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Heel up or down? Bass drum / hi hats......

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  • Heel up or down? Bass drum / hi hats......

    Hi all
    Been practicing some techniques lately to help strengthen my left side (physically and rhythmically foot and hand). I have always been a 'heel up' person, favoring a lightish toe technique. What I've noticed is that it's increasingly uncomfortable doing hi hat chicks in this manor - probably because I'm not used to it and its hard to stop the old leg bouncing around! I tried foot flat but found this increased the pain even more and didnt feel in control.
    Bass drum foot isn't too bad in either position but i feel more control with heel up.
    I suppose its just what you get used to but thought I'd pose the question here!
    Heel up or down and why?
    Electronic - Mapex DIY conversion black sparkle10,12,12,14,14 toms.16 bass. TD12, VH-12, CY 12,14,14,15. Jobeky snare. 682 heads, zed head and one Remo silentstroke. Roland PM3.
    Acoustic - Yamaha Maple Custom black sparkle. 10,12,13,14,16,22 Zildjian Avedis Crashes, ride. Quick beat and new beat hats. Yamaha Maple snare, Pearl Sensitone brass snare, Yamaha Bamboo snare, Tee Drums Oak snare.

  • #2
    Both. Buy Jojo's DVD it has a lot about this. Dom Famularo's books too. Weaker Side and BD technique.

    But to me it boils down to two concepts: switching the lead seamlessly and accents. As for switching the lead hand The Tommy Igoe warmup in "Great hands for a lifetime" and the Alan Dawson ritual documented in "John Ramsy's book do this. So do the exersises bill bachman writes in modern drummer.

    The idea is you start with a right hand lead but then through something like a triplet or paradiddle switch to a repetition that's left hand lead. If you want to keep the tempo the same, you have to push the weak side to keep up. This helps develop SPEED.

    so something like this:
    RLRRLL RLRRLL RLRR LRLLRR LRLLRR LRLL

    And there are zillion ways do to these with flams, triplets, ratameques, etc... Keep in mind though the focus is to develop speed you get more practicing these slowly and carefully so you get the technique and muscle memory.

    This is a very different approach to some of the Speed Metal dudes on youtube who basically just push faster and faster and are all tense. That has it's place too but you will get more from slow practice then you realise. Think about how people practice Kung Fu. They do it slowly for a long long time.


    As for the idea of Accents - that is basically about getting more POWER out of your weak limb so volume is more equal.

    Lllr...
    lLlr...
    llLr...


    Finally moeller type bounce control is a big help. Not even the hard part where you try to interleave two hands - that takes forever. But just work on developing each hand separately for a few months (or years!). So triplets and eighth notes where you use the momentum of the accent to keep it all moving.

    Lll Lll Lll Lll Lll....
    Rrr Rrr Rrr Rrr

    Llll Llll Llll Llll....


    Speed - use the strong hand to push the weak hand
    Power - use accents to try to get the same volume out of each
    Technique - comes when you put it all together with a lot of careful and slow practice.

    Comment


    • #3
      For years, I played with my BD foot heel down. The HH foot heel was counting the beat. Regarding the BD, I thought this was the only "right" way to play it - till I bought Dave Black's Bass Drum Essentials. It opened my eyes! I've been practicing with this book for 1.5 years now, and finally I am able to play heel down, too.

      I use heel down now for slower and softer songs, especially when I want to let the bass drum ring. With heel up, I let the beater stay on the drum head.

      The same goes with the HH - heel down in slower songs, otherwise heel up.

      I don't think I'll ever get the same power while playing heel down - but I don't think it's necessary. Speedwise, I think I'm at about 80-90% of heel up.
      TD-11 with 1xPDX 100 and 2x 12" drum-tec Diabolo pads, VH-11, CY 15R, CY-8 + various VSTi's.

      Comment


      • #4
        I use to play heel up on my Akit to get the bass drum volume. I very rarely got amplified back in the day and playing in a 7 piece band it was challenging to say the least. With these Ekits though I dont think heel up is required cause it all goes through an amp / mixer now I think. Then again Im a donkey so what do I know.

        Comment


        • #5
          heel up for bass
          heel down for hihat
          Dual Alesis Module Drum Set (DM10(BlueJay)+DM8+Trigger iO), Dual Layer Tennis Ball Drum Riser
          Shure SE215 IEM's, Simmons DA50 Amp, Alto Professional ZMX862 Mixer, Tama SpeedCobra Pedals, Vic Firth 7AN Sticks, Roc-N-Soc Original Throne

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by wolfereeno2 View Post
            Both. Buy Jojo's DVD it has a lot about this. Dom Famularo's books too. Weaker Side and BD technique.

            But to me it boils down to two concepts: switching the lead seamlessly and accents. As for switching the lead hand The Tommy Igoe warmup in "Great hands for a lifetime" and the Alan Dawson ritual documented in "John Ramsy's book do this. So do the exersises bill bachman writes in modern drummer.

            The idea is you start with a right hand lead but then through something like a triplet or paradiddle switch to a repetition that's left hand lead. If you want to keep the tempo the same, you have to push the weak side to keep up. This helps develop SPEED.

            so something like this:
            RLRRLL RLRRLL RLRR LRLLRR LRLLRR LRLL

            And there are zillion ways do to these with flams, triplets, ratameques, etc... Keep in mind though the focus is to develop speed you get more practicing these slowly and carefully so you get the technique and muscle memory.

            This is a very different approach to some of the Speed Metal dudes on youtube who basically just push faster and faster and are all tense. That has it's place too but you will get more from slow practice then you realise. Think about how people practice Kung Fu. They do it slowly for a long long time.


            As for the idea of Accents - that is basically about getting more POWER out of your weak limb so volume is more equal.

            Lllr...
            lLlr...
            llLr...


            Finally moeller type bounce control is a big help. Not even the hard part where you try to interleave two hands - that takes forever. But just work on developing each hand separately for a few months (or years!). So triplets and eighth notes where you use the momentum of the accent to keep it all moving.

            Lll Lll Lll Lll Lll....
            Rrr Rrr Rrr Rrr

            Llll Llll Llll Llll....


            Speed - use the strong hand to push the weak hand
            Power - use accents to try to get the same volume out of each
            Technique - comes when you put it all together with a lot of careful and slow practice.
            very informative - thanks!
            Electronic - Mapex DIY conversion black sparkle10,12,12,14,14 toms.16 bass. TD12, VH-12, CY 12,14,14,15. Jobeky snare. 682 heads, zed head and one Remo silentstroke. Roland PM3.
            Acoustic - Yamaha Maple Custom black sparkle. 10,12,13,14,16,22 Zildjian Avedis Crashes, ride. Quick beat and new beat hats. Yamaha Maple snare, Pearl Sensitone brass snare, Yamaha Bamboo snare, Tee Drums Oak snare.

            Comment


            • #7
              Also had another thought - this is getting the 'weaker' side (left in my case) stronger - how about setting up the kit and playing as a lefty? Slightly off topic but I'm sure that improve co-ordination?
              Electronic - Mapex DIY conversion black sparkle10,12,12,14,14 toms.16 bass. TD12, VH-12, CY 12,14,14,15. Jobeky snare. 682 heads, zed head and one Remo silentstroke. Roland PM3.
              Acoustic - Yamaha Maple Custom black sparkle. 10,12,13,14,16,22 Zildjian Avedis Crashes, ride. Quick beat and new beat hats. Yamaha Maple snare, Pearl Sensitone brass snare, Yamaha Bamboo snare, Tee Drums Oak snare.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by soccerdude84 View Post
                heel up for bass
                heel down for hihat
                But do you really need heel up on bass drum on these Ethings ?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by John.b View Post

                  But do you really need heel up on bass drum on these Ethings ?
                  There's more to heel up than simply hammering out more volume. To me heel down is fine playing something like Fleetwood Mac or Beatles tunes, but for faster or more complex playing I think at some point it becomes restrictive. Of course there are still many amazing heel down drummers.

                  Now although I play heel up, my heels are not very high; my feet are actually about level.
                  I played heel down at the beiginning for years. I would never go back to that now that I've learned to play heel up.

                  Hihat is a different story; I use both depending on what I'm playing.
                  Last edited by bud7h4; 02-16-15, 05:44 AM.
                  TD-30 module, PDP A2E (22, 16, 14, 12, 10), Quartz triggers,
                  VH11 hi-hat, PD125 (snare), Roland cymbals, Peavey KB4 monitor, Audio-Technica ATH-M50
                  Axis A21 Sabres, Axis A Longboards

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Cure1973,

                    I'm in the "use both" camp. There are many reasons, but the primary one is this: consider the various grips you use with hands. French: ultra fast tempos, unaccented patterns, low volume to medium volume. American and German: slow to medium fast tempos, when accents are needed, medium volume and up. Traditional: textural changes for ghost notes, strong whipping motion for shuffles, wider range of motion for the Moeller up-stroke. Different people get different things from the various hand grips, but I've outlined a bit of what I get from them. My point is, these same benefits apply to different foot techniques. For example, one can feather the bass drum with the heel up, but why use so much muscle and mass movement for such a small stroke? Conversely, when playing strong, four-on-the-flour strokes, I prefer to use a technique that puts more muscles and mass behind the stroke. Using various heel up and heel down techniques, one obtains a range of benefits and musical expressions that are hard to match when using only a single approach to the bass drum.

                    Important: With any bass drum technique, if you're experiencing pain, stop. Pain means something is wrong, either with your setup, execution, or body. If you can't get the pain to go away by adjusting things yourself, I highly recommend going to a qualified teacher who can help work out what the problems are.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by John.b View Post

                      But do you really need heel up on bass drum on these Ethings ?
                      heel up means you have access to a much bigger muscle, this gives more power but also more stamina, there are also more techniques for fast playing with heel up
                      Dual Alesis Module Drum Set (DM10(BlueJay)+DM8+Trigger iO), Dual Layer Tennis Ball Drum Riser
                      Shure SE215 IEM's, Simmons DA50 Amp, Alto Professional ZMX862 Mixer, Tama SpeedCobra Pedals, Vic Firth 7AN Sticks, Roc-N-Soc Original Throne

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Since responding to this thread Ive noticed that if I go into a faster pattern my heel dose lift off the plate.

                        Comment

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