According to the Drumming System, the heel toe technique has become increasingly popular fairly recently. Steve Gadd has been know to use this technique and has discussed it briefly in some of his videos, but doesn’t elaborate much on it. Jojo Mayer, Danny Carey, Tim Yeung, Oli Herbert, and Chris Adler are popular drummers who are known to use this in their playing.
It allows you to play two strokes with one motion.
There is no record of how this technique originated. Some people believe that originated from the heel toe technique used in tap dancing.
Many drummers can play it with amazing speed. It’s really good for playing consistent single strokes or really fast double strokes on the bass drum. Although it can be incorporated into any style of music, it’s predominantly used in death metal.
The technique is fairly simple. It’s just a stroke with your toe, then a stroke with your heel. The spring and the footboard really come into play here.
If you can play it slow, faster is actually easier.
The Drumming System suggests the following steps:
- Start in heel down position.
- The toe goes down first.
- Your foot will be pointing downward.
- Slam (not really) the heel down.
- You will end up back in the starting position.
Another way of approaching it:
- Suspend your foot above the footboard.
- Play the first of the two notes with your heel.
- Snap your foot forward.
- Your heel will come up while your toe plays the second stroke.
For a more in depth look at this technique, check out Bass Drum Secrets.
As with everything in drumming, it’s really important to find what works for you and stick with that.