Continous 8th Notes on the Bass Drum; Single Pedal

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JasonDeLima
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Post Sun Jun 22, 2008 7:30 pm

My leg tends to go weird when trying to do 8th notes at a fast tempo, like anything faster than 160 BPM. It doesn't lock up or start to hurt, like the following beats would not be as loud, or it would be off beat by a little bit. My leg would kinda hesitate as it hits the ground. I tend to play heel up, but sometimes I play heel down without noticing. How can I touch up on this?
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Post Sun Jun 22, 2008 7:35 pm

Practice it really slow so your muscles will be used to the motion and you will adjust to doing the beat.
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Post Sun Jun 22, 2008 10:10 pm

whenever I am trying to get my body to get comfortable with anything, I take it slow

try doing it at 120 for like 10 or 15 minutes straight, then the next day do it at 125 or 130 for another 10 minutes, keep doing this and then it won't even be a problem to do it at the faster tempo because you will have built up endurance
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ChrisNichols
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Post Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:48 am

Well it isn't a natural motion for your leg, so your body's going "What the hell are you doing?" It's a real strain on your leg muscles, especially your calves. Definitely practice it slowly at first, don't try and blast away straight off the bat, because it's not an easy thing to do - why do you think Bonzo's skill on the single bass is so revered?

Also try some leg exercises if you're into that kind of thing. I find lunges, squats, and stepups are very good for it.
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Post Mon Jun 23, 2008 6:27 pm

go slow keep at it and with some time you will eventually progress. thats the only thing you can do. it will work eventually. work at that specifically ( eighth notes on the kick ) for 15 minutes a day everyday for a month and then see where you are :) also while playing eighth notes on the kick, try playing quarter notes on the hats and play your snare on 3 and when you hit the snare don't rest on the kick. kick through that snare on 3.
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Post Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:05 pm

how tight is the spring?
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Post Thu Jul 17, 2008 9:58 pm

relax and start slow
be aware always when tension starts to build up then let go of it...
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Rob Crisp
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Post Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:12 am

You need to start slow as everyone has said, to build the muscle memory.

My advice would be NOT to play heel up to start with, play heel down.

I know it might sound stupid as you want to primarily play heel up, but as you develop the muscles in your ankles and lower legs the ability to play heel up will come naturally due to the fact you have built the control in the lower leg.

It's easy to lift a leg and hold it in the air for a couple of seconds, where you are lacking is the ability to hammer out the notes with just your foot.

When you play a sequence of notes with one leg, use the ankle and leg together, for example:

Play two notes - you lift your leg, play one note from the ankle, then the leg drops for the second note.

Play three notes - you lift your leg, play two notes with the ankle then the leg drops for the last note.

Play four notes - 3 notes from the ankle and then leg drops for the last.

So as you build the ability to play from the ankles, you can work that into playing with the bigger muscle groups.

Hope that helps.
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Post Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:19 am

I've been working on technique like you suggest, Rob. It's changed the way I play all around, because it's far more relaxed. Heel up is no good! OK, it's fine, but it always makes me tense up eventually, and it chokes the drum.

I bought the DVD 'Unburying the Beater' and I think it's well worth the $30 or so..
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Post Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:33 am

A quick note when it comes to building muscle memory...

You want to avoid tension at all costs. If you get tension everything will sieze up and you'll not be able to move those muscles.

If you get that, stop and take a look at what you're doing. Drop the tempo down a bit. Perhaps even adjust your setup and throne height.

What you want is that warm, burning sensation in your calves and shins. The problem most people have is they can't determine between muscle tension and muscle development. They stop just at the point the muscles start to really improve.

So how do you tell? You'll see the difference between tension and development if you experiment with some tempos. I expect you've already encountered tension a number of times. When you first feel that burn you'll know it, as although it's hard work and may get tight you can keep going with that "burning" sensation.

Find a tempo where you get the burn and play for as long as you can. To start with you might not hit more than a couple of minutes at say 80 bpm (playing 8th notes). That's fine, as tempo isn't important at this point, building the muscle is!

Find a tempo where you can make it to five minutes WITHOUT STOPPING. When that's done up it maybe 2 bpm. You want to gradually build the tempo but still make it all the way through five minutes.

I would actually suggest playing 16th notes between left and right foot (on hi hat is fine) leading with the left. You may as well work that left foot too, rather than leave it there redundant.
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Rob Crisp
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Post Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:41 am

Opopanax wrote:I've been working on technique like you suggest, Rob. It's changed the way I play all around, because it's far more relaxed. Heel up is no good! OK, it's fine, but it always makes me tense up eventually, and it chokes the drum.

I bought the DVD 'Unburying the Beater' and I think it's well worth the $30 or so..


I've not seen it, but I imagine it's good. People always talk about using the rebound of a snare drum head or tom head and how bad it is to leave the stick buried in the skin, pulling the sound out of the durm etc... I feel the same about bass technique.

Ok there are times where a shorter sound may be needed on the bass drum and there are some phenominal players that keep the beater in the head, but generally I like to use the rebound.

I'm lazy, I want to play with as little energy as possible and obtain maximum results ;-)
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Mitchell?
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Post Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:17 am

Good article Rob!
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Rob Crisp
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Post Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:03 pm

Mitchell? wrote:Good article Rob!


Thanks Mitchell, got a bit into it while at work :-P
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Post Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:13 am

try and work it from a balancing perspective. what are you doing with your high hat foot when you are trying to do this. Are you playing closed? instead of thinking eith notes on one foot, try and involve your high hat and play the alternating eithnotes with your other foot, almost as if you were playing double bass. This may help your balance issue and allow you to create some additional leverage for more speed /power. also look at developing your footboard technique.
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