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I've been playing the drums (acoustic set) for almost a year now and I tend to lightly rest my kick foot on the pedal in-between notes.

This means that my beater is on my drumhead in these cases.

Is this okay or should I focus on keeping the beater away from the drumhead?

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    I guess this might also depend on if you play heel up or heel down. If you play heel down it just might be more comfortable to do so. The big thing is not whether you rest your foot on the pedal in between, but if the beater remains on the membrane after playing a note or if it feathers off. The first will immediately dampen the drum and give you a short kick while the latter will allow the membrane to vibrate longer, thus giving more space but also more "mush". In the ends it’s not about playing this way or that way, but about being in full control and having the pedal behave like you want.
    – Lazy
    Aug 23, 2022 at 6:50
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    Not a drum expert but I believe the more advanced techniques might involve sometimes burying it and sometimes bouncing it for two different sounds. I’m hoping a drummer answers this because I’m also curious. I do think Tim makes a good point about how much energy you are using/wasting and tension in your foot and calf by keeping the batter on the head. At the same time you’re preventing sympathetic resonance which could be good in some cases. Aug 23, 2022 at 12:46

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You're resting your foot a bit more than lightly if the beater rests on the head. You're overcoming the effect of the spring, which will take some weight.

There's a subtle damping that will go on - the bass won't produce any sympathetic vibration (from that head anyway), but it's so subtle it wouldn't make much difference.

As Lazy mentions - heel up/down will be a factor. Heel down means you're expanding energy for little purpose, as your whole foot is under tension doing nothing useful. Heel up means using even more energy for nothing. And I guess you're the latter, sitting on the edge of your seat.

I guess when the next strike comes, there's the added advantage that you've unleashed the energy in the spring, so could make the strike harder/louder. But we all find (or should find!) our own peculiar ways to do things, reasoning out the whys and wherefores, of course, so you need to consider those - as well as sensibly asking others - teachers - sites such as this - and it's good you're aware of what you're doing, and questioning!

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    +1 for "it doesn't affect the sound much" and "you're using muscle tension unnecessarily." But I'm confused by/skeptical of the physics in "you've unleashed the energy in the spring." Huh? As you release the pressure on the pedal to start the next strike, aren't you back to square 1, with the physics being the same as if you hadn't rested your foot on it? (Or, if you don't release it all the way, then square-whatever, say "X units of weight beyond 0," but from that point on, the strike is identical to one that started from 0, as measured from point X on?) Aug 23, 2022 at 13:19
  • Maybe there are anatomical reasons that "make [this motion], from a neutral position of stasis and relaxation" yields different results than "make this motion, after first holding a position that resembles the motion, then making a quick 'wind-up' gesture in the opposite direction." But, uh, that's beyond me... Aug 23, 2022 at 13:22
  • @AndyBonner - I stopped physics at 16, so don't know! But the spring under tension pulls the pedal away from the head. There's a sort of 'bounce' goes on, which I find hard to describe, but, uh, you're probably right...
    – Tim
    Aug 23, 2022 at 13:28
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    The spring pulls the beater towards neutral position. If you let loose of the pedal, it will swing like an upside down pendulum. On the other hand, if you release the pedal just before next stroke, let it swing back and then push the pedal when the beater is about to turn around, you get the energy stored in the spring.
    – ojs
    Aug 23, 2022 at 17:51
  • Thanks for all the awesome replies guys! Some experimentation will commence based on the feedback here in exploring what works best for me.
    – Nita
    Aug 23, 2022 at 22:44
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I think it's a good idea to learn to not rely on burying the beater.

As already discussed, holding the beater against drum head dampens the drum. It is a different sound, and if you prefer it or the music you're playing requires it, there are many ways to dampen the bass drum. On the other hand, if you play double strokes on the bass drum, you need to bounce the beater from the head and if you normally bury the beater, you will get inconsistent sound.

The second thing is that if you don't really push the pedal so that the beater doesn't bounce at all, it is all too easy to play accidental ghost notes. It doesn't sound good at all, and not burying the pedal is a great way to avoid it.

Finally, you shouldn't completely release the pedal. If the beater is swinging freely, there's a good chance it is in the wrong place for the next stroke. Burying it is the easy way to avoid it, but it's better to catch the rebound and hold the pedal somewhere near the idle position.

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It's a personal preference. There are loads of famous and well-respected drummers who play each way. That said, I personally think it is better to play off the head, ie don't bury the beater. So, I realize I'm biased, but here are the reasons I wouldn't recommend burying the beater:

  1. Assuming your spring tension is set correctly, it requires extra effort because you have to overcome the spring tension, so you're wasting precious energy.
  2. It will also limit your speed. Playing double strokes or fast double kick both require the beater to bounce, and your job is to control the rebound and harness that energy for the next stroke.
  3. It can often lead to accidental ghost notes or flamming because the beater rebounds a little before your foot smushes it back into the head. This will be more of a problem if you're using a hard beater (eg wood) and/or a click pad. This is the single biggest reason for why I stopped burying.
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  • 1.) What would "correctly" be? The weight of my leg is more than enough to overcome the spring, and I am a small guy with my spring tension set in the middle of the adjustable range. No energy wasted. 2.) Common technique would be to bury on only the last stroke of a string of 16ths, of course. 3.) Valid, the common solution here is tuning low and porting the reso head. I would be doing this anyway, regardless of my technique, but it depends on the style you're playing.
    – Edward
    Aug 27, 2022 at 0:17
  • 1) If you relax your leg after a stroke, the beater should not be on the head. if not, them either your spring tension is basically nil, or you're holding tension in your leg.
    – ibonyun
    Aug 27, 2022 at 4:07

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