Is this bass drum technique "correct"?

Old Drummer

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While watching hi-hat demos at the Memphis Drum Shop, I noticed a lot of drummers positioning their bass drum foot at a bit of an angle relative to the pedal and not having their toes all the way to the front, like this guy:


I ask because this is how I often play the bass drum and I've vaguely suspected that it's bad technique. I'd think that the foot ought to be positioned on the pedal. Why else would pedals be made in the shape of a foot? But nobody ever taught me how to play the bass drum correctly and I confess to never watching any instructional videos either. Until today, I hadn't noticed that the good drummers making the demo videos often position their foot on the bass drum pedal more or less like I do.

What's going on? Is it normal and perhaps even good technique to play the bass drum with your heel off and to the side of the pedal and your toes not all the way to the front? If so, why the heck do the pedal manufacturers make the pedals in a form other than the way they're played? If not, why are so many of us falling into bad technique?
 

JDA

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"there's no such thing as "bad technique" on drums ever since Keith Moon downed 17 consecutive martini's and spunked all over the stage then fell into a monitor with a top ten hit in the charts".

Kidding.
1 Truth is: a classical teacher will say "they don't care how you" make the sound.. Make the sound. (in the proper time).. So there's that.
(you are) creating an event a Note in Space..
Now if after 53 minutes (into in a gadda da vida) your shin ankle wrist neck backbone begin to ache; you'll make the physical adjustment/

But first foremost create the event/the note in time. if you encounter pain you will instinctively adjust.
that's how I see it
 
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multijd

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I used to play like that until I started having hip problems. The angle of my foot stressed my hip.
 

Tama CW

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I play like that. Not sure if it's always how I've done it? I suspect I made a change from foot mostly on pedal to this style a couple decades ago....maybe when first learning doubles and Bonham triplets.
For me it had to do with finding the section of pedal where you get the most rebound with your toes.

As far as the foot being slightly pivoted to the right I think I ended up like that to accommodate my hips getting tighter from too much weight bearing exercise and not enough stretching. You'll see
the same thing in how people pedal their bikes with knees swung out (ie they can't keep foot, shin, knee, and thigh all in alignment for optimal power and efficiency). In my case I thinks it the leg responding to yours of
stresses and inflexibility in the hip.
 

ARGuy

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My short answer would be that anything that allows you to do what you need to do without destroying yourself or your equipment is proper technique whether it conforms to the way the pedal was designed or not.
 

bolweevil

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To echo Tama CW: that's how I play, too. I don't know if it's bad technique or not, but it work for me. caveat: if you saw how I play you may question whether it's a good approach; I'm pretty average.
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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"there's no such thing as "bad technique" on drums ever since Keith Moon downed 17 consecutive martini's and spunked all over the stage then fell into a monitor with a top ten hit in the charts".
Comment of the month right there Joe !!!
 
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JazzDrumGuy

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Foot on pedal hitting bass drum is a generally accepted technique.....

Think about all of all the different legs, feet, pedals, bass sizes and music..... there can't just be one technique.
 

LFBarfe

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A friend of mine plays with his left foot slightly offset on the hi-hat. When asked why, he answered 'gout'.
 

count_me_in

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This is a common “problem” so to speak when the bd faces straight ahead.....angle the bd and pedal to follow where ones foot naturally goes/points and there ya go....
Or if one doesn’t like angled bd’s go out and scoop a Rogers Swivomatic....
bt
Not just the BD but the player. This used to be me until I realized I could just rotate myself counter-clockwise and scoot over to the right a bit so that my foot's in line with the pedal.

My advice to OP is strip everything away except the throne, you, and the BD w/pedal. Adjust your position so you're comfortable and your foot is straight on the pedal (you will probably be facing left of center), then start to add snare, hats, rack, floor back around you.

As for hip pain others mentioned, I used to get that as well until I raised my seat height and backed up a bit so my hips above knees, and ankles in front of knees. Before that, I realized I would turn my heel inward (so foot angled away) as a means of relieving hip flexor tension.
 

Pedal_Pusher

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There have been several bass drum pedals designed for angled foot playing technique, even though it is better to place the throne, bass drum, and high hat in a more natural position as described above. A single pedal designed for this position is the Vector pedal by Percussion Kinetics. It is different from the Rogers Swivomatic in that it adjusts both on the footboard and the drive (cable). If you want a double pedal that addresses this technique (along with other considerations) you can look at an Off Set or Sleishman pedal. They allow both feet to be angled more than common double pedals. I may be missing some other pedal designs but this is what came to mind. Good luck.
 

Seb77

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Is it normal and perhaps even good technique to play the bass drum with your heel off and to the side of the pedal and your toes not all the way to the front? If so, why the heck do the pedal manufacturers make the pedals in a form other than the way they're played?
I use different positions on the footboard as different "levers" for different volume levels: for softer playing, further up the pedal = less leverage, and vice versa.
 

cworrick

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Everybody has a little different technique that works for them. Check out how much Jonathan turns his foot IN to play. To me this would be really awkward and I wouldn't be able to play very long. But who wants to tell JM he's doing it wrong? He's had more success and played with more big names than most people here.

 

dyland

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I angle my bass drum slightly to accomodate the natural resting angle of my foot. I think an issue can arise if you are constantly moving your ankle laterally as part of your stroke, but otherwise it seems like more of a comfort thing to me.

The only reasons to overhaul mechanics, imo, are to a.) avoid injury or b.) to increase your potential. If you're getting the results you are after then I would leave things the way they are.
 

Matched Gripper

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While watching hi-hat demos at the Memphis Drum Shop, I noticed a lot of drummers positioning their bass drum foot at a bit of an angle relative to the pedal and not having their toes all the way to the front, like this guy:


I ask because this is how I often play the bass drum and I've vaguely suspected that it's bad technique. I'd think that the foot ought to be positioned on the pedal. Why else would pedals be made in the shape of a foot? But nobody ever taught me how to play the bass drum correctly and I confess to never watching any instructional videos either. Until today, I hadn't noticed that the good drummers making the demo videos often position their foot on the bass drum pedal more or less like I do.

What's going on? Is it normal and perhaps even good technique to play the bass drum with your heel off and to the side of the pedal and your toes not all the way to the front? If so, why the heck do the pedal manufacturers make the pedals in a form other than the way they're played? If not, why are so many of us falling into bad technique?
If you play heel up, IMO, it is advisable to place the ball of the foot about 1/3 of the length of the pedal board down from the toe stop, or end of the pedal. In addition, some people are slew footed, some pigeon toed. If you play heel up it doesn’t really matter much if your foot isn’t perfectly aligned with the pedal board as long as the ball of your foot is squarely on the pedal board. Heel down is different in both respects.
 

2and4

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The right answer is probably it's not a problem unless it becomes one. For some people they will never have an issue and some people will end up with pain. Same with seat height, playing hunched over, etc. Putting stress on the pedal from the side is probably not the best for the pedal, but that may not be enough stress to cause any issues either. Playing with everything lined up is the most motion efficient, but with that said, check out Rodney Holmes (I always forget what a great drummer he is) he has to have the most wonky set up when it comes to foot position (you can really see it at 28:24).
 


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