One of the best things a drummer can add to his arsenal of drumming is the double bass drum pedal. Adding the skill of incorporating your left foot into your drumming will increase your playing more than you could imagine. Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, Dream Theaters Mike Portnoy, Rush’s’ Neil Peart, have all mastered this technique. In fact, more and more artists are incorporating the double kickers into their music these days. So how are you supposed to practice these techniques and patterns? The solution is fairly simple, and when you look at it you will be amazed in how simple most of these double bass grooves actually are! *Before you start out with these exercises, make sure you have selected the best double bass pedal for you. Check out the complete double bass pedal buyers guide. Also, make sure are getting the absolute best sound out of your bass drum by reading the article on getting the best sound from your bas drum! To begin, there are many warm up exercises that will help you along the way. After all, mastering the double bass drum is mainly muscle development. Therefore practicing these exercises is crucial if you want to see improvement! Practice these following exercises with both techniques, heel up as well as heel down. Developing both styles will open up the doors for all styles of double bass drumming. You may notice that some of these patterns look like the basic rudiments. This is because they are; a lot of the basic essential rudiments can be used on the feet as well as great practice exercises. Let’s start by incorporating the double bass into a basic beat. There are a number of ways to look at this, but let’s take the easiest route. Start by playing your basic “money” beat on the hi hat, snare and bass drum. That’s eighth notes on the hi hat and quarter notes on the snare and bass. Now we want to fill in any missing beats with your bass drum. To do this, follow you’re hi hat hand with your bass drum. You will now be playing eighth notes on your hi hat and your right foot. This may sound funny, but make sure you get it. The left foot may come easy because you use this foot all the time, however the right foot is a little trickier. So start out slow by only playing the right foot in the beat. This time though, instead of following you’re hi hat, you want to play eight note beats on the “ands”. Try this slowly! Now, once you can do both left and right feet; add them together to make a 16th note roll behind the drum beat. This is one of the most basic double bass beats you can play. Notice how the notation has changed. This is only to help you determine which foot is which on the sheet music. The regular bass drum note is your bottom line, while the lower note is your left foot. Remember to play this slow at first, as it is not an easy concept to learn! However, once you have it down, you will notice a huge improvement on your drumming skills! For a more complete guide to double bass drumming, check out Jared Falk’s Bass Drum Secrets. Also, check out this lesson on incorperating the double bass pedal into fills! By: Dave Atkinson

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Improve Your Groove By Playing With Dynamics — What is it that separates professional drummers from the beginners? How come I can’t make a simple beat sound the way my favorite drummer plays it? Add Creativity To Your Drum Beats — Tired of playing the same old beats? Sometimes as drummers we just need some fresh ideas to mixing things up. In this lesson, I hope to provide you with some tips and suggestions to fill your creativity toolbox. Learn How To Play The Drums — Do you want to learn how to play the drums? Think it may be too difficult or require a lot of coordination? I’ve got great news for you! The truth of the matter is — if you can count to four, you can play the drums! Learn How To Play A Single Paradiddle — A Very popular and essential rudiment. This pattern will teach you stick independence. It is a little more advanced then the Single stroke roll, and the double stroke roll. Try this in different beats and fills! Learn To Read Drum Notation and Sheet Music — Music theory is something most drummers do not consider learning. However, as musicians, it is vital to learn the basics. This will teach you note values, as well as othe key points to music theory!

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Double Bass Drumming — Learn how to play the double bass with Mike Michalkow’s Complete Drumming System! Bass Drum Secrets — This website is full of vital information about a secret technique that will double you foot speed. Bass Drum Dynamics and Speed — Check out this article on developing bass drum speed and dynamics! It is very useful. How to Play Drums the Easy Way — This website is another free resource for tons of free lessons, articles and tips! Drum Lessons -This is a unique free resource for drummer that inclues audio samples of each beat and pattern provided. A great learning tool! Considered the “heart of the drum kit,” the bass, or kick, drum is used to mark time in almost all styles of popular music, including pop, rock, and jazz. The appearance and functionality of this modern-day kit dates back to 1909, when drum manufacturer William F. Ludwig invented a practical bass drum foot pedal. Though there were primitive prototypes developed in the 1890s, they did not use Ludwig’s spring-activated mechanism to return the beater back to its original position after it struck the bass drum head. Decades later, the bass drum received another makeover when big band jazz drummer Louie Bellson popularized the double bass drum setup: using two kick drums operated by two pedals–one per foot. The 1960s saw an increase in its popularity. Rock drummers Ginger Baker (Cream), Keith Moon (The Who), and Nick Mason (Pink Floyd) were all seen beating away behind two bass drums. Today, the popular alternative to lugging around two separate bass drums is playing one drum with a double bass drum pedal. This feat in pedal technology works just like a regular pedal except that a second base plate is attached by a rod to a separate beater mechanism, which operates alongside the primary beater. Like earlier double bass setups, double pedals require both feet to operate. Though initially popularized by jazz drummers during the mid-20th century, double bass drumming today is heard mostly in heavy metal, hard rock, and punk music (though some jazz, Latin, and country styles utilize it as well). Typically, drummers learn to play double bass to add power to their sound and to play patterns that are not possible with a single pedal, such as triplets and running sixteenth notes. Using a double bass drum pedal, rather than two separate bass drums, makes it easier to obtain a consistent sound, and also simplifies transportation and setup on stage. However, for metalheads who care more about breaking the sound barrier than saving their backs, using two bass drums produces a larger sound than a double bass pedal because each drum has extra time in between strokes to resonate. Follow these tips to get the most out of a double bass pedal. Taming the Beat Step 1: Shape Up To prevent injury, build stamina, and increase leg muscle strength, drummers swear by the simple exercise of calf raises. Try doing three sets of 25 raises daily, and an extra set shortly before you’re going to play. Also, take leisurely bike rides or walks several times a week to strengthen the leg muscles, which will enable you to play faster. Step 2: Make Adjustments Adjusting your double bass pedal’s spring tension and beater angle are imperative to creating your desired sound, as well as keeping you comfortable. Spring tension allows the pedal to feel heavier or lighter; the higher the tension, the harder you’ll have to work to depress the pedal, but the quicker the beater will return. In addition, make sure the spring tension in both pedals is even. This prevents one leg from becoming faster than the other, ensuring consistent playing. The angle of the beater is usually adjustable, too. A louder sound is created when the angle of the beater is larger because the beater’s stroke is longer. Step 3: Learn the “Heel Up” and “Heel Down” Methods For musical styles requiring louder, faster, and more powerful strokes, the “heel up” technique is best. Pressing the pedals down in the middle of the footboards uses your entire leg, thus creating a louder sound. The “heel down” method places both feet entirely on the footboards and uses the natural leverage of the pedals. This technique provides more control and is best used for playing less aggressive styles of music, such as jazz. No matter what technique best suits the styles of music you play, it is important to practice both methods. This ensures versatility and flexibility in your playing. Step 4: Practice, Practice, Practice Your Rudiments Practicing basic drum rudiments is just as important for your feet as it is for your hands. Practice them slowly at first (and correctly), then increase your speed to further practice technique and to increase foot control. And remember, listen to your mother and sit up straight! It improves leg mobility. One of the most common patterns to play with the double bass pedal is the single stroke roll, in which you alternate striking the drum with your right and left foot (R L R L). Paradiddles (R L R R/L R L L) and the double stroke roll (RR LL RR LL) are more advanced rudiments that require patience and skill, but they will greatly improve leg strength and speed. Step 5: Keep a Positive Attitude The double bass drum pedal is an advanced drumming technique that may take months to master. Don’t get frustrated, if after one month, you still can’t play the single stroke roll for four measures in a row, at 200 bpm. For a more accurate portrayal of your progress, gauge it every two months. This article is from our September-October 2010 issue. Click to order!

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