Single Bass Drum Exercises and Tips For Beginners!

Drumming is a special aspect of music and drummers are special musicians. Yes, I said ‘musicians’ for all you haters out there.

We have to to use all of our limbs to play the drums in order to maximize its entire potential. So,  we become better drummers as we learn to engage both hands and feet.

But, the issue is, a majority of drummers pay more attention to the hands. And, with the passage of time we develop better efficiency with our hands in terms of dynamic control, power and speed, but our feet are forgotten. This problem leads to a loss of musical possibilities as a result of better efficiency with our hands.

young-jazz-drummerThis is particularly the case when you consider the fact that foot technique has become more important in the evolution of drumming over the years. In other words, your bass drum technique is equally important as your hands. For the purposes of this post, the focus is on single bass drum technique.

You want more gigs? Bass players mostly listen to your bass drum. So the better you are at locking in with the bass player with your bass drum the happier they will be. You’ll notice their body language change when they find that you can lock in with him or her, and soon word will spread and you’ll see more offers coming your way.

This single bass drum lesson plan for beginners will provide features of a good single bass drum lesson plan that will eventually help you to develop control, sped, endurance, power, and excellent drumming techniques.

Single Bass Drum Exercises For Beginners:

So often, you’ll see a “great drummer,” (as in “check out my buddy’s band – he’s a great drummer,”) and you’ll be encounter a player who’s clearly spent a lot of time focusing on their hands. Footwork can often go neglected, because it’s not particularly glamorous. I’m not talking about double pedal thrashing, but rather controlled and creative single pedal work.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at a few exercises that will help you warm up, encourage limb independence and hopefully develop foot control and speed. That sounds like a pretty tall order, but they’re all pretty closely linked (and I’m trying to sound clever).

With these grooves, try to play them at various tempos, starting out in the lower end, like 50 or 60 BPM. Play them for a minute or so at each speed, then turn it up by 5 BPM. Hopefully, you can be comfortably and consistently up near the hundreds in a few days.

It can be quite difficult to place a kick and a snare on the same beat in the midst of a groove, and that difficulty is exactly why we need to practice it. It feels unnatural, but, in theory, nothing should feel unnatural if you want to truly master the instrument.

This groove is very simple, but it briefly explores that idea of taking the kick away from its comfort zone.

Expanding on that last idea, here we have a beat that incorporates kick drum sixteenth notes (semi-quavers). You don’t have to play it fast, but starting somewhere comfortable, perhaps 50 or 60 BPM, you might find yourself able to work up to a healthy pace.

This is obvious, but I feel I should mention it just in case – please do not break your ankle trying to repeat these two bars and playing 8 kick pedal sixteenth notes in a row. Try repeating the first bar a few times, then looping the second bar.

Now that we’re hopefully a little more comfortable with the kick and snare landing on the same beat, we can advance on to some grooves that actually sound decent.
The previous groove should help you out with the quick succession of the kicks in this one – in fact, it should be slightly easier.

The last groove was about speed and succession, whereas this is more about controlling your beat placement, as both bars are quite similar.

This again, is designed to help you control where your kick lands in the bar. It kinds of feels like an upside-down shuffle, in that the constant jaunty rhythm is played on the kick drum.

Increasing your speed with this one can be tricky, but for added difficulty, try mastering it at a multitude of speeds with just a “toe-toe” kick style and with a “heel-toe” style. Making sure you’re hitting the right beat with the heel-toe at the lower tempos is difficult, so watch out.

Building on that, with these grooves, we’re moving the heel-toe around the bar. We often only play the kick on the 1st and 3rd beats of the bar, because we’re used to it, but in the latter 2 of these 3 bars, the kick is never on the beat.

That seems quite simple in its explanation, but you’d be surprised how much that slight groove change can completely change the feel of a verse. One of the most fun things about playing these grooves with a band is forcing the bass player to stay away from the beat – which they’ll thank you for.

Either repeat each bar for a while, or run through all 3, then repeat.

I’ve included this one for a bit of fun – it’s something I do when a jam gets out of control and I have nowhere else to go, in terms of speed. It’s basically triplets with your hands on beat 1 (cymbal, snare and floor tom) and your feet on 2 and 3. Depending on where your cymbal of choice is placed, it could contain a bit of arm crossover, which can be good to practice from time to time.

I call it “(S)crap Metal,” and yes, I am very clever.

Here are 10 single bass drum tips for beginners:

#1: Matching the Single Bass Drum: Learning to match the single bass drum correctly should be an integral part of a single bass drum lesson for those that are just getting started.

#2: Assume the Right Posture: It all starts by ensuring you are relaxed, avoid using more muscles than needful. Then, keep up a robust fulcrum. When not engaging the hands, ensure they are at rest in a set position to provide a professional and confident appearance. The key to playing great is the chops.

#3: Playing the Single Bass Drum: You should target the head’s center. Place the mirror in front of your while practicing as this is extremely helpful – then strike the mallet at a right angle. Ensure that the mallet is making contact with the head using its complete velocity. When it comes to playing the single bass drum, the lesson should also teach the beginner how to engage proper mallet heights to play the whole part before trying to use the bassline to split it up.

#4: Hit the Drum in a Correct Manner: The hitting should always target the head’s center. This way, you will learn to generate a fuller sound.

#5: Getting The Rhythm Right: A single bass drum lesson plan will also integrate techniques on how to get the rhythm right. For instance, using a metronome helps to get the rhythm right, which is also true about using electronically quantized music. Another aspect of getting the rhythm right is to determine where the downbeats, as well as practicing counting the entire rhythms while using your feet to mark time. And, learn to remain with the full ensemble when playing splits, do not make adjustment in your timing to an error made previously within the bassline. Learning to play aggressively will also help a drummer when it comes to getting the rhythm right.

#6: A good lesson plan will teach beginners to take things one step per time – don’t go beyond your capacity per time.

#7: Music Memorization: When learning to play the single bass drum, music memorization is also helpful. And, it will be more helpful to memorize the entire parts instead of just your part. This way, you will be more familiar with the flow of the splits.

#8: Integrate Your Charts: The charts are quite essential when practicing. And, as you set the charts up, get to learn where the music begins and ends. You should also determine how the music fits with your charts. Another essential aspect is ensuring that the bassline is spaced in an even manner.

#9: Effective Exercises: A single bass drum lesson plan will feature effective exercises that will help you enhance your skill in using your feet to play double and triple strokes that sound consistent. Engage the heal-toe technique or the slide technique for better result.

#10: Long Splits Playing: This can seem quite a hard feat, but once you can spot where you come in, you won’t have much issues. Another thing is to avoid crushing them down, keep them sounding smooth and avoid choppy sound. Not to worry, the proper lesson plan will break it even further and in simpler manner so that you will know exactly what to do when practicing.

Also, there are tons of exercises and exercises incorporated into a single bass drumming lesson plan for beginners that will ultimately help you enhance speed, coordination, endurance, and power. A good single bass drum plan will ultimately work towards making you a better drummer and eventually a pro player.