According to the Drumming System, double bass drumming has gained incredible popularity in recent years. Double bass drumming isn’t for everyone. Regardless, it’s a good skill to have in your toolbox, even if it’s not your thing. Virgil Donati, Thomas Lang, and Marco Minnemann push the extreme of double bass drumming. A lot of practice went in to what they do.
Here’s a good rule of thumb to remember:
There is a time and place for double bass drumming…and it’s usually in your practice space, during your practice time.
Caution: Bringing a double bass drum pedal to a rehearsal or performance can actually offend and scare other musicians (depending on the style of music you’re playing)…even if you just use for solos. Although you can apply it to any style of music, it’s usually predominantly used in speed metal.
The best time to start learning double bass is whenever you want to.
You have the option of playing with a double bass pedal or two bass drums. Two bass drums look good (some people make fun of it and call it the 80’s look). If you can afford the look,go for it. On the downside, you have to learn how to tune them EXACTLY the same. Each bass drum needs to have the same heads, same beater, same muffling, and same pedal tension. Finally, you need a vehicle that fits your drums, such as a minivan or SUV.
If you choose to use a double bass pedal, don’t get something cheap. Spend at least $200 or more on your pedal. Keep in mind that the tension of the springs must be exactly the same on both pedals. One foot will be stronger than the other.
TIP: Loosen the tension on the weaker pedal, and tighten it more each week, to allow the weaker foot to build strength.
The goal is to make your weaker foot as proficient as your stronger foot.
The pedals shouldn’t be so far away from you that you have to stretch to reach them, nor should they be so close that you feel crammed in. Using a mirror will provide you with invaluable feedback.
The height of your seat is another factor in double bass drumming. If you sit too low, you’ll get fatigued. If you sit too high, you’re gonna loose your balance. Practice playing singles with your feet, and make sure your not falling over. The Drumming System recommends using a motorcycle style seat for double bass drumming balance. Personally, I like a big round seat.
On some days your feet will play fast. On other days, your feet will play slow. Be sure to practice heel up, heel down, and heel toe. As with everything in drumming, remember to relax. The goal is to play everything comfortably.
The reason double bass drumming looks so easy is because the drummers who master it are comfortable.