Bass drum foot technique

Squirrel Man

DFO Veteran
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
1,512
Reaction score
1,789
Switched to heel-up last year and it feels comfortable, I don't have a problem with general kick play but I'm trying to up that game for me, speed and control. So the kick routine I've been doing for the last few weeks is a lot of repetition. I know this isn't exactly an accurate notation but stuff like BBS, BBBS, BBBBS in 4/4, slow to faster and rolling around the kit SSBB, TTBB, TTBB. FTFTBB trying to get my foot in shape.

I know most of it is muscle memory and conditioning and I have to keep doing this over and over again and I'm patient but I think about technique - am I making this harder by not considering it? I know there are tons of videos out there and I've studied many of them but a lot of them talk more about the pattern and repetition rather than technique moreso.

So I try the initial strike with my upper leg and do the rest wtih my ankle/foot, ball of my foot somewhere between the middle and top of the pedal. Really focusing on doing this with my foot more but I find my upper leg tiring very quickly, cramping in the muscle from my knee up. I also have fairly long legs (size 34) and I tried various positioning. I tend to sit back a little from the kit and sit high on the stool otherwise I look like a frog ready to leap.

Pedal spring is at medium+ tension, beater is on a 30 degree or so angle and the batter head, I didn't measure it but it's not down too low or up too high, probably at the length most people keep it at.

As always your input is greatly valued and appreciated, thanks.
 

JDA

DFO Star
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
22,656
Reaction score
11,556
Location
Jeannette, Pa.
first of all ; )
you can't see your foot don't look at it (down there..)
Feel. Kick. Execute.
the pattern or group of notes you want to.
Look straight ahead
play it
with your ears.
the toe leg foot heel..
will follow.
Comes from the Heart.
 

Squirrel Man

DFO Veteran
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
1,512
Reaction score
1,789
first of all ; )
you can't see your foot don't look at it (down there..)
Feel. Kick. Execute.
the pattern or group of notes you want to.
Look straight ahead
play it
with your ears.
the toe leg foot heel..
will follow.
I tend not to look down except to note where my foot ball is on the pedal, otherwise I'm focusing on my hands, how I'm holding my sticks, drum/cymbal strikes or just staring at a random box in the room or something. Especially when I'm trying to condition something, I try to focus on other parts or just like you said stare off and try to feel it.
 

JDA

DFO Star
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
22,656
Reaction score
11,556
Location
Jeannette, Pa.
Also, from knowledge of notation..
Know how notes look like on a page on a line manuscript..
4 sixteenths. Group of 5 with 2 missing..
See the notes in your mind.
Transfer all that to the drums (all of them including the foot and feet)
It's your/the mind, ears, heart and ..soul that moves the limbs . Not the other way around..
 

JDA

DFO Star
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
22,656
Reaction score
11,556
Location
Jeannette, Pa.
maybe it a vocabulary issue
expand your vocabulary (notes on paper) as much as possible. From (once they are in) the mind it goes straight to the drums. Expand your or check your (note) vocabulary. keep it in good shape.


If you think it you can play it. The problem one may run into is practicing repetitive exercises (so much too much..) where it becomes not so easy to unlearn or work around them. Can get stuck and difficult to unlearn old habit that once served one well . When it's time to move on they are hard habit(s) to break.

That will be in my second book ; )
example: one can practice double-strokes with hands to perfection. When the time comes later in life (say) to leave off the last single note; it's difficult.
 
Last edited:

Houndog

DFO Master
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
4,050
Reaction score
3,652
Location
Oklahoma City
I’ve been working on my foot very hard for 3-4 years with not near the improvement I want yet . Been to 2 teachers and watched vids .
There’s no way it’s just in my head .
 

Squirrel Man

DFO Veteran
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
1,512
Reaction score
1,789
I’ve been working on my foot very hard for 3-4 years with not near the improvement I want yet . Been to 2 teachers and watched vids .
There’s no way it’s just in my head .
So I do see improvement even over a few weeks. I get more control and effect with regular stuff like shuffles, I can do the Purdie and Bonham and I can see that I don't need to focus on my foot with these and focus on fills and riffs when playing them.

What does your workout consist of if you don't mind saying?
 

supershifter2

DFO Star
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2009
Messages
6,795
Reaction score
1,450
Location
Lost Angeles , Ca.
I play heel up. Cant see foot. I control the pedal rebound with my foot. Speed takes practice. I learned to play the 2 songs in video when I was about 15yo. At the time we didnt know Fireball was done on 2 bass drums and learned to play it on one. It didnt happen over night. You keep at until the speed comes. Some drummers just dont have the physical ability to play fast. Practice these 2 songs until you can play them with ease and then practice to some really fast speed metal.











 
Last edited:

Houndog

DFO Master
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
4,050
Reaction score
3,652
Location
Oklahoma City
RFF RFF RFF RFF RFF RFF RFF RFF RFF RFF RFF RFF RFF RFF RFF etc .
Also The beat to Swingtown been trying it for years and Mule Govt Mule .
I can play them but it falls apart real quick .
Funny thing is I can do multiples in 3/4/5/6/7/8/9 Really fast . My teacher wasn’t looking and thought I was using the double pedals , it’s the 2 hits I struggle with. Triplets or 1/16ths ..64th double hit ?? Forget it ...

It the most frustrating thing in the world to me , I’ve cussed , thrown sticks , been depressed for days about it .....
 

Squirrel Man

DFO Veteran
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
1,512
Reaction score
1,789
I play heel up. Cant see foot. I control the pedal rebound with my foot. Speed takes practice. I learned to play the 2 songs in video when I was 13yo. At the time we didnt know Fireball was done on 2 bass drums and learned to play it on one. It didnt happen over night. You keep at until the speed comes. Some drummers just dont have the physical ability to play fast. Practice these 2 songs until you can play them with ease and then practice to some really fast speed metal.











Listened to both of those in parts, those are foot patterns I can do, just not for the duration right now and yeah, that's exactly the kind of stuff I'm focusing on for footwork. And I figured it's just going to take conditioning and I'm ready for it, I just wonder if I'm going about it the right way.

So I'm in great shape, it's not out of my realm but I'm 53, if I were back in my 20's I guess it would come along better but I'm patient.

Blast beats just for kicks and conditioning also lol, not really my thing but part of my sort of regiment but focusing on doing it with one foot for now.
 

Houndog

DFO Master
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
4,050
Reaction score
3,652
Location
Oklahoma City
And , yes with a metronome sometimes for hours a week at slow tempos .
Funny thing is once or twice a year I’ll get it. Then the next night ......gone like the wind .
 

Squirrel Man

DFO Veteran
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
1,512
Reaction score
1,789
And , yes with a metronome sometimes for hours a week at slow tempos .
Funny thing is once or twice a year I’ll get it. Then the next night ......gone like the wind .
I get like that also, nailed something - ok done, try it again a few days later and it's like I'm starting all over again.
 

Houndog

DFO Master
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
4,050
Reaction score
3,652
Location
Oklahoma City
I know exactly where every beat should land in Swingtown , trust me Joe .
The 2nd bass hit falls on the left hand 1/16th .
 

JDA

DFO Star
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
22,656
Reaction score
11,556
Location
Jeannette, Pa.
I get like that also, nailed something - ok done, try it again a few days later and it's like I'm starting all over again.
you know what I think that is.
how long were you in bands playing on stage at dances and bars 4 hour sets for at least a decade or more..
that's only way you're going to get that..consistency... performance (ingrained).. (i may be wrong) but playing against amps electric guitars pa's and all that)
I know exactly where every beat should land in Swingtown , trust me Joe .
Is it Ok if you execute it with your (right) hand..just for conversation (not saying it's a "hand part" in that song -obviously isn't)
Can you play it for minutes or a minute alone with just your right hand?
 
Last edited:

Squirrel Man

DFO Veteran
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
1,512
Reaction score
1,789
you know what I think that is.
how long were you in bands playing on stage at dances and bars 4 hour sets for at least a decade or more..
that's only way you're going to get that..consistency... performance (ingrained)..

Is it Ok if you execute it with your (right) hand..just for conversation (not saying it's a "hand part" in that song -obviously isn't)
Can you play it for minutes or a minute alone with your right hand?
20 years ago I played in a bar hack band but for a bar hack band I held my own but your point is well taken. My regiment now is to work on these technique things but also get back to just playing and sounding good, songs and rhythms. I'm not a guy who's been playing for decades with a lot of success, just a schmuck trying to get back into it, self teach (which I know isn't optimal but it's what I'm doing) and be maybe better than decent at it.

I totally get your point and you're not wrong.

On your second point though it's to HD, I do that, right hand through the beats then kick then back to the right hand so I can hear what it should sound like since my right hand gets it. Seems an effective way for me at least.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JDA

Houndog

DFO Master
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
4,050
Reaction score
3,652
Location
Oklahoma City
My right foot can match my right hand too .
For instance LRR LRR LRR LRR
rights with foot and hand piece of cake ..
And I go fast that way too .
But I should be able to play my right foot independently of my hands , right ?

Sorry to hi-Jack this topic Squirrel Man
 

Houndog

DFO Master
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
4,050
Reaction score
3,652
Location
Oklahoma City
you know what I think that is.
how long were you in bands playing on stage at dances and bars 4 hour sets for at least a decade or more..
that's only way you're going to get that..consistency... performance (ingrained).. (i may be wrong) but playing against amps electric guitars pa's and all that)

Is it Ok if you execute it with your (right) hand..just for conversation (not saying it's a "hand part" in that song -obviously isn't)
Can you play it for minutes or a minute alone with just your right hand?
Yes if my right hand plays the bass drum pattern then yes , easy
 

Squirrel Man

DFO Veteran
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
1,512
Reaction score
1,789
My right foot can match my right hand too .
For instance LRR LRR LRR LRR
rights with foot and hand piece of cake ..
And I go fast that way too .
But I should be able to play my right foot independently of my hands , right ?

Sorry to hi-Jack this topic Squirrel Man
No worries, brother - it's all good info. Lay it out.
 

Houndog

DFO Master
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
4,050
Reaction score
3,652
Location
Oklahoma City
I’ve seen guys with way less stage time than me play these patterns like there’s no tomorrow...UGH
 


Top