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How to use Double pedal bass drum

Bass drum pedal

William F. Ludwig made the bass drum pedal workable in 1909, paving the way for the modern drum kit.[4] A bass drum pedal operates much the same as a hi-hat; a "footplate" is pressed to pull a chain, belt, or metal "drive" mechanism downward, bringing a "beater" or mallet made of felt, wood, plastic, or rubber attached to a "shaft" forward into the drumhead. The pedal and beater system are mounted in a metal frame and like the hi-hat, a "tension unit" controls the amount of pressure needed to strike and the amount of recoil upon release. A double bass drum pedal operates much the same way only with a second footplate attached by rod to a remote beater mechanism.

Double bass drum

In some forms of jazz, many forms of Heavy metal music and hard rock, fusion, and some forms of punk, two bass drum pedals are used (one operated by each foot) or a double-bass-pedal is used (two pedals on the same bass drum). The idea for the double bass drum setup came from jazz drummer Louie Bellson when he was still in high school. Double bass drums were used initially by jazz artists such as Ray McKinley and Ed Shaughnessy in the 1940s and 1950s, and popularized in the 1960s by rock drummers Ginger Baker of Cream, Keith Moon of the Who, and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd[7]. Double bass drumming later became an integral part of extreme metal inspired by Dave Lombardo of Slayer. Originally two tuned bass drums were used for this, but a double pedal on one bass drum using an extension mechanism is now common due to lower cost and ease of tuning. The double pedal was derived from schematics originally drawn out by a Russian engineer named Slavoch Khruschev, however he received no royalties. But with a double bass pedal, because of the amount of air being moved around, amplification problems can occur especially live, and many inconsistencies with studio recording.

[edit] Drop-clutch

When using a double bass drum pedal, the foot which normally controls the hi-hat pedal moves to the second bass drum pedal, and so the hi hat opens. When it is open, the notes will ring rather than click, as they do when it is closed, and so some drummers choose to use a drop-clutch.

A drop-clutch is a mechanism used to disengage and drop the top hi-hat in order to free up both feet while playing double bass drums. This results in the hi-hat producing a closed sound until the hi-hat foot is available again. Drop-clutches may be activated in various ways depending on manufacturer, by hitting the clutch either on the side or top down with a drumstick or by pressing a locking footpedal as with a Tama "Cobra Clutch" product which also allows for control over how much the hi-hat cymbals are closed. The clutch can be disengaged by pressing the hi-hat completely down or with the Cobra clutch, by pressing the unlocking pedal.[5][8]


The most common method of bass drum playing is a "heel-up" technique: the pedals are struck with the ball of the feet using force primarily from the thigh as opposed to the ankles when using the "heel-down" technique. Most drummers play single strokes, although there are many who are also capable of playing doubles or paradiddles. Drummers such as Thomas Lang, Virgil Donati, and Mike Portnoy are capable of performing complicated solos on top of an ostinato bass drum pattern. Thomas Lang, for example, has mastered the heel-up and heel-down (single- and double-stroke) to the extent that he is able to play dynamically with the bass drum and to perform various rudiments with his feet.

In order to play "doubles", proponents of the "heel up" technique use either one of two techniques: the "slide technique" or the heel-toe technique. In the slide technique, the pedal is struck around the middle area with the ball of the foot. As the drum produces a sound, the toe is slid up the pedal. After the first stroke, the pedal will naturally bounce back, hit the toe as it slides upwards, and rebound for a second strike. In the heel-toe technique the foot is suspended above the foot-board of the pedal and the first note is played with the heel. The foot snaps up, the heel comes off the footboard, and the toes come down for a second stroke. Once mastered it allows the player to play very fast rolls on the bass drum. Noted players include Rod Morgenstein, Tim Waterson (who formerly held the world record for the fastest playing on a bass drum), Tomas Haake, Chris Adler, Travis Smith, and Danny Carey. The technique is commonly used in death metal and other extreme forms of music.

In certain types of heavy metal and punk, drummers play a constant stream of rapid-fire notes on the bass drum, and the ability to play evenly at extremely high tempos is a skill prized within the heavy metal scene. Many extreme metal, thrashcore and grindcore drummers use a combination of fast double bass drum patterns, the snare, and the cymbals to create blast beats.

With two feet playing bass drum, many of the techniques of snare drum playing (such as rudiments and rolls) can be performed on the bass drums.