ths in a bar, like Sam & Dave's Soul Man and a few other soul tunes from that time (Roadrunner by Jr Walker is another). Play them often enough and it gets to the point where you don't have time to think about 'technique' - you just play it (and play it, and play it, and work on hitting hard and accurate as you do it). And more recently I noticed the constant speedy workout on my right foot was helping me place 16th notes between 1/8ths too.
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Old 08-12-2014, 04:02 AM
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JohnnyLawRwb JohnnyLawRwb is offline
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Default Re: Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

Thanks for the advice so far guys. My buddy has a copy of Unburying the Beater he's lending me.

I bought a new throne...didn't realize the one I had only went up to like 17" and I'm 6'2" haha. I picked up a Roc n Soc regular tonight. Came home to try it out, pumped the seat way up, and my bass foot completely regressed. I felt like I had much less control.

I'm still just confused. I'm trying to do heel strikes and I just can't maintain it, I naturally switch to ankle playing while heel up, which is sloppy for me. When in heel up, are you supposed to maintain pressure with the ball of your foot or what? I feel like I'm doing something wrong with my foot and I have no idea what.

Also, to clarify, I was playing sixteenth notes, not quarter. Derp.

It seems like most instructional videos I find, the instructor does a whip with their leg, where they press with their leg and whip their ankle a bit. But I've had two sources say to basically stiffen the ankle without stiffening it, my buddy and some Youtube video I found:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCjt...ion_3735689467

I naturally move with my ankle and my whole leg in general. Is that the way most people do it, or do you try to now use your ankle so much with heel up?

Thoughts on this vid, starting around 3:45? This guy seems to do what I do, albeit better lol:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LQoVrPxkNk

Last edited by JohnnyLawRwb; 08-12-2014 at 05:04 AM.
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  #7  
Old 08-12-2014, 12:32 PM
evogel evogel is offline
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Default Re: Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

To add to my post above:

Check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPQqqf_-BSg

Michael Packer has 4 videos on Youtube as well as a full length DVD that is worth viewing.
The Toe Stroke, The Leg Stroke, The Ankle Stroke and the Upstroke on Youtube will get you started on the way to everything that you need and it seems to address all of your question above. Matt Ritter's technique is very similar to Michael Packer's motions.

Aside from what is mentioned in the 4 videos above there are some hybrid techniques like Constant Release, Heel Toe/Toe Heel, The Slide, Swiveling, etc. I would not pursue these until you have a proper foundation in the above. Youtube is loaded with things like this and this can be an issue with someone that doesn't develop good technique based on a proper foundation.

Lastly, the heel down technique was the basis for everything and IMO, will ultimately strengthen most of the muscles that you need for the other techniques. Practice that daily and get schooled in all of the other techniques and work on those too.

Eric

Edit to add; Just like developing good hand technique, this is not a quick and easy thing. It's going to take a long while to become good and consistent.
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  #8  
Old 08-12-2014, 12:50 PM
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Default Re: Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

Hiya,

There's some great suggestions below, but I too have a video drum lesson on how to play the "Heel Up" technique. You can watch it here if you like...

"Heel Up" Bass Drum Technique

Hope that helps!

Rob
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Old 08-12-2014, 05:12 PM
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Default Re: Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

Just because you are tall does not mean you need to sit high. I have seen many tall drummers play with their upper leg pointing down at the kick at 20-30 degrees and what often happens is that they end up supporting their balance with their feet and legs.

When you think about this, think how poorly your hands would function if you were holding yourself upright by resting your hands on your snare while still trying to play.

My centre of balance is 100% on my seat! my legs hover weightless at all times just like my hands do. Without doing this it will be very difficult to gain any proper control. Sitting with your upper leg parallel to the floor or only slightly pointing down is a pretty widely accepted form. There are exceptions of people who have gone another route and did a good job, but I look at the players I most admire and most all of them have a similar stance.
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Old 08-12-2014, 06:18 PM
Winegums Winegums is offline
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Default Re: Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

I think your best bet is the slide technique for triplets, or double kicks depending on your target speed. I typically use heel toe for doubles and slide for triplets since heel toe is more accurate and slide is a bit quicker when you need it to be.

Slide consists of moving your foot back about 2-2.5 inches in preparation for the down stroke and slide(bounces). Now that your foot is back, heel up and leg poised to start the slide, push down hard and forwards making your foot slide up the foot board. If done correctly the beater should bounce your foot back up when it rebounds off the head. This sets you up for second and third strokes which happen in the same manner. It should feel like your foot hops on the pedal even though it never breaks contact.

Please take note that this doesn't work so well for slower tempos where you would be better off with heel toe or two regular strokes. It also isn't the most accurate of methods but it will certainly get you the speed you need for quick doubles and triplets on a single pedal.
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Old 08-14-2014, 05:47 AM
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JohnnyLawRwb JohnnyLawRwb is offline
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Default Re: Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

Well, I think it's safe to say I have officially gone down the rabbit hole haha. What started out as an innocent attempt to get a little drumming out of my system has turned into me deciding to pursue drums.

First off, I LOVED the Ritter video. I didn't expect someone to go into the brutal detail my mind needs to feel at ease, but he did. Hell of a starting point. Gonna work on that as much as possible.

evogel, great tips. I'm gonna watch that video this weekend. I'm definitely steering clear of anything "advanced" until I've built a foundation. And yea, I fully intend on investing the time into this. I am physically incapable of half assing anything, which is both a blessing and a curse. I actually modded a trigger pedal into a more quiet version to hide under my desk at work to practice haha.

DrumsTheWord, thanks for the link! I want as many references as possible. Great vid, nice brutal detail like I like and definitely added to my pool of reference.

uniongoon, what I mean by "high" is that my chair needs to be higher due to my long legs. I don't want to play high just to play high. I physically need it.

Winegums, thanks for the tip! That confused the living crap out of me but I'm going to try it out haha. Is that how most people do triplets?

Also, I've heard "powerful strokes" more time in the past week than I expected to hear in a lifetime. 13 year old me is dying, 27 year old me still cackles.

Seriously, thanks for much to everyone for your help so far. It's genuinely appreciated.
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Old 08-14-2014, 05:18 PM
TheHeelDrummer TheHeelDrummer is offline
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Default Re: Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

I love this one:

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

Its an oldie but a goodie. The entire DVD is.
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Old 08-14-2014, 07:46 PM
Winegums Winegums is offline
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Default Re: Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyLawRwb View Post
Winegums, thanks for the tip! That confused the living crap out of me but I'm going to try it out haha. Is that how most people do triplets?

Also, I've heard "powerful strokes" more time in the past week than I expected to hear in a lifetime. 13 year old me is dying, 27 year old me still cackles.

Seriously, thanks for much to everyone for your help so far. It's genuinely appreciated.
Slide is hard to describe on paper and slightly less difficult to explain in a video since it's a very quick movement. It's essentially exploiting the fact that the beater will have enough momentum on the back swing to push the pedal board and your foot upwards slightly, (we're talking about maybe a 1/2" or so). Like a buzz roll where you aren't lifting for the extra hits but applying pressure and using the rebound from the drum skin to lift the stick. Which in this case will be your kick drum beater.
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Old 08-18-2014, 02:53 PM
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Default Re: Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHeelDrummer View Post
I love this one:

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

Its an oldie but a goodie. The entire DVD is.
Yep I like this one. There is nothing wrong with burying the beater IMO. I do have the Ritter video and I understand it, but to be honest I went back to how I used to play (like in the video above). It just feels more solid for me. Sometimes I don't bury.. sometimes I play heel down..

My right foot is by no means great and I did used to suffer a bit with tension, but realised it wasn't so much the fact I was playing heel up and burying, it was just the fact that I was holding tension. I realised my left foot did not have this problem and that was always heel up and pressed down. I also noticed that the tension in my right leg/foot disappeared if I played quarter or eighth notes on the hi-hats, so it was just a matter of figuring out what was wrong. Playing bare foot even just to experience it helps too I think..

To play doubles you need to start slow, otherwise yes you will tense the muscle and twitch it out (I used to do that a lot..). I tend to use the ankle for the second hit mostly and a slight pivoting motion (again, like in the video above).

As with everything, you have to start slowly and not rush.. it takes time. A little bit each day.. use a metronome.

Some of Anika Nilles videos show some close up of her kick drum technique (along with some great drumming!), and it looks very similar to the above : -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zae4...I3jDvqxRxov4Go

Alter Ego at about 20 seconds in, and later. Some of the other videos too.
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:08 PM
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Default Re: Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

My 2 rubles...learn to play heel down with full rebound. This will seriously exercise and strengthen the muscles in the front of your shin. It will also increase accuracy and control. Once those are strong, heel up is a BREEZE. I would do that before doing the more advanced slide techniques. Basics first. You have to develop certain muscles.

That's just one way out of many, but I feel it's the most basic.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:52 PM
FrontierGibberish FrontierGibberish is offline
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Default Re: Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrumsTheWord View Post
Hiya,

There's some great suggestions below, but I too have a video drum lesson on how to play the "Heel Up" technique. You can watch it here if you like...

"Heel Up" Bass Drum Technique

Hope that helps!

Rob
Thanks for posting Rob! Earlier in my drum journey I enlisted your help in playing a handful of tunes that I could not figure out - you have an easy teaching style that helped me learn the songs.

JM
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Old 08-19-2014, 04:51 PM
beyondbetrayal beyondbetrayal is offline
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Default Re: Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

If your first learning or getting it down loosen the springs on your pedal a touch and tighten your bass drum skin... it gives almost the same rebound, but allows the pedal to swing forward faster with more ease... as you get it down tighten springs and loosen skin for that big boomy sound.


play with throne height alot.. im 6'1... when i first started doing fast double kick stuff heel up i was sitting VERY low... it added a bunch of leverage and i could hit hard and fast....... now I'm older and do heel toe to save energy, plus its 16th's at 240bpm...

also. metronome. start slow.. be consistant and wait... it will come... no one is a double kick master in a few weeks... or even years... I'e been playing 15 years and i see guys that blow me away lots
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  #18  
Old 08-20-2014, 06:42 AM
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JohnnyLawRwb JohnnyLawRwb is offline
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Default Re: Bass Pedal Technique Help: Heel-Up

The Weckl vids are great, I've watched a good amount of them. He makes it look effortless.

Mark_S Mark_S, thanks, I'll check her out!

larryace, I am working on heel down just to be comfortable with it. I'm honestly "comfortable" with it and can play it well, just not too fast.

Again, thanks for the continued help everyone! I feel like I'm starting from scratch, definitely frustrating, but looking forward to the fruits of the labor.
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