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Heel up nitty gritty

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  • #16
    Thanks. Jared from Drumeo is 6 foot 4 or something...Im 5 foot 2 or 3 depending on whos measuring. I figure if I get a throne that can go lower it can higher as well, but the one I currently have doesnt go very low at all. I think I have the tension etc. on the pedal worked out to where I like it, but still experimenting.
    Last edited by TheBass; 03-11-19, 11:54 AM.

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    • #17
      billgtx wrote:
      That said - playing heel up almost always means you're burying the beater. Some people can play heel up and not bury the beater, but they either float (which puts a load on the thigh) or they rest heel down between slower strokes. In the end, I think you have to still think the ball of the foot when playing heel up.
      I (respectfully) disagree. Burying the beater is one approach to heel up playing. As with most techniques, burying the beater has pros and cons. One significant con (if not mitigated) is leaning into the pedal for balance. When both feet are required to play upstrokes, leaning into the beater is no longer possible. A pure heel up, constant release approach is one way to mitigate this, requiring one to learn how to balance on the throne without using the pedals. This requires changing throne height and seating position, and how one approaches the pedals.

      Setting the throne height too low limits the range and power of the stroke. Setting the throne height too high makes it impossible to play heel down and reduces stroke power. There is a throne height sweet spot, somewhere between a 90 degree and slightly wider angle of the thighs to the floor. I tend to sit a tad higher than the 90 degree mark, so that my ankles rest with the toes slightly downward, without the need to hold the thighs upward. It's a relaxed seating position that allows heels to be up on both pedals, without leaning into the pedals for balance. This is advanced technique that takes lots of practice, but there are many benefits to this approach to heel up. Examples of benefits:

      (1) Allows playing out of the head (beater does not rest in the head), providing a fuller, more open sound on acoustic drums, and eliminating unwanted double bounces on e-drums.

      (2) Avoids the attack of strokes travelling into the legs. Much less strain on the body.

      (3) Allows both feet to perform upstrokes simultaneously while maintaining seating balance.
      Last edited by TangTheHump; 08-11-19, 05:01 PM.

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      • #18
        I 5hink I I am most with tangthehump on this. Overthinking sometimes is required to learn the technique but as you apply it you will eventually stop thinking about it.

        I think at the end if the day, I move back and forth fluidly between heel up and down as needed for balance, technique, speed, volume, quick strokes, etc.

        I think about it like driving a stick shift manual car and up or down shifting according to what you are doing and the many mechanics that go into it with both feet, right hand on shifter, and left hand on wheel. All while singing it talking and not really thinking about any of it.

        I am about 5'9" and sit with thighs barely above 90 degrees to the floor with the snare near thigh height, probably a tad higher and crashes just above eye level. It's pretty traditional rock seating, I think.

        Hope that adds something.
        My Updated Website: https://blades.technology

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        • #19
          As somebody who overthinks on regular basis, I think technique is absolutely worth working out, early on, particularly if you want to play double kick pedals: You can't be leaning on one foot for balance.

          But there is a difference between bad technique and personal performance.

          When you're just starting to learn, it's the hi-hat pedal that often ruins you - because naturally you're leaning on that to keep it closed and the tension might be too high. When you introduce a left foot kick later on, muscles are all out of wack so it is a great idea to put in best practice early on and set your seat height (and hi-hat) accordingly.

          For me, this is high enough so that the cushion pushing up your legs, reduces or removes the pressure from both your heels when sitting in relaxed position. Critically though, you don't want to sit too high - as that's going to be painful, especially for those with shorter hamstrings; your feet will swing back the higher you go. So you'll also want to adjust the distance you place your pedals away from you - to reduce extreme stretching from angling your foot upwards versus lifting your legs up. Both of which, you'll want to do while playing, because the thing is; there's a way of making it easy to do one movement, for one moment, at one tempo, for one style of playing, and you must NOT do that.

          I believe you should aim for a balanced middle between all muscle groups.

          These things (I think) is the bit which is personal preference: Changing tensions on your pedals, drum angles, etc. This is not technique, except that I think it is good technique to set everything up from a relaxed position when calibrating, i.e. look what's going on versus what you want to happen: Do you want the beaters resting on heads without downwards pressure? Do you want the beaters just above the head so that they can only hit when you flex your feet down? Are the beaters not returning fast enough?

          Definitely think about it, but also don't forget to play for about 5-10 minutes after making an adjustment, to make sure any changes are in a positive direction. You should be able to tell naturally if it's better or worse - it's the part where you (try) switch your brain off and ignore placebo effects. Then make another adjustment.
          ♦ Diamond Drums 4pc in Di-Noc carbon ♦ MegaDRUM + Roland UA-1010 / cymbals / KT-10 (x2) ♦ Tama / Gibraltar hardware ♦ JBL LSR3 Series 2.1 Monitoring
          Community Drum Module Document
          PA Specifications (wip)

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          • #20
            Kabonfaiba wrote:
            These things (I think) is the bit which is personal preference: Changing tensions on your pedals, drum angles, etc. This is not technique, except that I think it is good technique to set everything up from a relaxed position when calibrating, i.e. look what's going on versus what you want to happen: Do you want the beaters resting on heads without downwards pressure? Do you want the beaters just above the head so that they can only hit when you flex your feet down? Are the beaters not returning fast enough?
            Myself, I find kit setup is fundamental to technique and not mere preference. For example, when using traditional grip, I position the drums very differently than for matched grips. Per the thread topic (heel up nitty gritty), for heel up playing, I often use a constant release approach, and this requires adjusting the bass drum pedal for maximum range of beater motion and minimum spring tension. The hi-hat pedal also enters the equation. I adjust the range of motion of the hi-hat pedal so it is as close to the bass drum pedal as possible, as I find this helps with balance when playing strokes on both pedals simultaneously. In general, I'm very specific about the setup of my bass drum and hi-hat pedals.
            Last edited by TangTheHump; 08-12-19, 10:10 AM.

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            • #21
              and about my drum throne.. for example, if you switch foot between hihat and left pedal a lot, or play heel up.. you need a sturdy drum throne..
              i don't like saddle drum thrones because they don't have support under your thigh joints.. you need this to be a solid pivot point for your legs,
              and a stable base for your upper body.. or it is going to mess with your time (keeping) .. so, for me a solid round seat and not too soft ..
              | Diy Roland/Yamaha e-kit | Sonor/Gretsch a-kit | Zildjian/Sabian/Ufip cymbals

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Ericdrumz View Post
                and about my drum throne.. for example, if you switch foot between hihat and left pedal a lot, or play heel up.. you need a sturdy drum throne..
                i don't like saddle drum thrones because they don't have support under your thigh joints.. you need this to be a solid pivot point for your legs,
                and a stable base for your upper body.. or it is going to mess with your time (keeping) .. so, for me a solid round seat and not too soft ..
                I actually switched from a Roc-n-Soc saddle, to the round version for just this reason!

                They definitely are one of the most solid cushioned fabric seats can you are buy (probably why so many people buy them) I have lots of points of discussion about drum stools actually - maybe for another topic lol - but having a solid drum stool is certainly required for good foot technique at the kit.

                I'd rather sit on a dining chair, than a broken / wobbly drum stool - a point I've had a hard time convincing other musicians of in the past.
                ♦ Diamond Drums 4pc in Di-Noc carbon ♦ MegaDRUM + Roland UA-1010 / cymbals / KT-10 (x2) ♦ Tama / Gibraltar hardware ♦ JBL LSR3 Series 2.1 Monitoring
                Community Drum Module Document
                PA Specifications (wip)

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                • #23
                  well, i agree with you.. but roc&soc seats are so big, if you shift back a bit you just might still get enough support.. but on smaller saddles if you
                  lift up a leg, you feel no support on that side any more (i do).. drum thrones .. might actually be 'a part of the instrument' more than thought of..
                  | Diy Roland/Yamaha e-kit | Sonor/Gretsch a-kit | Zildjian/Sabian/Ufip cymbals

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                  • #24
                    You could try and turn the saddle seat 180 degrees and sit on the round part (and perhaps lower the seat an inch).
                    E-kit: https://www.dropbox.com/s/vpx92wez8v...3558.jpg?raw=1
                    A-kit: https://www.dropbox.com/s/vxkwbj1rv7...345-1.jpg?raw=1
                    TD-30, KT10, PD-105/125, 13" DIY + BT-1, VH-11/CY14/15/5, PM-30, HD-280 Pro

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