Cameron Fleury is an accomplished drummer with solid experience in the Canadian metal scene. Cameron has put his musical talent to work filling in as a drummer on international tours and professional studio recording sessions.
Double Bass Technique – Leg to Ankle Motion.
I’m going to show you how to reach faster double bass speeds with this technique, so you can play faster for longer behind the drums. The first thing we need to look at is our position behind the drums and the leg motion we use. The hip flexor is this upper region of the leg here, and to be quite fair I use this motion quite a bit when I’m playing at slow tempos. Basically, you’re pushing down with your whole leg and retracting it thus creating a bass drum hit. The downfall with this technique eat faster speeds, is that after a long period of time, you become tired and you end up losing steam pretty quickly.
Fortunately for us, we also have a small grouping of muscles in and around our ankles, and that’s the motion I want to show you how to switch to from the hip flexor motion. The ankle has a lot of smaller muscle groups, and if we’re able to properly control them, we can play at much quicker tempos with less physical exertion.
We can begin by resting our foot on the ground just so I can show you the movement you’re trying to mimic. If you raise your leg slightly by activating the hip flexor like this you will have full tapping motion that you can control with your ankles. We call this the heel up technique.
A lot of drummers compare the ankle motion to bouncing a basketball, which is a very easy way to put it. So let’s pretend to do that and see what it looks like. You’re going to notice it’s a little harder to do this on the ground as opposed to having your feet on the pedal. This is because we have no opposing force like the spring tension in our pedals pushing back on our leg.
The tension in the pedal and proper technique is what is going to help guide your feet make a continuous motion. Practicing on the double bass pedal is something you want to practice slowly before trying to go fast, that way you can master the motion properly and avoid hurting yourself.
When playing with your ankles in the heel up position we want to ensure that we’re not using our hip flexor to create the downward motion. Instead, we want to freely push down with the end of our foot, much like how I was talking about bouncing a basketball. One crucial part of this technique is that we keep our heel off the footboard. This is so that our range of motion is much greater. The reason we want this is that the smaller the motion, the less control we will have over it. Which is what causes some players to twitch nervously on the pedals. Remember, we want to do it slow and proper before we try and go fast. Once you’ve nailed slower tempos gradually increase them.
We need to make sure that we’re working with our pedal and not against it. The tension in the spring is what’s causing the pedal to rebound, so everyone’s pedal will be different. Making sure that our foot stays in motion with the pedal is a must because we don’t want to work against it as that will defeat the purpose of this technique. If we try and force it, we lose control and end up playing out of time.
Now that we’ve got the ankle motion down we need to be able to maneuver between the leg movement and the ankle motion. This is a little tricky because we’re using two different parts of the leg, and we need total control of the two. The way I suggest practicing it is making sure your feet are further up the pedal board and not all the way back towards the heel plate. We want a full range of motion for the maximum amount of power in our double pedal playing. We want to play 1 measure with our legs and then a measure with our ankles. Remember start slow and speed up the BPM in increments of 5.
Video Filming & Editing: Aaron Fleury
Cameron Proudly Plays:
Los Cabos Drumsticks:
Mapex Black Panther – Black Widow
Meinl 15″ Pure Alloy Hi-Hats
Meinl 10″ Classic Customs Dark Splash
Meinl 17″ Classic Extreme Metal Crash
Meinl 18″ Classic Extreme Metal Crash
Meinl 20″ Pure Alloy Medium Ride
Meinl 16″/18″ Classic Extreme Metal Stack
Los Cabos 5b Red Hickory Intense
Focusrite 18i20 2nd Gen
Evans G2 Clear
Evans HD Genera Dry
AKGD112 MK II
CAD M179 Variable-Pattern Condenser
CAD PRO-7 Drum Microphones
Canon G7X Mark ii
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