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The title is an understatement. I've been trying for months, and I can't for the life of me play bass drum 16th notes while playing 8th notes on the hi-hat. I can play snare 16th notes and hi-hat 8th notes just fine, but if I try to play the same thing on the bass drum, I end up hitting the hi-hat irregularly. Basically, whenever I hit the bass drum, my body involuntarily also hits the hi-hat. If I "speed up" my hi-hat to 16th notes, I can easily play bass drum 16th notes.

What should I do? I feel like this problem is really holding me back from getting better overall, and I feel like the longer I ignore this problem, the more difficult it will be to break.

I would really like answers more substantial than "just practice". If that's the bottom line, then so be it, but I'll be more inclined to accept an answer with some specific advice, such as a particular song or beat or technique I can try.

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I'm no expert... do the usual - slow way down till you can do it to that slowww tempo. Also, I think 16ths on kick are usually done with 2 pedals on the kick drum, eh? –  Stephen Hazel May 6 '13 at 19:36
1  
That's called a "double bass pedal", which is one option, however I should be able to do it with only one foot. I think that a "double bass pedal" is mostly used for 32nd notes. –  Joel May 6 '13 at 19:38

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

It is actually just practice but you need some consciousness while doing it. First of all it's a very very common problem so no need to alienate yourself.

Second, the problem is how you approach playing. You are trying to replay the, I would casually say, the muscle memory recording. Probably you had some nice time or you thought it sounds cool or you have never managed to play it properly and replicating every time you attempt to play it.

The main argument is to play it extremely slow (I'm talking about 40-50 bpm here) until you get exactly what limb is doing while playing

*-*-*-*-
----o---
--------
o--o---o

well I assume you know how to read drum tabs but it's actually du-dum du-tah exercise.

Note that there is no hihat pedal involved and your mind should acknowledge that in slow tempos.

Long story short you need to reburn your muscle memory without the hihat pedal involved.

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Thanks! I'll try that. –  Joel May 6 '13 at 21:20

It could be a problem of your sitting position and your body balance. If you're sitting too low or unbalanced on the stool, you might get problems because you need one leg to stabilize yourself while playing with the other one.

Try practicing at very slow tempos first, as slow as you need to go to be able to play it. Think of quarters and eighth and try both ways (left foot quarters, right foot eighth and the other way). In this tempo, carefully analyze how your upper body reacts while the feet move. The more you have to work with your upper body to keep balaced, the more difficult it will be to play faster or more complicated rhythms with your feet.

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