August 4, 2017 at 9:40 am #2912
In my early drumming years I was told the best way to play the bass drum pedal was heel down.
While doing that I found myself playing heel up on the hi hat pedal, especially at faster tempos when I wanted to keep a steady beat with my left foot.
When starting to play more heel up on the bass drum I find it almost impossible to play heel up with both feet at the same time. As long as the feet don’t hit the same note, it works okay, but when they do I feel I almost loosing my balance and my back wants to lean backwards.
I sit on the throne so that my legs are almost parallel to the floor when I lift my legs.
Have tried adjusting the sit height with none or little effect.
Anyone had the same problem? Is it just that my body needs to get used to this?
Grateful for any advise on this. Thanks.
August 4, 2017 at 2:03 pm #2913
Bill BachmanModerator3 pts
Greetings! If you haven’t already, check out my two videos on foot technique in the drumkit corner. I’m a big fan of heel up be it buried or not. What you’re describing is the difficulty of 4 way coordination -vs- 3 way. When both legs are up you have to center your weight farther back to compensate. It’s weird at first, but eventually your core & balance ride to the occasion. 4 way is more than 33% harder than 3 way I think. Keep at it!
August 4, 2017 at 9:08 pm #2914
I will certainly keep at it.
Keep up the good work. This site is GREAT!!!
December 3, 2018 at 6:58 pm #3192
I think it comes down to the ‘resting’ position of your foot on the pedalboard after a stroke, if you are playing discontinuous rhythms or slow tempo’s. It’s all dependent on tempo/note-rate (‘speed’), just like hand technique.
You have two options really for balance; either get your heel back down to the heelplate straight after the stroke, or leave your heel floating, and the beater buried into the drum-head. If your foot is in between those two positions after the stroke, balancing will be tough!
Of course, if you are playing e.g. continuous 8th notes on your foot, there is a constant motion there, and another balancing act to contend with. Assuming discontinuous notes;
If you don’t mind burying the bass drum beater this will lead to better balance, as you can leave the beater on the BD head. Some people only play that way, some swear against it. Try and see :-). There is also a sound vs. playability choice to be made there, as Bill talks about in his videos.
If you are playing a tight ‘chick’ sound on the hi-hats, this is analogous to burying the beater into a bass drum head, in terms of heel-up foot motion. If you play ‘out’ of the hi-hats, you will get a splash sound.
The other thing to do is to check the spacing of your hi-hats. Get it so that the HH pedalboard travels a similar distance to the BD pedalboard. If they are different (many pay with hi-hats very close together when open), this can feel weird and unbalanced. Probably a 1.5″ gap is a good ballpark.
December 4, 2018 at 1:25 am #3194
Hi Andrew,and thanks for your input. Really appreciate it.
Yes, when the beater is buried into the drum head it makes it a little easier. Feels like the foot is resting for a while. I have tried to have both pedal boards at the same distance and that also helps.
Also as Bill says just by practicing 4-way coordination its slowly getting better and the body seems to
adapt to that. It’s still a bit awkward and I haven’t “master it” yet.
I am currently practicing my bass drum foot using a book by Ron Spagnardi. In the book he uses different ostinatos with an increasing amount of accents, starting from 8 notes all the way to 32 notes. That seems to really strengthen and relax the muscles which is important for one’s bass drum control.
In the book Ron suggests that you practice both heel up and heel down, but it feels a bit awkward to play heel down after learning heel up and I haven’t come to that yet. Do you think playing heel down is important to learn? And if so in what context?
December 4, 2018 at 8:17 pm #3195
No problem. I am no expert on foot tech, but I have (and am still!) putting a lot of time into practicing it, so these are my thoughts after studying.
The book you are working from sounds great.
As for heel down on the bass drum; I use that for quieter passages. I think its great to learn both up and down. In the end, the heel-down only strengthens your heel-up, especially at faster speeds, where the heel-up is mostly ankle motion (similar to how the foot moves in H-down).
Just like hands, its just different tools for different jobs.
And yes…. 4-way co-ordination…I’m still getting there. Also working on my 5-way (head-banging while drumming!)
December 5, 2018 at 6:01 am #3196
Yes, that makes sense. If heel-up can benefit from practicing hd, then I will practice that too.
I know that Bill talked in the foot-doubles video that there is an ankle motion involved.
Good luck with the 5-way coordination.. lol. Think it will be a great success!!!
Thanks again for your input.
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