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  • Leonid Sokolovsky

Bass Drum Techniques


A great drummer (and a friend of mine) Max Klots wrote a method book on Bass Drum techniques. I decided to go ahead and translate some of the concepts he mentioned in his book.

Single Stroke Technique

1. Down Stroke [D]

a. The beater is buried. The first 1/3 tip of the foot is leaning about 20 degrees up from the footboard. This is the standard ready position.

b. The thigh begins lifting the foot up, but the 1/3 tip of the foot delays and remains in contact with the pedal. [My guess] is that this delay allows the heel of the foot to lift into position while preserving the tension of the pedal's spring. [My guess] is that lifting the heel will also bring more of the body's weight into the pedal, further burying the beater and increasing the spring's tension.

c. When the tip of the foot finally rises, the spring tension will snap the beater back. This is similar to the natural rebound you'd get from the snare on a full stroke. (note that this "spring rebound" is the only rebound you can get starting from the resting position).

d. The beater will bounce back to around 70-80 degrees from the starting position. Use the full weight of the foot to press back down on the pedal.

e. Bury the pedal. The rebound is not used.

While you play the foot does not separate from the tip of the footboard and it doesn't touch the heel support. This technique is called heel up.

There is a similarity between the bass down stroke discussed above and the moeller down stroke. The delayed lifting of the bass drum pedal and snap of the beater imitates the delayed, whip-type motion of the wrist in moeller.

Double Stroke Technique

2. Up Stroke [U]

This is a sliding stroke towards the bass drum head.

a. Beginning with the beater buried, the foot leans just further ahead than in 1a.

b. same as 1b

c. same as 1c

d. Lift your foot and press back down on the pedal. Allow the beater to rebound.

e. The rebound of the beater stays 3/4 of the maximum position from the bass drum head.

The up stroke is only used in conjunction with a down stroke.

3. Double Stroke

An up stroke followed by a down stroke. The up strokes slides toward the bass drum head and rebounds the beater while the down stroke buries it.

In fast tempos, the foot will turn slightly inwards while sliding toward the bass drum head.

Multiple Stroke Technique

4. Full down stroke.

a. same as 1a

b. same as 1b

c. same as 1c

d. same as 1d

e. Rebound the pedal.

The full down stroke is only used in conjunction with the bounce stroke.

5. Bounce or supporting rebound stroke

Used after a full down stroke.

6. Multiple Strokes (3, 4, 5 rolls, etc.)

First stroke is a full down stroke, followed by a series of bounces, then ending with a down stroke. The two concluding strokes are executed like a double stroke except the second to last stroke is a bounce and not an up stroke. The difference is that in a bounce stroke you begin with the beater unburied, while in an up stroke you begin with it buried and your heel in a resting position. This forces the up stroke to use the "moeller motion" described above.

SELF EXPLANATION

This method buries the beater (I almost always bounce the beater off the drumhead) . It requires that in the resting position, which only the "down stroke" brings you to, the beater remains against the drumhead.

However the "up", "full", and "bounce" strokes rebound the beater. This makes sense as all multiple stroke techniques use rebound, regardless of bass drum method, to maximize speed.

The stroke possibilities are:

Single Strokes:

Down

Double Strokes:

Up --> Down

3+ Strokes:

Full --> (Multiple Bounces) --> Down


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