I need to learn two double bass drum patterns:

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The first one is just repeated over and over again. The second repeats the first measure and then repeats the second measure.

My question is about how I should approach this. There are two extreme ways:

  1. Play all even 16ths with my right and all odd with my left
  2. Play every other note with my left

And of course there's everything in between. For instance in the first pattern, I have tried using RRRLRRLRLR. And in the second bar in the second pattern I don't really need the left foot at all. The only benefit would be to make it easier to focus the right foot on keeping the pulse. Assume that I cannot do two 16th in a row with any foot. I'm not skilled enough in heel toe technique and I don't have the option to buy a suitable pedal or tweak the existing ones.

So how should I approach this? Which beats should go on my right and left?

My main concern is if it would be bad to play the first pattern RRRLRRRLRL, cause then I would have a strong beat on my left twice.

3 Answers 3


My first thought is do it the way that is most comfortable to you.

However, It can't hurt to learn it every way you can think of. Reason being it will help you down the line when some odd rhythm is put in front of you.

Practicing it different ways will help you be more versatile if you really work at it or it will allow you to find some weak spots in your playing, which you will then be aware of and can avoid it in the future.


I think a good practical rule of thumb is to...

  • use your dominant foot as much as possible, including syncopated patterns,
  • and, avoid using your non-dominant foot on strong beats.

So, personally, I would play them like this:

 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
 R R  R  R R RLRL|R R  R  R R  R

Why? Because your dominant foot is already accustomed to playing syncopated patterns on the bass drum, so you may as well use it whenever possible.

  • This goes in the line of what I thought. I'm only gonna use double bass drum for this particular song.
    – klutt
    Apr 9, 2019 at 3:53

Just to go against the grain a bit, I'd say it really depends on whether these are the only pieces you ever think you're going to play, or whether you want to be ready for any that might crop up in future.

If the former, then concentrate on letting your dominant foot play the dominant notes & let the other follow along behind.

If you really want to be able to nail it, forevermore, then practise paradiddles, the same as you did to gain limb independence for your hands.


until you can do it without anyone being able to tell which foot was which.
Once you've got that, then it's just a case of thinking in paradiddles, yet missing out the rests. Much harder to learn, much easier once you've learned it. You're never going to be wrong-footed, whichever foot you start with. You won't have to think about it.

If you really want to shake it up, practise it in 4s then in 3s.


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