Build Your Double Bass Drum Chops
I began playing drums on a single Bass Drum. Later on, I began to experiment with the use of a second bass drum. In 1978, with encouragement from Louis Bellson (the father of Double Bass Drumming), I transformed my own exercises into the book, DoubleDrum: A Double Bass Drum Text. My book introduced exercises that treated the second bass drum like an additional hand, which - back then - was an original concept. I originally intended the book for the double bass drummer but, over the years, I've used it to improve four-way coordination of my students who use a single bass and a hi-hat as well.
Although the exercises you're about to see first appeared in print more than 20 years ago, I think you'll agree they're as relevant today as they were then. Check 'em out.
Coordinating the Feet
Many drummers practice hand exercises but almost totally neglect their feet. These exercises concentrate on developing coordination and speed in the feet, and are useful whether you play double or single Bass. If you play single Bass, simply substitute your Hi-Hat for the second Bass Drum part. See Excerpts 1 and 2.
Play each exercise slowly at first. After you can play each exercise cleanly and evenly, increase the speed. Note that the first 4 bars in Excerpt 2 incorporates the use of flams between the feet. Play them exactly as you would play flams with your hands, keeping the grace note drum beater ball closer to the drum head than the main note drum beater ball.
Independent Hands and Feet
In addition to developing speed and coordination with both feet, you should be able to play patterns independently between your hands and feet.
Note that in Excerpt 3 and 4 below, you should use single sticking for the Hand part (RLRL RLRL) against the written Bass Drum patterns. Once you can play that with ease (starting with either hand), try using Open Rolls (RRLL RRLL), paradiddles (RLRR LRLL), and any of your favorite stickings in the Hand part.
As always, practice each exercise slowly until you can play it evenly and cleanly before increasing the speed.
Let's Get Difficult
In part 2 of Build Your Double Bass Chops (see Sidebar) I'll introduce you to much harder exercises that will challenge your Double Bass Chops and four-way Coordination, from my book DoubleDrum: A Double Bass Drum Text.
Until next time: Stay loose.
Click the following link for Building Your Double Bass Drum Chops: Part 2!