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Heel up nitty gritty

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  • #31
    Originally posted by sycle1 View Post
    I am with John.b on this topic.
    I use both heel down and heel up, the more you play with other musicians in different settings you will realize you need both techniques.
    Just watch any of the really great drummers eg: Thomas Lang, Simon Phillips, Benny Greb, Gavin Harrison, Mike Mangini, Mike Portnoy, to name a few, they all use both heel up and heel down during performances.
    yes both techniques, soft ballads is very hard only using heel up.
    Relax + balance is the keywords here.

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    • #32
      Wow. sorry. didnt mean to abandon this thread...i missed all notifications after a certain point.

      Anyway Ive come a long way since I posted that. I’ve got a relative level of comfort with my heel up position/technique, though I have no idea if its ideal in an objective sense.

      I am simply not able to bury the beater heel up...not that youd necessarily want to but I cant do it even when I try. I always get a little mini bounce unless I literally stand and put all my weight on the pedal. I dont know if thats nature of a plastic beater on a rubber kick pad or a failure on my part but basically I do not bury the beater even when playing heel up (except when I occasionally do).

      I can do reasonable heel toe doubles and am working on triples and more (I only nail those about half the time). Sometimes when doing these I feel like Im cocking/whipping/lifting my foot too much for the heel part, and have to consciously try to make myself keep more planted when setting up a double.


      I traded the throne sold to me with my kit (pdp I think?) for a nicer Yamaha round throne. I think it’s lowest height is 18”, I usually have it set between half an inch and an inch higher than that. It’s locking design is such that you can unscrew it by rotating it too hard clockwise (yes, despite the fact that its “locked”) so I’m constantly resetting it and just eyeball it these days. I notice that in the heel down position I feel like Im stretching/straining a bit to get my heel angled that way (same applies to the heel toe doubles I mention above)so I guess Im a little high? But too low and it feels weird.

      Been trying to make myself work on heel down but almost never do, partly for reason above an partly because heel up just feels better and is more in line with he music I like and play.

      So maybe I’ll go lower than normal for a little while and see how that feels. I went to the height Im at now cause I started with the throne at its bottom floor and quickly realized my knees were hurting a little which I read is a sign youre potentially too low.

      Sorry for the novel. Hopefully that addresses everything everyones mentioned.
      Last edited by TheBass; 02-20-20, 03:04 PM.

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      • #33
        Hi Mate, you say you cant bury the beater without standing up. does that mean that when you are seated you are getting a double hit or is it coming off the head and staying off ???

        If thats the case then I cant see a problem.

        Back in the day you only played heel up to get more power into the beater, ie the whole weight of your leg. (generally at an ordinary gig the drummer never got amplified so we had to compete with everyone else that was amplified).

        If you did not need the volume, it was heel down.

        With these Ekits you dont have that problem, if you want more volume you just turn the knob.

        Have fun and stay safe.

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        • #34
          If seated and I try to do a foot stroke and keep it buried, yes, I get a little bounce: stroke/hit, bounce, hit again and rest against head. I don't know if an acoustic head reacts the same way (next to zero experience on acoustic kits) or if it's that I have a rubber pad as my "bass drum" that causes this. I've been practicing in such a way as to not bury it by technique (i.e. trying NOT to leave beater against head). I know most folks advocate not burying, but it is supposed to be a choice, and I'm saying I couldn't if I wanted to.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by TheBass View Post
            If seated and I try to do a foot stroke and keep it buried, yes, I get a little bounce: stroke/hit, bounce, hit again and rest against head. I don't know if an acoustic head reacts the same way (next to zero experience on acoustic kits) or if it's that I have a rubber pad as my "bass drum" that causes this. I've been practicing in such a way as to not bury it by technique (i.e. trying NOT to leave beater against head). I know most folks advocate not burying, but it is supposed to be a choice, and I'm saying I couldn't if I wanted to.
            There are a few different foot techniques, I use heel up with the beater coming off of the head and I am totally relaxed. Just because it's a heel up techinque up doesn't mean the heel is up. It can be up just a centimeter.

            Basically I rest my foot after every stroke because a stroke for me is lifting the foot up a bit while the toe is still touching the pedal and then just let my whole leg/foot drop to the ground. The stroke comes from the ball of the foot and and the foot is almost flat to the pedal.

            It's important to know what muscles are working when playing bass drums. For slower speeds it's hip flexor muscles and faster is calf muscles. Usually single strokes up to 160bpm are mostly hip flexors and above are calf muscles. The tricky speeds are between 135-170BPM because you are using a mix of both.

            I will direct you to marthyn jovanovic on youtube, will make you understand all aspects of playing bass drums.



            The best exercises that have helped me are two simple exercises:

            RRRR,RRRR,LLLL,LLLL,RRRR,RRRR,RRRR,RRRR,LLLL,LLLL, RRRR,RRRR,LLLL,LLLL,LLLL,LLLL (just single strokes. You should also combine them with hands doing the same thing in unison and focus on avoiding flams.

            The other one is: RH RH RK RK, LH LH LK LK, RH RK RK RH LH LK LK LH, RK RK RH RH, LK LK LH LH, RK RH RH RK, LK LH LH LK then repeat.
            (This one is tricky to learn but is an amazing exercise for everything basically.

            Now I've spent half an hour making this post so I hope it wasn't a waste of time.
            Last edited by frankzappa; 05-22-20, 05:31 AM.

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            • #36
              Appreciate the effort. I believe I basically do what you say when you talk about "heel up"...others call it flat foot technique. Will take a look at the video and exercises. To be clear, I don't have a double bass setup. I've gotten decent at heel toe doubles.

              Comment


              • #37
                Interesting video.

                It's amusing how I'm (yet again) the odd one out.

                I had no problem from the very beginning playing with great control up to 138bpm with full leg motion, and the video is correct, in observing that anything over 140bpm requires switching to calf muscles.

                However, my right calf is happy up to 164bpm and my left always loses control past 144bpm, which is what I've predominately been working on for years without much success.

                The KT-10's are unforgiving with no bounce.
                Last edited by Kabonfaiba; 05-22-20, 02:13 PM.
                ◾ 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 Sheet

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                • #38
                  I checked out the video, tried what he said. Apparently my ankle is completely useless. Even heel down I can barely do anything with any power at all at at very medium tempos, and heel up ankle is ineffective at even depressing the pedal of its own power. I confess I have barely messed with heel down at all.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by TheBass View Post
                    Appreciate the effort. I believe I basically do what you say when you talk about "heel up"...others call it flat foot technique. Will take a look at the video and exercises. To be clear, I don't have a double bass setup. I've gotten decent at heel toe doubles.
                    You have a hihat pedal right? No problem then. You can of course just do everything with one foot but practice as you would with a double bass. In my experience, even if you play single kick, exercising the right and left side gives new abilities applicable to other stuff. It practices you to ”think” faster. Especially if you switch between the righ side and the left side limbs alternating.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by TheBass View Post
                      I checked out the video, tried what he said. Apparently my ankle is completely useless. Even heel down I can barely do anything with any power at all at at very medium tempos, and heel up ankle is ineffective at even depressing the pedal of its own power. I confess I have barely messed with heel down at all.
                      When practicing ankle foot technique you should not be thinking about the foot. Let it relax so the footboard is allowed to rebound maximally. You should only be thinking about the heel moving up/down.

                      Seat height is also important. Sitting higher is better for hip flexor strokes and sitting lower is good for ankle strokes.

                      Also the power comes with practice. In the beginning you can get it going but it’s not hard hits. It will improve, just focus on getting control and let the beater come back as far as it can.

                      The problem you experience is because you lack control over your hip flexors at higher speeds. The feet sort of want to play faster than the tempo right?

                      Marthyn has a video about this problem on his youtube channel. I’ll see if I can find it.
                      Last edited by frankzappa; 05-23-20, 03:25 AM.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Kabonfaiba View Post
                        Interesting video.

                        It's amusing how I'm (yet again) the odd one out.

                        I had no problem from the very beginning playing with great control up to 138bpm with full leg motion, and the video is correct, in observing that anything over 140bpm requires switching to calf muscles.

                        However, my right calf is happy up to 164bpm and my left always loses control past 144bpm, which is what I've predominately been working on for years without much success.

                        The KT-10's are unforgiving with no bounce.
                        If you want to get good at playing bass drum then you can’t play on a kt10. If you only wish to play on a kt10 then by all means continue.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          I'm not quite sure I understand? In the video he appears to be doing rapid strokes based at the ankle, i.e. not moving hip/thigh/calf, while heel up. The same way you would play heel down, but with the heel elevated. I'm saying I can't even get the beater all the way to the "head" in that position, using ankle only.

                          I'll mess with seat height again...I'd though I'd found the spot, but I could go lower ("bottom floor" on current throne is 18").

                          Good idea about two foot exercises regardless of only having one kick drum.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by TheBass View Post
                            I'm not quite sure I understand? In the video he appears to be doing rapid strokes based at the ankle, i.e. not moving hip/thigh/calf, while heel up. The same way you would play heel down, but with the heel elevated. I'm saying I can't even get the beater all the way to the "head" in that position, using ankle only.

                            I'll mess with seat height again...I'd though I'd found the spot, but I could go lower ("bottom floor" on current throne is 18").

                            Good idea about two foot exercises regardless of only having one kick drum.
                            A good guideline is that your upper leg should slope downwards. Go ocer to marthyns youtube channel he has a lot of free videos. However the best stuff is on his paid website.

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                            • #44
                              https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ITWkh4--Yl8
                              Last edited by frankzappa; 05-23-20, 04:12 AM.

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                              • #45
                                I think now that you are aware of the problem you can fix it.

                                Marthyn explains it quite nicely. Now it’s just about putting in the practice.

                                There are players that just use hip flexor technique up to 200bpm. You get more power that way so it’s fully possible.

                                I got to the point of controlling the calf muscles in only a few weeks up to 200bpm. Also up to 135 with the full leg but that stuff between 135-160 took a while longer.

                                For me ankle technique came before being able to control full leg motion. For some reason I had a hard time with that.

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