Bass drum - bury or rebound?

Squirrel Man

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Wondering what folks here think about this, among the techniques I'm paying attention to is my kick. Not my strongest aspect but it can be a lot sometimes and I'm looking at it a lot lately. Softened the tension on my springs and that made a bit of a difference and positioned the height of the batter to where I'm feeling better (a little high and back on a fair angle) but I've seen techniques on playing the rebound or burying it and either way isn't bad I think but I'm wondering.

I played flat footed pretty much all my life and switched to heel up last year and I feel comfortable with it but with not the best control but that's coming along. I notice that I do both, bury it on single beats and play the rebound on multiple.

Wondering what thoughts are on this.

Thanks for your replies.
 

Pat A Flafla

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Depends on both the style and the tuning. If I'm playing swing, Bossa, etc. I'm cranking the head up a little and feathering it heel down. If I'm playing hard rock or metal, I'm tuning way down and pummeling away mercilessly heel up.
 

richiegarcia4

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I was always a heel-up/bury guy. Even, at rest, I would hold the beater against the head. Now, that I'm playing jazz, I play heel-down/off. When I play rock, I'll do both depending on the feel I want. It's nice to hear the full tone of the bass drum when you're playing a slow or mid-tempo song.
 

Cauldronics

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If I notice I’m not sounding right on the kick, I’ll switch it up until everything sounds and feels right. Usually that’s a very quick adjustment and almost anyone listening wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. It’s not likely that even a drummer is hearing the subtle changes I might make with my feet, but I make them quickly when needed, usually without thinking about it much. Most people aren’t listening that closely and if they are, they’re listening to the wrong thing. They should be hearing the music. If my technique is so bad with my feet that it distracts from the music, then yes, a lot of work is needed. But I think I’m doing ok.
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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As a rule of thumb, for most fast stuff, I bury it. At moderate and slower tempos, it depends on the vibe of the song, the orchestration, the arrangement, the tones used by the other musicians...

While it is generally true that keeping the beater off the head sounds rounder/better when you play on your own, the resulting longer decay of the low-end may be harder to blend properly with a band/enter in conflict with some of the bass' frequencies. Tone isn't a one size fits all concept and "maximum resonance" isn't always the best sonic option. Many drummers who enjoy playing wide open tones on everything could be surprised to actually see and hear how much the FOH sound guy has to cut certain frequencies to maintain his mix clarity and keep the bottom end tight.

Imagine a piano player who would step on his sustain pedal all the time...
 

Seb77

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For anything rock or pop, I'm going to bury the beater. That's just the sound of rock and pop. In my opinion.
Interesting. After spending a lot of time leanring ot play jazz, I have focused on getting a more mainstream, flexible sound for rock/pop etc. recently. While I have moved on to a ported front head, I didn't think about changing to burying the beater. Will record a bit and compare.
I guess I will still be on the jazz-fusion side of things even if I think I have moved to a rock sound :D Some of my role models here are Steve Gadd and Dave Weckl, Simon Phillips, JR Robinson - I don't think any of them buries the beater. Vinnie might do it, have to check some videos.
 

Whitten

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This is another perennial topic.
I try not to bury. And I have an actual reason other than personal taste. I have found when listening to recordings of myself when burying the beater, that it results in micro notes in my bass drum. So the beater doesn't hit the head once and stay mute until the next note, it hits the head and faintly buzzes for a few milliseconds afterwards. I can't really see how this does not happen with everyone. You have a resonating head and you touch it with something hard - it is bound to jitter.
It is most pronounced with hard beaters (wood, rubber etc), less of an audible problem with soft beaters.
Having said that, the amount of awesome experienced studio drummers who bury the beater is evenly split with those who don't. So I guess it's up to each individual to decide.
 

hsosdrum

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I play almost exclusively heel up and I come off the bass drum head after every single stroke. If you bury the beater against the head you're leaving yourself less time for the next stroke because you have to let the beater come back off the head before you can start the next stroke. If you let the beater rebound off the head immediately after each stroke the beater is automatically in the 'ready position' when you start the next stroke. That's why pedals have springs.

Like p83 said above, let the physics of the beater rebounding off the head work for you. If you play heel-up you need to develop a downward stroke with the ball of your foot that's sort of a snap, similar to the stroke you use with your sticks on your snare and toms. This draws the tone out of the bass drum the same as your sticks draw the tone out of your other drums when you use a proper stroke. Stomping down on the pedal and leaving the beater against the head is equivalent to slamming a stick against a tom head and leaving it pressed into the head. Nobody plays their toms like that on every stroke (well, nobody good...)
 

dale w miller

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I was reprimanded by a great drummer because I was burying the beater on his jazz kit. I can’t do it now if I tried and I play heel up.
 

Dumpy

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It depends on the feel of the song. I wonder if the metal pads for bass drums weren’t designed to give the buried sound but allow for rebound. Never tried them. Probably I am totally off here.
 

Old PIT Guy

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I think most people wind up doing a bit of both. Heel-up constant release requires more effort due to flutter and fatigue, but it buys you more dynamic headroom, speed and nuance than planting a foot on the pedal board and planting the beater into the head. Because that's what burying the beater is - playing through the head. You wouldn't do that with your hands, so why with your feet other than for a muted stroke? That's my take on it.
 

Rock Salad

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I use both too, different sounds/timbre. You can use different degrees of pressure on the beater too, from a quick, light muting; to a full pressed in beater that changes the pitch of the drum.
 

Matched Gripper

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This is another perennial topic.
I try not to bury. And I have an actual reason other than personal taste. I have found when listening to recordings of myself when burying the beater, that it results in micro notes in my bass drum. So the beater doesn't hit the head once and stay mute until the next note, it hits the head and faintly buzzes for a few milliseconds afterwards. I can't really see how this does not happen with everyone. You have a resonating head and you touch it with something hard - it is bound to jitter.
It is most pronounced with hard beaters (wood, rubber etc), less of an audible problem with soft beaters.
Having said that, the amount of awesome experienced studio drummers who bury the beater is evenly split with those who don't. So I guess it's up to each individual to decide.
I’ve heard it called bass drum burp!
 


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