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Double Bass Speed Tips

Bass Drum Boot Camp

Anyone who plays double bass wants to get faster at it. Some of these drummers fall short on their goals because they lack the appropriate exercises and knowledge to do so. In this free video drum lesson, Dave Atkinson, of the DrumLessons.com team of instructors, shares some valuable tips and exercises on how to develop double bass speed and endurance.

For getting a glimpse at what these exercises will help you achieve in the long run, check out the drumming of some of the fastest drummers on the planet. Don’t get put off by their playing. The high levels of speed at what they are able to play are the result of a lifetime of practicing double bass drumming. It takes years to get to their level of proficiency. If they can do it, than so can you. Enjoy their drumming. Hope they further inspire you reaching your double bass drumming speed goals.

Drummers: George Kollias (Nile, Cerebrum, Sickening Horror, Nightfall), Derek Roddy (Serpents Rise, Hate Eternal, Aurora Bourealis, Council of the Fallen, Nile, Today is the Day), Thomas Lang (Stork, SchwarZenator), Tim Waterson (Judea San Pedro), Pete Sandoval (Morbid Angel, Terrorizer), Jan Axel “Hellhammer” Blomberg (Mayhem, Arcturus, Dimmu Borgir, The Kovenant, Shining), Gene Hoglan (Devin Townsend, Dark Angel, Death, Dethklok, Strapping Young Lad, Pitch Black Forecast, Testament, Fear Factory), Tim Yeung (Divine Heresy, Hate Eternal, Aurora Borealis), Mike “Machine” Mallais (Jeremy Reid & The Machine, Red Dead & Loaded, Sensory Deception).

Speed Tip #1 – Setting Up Bass Drum & Pedals

Setting up your bass drum and pedals is the first step for having a successful venture in attaining a higher double bass speed. The main focus here is to keep everything well balanced. This goes for the spring tension, angle of the footboard, and even the placement of the beaters. You’ll want to have your feet playing pedals that have very similar settings, so that they can produce similar sounding strokes. As for the bass drum, drummers usually have problems with the skin’s slap back, which catapults the bass drum beater back after striking the drumhead. This makes the beater of the pedal that much harder to control, which in turn makes it harder to gain speed. So having the right amount of muffling against the batter head, or even tuning it a little looser, will help you tone down its slap.

If you want to learn more about bass drum tuning, check the free drum lesson “How To Tune Your Bass Drum“. To learn about muffling techniques check the free drum lesson “How To Muffle Your Drums“.

Speed Tip #2 – Using Your Legs & Ankles

When playing double bass we tend to use an up and down motion with our legs for each stroke. As we get to faster tempos this type of movement needs to be toned down since it wastes too much energy. As a result, we get tired way faster and can’t surpass a certain speed plateau. You’ll have to start using your ankles instead when this happens. The muscles in that area of the leg are smaller, which enables them to outperform the bigger leg muscles in speed and endurance. To learn more about ankle based bass drum technique, watch the video on the flat foot technique.

At slower speeds you use a lot of leg motion and at higher speeds the ankles. But what happens midway? This grey area in speed is where a transition occurs, a mix of leg motion with ankle motion. It’s very important to practice these transitions throughout a wide range of tempo markings, so as to make your legs comfortable in changing gears – legs, legs/ankles, ankles – at any speed. You can practice this by playing a regular rock beat with an 8th note double bass single stroke roll on counts 1 and 3, and a 16th note double bass roll on counts 2 and 4. This way, for each tempo marking you play with, you’ll be able to practice transitions from slower rolls to faster rolls to slower rolls again.

Speed Tip #3 – Focus On Your Weak Foot

It’s important that you spend some time focusing on your weaker foot. This will enable you to have a real assessment of how your foot behaves and how strong and fast it is. In the video, Dave shares a cool exercise that works on strengthening your weaker foot. When practicing that exercise keep looping it for as long as you possibly can. The more time you keep playing the exercise without stopping, the stronger and faster your leg will become. The free drum lesson “Beginner Single Pedal Bass Drum Speed” is a great source of exercises that you can use to strengthen your weaker foot.

Speed Tip #4 – Speed & Endurance Practice

Speed is a direct result of control. The more you’re able to control the pedals with each foot, the higher the speed at what you’ll be able to perform. Thus, starting out slow and working your way up is the way to go. Slow tempos enable you to work on your control. So as you become more and more controlled at slower tempos, the better you’ll become at higher tempos. Gradually increase the tempo of the metronome, but only when you feel you’ve mastered a certain tempo.

Endurance on the other hand is a result of repetition. As you practice one exercise for an extended period of time without stopping, you may start feeling a burn in the legs. The burn you feel is actually the tissues in your muscles tearing. Once the tissues heal, your muscles will get stronger and bigger. Not only will you be able to endure fast tempos for longer periods of time, but you’ll also be working on speed, since repetition also develops control.

Speed Tip #5 – Mark Your Progress

This is a big one. Using a click track as a measuring tool for your progress, and taking notes of it on a piece of paper, makes a world of difference in the way you perceive your development. As days and moths go by, you’ll be able to look back and check on how you have really developed over time. It serves especially as an encouragement tool, but can also be used as a way of organizing the way you spend your time behind a drum set or a pad.


This Lesson Has 29 Comments

  • Jimmi says:

    If you want to play double bass fast and precise, All you need to practice is using your left extremities as you do with your right. For instance: You should be able to do everything with your left that you can with your right.. Set up your kit left handed or vise versa, and get really good playing both ways. It really feels funky at first but in no time you will see quite an improvement on all fronts and not just double bass playing.. Most players can fly with their dominate foot.. Imagine the same with the other. :-) Just give it try.. Would love to hear comments..

  • themaddrummer says:

    I have been drumming for 20+ years and started around 8 yrs. Old. I’ve never had any lessons so don’t know how to read, but I have the ability to learn songs by audio and memory. I was taught so to say by the greats like bonzo for examle, I then had progressed to bands like fear factory etc. Which brought me to the double pedal world. I’ve always been quick with patterns and what not but am having troubles with songs like lamb of god – the faded line. I can’t get the roll and I’m baffled because it sounds so easy. I’m not comfortable with my pedal arrangements and I think that has a lot to do with it, I tried tinkering with the springs and beater placement and still can’t get that speed and I know its that issue specifically. Was wondering if you could explain the best “speed” adjustments? My phones data is really slow and cannot watch any video it just simply won’t load. If you could help me that would be great!!!! Thanks.

  • Adrian says:

    I’m 13 and these may work out well! I just have to go home and try it out!

  • Daniel says:

    I have eraly learnt alot from this site…..realy. Am a drummer that does not know the left or right in pedalling the bass drum…..am glad i was here ..i am a musical band cordinator in gosple music in nigeria and i have difficulties controlling the band members as a whole….i need help….

  • LLOYD BLACK says:

    IM JUST STARTTING TO WORK ON D-BASS,THE WORK OUT TIPS ARE WORKING FOR ME WELL.

  • Kings Love. says:

    It has been nice drumming, it’s a pleasure learning drumming with you guyz, more power to your elbow.

  • Elijah says:

    Hey, I know bass speed is one of those things that will come with time and practice, but I was wondering if you had any tips on fluency. See I have decent speed on double bass, but it sounds rather choppy, it doesn’t sound smooth and natural like if you were to listen to “The Devil Wears Prada” or “Oh, Sleeper”. So if you have any tips or techniques I would greatly appreciate them.

    • Moinuddin says:

      documentary sakhtan az iran khleyi kare hasasie va inke shahamate ino dashti beri iran va makhsusan az esfehan in barnamaro tahie koni khleyi ghabele tahsine!ama khob to ke barname sazi bayad behtar beduni ekhtelat va ekhtelafe salayeghe mazhabi ghomi farhangi va besyari az chizaye dige taghriban ino baraye toye barname saz gheyre momken mikone ke khodeto bi taraf neshun bedi.amma baz mishe ba deghate bishtar tori barnamaro sakht ke be hich gheshri bar nakhore!baraye mesal be man be onvane te kesi ke dinam ro pish az meliatam mizaram barnamat tuye chandta jash kami tuye zogh zan bud.age dust dashti khosusi barat masadighesho migam.amma dar kol negahe enteghadito mipasandam, va havadare khodet va barnamehat hastam.ya ali

    • FusionX says:

      Start your notes slow. 8ths, 8th note triplets, 16ths. Strive for evenness. Gradually speed, concentrating on both your feet, ankles, etc. If you start to cramp and lose evenness at higher speeds, slow down and stop. Rest. Start all over again and again, until you get better and better. Ultimately, just like your hands, your feet will get more even and faster. If you’re right footed, work harder on your left foot. Basically, just as a rudimentary drummer has to keep going over and over on their rudiments perfecting them, slow, fast, slow, fast, the same is true for the feet. Practice, practice, practice.

  • Edward says:

    Thank you for this one. Now I know how to strengthen my left foot. Thank you so much! :)

    • Evelin says:

      surbahr ke bare me kahi kuch to lika ja raha hai ye jan kar achha laga ma annapurna ji ne jo raag baayja hia wo majh khamaj hai.jise janhan tak mujhe pata hai baba alludiin khan sahab ne banaya hai.surbahar ki tonal quality muje bahut achha lagta hai. bahut bahut dhyanavad

    • Auth says:

      i have a deep impressed talk with my ex-boss on renadig.“if you are the master on what you are renadig, just go quickly through table of content, find what you want, take it as a handbook; if you are not and no interesting in, put it on your bed, and it will be good in your sleeping; if you wanna be the master, choosing ONE correct book, not two, not three, just one right book, read it by your heart, and check out the references, repeat them.”“The more, the better? based on you”

  • Samuel Poku says:

    I love drums

  • Makiah d says:

    Having trouble hiting the bass drum one after the other Help!

  • Luis says:

    I will try to keep doing workout the problem is that because of my job sometimes there are days I cannot practice.

    • FusionX says:

      Many of us can’t always practice day after day because of work, family, etc. So, when you can practice, make the most of it. If you only have 15 minutes; work on that roll you’re having trouble with. Or that beat you can’t quite get. Don’t just get on the drums and start fooling around. Really concentrate on things you’re lacking. Even if it’s only for just a few minutes or so, you’ll have accomplished more, than if you just start hitting the drums without a plan.

  • Felix David says:

    Is there any book that can teach me all about double bass drum beats, techniques, fills and some other stuff if it is please send me a link

  • sally says:

    Now maybe you guys can answer this question. I want to bang a bass drum continuously for one hour at great speeds. That is exactly what I want to do. So I want to know whether there is an electric drum machine thumper that I can buy. I have asked around and no drummer can maintain the speed for one hour, nor do they want to try, so its not like I am stealing the jobs of drummers. I have googled “drum thumper” and got junk. So, can you give some ideas and links.

  • Chris says:

    allright…..I may be total idiot…..but where exactly is that link for the progress chart? :-|

  • Reuben Kift says:

    I enjoy watching all your lessons, they’re very informative and explained in a way that makes it easier for amatuer double-bass players like myself to understand.
    I just want to know if it’s good trying to develope speed without bass drum pedals cos I cant use my kit cos people start to complain. I have to use the floor instead. I just want to know if that’s wise or not.

    Keep up with what you’re doing.

    • Eva says:

      You know what? ,.. I was bouncing up and down on my hoollw skull like a pogo stick at the beginning, dont ask me how I do this, it just happens, Im going to talk to a bishop next month about it, but anyway, after registering the song through once, I was convinced it was a boring reel, but it had a great ending, then something must have snapped in my mind, to the gnut of a broken box, and I began to think of the song as a whole, would the end be as astounding as it was if you didnt build it up in the way that you did? had I inherited a little brain damage?.. I suppose a few more whistles and bells through the first 2 quarters may have preened the animal for the show sure, that’s what I think Tim and Brad are CRUELLY relating to in thier SCATHING attacks above, but a build up’ is one of the most effective and sensational constructions, a real spike in the punch, to be enjoyed by all when orchestrated well, and I really appreciate your contributions in total and think your song Deep’ is a hit, and is up there with the best on this site so far. Thank you so much for sharing your work, I am voraciously eager for more, it’s scrumptious stuff.

  • Believe says:

    I need double bassdruming

  • Anais says:

    Thank you one more time for this video guys! but look, i am going to sound stupid here, but every time i look for speed tips on this website or another, i am looking for this: how to play with your ANKLES? i have always been playing heel up, with all my leg moving with the bit, and just cant figure out HOW to play with just my ankles. that sounds nut alright, but there you go!

    • Daniel Kent Haynes says:

      Try sitting on a high stool and tap the front of your foot on the floor. It helped me quite a bit.

  • conrad says:

    I enjoy watching all your clipings, and collecting your PDF files. Thanks and continue doing what you are doing for young drummers like myself.
    Its however unfortunately for me to access the products you had for sale on Black Friday.

    if its not too much of a trouble, do you know how can I purchase your package without going through the process of purchasing it online.

    please can you help me?

 
 

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