This excerpt is taken from the complete article that appears in the July 2016 issue, which is available here.
Progressive Drumming essentials
Part 12: Double Bass Boot Camp
by Aaron Edgar
One thing that can separate drummers with great double bass chops from those who struggle is their willingness to push themselves beyond their limits. You have to put in serious time if you want to get significant results. How many hours have you spent on speed and endurance? Whatever the answer, get prepared to work. If you’re not exhausted after running these drills, you didn’t practice hard enough.
This routine takes a little over an hour and is split into two thirty-minute sets. Each set consists of six bass drum patterns that are played for five minutes each without stopping. Even if your technique starts to fall apart, dig deep and push through until the end. The goal is to reach your breaking point and then push a little further.
Since the focus is on our feet, the hand patterns are open to interpretation. Start with the notated 8th-note hi-hat and snare pattern, but feel free to improvise as long as it doesn’t interfere with your feet. A great alternative to this phrase is to match your hand pattern with the feet. (See Exercises 7–11.) Try cutting out the hands to isolate the bass drums. However, don’t practice that way exclusively—fast feet are useless if you can’t coordinate them with your hands.
Try practicing with tight sounds for your cymbals, because playing on washy cymbals can make it difficult to hear your bass drum accuracy. Closed hi-hats and tight stacks are my preferred choices.
Before starting with set one, stretch your legs. I like to hit all of the muscle groups from my hips down to my shins and calves. You’ll be working for a while, so keep water and a towel on hand.
After stretching, strap on ankle weights and set your metronome reasonably below your maximum 32nd-note tempo. If you’re not sure what that is, 70–80 bpm is a good place to start.
For the complete lesson with transcriptions, check out the July 2016 issue, which is available here.
Modern Drummer Special Offers