Learning to play double bass can be a long, exciting process. Like any skill, it requires dedication and practice, but how you practice can determine how long it takes you to build this ability. While many drummers who try their feet at double bass drumming these days probably do so out of a love for the metal genre, double bass drumming has its origins in the jazz scene. Learning this particular playing technique can benefit drummers of any genre of music, as the training and movements help all drummers become more proficient in their craft.
There are some general double bass tips that can help anyone looking to pick up or improve this skill. Even a drummer who spends little time actually practicing double bass techniques will find that spending some time with it improves their drumming in other ways. Drumming constantly reminds us of how everything is connected and playing double bass is no exception.
While we’re thinking of how all things are connected, we are brought to our first tip: use your hands. A powerful way to practice the double bass method is playing a pattern using feet and hands at the same time. One of the reasons double bass appeals to many of us is that it does with the feet what we are used to being done with the hands. If you want to help your feet get used to playing double bass, invite the hands to participate, as well. You might be surprised by the results.
Another double bass tip is to pay attention to your posture. Keep a straight back and make sure you are playing from your core muscles, not expecting your thighs to do most of the work. The straighter your back is, the easier it will be to play well and for longer periods of time. Leaning forward slightly should not present too many problems, but keep the core abdominal muscles working. If you need to strengthen these muscles through sit-ups or pilates, do so. Good posture is the key to balance when playing double bass.
Calf raises may be the most famous double bass tip. This basic exercise is helpful because it strengthens your calves, the muscles that should be doing the brunt of the work when using a drum pedal (or two). The stronger and more flexible your calf muscles, the faster you will be able to move and the more you will like the sound of your double bass drumming. While this tip can be enacted any time, doing some calf raises directly prior to practicing is a good habit to create. And, the more good habits you have under your belt, the better drummer you will become…even if it takes months to feel good about your double drumming skills.