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Kick Drum Rebound and Burying the Beater

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  • Kick Drum Rebound and Burying the Beater

    So, here's my situation. I've had a TD-15 (w/ TD-9) for about 5 years now. I've recently done a full A2E conversion that has a 22" kick. Option 'A' was to put the KD-9 inside, because I like the feel of the KD-9. Because of the 'look', Option 'B', I got a R-drum bass drum trigger and mesh head to complete.

    My kicks are currently rebounding uncontrollably. Double hits on every strike.

    So I've researched here, there and everywhere about the kick peddle, spring tensions, footboard angle, beater angle, and every conceivable variable adjustment on the peddle. Got advice on loosening the mesh head... which I tried at numerous tensions (including very taught). All doing very little to prevent the rebound.

    Then I put pillows and bat filling between the trigger bar and the mesh head and that had zero influence (as you can see below, the R-drum trigger system has 2 kinds of foam and plenty of it. So physically, it's completely opposite of a hard rubber surface like the KD-9.)

    Then I pulled everything away and just compared foot control on the KD-9 vs. the 22" mesh head kick. I could see, barely, but I see the beater bouncing. I saw no rebound/bouncing on the KD-9.

    Then it hit me... my technique is 'Burying the Beater'. Works great on a hard surface... Not so much on a trampoline surface? When I hit the head, I leave the beater against the head. Side note: Honestly I didn't know what Burying the Beater meant... until now... because it's what I've done my whole time with TD-15

    And from many of comments here and elsewhere, it seems I need to change my foot technique. And I hear it's not gonna be easy. Gahhhhhh.

    Unless others have some ideas? A setting in the module? Somehow making the 22" more 'solid'? Anyone have a similar situation and what was your solution?

    I have the...
    • TD-30 Module
    • Mapex shells
    • R-drum triggers
    • Iron Cobra Kick Peddle
    • 2-ply mesh head (I believe Magnum)

    Someone has mentioned Jojo Mayer's video for a better foot technique.

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    how's your trigger settings ? my kick scan time is 3.0 ms, retrig cancel 10, and mask time 16.. (trig advanced)
    ok.. i have an 18" mesh kick.. so, you might have to tune those a bit.. but i can still play fast doubles and no 'false' triggers..
    also my beaters don't 'bounce' after a hit.. my beaters are about 5" long on electronics, and longer on acoustic kick..
    spring tension is minimal, because mesh is more bouncy than an acoustic head ..


    • #3
      Not burying the beater is a good thing to learn if you ever plan on playing acoustic. It's something I started working on with my teacher about 3 months ago. Was very hard to break the habit at first but after about 2 months I had it down. It also teaches you better foot control in general too.



      • #4
        Thanks guys... I appreciate your input. I'll check out the settings. And yes, start working on my technique.


        • #5
          Recently, I posted about Jojo Mayer's Secret Weapons 2 DVD. Yes, superb resource. Jojo explains everything exceptionally clearly. I highly recommend both of Jojo Mayer's DVD sets: Secret Weapons 1 (hand technique) and Secret Weapons 2 (foot technique). I own Secret Weapons 1 and Secret Weapons 2, and they are a constant source of technical reinforcement and inspiration. Also, search YouTube for videos of Steve Smith demonstrating his "constant release" approach. I'll attach one video below, but there are many more.

          Not burying the beater (what I call "playing out of the head") has many benefits. It's not just a case of learning this for playing acoustic drums. Playing out of the head opens up a world of new bass drum techniques, because it teaches you to use rebound in ways that are impossible when the stroke ends in the head. Also, spurious triggering is less of an issue when playing out of the head.

          To be clear, playing out of the head means the stroke starts away from the head, moves toward and strikes the head, rebounds, and ends away from the head. A key skill is maintaining contact with the footboard at all times, but getting out of the way of the rebound on the back stroke. During the back stroke, you relax your foot so that it has no impact over the beater's natural slap-back motion. Again, see the Steve Smith video below for a demonstration.

          Steve Smith Bass Drum Techniques


          • #6

            Your question made me think of several replies I've written on the topic of playing out of the head (not burying the beater). I'll post these below. They are somewhat long, but I hope they help you discover new bass drum techniques to explore.


            • #7
              Sitting Technique

              Forum question one: "I get quite some rebound on the beater. I don't get a solid stroke; it's more like a stutter. I use a Mapex P500 pedal with the felt side of the beater. Any ideas so I can get rid of the rebound?"

              I replied:

              Two thoughts. First, if you are, don't play into the head. Meaning, don't leave the beater in the head on stroke completion. If you already play out of the head (beater ends away from the head on stroke completion) and still get flutter, practice releasing the stroke just slightly before the beater hits the head, so that you are fully out of the way of the rebound.

              Regarding technical approaches. One approach is heel down. Since your heel is down and you can use your heel for balance, there is no longer any need to lean into the beater. Another approach is heel up and some players do lean into the pedal (for balance) when doing this. Obviously, if your heel is up, you cannot lean on your heel so you must lean into something and that ends up being the pedal on the head. This is the bury the beater approach.

              Ah, but what if you remove the need to lean for balance? As it turns out, this is the critical missing piece of the equation. Meaning, you can learn to play heel up or heel down while remaining fully balanced on the throne, and thus no leaning on the pedals is needed. With this approach, it's possible to release the beater from the head because you are no longer leaning into the pedal. For this to happen, you must be able to have your heels up and not fall forward or backward.

              How do you maintain balance on the throne? This takes time to learn and one must usually try different throne heights and seating postilions (forward and back in relation to the kit). The key is to be able to lift your limbs (left arm, right arm, left foot, right foot) in any combination and not fall forward or back.

              One method with heel up is to rest on the heel in between strokes. You do this by making the stroke with the heel up, but once the stroke is complete, you drop the heel to the pedal. As long as one of your feet (hi-hat or bass drum) can rest with the heel down, you can use this to remain balanced. However, this is cheating! For example, what happens if the hi-hat and bass drum notes being played require both heels up simultaneously? You can no longer use the rest with one heel down approach. So yes, to avoid this, you must learn how to balance your body with both heels up, and with the hi-hat open and the beater off the head. This requires a different approach to sitting.

              Learning how to sit and how to maintain balance while sitting and having any of your limbs in motion is one of the most overlooked technical aspects of drumming. Many advanced players have their own methods for this, but rarely are these documented. I don't know of a single drum book that teaches and emphasizes sitting technique. Read that again. I'm not talking about drum playing technique. Nope. I'm talking about sitting technique.

              As a starting point, try this. Place your throne in the middle of the room, away from your kit. No sticks and no drums are needed for this exercise. Sit on the throne with your butt in the center and both your feet flat on the floor. Leave your arms falling vertically and relaxed to the floor, by your sides.

              First step. Try lifting one of your feet off the floor. Do you feel yourself leaning into the other foot for balance? If you do, change your sitting position (moving your butt forward or back on the throne) and changing your upper body position (forward and back, side to side). The goal is to lift one foot from the floor and not feel yourself leaning into the other foot. Do the same with the other foot. Learn to lift either foot without leaning on the one that remains on the floor.

              Second step. Try lifting both feet! Typically, on first attempt, you'll feel yourself falling forward immediately! Make more corrections in how you sit to offset. Move your butt further back on the throne. Keep your back straight, but you may need to lean backward slightly. The goal is to be able to lift both feet from the floor and not fall in any direction. Practice lifting the left foot only, the right foot only, and both feet, and remaining balanced on the throne at all times.

              Third step. With both feet off the floor, try lifting one of your arms into a drum playing position. You'll find yourself falling forward yet again! Rebalance your body on the throne and try again. Eventually, you'll learn to lift both feet and an arm. Do the other arm. Try lifting different combinations of arms and feet while remaining fully balanced: right arm and left foot, left arm and right foot, right arm and right foot, left arm and left foot, both arms, both feet, both arms and both feet. What you'll discover is that like hand grips, with sitting and body balance you constantly make small adjustments to stay in balance. As you progress, you'll make these adjustments automatically, without thinking about them.

              Fourth step. Once you get these balance approaches working only with the throne, then add sticks and try them behind the kit. You'll need to make even more body and sitting adjustments to remain in balance. Why not start behind the kit instead of doing the "throne only" exercises? I recommend learning these balancing techniques away from the kit, first, because this allows you to focus solely on your body and on your body's relationship to the throne. There is plenty to learn before adding the extra details required by sticks, pedals, and drums!

              To me, sitting technique is the foundation for all pedal technique. You cannot get your pedal technique happening (such as playing off the head) if your sitting technique is buggered. So yeah, I recommend practicing these sitting and balancing exercises as a doorway to bass drum technique and to foot pedal technique in general.
              Last edited by TangTheHump; 09-10-17, 12:19 PM.


              • #8
                Constant Release Technique

                Forum question two: I play a lot of gigs on my 18x14. When I use the 22x14 it feels sluggish to me now. Tuning the batter up helps, but still feels different, obviously because it is. What do some of you do to help this? Would adjusting the pedal tension help and if so, tighter or looser? Other solutions?"

                I replied:

                Regularly, I go back and forth between different size bass drums: 16, 18, 20, and 22. Admittedly, these days, I spend most of my time playing 16 and 18 inch bass drums, but I still end up with gigs on 20 and 22. Here is what I do:

                When I provide the drums, I always use non-ported Remo P3 coated heads (front and back) on the bass drum. Regardless of bass drum size, I set the beater so it hits dead center, which means I use a riser with smaller bass drums. I use the felt side of the beater. My bass drum pedal is adjusted for maximum range of motion, which means the beater comes all the way back and almost touches my shin. I use minimum spring tension and allow beater rebound (as much as the spring tension) to return the beater from the head. Jojo Mayer's "disable the spring and practice returning the beater without the spring" is an excellent exercise for building this up.

                I do not play into the head. Regardless of whether playing heel up or heel down, I always release the beater from the head, meaning the beater rests out of the head, not in the head. Even when playing a series of strokes with no rests in between, each stroke completes out of the head. This is Steve Smith's constant release approach and it requires that you never lean on the pedals (hi-hat and bass drum) for balance. For constant release to work, your body must be in balance such that you can play heel up strokes and not fall forward when the beater is off the head and/or the hi-hat is open. Jojo Mayer's "disable the spring" exercise leads into the constant release approach, because you learn body balance and how to relax and release your foot from the pedal so that you're out of the way of the beater rebound. Without spring, if your foot is heavy on the pedal, the beater goes klunk into the head and stays there! Of course, you add the spring back later, but the goal is to learn how to use rebound and constant release so that the beater rests out of the head and so you never lean into the pedals.

                All of this takes practice! I have a reasonable amount of this technique perfected, but I'm always working on it!

                Using the approaches above, all my bass drums feel the same, regardless of size. Yes, if I tune one bass drum high and another bass drum low, then the drums do not feel the same. However, within similar tuning ranges (for example, just above lowest possible pitch or higher bop tuning), I don't notice much difference in feel between the different bass drum sizes. I think this has as much to do with the playing techniques I'm using as how I set up my bass drums and bass drum pedals.

                Addendum. Hi-hat placement, hi-hat pedal adjustment, and hi-hat technique hugely impact bass drum technique. I place the hi-hat forward, in front of me, on the same plane as the bass drum pedal. To give an idea of just how forward the hi-hat is, it's right beside the rack tom; you can place a stick between the hats and tom, but just barely! The center of the kit is NOT the bass drum. Rather, from behind the kit, the bass drum is rightward, the rack tom and snare drum are centered between my legs, and the hi-hat is leftward. This creates equidistant leg spacing between the hi-hat and bass drum pedals. I release the hi-hat clutch and press the hi-hat pedal all the way down so that it matches the position of the bass drum pedal when the beater is in the head. That's where I lock the hi-hat clutch. When open, the hi-hat is more open than many players are used to, however, setting the hi-hat pedal this way makes it closer to the range of motion of the bass drum pedal. The idea is to have both pedals feeling similar and with similar range of motion. This helps with body balance and with the constant release approach.

                Ed Soph - Constant Release Demonstration


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TangTheHump View Post
                  Constant Release Technique

                  Forum question two: I play a lot of gigs on my 18x14. When I use the 22x14 it feels sluggish to me now. Tuning the batter up helps, but still feels different, obviously because it is. What do some of you do to help this? Would adjusting the pedal tension help and if so, tighter or looser? Other solutions?"
                  This is awesome, thanks for sharing it!

                  TD50 Digital Pack, TD30 and TD9 Modules, custom made pads, Gen16 crashes, and hats plus a few other things that I'm not sure what to do with or why they're still in my kit. Bands: Espada and JamCo,


                  • #10
                    Interesting subject. I guess most of us that started on acoustic drums would normally not have the habit of burying the beater except when using that technique on purpose, like in some jazz beats. Playing acoustic kick I would never hold the beater against the head in normal play. I guess that is why I never experienced that particular triggering issue with edrum kicks whether stock pads of my own 22" eKicks. Actually though some of the particular Roland module sounds are setup for burying the beater, specific kick drum instruments that mute the resonance on hard hits (or burying the beater) to mimic acoustic kick drum behavior.
                    Last edited by JmanWord; 09-08-17, 09:15 PM.
                    I could tell you where to stick that piezo! ;)
           Mega Kit: Pearl Mimic Pro ,2Box modules,drums and cymbals too many to count. VST quality sounds directly from the Mimic and custom sounds loaded into and played directly from the 2Box modules. Visit me anytime at:


                    • #11
                      I bury the beater even though I wish I didn't. Even so,my acoustic kick sounds incredible through large sound systems because is is extremely controlled and consistent. I always have dampening and a hole in the front head. You cannot get good attack without a hole in the head unless you mic the batter head as well and reverse the phase on the mic. Many drummers use sounds that they think are interesting but in a big venue with 10 subs that can sound horrible. It can be a "Boing boing" sound where the sound tech is trying to dial out 200 to 300 and get a sort of OK kick sound. I have been a sound tech and dealt with this.

                      On my E kick I use a lot of foam and retrigger cancel. Works great on the Mimic.


                      • #12
                        Here is a little video that talks about acoustic kick drum play and burying the beater:
                        I could tell you where to stick that piezo! ;)
               Mega Kit: Pearl Mimic Pro ,2Box modules,drums and cymbals too many to count. VST quality sounds directly from the Mimic and custom sounds loaded into and played directly from the 2Box modules. Visit me anytime at:


                        • #13
                          The video above is more in tune with me. I follow the Todd Sucherman philosophy of being sound lead above technique - by which I mean; following the technique that gives me the sound I want, and vary between techniques 'in the moment'.

                          Burying the beater makes sense to me because I hate boomy bass as much as I love ringy snares. Of course doesn't make a smidgen of difference to e-drums, unless you're playing on a TD-30 / TD-50 with the kick detection model working. Roland sure had minds in the right place with these things, it's incredible really.
                          ◾Diamond Drums 4pc in Di-Noc carbon ◾MegaDRUM ◾Roland UA-1010 / cymbals / KT-10 (x2) ◾Tama / Gibraltar hardware ◾JBL LSR3 Series 2.1 Monitoring ◾Pearl THMP-1
                          PA Comparison Table


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kabonfaiba View Post
                            Burying the beater makes sense to me because I hate boomy bass as much as I love ringy snares. Of course, doesn't make a smidgen of difference to e-drums, unless you're playing on a TD-30 / TD-50 with the kick detection model working. Roland sure had minds in the right place with these things. It's incredible really.
                            Actually, not burying the beater makes a huge difference on e-drums. The problem with burying the beater is it disables your ability to use rebound. The use of rebound is the single most important physical property that enables a host of drumming techniques, including bass drum techniques. Want to use Moeller technique on the bass drum pedal? You must use rebound and play out of the head, regardless of whether you're playing on an acoustic bass drum or an electronic pad. Want to use push-pull technique on the bass drum pedal? You need rebound. Want to use the roll out heel up technique? Yep, you need rebound and you must play out of the head. And so on. When you bury the beater, you lose a host of bass drum techniques and musical approaches. Consider taking a stick, hitting a drum, and pressing the stick into the drum head as the end of the stroke. That's the impact of burying the beater on a bass drum. Worse, it transfers the impact into your body. Another benefit of playing out of the head is, just like hand technique, this is the foundation for avoiding impact traveling into your limbs, joints, and body.

                            About Roland's bass drum detection model. I despise this because it's not actually detecting a beater buried in the head. Rather, Roland simply places muted samples at the upper end of the velocity range and these muted samples trigger regardless of whether you bury the beater or not. So the problem is, when you dig in to get a larger sound (such as playing heel up with more leg in the stroke), instead of getting a bigger sound, you get a muted, bury the beater sound. And, the sound is spurious. Try playing four-on-the-floor while digging in. That stupid, muted, "bury the beater" sound keeps spuriously triggering. Ugh. I avoid any of the TD instruments that have this.
                            Last edited by TangTheHump; 09-10-17, 12:15 PM.


                            • #15

                              Originally posted by BWaj View Post
                              This is awesome, thanks for sharing it!
                              Glad it was useful to you! The constant release approach was quite the eye opener for me.

                              One of Jojo Mayer's concepts is bass drum pedal springs are a tradeoff. On the one hand, high spring tension brings the beater back from the head quickly. However, the flip side is you must fight against spring tension when moving the beater toward the head. Jojo's approach is to use the least amount of spring tension possible (thus minimizing negative influence on toward the head movement) and combine rebound, constant release, and spring to get the beater back from the head. For this to work, you must adjust your bass drum pedal for maximum range of motion (maximum beater travel) and minimum spring tension. Most bass drum pedals, by default, out of the box, are set so the beater only comes back a few inches from the head. I've got my beater set so that it comes all the way back to my shin. There are many pluses to maximizing the beater's range of motion. For example, you can obtain a much more powerful stroke, both heel down and heel up.