The bass drum has got to be one of the most important drums to develop on the drum set. Bass drum technique is something most drummers tend to ignore. Instead, they focus on their stick control and rudiments. If you take the time to develop proper bass drum technique, you will notice huge improvements on your overall drumming. This is because when the bass drum is played on time, correctly, and in its right place, the whole band sounds better. Plus, there are a lot of things you can do with your bass drum to add dynamics, creativity, and spice to your beats and fills. Take the time to read through this article to get a few tips and tricks to help develop your bass drum technique.
There are two main styles of bass drumming; heel up and heel down. Now most drummers have heard of both of these, yet they choose to only practice one. The key to a successful drummer is knowing how to play both. Heel down playing is where you have you ball of your heel pressed down on the bass drum pedal. Your pivot point on your foot becomes your heel as you play with your whole foot, and not your legs. This is a very important style to learn because you can feel the pedal a lot easier than heel up. You can play a lot lighter by feathering the bass drum with more control. This is usually used for jazz and other softer styles of music. However, even if you play rock, you should still practice this method. Developing control and a feel for the bass drum pedal will increase your overall speed and control of the bass drum in general!
The second style of bass drumming is heel up. This is totally different to heel down, since you use your whole leg to power the bass pedal. Instead of resting your heel on the pedal, lift it up and rest your toe on the tip of the bass drum pedal. This takes a little more energy since you have to kick with your whole leg to hit the bass drum. However, this method is great for power bass drumming. Since you are using your whole leg, you can get a lot of power from your kick drum. When you build enough control, you can also play faster with heel up since you can use your toes only to kick the drum. Most rock and heavy drummers use this method, however practice both!
What a lot of drummers do not realize, is the bass drum is still a drum like the snare or the toms. This means you should be able to control your strokes on the drum like you do on the snare. So, you should be able to play paradiddles, and double stroke rolls on the bass drum. When you build your control of the bass drum, you will be able to play blazing fast doubles that you thought you never could play before. There are two main techniques for this as well; the heel toe technique, and the slide technique. Both of these are great examples of pedal control that allow you play fast double strokes on your single or double bass pedal. These are a little tricky to explain, however if you check out Jared Falk's Bass Drum Secrets web site, you will find out exactly how to play these techniques. Definitely a must for developing bass drum technique!
So there you have the essentials of bass drumming. Once you have these techniques under your belt, make sure you practice them regularly. Make sure you allocate enough practice time to work on both stick control and feet control. These same methods can be used to practice your hi hat technique as well! Then, you can move on to other lessons continue to learn to play drums! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to post them in the popular FDL drum community forums.