Having trouble with your bass drum foot control and technique? Here are some practical drum tips and exercises that will help you out.

There are a couple of contemporary styles of using your foot on the pedal. One is called “heel down” and the other “heel up”.

With heel down, the whole foot rests on the pedal and the stroke movement is from the ankle moving up and down while the back of the foot stays on the pedal.

With heel up, the ball of the foot rests on the pedal and the stroke is created by lifting the ankle and the leg while the ball of the foot pushes down on the pedal. This gives more power to the stroke for heavy rock playing.

Practice with rudiments such as repetitive triplets or sixteenth notes at around 50 BPM on your metronome. Do this for five minutes at a time or until you start to feel your leg or foot strain, but then stop and rest.

You never want to push past the point of feeling any strain. You’re training your muscles like at the gym. You don’t start out with the big weights.

Make sure your foot pedal is in good working condition and is set up for you in the way that works best with regard to the length of your beater stroke. That just reminded me of the saying “different strokes for different folks”… cool. (You must admit it fits!) It’s also a good idea to lubricate the foot pedal joints now and then.

There several other more advanced techniques for bass drum playing but best to start simply and get the control of basics first.

In next week’s e-mail message, I’ll deal with some very cool exercises you can practice to get your foot pedal chops in line. In addition, I’ll give you some really cool but very simple drum fills that employ both hands and feet.

Cheers, Barry