Double Bass Drum Beats

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Bass Drum Boot Camp

In this free drum lesson, Dave Atkinson teaches eight drum beats that incorporate double bass patterns. These double bass drum beats range from stock to more advanced and challenging patterns. You’ll learn how to play a blast beat, 16th note triplet and 32nd note double bass drum beats, and a pattern in 7/8 time signature.

Learning the drum beats from this free drum lesson is a great way for you to be introduced to the world of double bass drum beats. Songs that have double bass drum beats in them are a great source of different ideas that you can incorporate into your playing as well. Some very popular examples of this are the double bass drum beats performed by Alex Van Halen on the song “Hot For Teacher” by Van Halen; Lars Ulrich on the song “One” by Metallica; Tomas Haake on the song “Bleed” by Meshuggah; Mike Portnoy on the song “Under a Glass Moon” by Dream Theater; Joey Jordison on the song “Duality” by Slipknot; Matt Greiner on the song “Composure” by August Burns Red; and Carter Beauford on the song “#41″ by the Dave Matthews Band.

Drummers: Lars Ulrich (Metallica), Alex Van Halen (Van Halen), Tomas Haake (Meshuggah), Carter Beauford (Dave Matthews Band), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, Transatlantic), Virgil Donati (Planet X, Ring of Fire, Southern Sons, Taste), Joey Jordison (Slipknot, Murderdolls), and Matt Greiner (August Burns Red).

Drum Beats

Playing a 16th note single stroke roll with your feet is one thing, playing something on top that is perfectly lined up with it is a whole different ball game. Make sure you practice exercise #1 at a slow tempo so you can line everything up perfectly. Once you’re able to play this double bass drum beat comfortably without any flams, you can start speeding it up. Always remember that things played right at slower speeds are way better than things played sloppily at higher speeds.

Exercise #2 is very similar to the first one. Instead of playing a 16th note single stroke roll with your feet, you play an 8th note triplet single stroke roll. The ride hand plays quarter notes instead of 8th notes, and the snare hand keeps hitting the snare drum on counts 2 and 4. The lead foot changes every other count because of the 8th note triplets. This means you’ll be playing the ride cymbal in unison with a different foot every other count. You have to be careful with this. Make sure everything lines up perfectly and that you don’t flam the unison shots.

Exercise #3 breaks away from playing constant rolls with the feet. Performing broken 16th note patterns with the feet can be quite challenging at first, since you’ll be starting and ending rolls in places you’re not used to. Luckily for you the rolls on this exercise start with the stronger foot leading, either on the “and” of a count or on the count. This makes these transitions much easier to control. Make sure the double bass strokes are all evenly spaced.

The foot pattern on exercise #4 is a mix between different note values. Start out by learning the foot pattern by itself. Play a 16th note single stroke roll on count 1, an 8th note on the “and” of count 2, and a 16th note triplet single stroke roll on count 3. These transitions can be awkward to play at first. Once you feel comfortable with them add the hands in.

Exercise #5 introduces you to 32nd note based double bass patterns. The feet will be playing 32nd note single stroke fours, and the hybrid drum rudiment single 5. It’s imperative you start this double bass drum beat slowly at first to gain control over your feet. This will enable you to play this beat at faster tempos eventually. It’s very easy to just try to “will it”, but you’ll end up getting tired pretty fast and the notes may end up cluttered. Use a metronome and strive for perfection.

Exercise #6 is a traditional variation of the blast beat know as bomb blast. This blast beat became very popular in the early 1990s by bands like Cannibal Corpse and Bolt Thrower. A bomb blast is basically a traditional blast beat that’s played with a 16th note double bass pattern, instead of an 8th note single pedal pattern. You’ll be playing an 8th note single stroke roll with the hands and a 16th note single stroke roll with the feet. This pattern has a lot of notes played at the same time, so avoid playing flams with any of the unison figures.

Exercise #7 works on snare hand independence while the feet play a 16th note single stroke roll. You’ll be stretching your brain with this one, so take it slowly at first. Once again, work on getting every unison stroke synched up and all notes spaced evenly.

Exercise #8 is in 7/8, an odd-time signature. Taking a look at the sheet music below, you can see that the ride pattern is broken up between the bell and the bow. Start by getting used to this pattern while you play the snare shots. Once the hands are under control, add the feet to the mix.

If you want to, you can use this collection of beats to come up with more ideas in 7/8. The beats in this free drum lesson are all in 4/4 time, except for the previous one. In a measure of 4/4 time you have eight 8th notes. So you can actually think of 4/4 as being 8/8. If you remove one of the 8th notes from 8/8 you get 7/8. Thus, remove any of the 8th notes from the 7 initial beats to get more patterns in 7/8 time signature. If you want to learn more about 7/8 odd-time, check the free drum lesson “Learning 7/8 Odd-Time“. If you’re more interested in learning some drum fills in 7/8, the free drum lesson “Beginner 7/8 Drum Fills” is probably a best option for you.

There are literally thousands of double bass drum beats that you can come up with. After learning how to play these patterns, you can start messing around with them to create different combinations of your own. For instance, you can take the hand pattern on beat 7 and use it over each of the double bass rhythms from all the other exercises. Have fun and be creative.

Once you’ve mastered these double bass drum beats, check the free drum lesson “Beginner Double Bass Drum Fills“. These are cool drum fills that work great with the double bass drum beats from this free drum lesson. You can also use them to take your double bass drum technique to whole new level.


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