A Step-By-Step Guide to Playing Fast Double Bass Drums

by Madonna

Few skills in the drumming world captivate both audiences and fellow musicians like the ability to play fast double bass drums. This technique adds a dynamic and powerful element to drumming, enhancing the overall musical experience. Whether you’re a seasoned drummer looking to refine your skills or a beginner eager to embark on this exhilarating journey, this guide will provide valuable insights into mastering the art of speed with double bass drums.

Understanding the Basics

Before delving into the intricacies of playing fast double bass drums, it’s essential to have a solid grasp of the basics. Double bass drumming involves using both feet to play two bass drums simultaneously or using a double bass pedal with a single drum. The latter is more common and accessible for drummers.


Ensure your drum kit is set up ergonomically, with the double bass pedal positioned comfortably within reach. Familiarize yourself with the pedal’s tension adjustments, beater angles, and spring tension. These factors play a crucial role in achieving speed and precision.


Developing Foot Independence

Speed in double bass drumming is not just about rapid foot movements; it’s also about developing foot independence. Each foot should be able to operate independently, providing the drummer with the flexibility to create diverse rhythmic patterns. Practice exercises that focus on alternating between the right and left foot to build coordination and strengthen each leg.


Start with simple patterns, gradually increasing the complexity as you become more comfortable. Utilize a metronome to maintain a steady tempo and track your progress. This foundational work in foot independence lays the groundwork for the speed and control needed in fast double bass drumming.

Perfecting Technique

Technique is the cornerstone of any proficient drummer, especially when aiming for speed. The heel-down and heel-up techniques are two common approaches to double bass drumming. Experiment with both to find what suits your playing style.

In the heel-down technique, the heel remains on the footboard, providing stability and control. This technique is ideal for moderate tempos and allows for precise pedal control. On the other hand, the heel-up technique involves lifting the heel off the footboard, allowing for more power and speed. It’s crucial to find the right balance between control and speed to avoid sacrificing accuracy.

Building Strength and Endurance

Playing fast double bass drums requires significant lower limb strength and endurance. Incorporate specific exercises into your practice routine to target these areas. Leg raises, heel-toe exercises, and pedal slides are effective for building strength and flexibility in your ankles and legs.

Consistency is key when developing strength and endurance. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your practice sessions, allowing your muscles to adapt over time. Remember to include adequate warm-up and cool-down exercises to prevent injuries and enhance recovery.

Embracing the Metronome

The metronome is your best friend when aiming for speed in double bass drumming. It serves as a reliable guide, helping you maintain a consistent tempo and track your progress. Start at a comfortable speed and gradually increase it as you become more proficient.

Focus on precision and accuracy before prioritizing speed. It’s essential to play each note evenly and in sync with the metronome. As you build confidence, push your limits incrementally. The metronome not only aids in developing speed but also contributes to your overall sense of timing and rhythm.

Exploring Different Patterns and Techniques

Diversify your double bass drumming skills by exploring various patterns and techniques. Experiment with single strokes, double strokes, and paradiddles between the bass drums. Incorporate accents and ghost notes to add depth and complexity to your playing.

Additionally, explore the use of rudiments traditionally associated with hands, such as single strokes and rolls, and adapt them to your feet. This creative approach enhances your overall drumming vocabulary and adds a unique flair to your double bass drumming style.

Translating Techniques into Musical Context

While the technical aspects are crucial, it’s equally important to integrate your double bass drumming techniques into musical contexts. Practice along with songs from various genres, adapting your speed and patterns to fit the music. This not only enhances your ability to play in different styles but also hones your musical intuition and responsiveness.

Experiment with incorporating fast double bass drumming into fills, grooves, and dynamic transitions within a song. Understanding how to apply speed tastefully and musically is key to becoming a well-rounded drummer.

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Conclusion: The Road to Mastery

In conclusion, mastering the art of playing fast double bass drums requires a combination of technical proficiency, strength, and musicality. By understanding the basics, developing foot independence, perfecting technique, building strength and endurance, embracing the metronome, exploring different patterns and techniques, and translating these skills into musical contexts, you embark on a journey towards mastery.

Consistent and focused practice, along with a patient and disciplined approach, will undoubtedly lead to significant improvements in your double bass drumming speed. So, grab your sticks, sit behind your kit, and embark on the exciting and rewarding road to mastering the thrilling world of fast double bass drumming.


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