Effective bass drumming can take a long time to master. There are multiple ways to play the bass drum, some of them are better for certain techniques than others, but most of the time it is down to personal preference.
Most people tend to play the kick pedal with their heel up, this is more comfortable for most people and places less pressure on the shin, and the muscles in your legs.
However, after practice most people are able to play the kick drum a lot faster with heel down.
I’ll be explaining the benefits of both heel up and heel down drumming, and how you will be able to improve your overall foot technique when drumming.
Most people tend to naturally play the bass drum pedal with the heel up. This is where it naturally feels comfortable. Using this method when playing gives the drum more punch. The sound that comes from the drum is very quick and snappy. This is worth bearing in mind if you are planning on recording in a studio as it will deliver a louder sound.
Playing heel down is slightly more difficult to master for most people. This method doesn’t give you as much power as if you were playing heel up, however you can build up more speed. Playing the kick pedal heel down is how some drummers manage to make a single pedal sound like a double pedal.
It’s a good idea to try to learn both methods of playing. Even if you don’t actually intend on using one of them it will still help you build up strength and leg muscles, and will give you more freedom in the long run.
You should always play what is required of a song. If you feel like one method would suit better than the other then you should change. You can do this whilst you are playing to give the song more changes.
Using a double bass pedal can be great, however I wouldn’t recommend trying to learn how to use one until you have got both of your single pedals to a high standard. Most people that play double bass pedals only learn heel up, although this can sound great, it can limit what you can do. If you master heel down with both feet as well then you will be able to get your footwork even faster.
Just like when you are playing the drum kit with your hands and arms, your feet need to maintain the correct posture when playing drums. If you foot doesn’t comfortably fit on the pedal then you should get a larger size, and if your knees feel like they are squashed then you should raise the throne.
You should always try to position your toes near the centre of the pedal if you are playing heel up, whilst if you are playing heel down then your toes should be closer to the actual skin.
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