Bass drum - bury or rebound?

drumstuff66

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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.
I think JR Robinson buries the beater most of the time. Same with Jeff Porcaro, most of the time. Definitely seen Vinnie do it. I remembered JR & JP talking about it somewhere - can't find it the quotes, but check out these:


 

halldorl

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99% of the time I play off the head. I got used to it playing bass drum with a full front head. It´s default by now but if I play a slammin´ four on the floor beat I sometimes bury. I find a bass drum sounds richer and fuller by bouncing off the head.
 

Old PIT Guy

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99% of the time I play off the head. I got used to it playing bass drum with a full front head. It´s default by now but if I play a slammin´ four on the floor beat I sometimes bury. I find a bass drum sounds richer and fuller by bouncing off the head.
It's very difficult with a more open BD to play repetitive figures without flutter. The BD I play on every day is a 14x18, with a mesh batter head and full reso head with no muffling. Flutter consumed a good year to have control of, and I still have issues with it if I'm not concentrating. Guys like Carlock and Mayer have controlled release dialed-in to an art on open bass drums.

But with an open 18" it's a mother.
 

bolweevil

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I don't consciously bury the beater, but will notice I do it anyway. I have to make to point not to leave it against the bass drum head at rest. One of many things I could get better at.
 

multijd

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Me: How did Elvin play the bass drum? Heel up? Heel down?
Lynn Harbold: He played it every way imaginable!

Bobby Previte: I sat in front of Elvin at the Vanguard one night and I heard the universe in his bass drum.
 

Old PIT Guy

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I don't consciously bury the beater, but will notice I do it anyway. I have to make to point not to leave it against the bass drum head at rest. One of many things I could get better at.
I think it's OK to rest the beater on the head for a break to release tension. Legs are heavy, and keeping the beater completely off the head is tiring and builds tension on its own.

Constant release is a good name for the technique, but it's essentially just micro managing muscle tension so that the gravity acting on the mass of the leg doesn't dictate and limit the stroke through less than optimal positioning.
 

JDA

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can't say ever aware of "rebound" off a bass drum/ bass drum pedal/ Yes the pedal pulls back but that is not from bouncing off the head as much as the pedal spring pulling the beater back.

Rebound from the head of a bass drum? No it's all in the toe and foot and pedal.
Your foot's not a drumstick. my bass drum batter head is a medium low/ almost soft/ no bounce
 

nmosko

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For me, my muscle memory is to rebound. So I think in the moment of playing i just automatically rebound. I don't really like the sound of burying the beater. I recently watched a Bernard Purdie video and *I Think* he was burying the beater some. Sounded great! I'm a rebound guy though.
 

Old PIT Guy

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can't say ever aware of "rebound" off a bass drum/ bass drum pedal/ Yes the pedal pulls back but that is not from bouncing off the head as much as the pedal spring pulling the beater back.
You may be defining 'rebound' in the reactive sense, when the topic is using it in a recovery sense. You don't need a spring to 'recover' the beater's motion and return it to the start position.

 

Seb77

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I think JR Robinson buries the beater most of the time.
Thanks, I think I got this mixed up: JR often plays heel down, but it looks like even then he buries the beater.
As someone mentioned, it can also be the other way round, you can wind up lifting the heel and still let the beater bounce.

Re: jazz - what semed really strange when I learned about it was that feathering can be done burying the beater. There is a video on Mel Lewis that mentions this. I still can't do it., but it might have merit, you can control the decay of an open drum.
 

Whitten

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You can hear Jack De Jonette playing tunes on his bass drum by glancing strokes, then burying the beater...then burying the beater and pressing down, to change the pitch of the head. Three different tones from one bass drum!
 

bbshams

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I always rebound the beater, and I play heel down. I primarily play jazz and if the bass is walking quarter notes , i am feathering, so that's largely why I play this way. I tend to think of it this way-- the bass drum is still a drum, and to get a full resonant sound out of it, I need to strike it like any other drum. I let the beater rebound just as I would let my stick rebound.

At the risk of getting tangential about feathering, this was my experience with bass drum technique; Rebounding the beater takes a lot of practice, and it's a skill I neglected for a long time. In my case with feathering, I had sort of convinced myself that it wasn't necessary and never really practiced it much. After a lesson with (fellow forum member!) Paul Wells, I was inspired to really put the time in to practice it. I also had a lesson with Joe Farnsworth where he was relaying his experiences seeing drummers like Art Blakey, Art Taylor (his teacher), Billy Higgins, and Roy Haynes, and hearing them feather and rebound the beater for that full sound. As a few of these masters have put it, "Ya gotta play the drums from the bottom up!"

There are certainly times to bury the beater though... it's a different sound, and that sound has applications just like any sound. I guess the point of my rambling is... be able to do both, and let the music dictate which one you choose!
 

JDA

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wouldn't know it---- but I'm hitting it that 14X18 for all it's worth here


all day long that coated Remo PS head deserved a medal for holding up.
After a Hit you relax the leg/foot so the beater comes off just a bit
so it the tone can breathe- going for every quarter decibel of volume- which ain't much on an 18"

repeat that over and over and maybe can sense I was at redline getting what I could out of the 14X18
that was a Test.
 

noreastbob

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I learned self taught on 20" 60's Ludwig bass drums with Speedking pedals. It was all heel up and buried. When I got back into playing in '10 I bought a dw kit with a 20"X 18" and couldn't bury the beater without chatter. I ported the reso and messed with the 9002's for a long time. I still bury the beater for the short staccato sound when I want it but I got to where I can "float" my foot heel up for power but still let the beater off via a micro release in the ankle.
My foot roams from front to mid pedal depending. the mid more for releasing.
 
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dyland

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I generally play heel up, hip-driven strokes, with doubles played as an ankle spank followed by a drop from the hip. I've been working on resting into a heel down position between strokes because I have a tendency to hold tension in my ankle when the beater comes off the head. Burying the beater, at least the way I used to do it, turns my knee into a shock absorber and introduces a tension that completely destroys the buoyancy of my groove.

That said, I've heard and seen countless great sounding drummers who bury it every time. To each their own. I always teach it the other way.
 

drums1225

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It's all about the sound you intend to produce. My default has always been to rebound off the head, and I play almost exclusively heel up (with a heel down follow-through). If I bury the beater to get a more muffled sound, it's a conscious decision rather than a habit, but I rarely do so. I mostly do it to demonstrate the difference to my students. On bass drums with no internal muffling and no port hole, there's a huge difference in sound between burying the beater and not. On a muffled and ported drum, it still makes a difference, but not nearly as much.

In my experience, most new students and self-taught drummers, without guidance, will bury the beater by default. With this often comes the fluttering sound of unintentional multiple hits. I teach my students to let the beater rebound because I think the natural sound produced by a free rebound should be the foundation of bass drum technique, whether heel up or heel down. Burying the beater chokes the drum and of course, plenty of drummers do that intentionally (including some of my favorites like Dennis Chambers, David Garibaldi), but so many do it out of habit.

I say learn both ways and make a musical choice, rather than letting a rote physical habit steer your sound. Everything with intention.
 

Deafmoon

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Reading the threads people have different interpretations of ‘burying the beater’. Very confusing, but in the words of Inigo Montoya, “ you keep using this word, but I do not think it means what you think it means”
 

Cauldronics

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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.
This is correct and scientifically proven. The beater does hit the head twice on initial impact every time. The same is true for a stick. The result of burying the beater is in fact many hits on the head before it moves away.

To the human ear, a rebounded hit sounds like one hit because the second impact is below the perceptible timing threshold in milliseconds that humans can hear. In addition, it is much quieter than the first hit.

This happens on cymbals or anything we hit on the kit. There are probably youtube videos demonstrating it in action, but I saw them before that.
 

GiveMeYourSmallestSticks!

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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.
Is your front head ported? I found this to be an issue with an un-ported head, as the air would actually push the beater back off the head for a split second when trying to bury it. The result was multiple notes created by the rebound after the initial hit. Porting my front head has eliminated this issue as it allows more air to escape rather than bouncing around inside the drum, allowing for a single clear note when burying the beater.
 


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