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From heel up to heel down

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  • From heel up to heel down

    Hi everyone.

    For the past 15 years I have played heel up with the ball of my foot. I always liked the power I had playing that way. However, over the lasy year or two, I have had pain in my right knee (bass drum leg) after gigs. I'm suspecting the heel up technique may be putting too much strain on my knee.

    My attempt to fix this is to change my playing techniqe to heel down. Has anyne done this? I've tried practicing like this a few times and it is like starting over. My muscles cramp up, I have no power and my groove s gone. I have time to dedicate to "relearning", but I was wondering if someone else had done this and what the results were. I anxiously await your replies. Thanks.
    V-Custom w Roland TD-8 and and Alesis DM5, DIY edrums

  • #2
    I have always played heel down, so I can't talk about the changes, only that you have less power with heel down but more control.


    • #3
      I converted from heel-up to heel-down when I started playing Vs. I just didn't get along with the KD-7 and found that I could play faster heel-down. It took about 3 months before I lost the tendency to go heel-up when my concentration lapsed or the playing got heavy. I have now "upgraded", (I know some guys prefer the brick), my kik to a KD-80 and find the combination of the extra bounce and the heel-down style let me play as well as I ever have - like anything to do with our selected instrument, technique takes time and tenacity. I'm sure you'll adapt if you stick at it - I guess you have no choice eh - best of luck.



      • #4
        it's just wrong to say which is correct all the time, life's not like that. it's like saying 'what's the best fill to use?"
        i played heel down for 15 years but wanted more so learned how to play heel up a while back. now i use both according to what the music demands.
        it's the same with many disciplines - the more techniques you learn, the more tools you'll be able to choose from to do the job.
        ( in my opinion anyway )
        however, the pain you're getting isn't right: could you be sitting too close to the kit? your ankle should be at a natural angle - consider how your wrist hurts if you stand and use a mouse on a table with your wrist bent up. so sit back, and maybe lower the footplate angle?
        "My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met."


        • #5
          i play ass up and heel down.
          Attached Files
          -i can levitate birds and no one cares-----------V-CONCERT,CY12H-CY15R/SPD-20-XP-60 V-STUDIO 1824CD,DAUZ PADS,NO RYTHYM AND MISC.CRAP 9"HART SPLASH/AKAI S5000/ASSLOAD OF SAMPLES


          • #6
            I usually play heel down w/atleast a part of my heel hanging off the end of the pedal board on the floor. I play heel up when I'm doing fast double bass stuff, but that's only when I'm in my slayer/fear factory/slipknot mood.
            td-6, pro-mark, remo, sabian, dw, tama rockstar.


            • #7
              I alternate depending on what I'm playing. I usually stay heel down on the HH, tho... Sounds like you might want to take a look at your setup and maybe make some adjustments in positioning, seat height, etc. Usually that kind of pain is a result of a problem with ergonomics... Just my $.02...


              • #8
                Yeah, what HE said!

                ...andrelax pretty much summed up my feelings on the subject. I've always used both, depending on what I'm doing (or trying to do) at the moment.

                Don't limit yourself; just like anything else, it is just a matter of practice & developing the "muscle memory" to allow yourself to groove easily with your heel down. Work at it for awhile, then evaluate your results - but don't compare it to your heel-up playing, 'cause it's a different beast. Compare it against how it felt when you first started it. See how your knee feels.

                Good luck.

                Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.


                • #9
                  Ass up???

                  I will guess you play cocktail kits.........

                  Originally posted by GRRAVEE
                  i play ass up and heel down.


                  • #10
                    Thanks everyone for the good words and advice. Actually the pain in my knee is from a martial art injury over 3 years ago that had healed but seems to be creeping back. The heel up sems to be irritating it. So, i thought I would try something new. And about the ergonomics, I'm all over that. If it doesn't feel right and flow, you must change something!

                    Ass up? You guys crack me up. I personally don't play ass up, but I know several guitar players and singers that play ass up 7 nights a week. Quite a messy gig.
                    V-Custom w Roland TD-8 and and Alesis DM5, DIY edrums


                    • #11
                      i never said it was comfortable
                      -i can levitate birds and no one cares-----------V-CONCERT,CY12H-CY15R/SPD-20-XP-60 V-STUDIO 1824CD,DAUZ PADS,NO RYTHYM AND MISC.CRAP 9"HART SPLASH/AKAI S5000/ASSLOAD OF SAMPLES


                      • #12
                        double dips

                        Cool thread.

                        I suspect this variation in technique also has an effect on the bounciness of mesh heads. I am having a devil of a time with my KD-80 and this has to do with my heel up technique. There are some styles that I am comfortable with my heel down, but when I want to challenge myself with an intricate part, I find that I need my heel up.

                        I have never been a double pedal player until I got some double pedals for my new E set. Double is hard and even harder with the bounce of the KD-80. I think my heel up habit came from a desire to extract maximum volume from a muffled 22" bass drum head in live situations. The Es do not require such technique to get power out of them and thus, years and years of engrained habit must be undone.

                        Worse still, if you are trying to use the Es for recording MIDI, the extra hits due to bounce are murder. I have read a thread here where these extra strokes on a mesh head bass drum also affect recordings. Like Ranman commented in another thread, I think some double strokes are happening, even if they are faint.

                        I am starting to think there is little way around adopting a heel-down for E playing.



                        • #13
                          I play heel up even when feathering 1/4 notes. And I try to never bury the beater into the drum head.

                          I have noticed lately that my heel is less "up" than it used to be. It seems like I used to play with my heel way up but lately it is so low that it is almost touching the pedal.

                          For me too playing heel down is awkward--no power, no speed. After so many years of playing heel up I even have much more control at pp that way too.
                          Check out my music: http://www.myspace.com/kellypaletta


                          • #14
                            Ah, thank you Chris, your posts are always inspiring and educational. I think the problem with my knee is from years of abuse and neglectful technique. Now that I know the correct posture and have the sense not to be such a caveman, it is too late and I need to change the technique to something not so stressful on the knee.

                            The idea of the reversed pedal board makes more sense the more I think about it. I don't have access to tools (or the skills) to build the pedal you describe. But I would love to see a prototype.

                            That reminds me, how are the V sticks comming along? Did you ever get a satisfactory prototype? If you're ever in Chicago, I'll have to buy you a beer.

                            V-Custom w Roland TD-8 and and Alesis DM5, DIY edrums


                            • #15
                              On the subject of the reverse bass pedal, it seems like I've seen something like that, before. I believe it was in a book about early trap sets, and an old design for a pedal. I can't find it, anywhere, now, so maybe not. I think it might be possible to do something like this by setting up the KD-7 and pedal backwards, behind your foot instead of in front of it. I might give it a try this evening, just for "kicks". I also tend to "air-drum" with my heels and I think a pedal like that would be cool.