Bass Drum Techniques

Today I want to briefly discuss bass drum techniques. I use the word “discuss” because I really want to know what your preference is. Above is an old iPhone video in which I’m playing the bass drum as I usually do. You can see three things. 1. I play heel up using the ball of my foot to propel the pedal. 2. I bury the beater. 3. I’m using a standard single pedal. I think it was a cheap Sound Percussion pedal. Now to be honest I didn’t know how I used my foot until I shot this video. I know that playing in socks helped me because it made it easier to slide on the pedal. I didn’t know how far down I positioned my foot but that may have helped too. I’m not sure if my approach is efficient or not. You can be the judge of that.

I pride myself on using a single pedal. Not that I have anything against double bass or double pedals. That is what works for me. I’m not blazing with my feet. Recently I read an article online that said “At first, it may seem like you are at a disadvantage when playing a single pedal. However, I don’t look at things that way at all. The simplicity of a single pedal setup can, in many ways, allow you to achieve usable results sooner. Better still, it’s all the more impressive to play amazing hand to feet combinations using just one foot.”

I don’t know about playing “amazing hand to feet combinations” but I can do doubles well. I have a heavy foot but I can also feather the bass drum if needed. Nowadays I use a Mapex 500 pedal and it has definitely improved my reaction time. I also use the DW Black Sheep beater developed by my good friend and co-author Rich Redmond. It’s important for us to remember that it is just as significant to develop our feet as it is our hands. After all playing the drums requires four limbs, not two. So what is your style and preference? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks in advance for commenting.

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2 Comments

Filed under Drums and Drumming

2 responses to “Bass Drum Techniques

  1. Hi Michael. My name is Eric Hood and like yourself,I was born & raised in Pgh,PA.
    I also like yourself,play a single pedal and use the very same technique that you do.(it must be in the Pgh water!) The only difference that I can see is that i prefer to play with a very light tennis shoe-something with mesh & a light sole. I guess you can kind of compare it to Neil who wears ultra light dance shoes. Did you know that Neil actually sales his “drum/dance “shoes for retail? My brother-in-law has a pair-they are pretty cool! They have a few symbols on them from Clockwork Angels and are Super light. I’m very excited for you if you get the Danny Serephine interview.Im sure that you will.He seems very open to sharing his stories &knowledge of his life and the industry. Keep up the Great work Michael, Peace.

    • (Eric is a friend of mine. We were in drumline together. He is an amazing drummer who is currently recording in the studio. I plan to interview him in the near future. Thanks for the comment my friend!)

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