Bass Drum problems

The Heel

New member
Hi everybody. Just found this place... and probably just in time.

I'm 30, and have been playing since I was 3 years old. My father was a successful full time musician, so I just followed right behind him.

The first 28 years of my life I've never even thought twice about my bass drum foot. Then I started watching "How The West Was Won" and the more I got into the first disc... the harder I started playing.

I was going through bass drum heads 2-3 per month (8-14 gigs per month) and my foot began to change. My leg began to get sore. I was just destroying the bass drum with my foot... and my entire playing style began changing.

I really didnt realize how much harder I was playing until the bass drum heads started breaking... and even then I had an excuse that the badge was probably no good.

I went though different pedals, blaming the pedals for my leg pain and my deterioration from the speed and comfort I've always experienced.

Eventually, (I dont know why it took me so long) I realized what I was doing... and I'm currently trying to retrain myself back to the way I used to play.

Now my foot has really deteriorated. I'm attempting to get back to basics but I find myself tensing up and thinking about my foot too often. Sometimes I find myself struggling with basic eigth notes.

I make sure I breath, I try to correct my balance, but I'm so lost at times I'm not even sure where it's supposed to be anymore.

I'm looking for any type of help. Is there a good dvd about single bass drum technique? Anyone else have any suggestions on how to be aware of what I'm doing without having to think about it so much?

I mean... I never gave a second thought to these things... until they werent there anymore.

Thanks for any help...



New member
Have you played with your spring tension? Try setting it on the high-end and see how it works with your leg pain, sometimes it works good for me if I have ankle pain ( pretty much all the time )

But right now I really dont know what you're trying to go for.

Is it that you want to not hit so hard or is it something else? Please clarify that and i'll see if I can help. Otherwise if you have AIM messenger, just message me: ApatheticVetis


New member
Is there a way you can video your action so I can see it? I'm sure I'd be able to give some tips if I can see what you're doing.

Are you stretching before and after playing?
hey man,
i had this problem happen to me though i managed to damage the nerve in the top of my foot and lost all feeling in it. (though its better now!! )
Try lowering or raising your throne, an inch at a time. might bring your balance back a lil bit and get the blood flowing back in that sore leg. also, try to boost up the magnesium in your diet along with potassium and zinc. these are all great for your muscles.
posture might be another factor. try a throne with a backrest.


New member
I'm sorry you are experiencing problems. It can be extremely painful, so I appreciate all you're going through.

How high is your throne? Ideally your knee should be just over 90 degrees, and yoour thigh should really be almost horizontal. This gives you the best leverage, without over-exerting.

I normally loosen my kick pedal spring until it is almost slack. Basically, I keep lossening it until there is an area of slackness, then I re-tighten it until the slack is taken up. This allows me to use the power of my foot without fighting the return spring.

Are you playing with your heel UP or down? I normally play "heel up", which is the accepted standard for Rock drumming. Many jazzers are very scornfull, saying this removes an element of control. I disagree.
Good luck!


New member
unlucky mate. one thing which helps is keeping healthy which ill admit i am not. try doin so stretchin and do some leg exercises etc. if not as you've been playing so long im sure you know make sure your leg is perpendicular to body should be 90degrees. also keep the back straight. try the flatfoot technique were the toe and heel hit the pedal at a horizontal angle the bass drum head is hit harder at no extra effort so maybe the pain will reduce. check out tim waterson or derek roddy they have helpful videos that explain it. i know they play heavy metal but i dont and try to use the same technique works for me.

good luck hope the pain goes away.


New member
I have to admit I feel weird giving advice to someone as experienced as you. Over tension of the body is the enemy of anything musical. In every area of music performance; singing, playing, dancing, whatever; you must be totally relaxed to do it correctly. This goes for your mind too. You need to relax, relax, relax, and remind yourself of how experienced you are. Playing drums is second nature to you, it's not something you have to think about.

Everyone has their own opinions about technique, but honestly, when it comes to drum kit there are no rules. You know that, you have to know that considering how experienced you are. Personally, I play heal-up, with my foot completely relaxed, ankle slightly stiff (not tense). My stroke is actually made at the hip, by lifting (3-4 inches) and stomping, with my toe never losing contact with the pedal. You should also make sure that you are not using knives or swords instead of kick beaters, I've seen that before, it's a very expensive mistake. haha If you can, take a break from playing. Give yourself a week or two to just not think about it. Is there anything going on in your personal life that needs attention? If there's something serious that you are intentionally avoiding, it shows up in other places. If that's the case, you should try and find some wise counsel and deal with whatever the issue might be. That's all I got.


New member
You might try cranking the kick up in the monitors and getting one of those butt shaker things. It will give you the illusion you are playing louder. Bottom less loud!

The Heel

New member
Wow. Thanks everybody for the advice.

I think I'm starting to put this back together.

See, I was(am) over tensing my leg and actually throwing off my balance because of how hard I've been playing the bass drum. I've been tightening the tension on my bass drum pedal to compensate for the stomping I was doing.

Basically, I have let my technique just go to Hell. I predominantly use a heel-up slide style. I had made it my own, in that I would not just slide my toe forward for doubles, but I could slide my ankle to either side and accent with a harder beat without raising my leg up again. This would also give me room for extra beats without re-raising my leg.

Somehow I just completely forgot about everything I've learned in my life about playing the bass drum. I've been talking to other drummers locally and they didnt get what I was saying either.

Basically what I'm doing is just smashing my foot into the pedal with absolutely no technique whatsoever, relentlessly, until I fatigue and then exhaust my leg and foot.

After reading some of this... I decided to go out and buy a hydrolic throne. This way I can constantly change my balance until I find it again. I still need to continue to play with the tension on my pedal, but at least I'm begining to remember what its SUPPOSED to feel like. I'll pay attention to the balance, I'll continue to focus on relaxing and breathing patterns... and I'll work my way through this.

Thanks again for all the advice and help. I really appreciate it.

The Heel

New member
To clear up the confusion... I want to go back to what I knew... which was playing at an acceptable and comfortable level. Playing this hard and loud was something that started happening to me unconciously from just admiring John Bonham's playing on the "How The West Was Won" Disk One DVD.

I just want to get back to normal... which is less hard, and more controlled.

Bonham could do both... But he's John Bonham.

I just need to get back to whats right for me.
to me it sounds like listening to this album or songs whatever has made you try and play drums like someone else. relax and feel the drums your style comes out naturally. learning again can be fun im sure you realise after all your years. the key to drums (even though stereo-typically you wouldnt think it) is relaxing. keep the faith my friend