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bass pedal technique questions from a total beginner

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  • bass pedal technique questions from a total beginner


    This is my first post to this group. I recently (last week) bought a TD-12 kit. I have never ever played drums- I am a complete beginner.

    I have looked online and seen various techniques like "slide" and heel-toe. I'm not interested in that yet. I am interested in just your basic bass pedal technique.

    From looking around I see that there is "heel up" and "heel down." Heel up seems to be geared more for power and speed (correct me if I am wrong) so I am learnin' myself the heel-up technique.

    From what research I've seen you ideally want to strike the bass as you would any other drum meaning that I shouldn't keep the beater on the drum right after contact, just like one wouldn't usually keep the stick on the tom after one strikes it. Again correct me if I 'm wrong.

    So with this in mind it has come to my attention that the leg in the heel up technique is almost always slightly lifted. Consequently I woke up with soreness in the muscles of my upper inner thigh. Please let me know if this is correct. I don't mind soreness if it is developing the correct muscles however I want to make sure that I am on the right tracking and not doing something fundamentally wrong that will give me some weird tendinitis in my groin or something.

    Also, lastly I notice that since I'm having to keep my heel up I'm always a little off balance while behind the kit.

    Any thing helps. Thanks

    I do play guitar and have so I know how muscle memory works and

  • #2
    sorry did'nt mean to post twice

    it addition to begin new to drums i;m new to "forums" in general.


    • #3
      I play with the heel up but in between notes it rests back on the footplate. Perhaps give that a try. Only raise the heel onyl when kicking the drum. This should help with stability. I think I experienced more pain in the calf but I guess being a beginner some muscle pain in the thighs is to be expected.
      Roland TD-20 (Expanded TDW20) stock standard kit setup + KD7, HPD 15, Alesis Trigger I/O, X2 Mandala pads, DrumKat 3.7, MacBook Pro 2011 i7, 8GB Ram, x2 SSD. RME Babyface

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      • #4
        Welcome to the forums!

        Heal up is fine to start!


        • #5
          Welcome to the forum and to drumming!

          Just FYI, it's spelled "pedal".

          Heel up, heel down - depends on what you are most comfortable with. I play heel down most of the time and find my speed is on par with other drummers. In fact, I play more quickly and with more accuracy with my heel down. Also, power is not an issue with edrums. In fact it, takes better stick and foot control to play with a true dynamic range on edrums, and I find that the heel-down technique gives me better dynamic control.

          Sometimes you do want to leave the beater in contact with the head. This is called "burying" the beater. It is mostly a jazz drumming technique, meant to muffle the kick drum and create an accent. Only a few of the kick drums have this feature. It is entirely velocity-sensitive. Most of the time you do want to avoid this, as it tends to cause double-beats on electronic kicks drums.

          I would not be worried about sore calf muscles if you are just starting. This is normal. You should get to the point where you are resting your entire foot on the pedal in between beats, and that will cut down on fatigue. I also feel off-balance playing heel-up, so join the club!

          I would strongly recommend you take formal lessons. Bad habits formed at the beginning of your drumming career with hinder you later and be very hard to break. It's very important to start off on the right foot in drumming!


          • #6
            thanks for the input!

            I'll let you know how it goes and I'll experiment with heel down.


            • #7
              If you feel like you're off balance, your posture may need to be refined a bit. Read this PDF on ergonomics and posture:

              I have always played heel up, simply too many years with a Ludwig Speed King pedal on acoustics.
              If I were to start over, heel down seems more relaxed and natural.....


              • #8
                I actually switch back and forth now. When I first started, I was totally heel down. But as I got better and started working on more difficult things like double-bassing and faster thrash, I started using heel up. It allowed me to pedal faster and with more power. On slower simpler things though, I still play heel down.
                Hawk snare, toms, and bass; Hart ECII crashes & ride; VH-10 Hihat; Iron Cobra double-bass.
                "I never play the same thing twice...sometimes because I simply can't remember it." - John Paul Jones


                • #9
                  I use a mixture of heel up, "side stepping", and heel toe for when I just need a quick double when I'm doing closed hi-hat stuff. Although when just working on bass drum exercises to a metronome I'll play heel-down and mix it up to work different muscles.

                  I've ALWAYS left my pedal on the bass drum, it's never been an issue for me, maybe just in an acoustic setting, but as far as a kit being mic'd I've never heard any difference. But I'm also not playing simple stuff either, I'm going back and forth from different time sig's to tempo changes and from blast beats to melodic parts and anywhere in between, lol.
                  Check out my NEW eBay Store: V-Drum Emporium!


                  • #10
                    i would suggest you to buy this DVD: http://www.unburyingthebeater.com/Ba...FrontPage.html
                    I've had it for 4 weeks now and it has really helped me a lot. Basically Matt combines both heel up and down and tries to teach only the pros from both worlds.

                    MegaDrum trigger to midi x 1,
                    BFD 2,
                    13" DIY snare,10", 12" and 14" DIY toms,
                    VH-11 Hi-Hat x 1, Pearl RH-2000 Remote Hi-Hat,
                    Hart ECII-12HHB Hi-Hat x 1,
                    CY-12R/C Dual-Trigger Cymbal Pad x 1, CY-14C V-Cymbal Crash x 1,
                    Hart ECII-16RB Ride x 1,
                    13" and 14" Kit-Toys china,
                    10" Kit-Toys splash,
                    KD-8 Kick Trigger Pad x 1,
                    Trick Pro1-V double bass pedal,
                    MDS-6C Drum Stand x 1
                    And ppl remember listen to Strapping Young Lad!


                    • #11
                      Heel up all the way for me, and I seem to use the ball of my foot and toes mainly. It depends on the style of music you intend to play I think too.
                      Saying that, I had a chat with Tom Hunting from Exodus (fast thrash for the uninitiated) and he plays heel down, something I find impossible for speed work!


                      • #12
                        Heel up requires more stamina cause you use the whole leg. Its easier to flick the anckle though on those quick beats. I played a lot of socccer when I was a kid so I was very muscled in the legs anyway, and never got any pains or cramps.

                        I played heel-up for 25 years. Generally without amplification so it gave me more power.

                        Now Im a decrepid old fart, and play heal-down apart from the occasional excursion, normally after Ive been on something.