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Bass Drum Independence (sixteenth notes)

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This drum lesson focuses on improving the independence and control of the bass drum in sixteenth note beats. If you aren't familiar with sixteenth notes, please read the lesson on understanding time. Then return when you are ready.

Some drummers use double bass drum pedals to play these beats, but it is important that you learn them with one pedal too. It will enable you to control your feet so much better.

If you eventually want to learn to play drums with two bass drums, or with a set of double pedals, go through these beats with both feet individually. In other words, play through them all with just the right foot, and then repeat with just the left foot. This will give you amazing speed, control, and independence!

Bass Drum Beat #1

This first beat is fairly straight forward. However, drummers that have not played any beats with sixteenth notes before may have some trouble. Of course, the best solution for this is to slow everything down.

Focus on hitting the steady shots on the hi-hats, as that is the foundation of all the beats on this page. Then add in just the kick drum - with the second shot in each set landing between the hi-hat strokes.

bass drum 1

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** Reminder: the double line connecting the two sets of bass drum shots are what indicate that they are to be played as sixteenth notes. **

Bass Drum Beat #2

This second variation adds a third bass drum shot on the "a of one" and the "a of three". Be sure you really slow this down, and focus on control. Speed will come with time, but it is absolutely vital that you first learn to keep everything in perfect time.

bass drum 2

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Bass Drum Beat #3

Variation #3 continues along the same track, adding another shot on the "e of 2" and on the "e of 4". Pay special attention to how the double line markers are indicating the varios sixteenth notes within these beats. You'll see why that is important in future drum lessons.

bass drum 3

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Bass Drum Beat #4

This groove is made up entirely of sixteenth notes. It should actually be easier to count out loud, but will be trickier to play. You'll likely find your foot is extremely slow and clumsy when playing these patterns for the first time. If that is the case, take a break and then come back and attack it again (at a slower pace on the second try).

bass drum 4

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Bass Drum Beat #5

Beat variation #5 is actually a little easier than some of the previous beats, but it incorporates some fast playing for a single foot. Really, the purpose of this beat is to lead into the next variation, as you've actually already done three fast bass drum shots in the last beat (just in a different part of the beat).

bass drum 5

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Bass Drum Beat #6

Ok, this is likely going to be the most challenging to play perfectly. As with the previous beats, the four bass drum shots are to be played on a single pedal. Focus on keeping themn perfectly even and in time.

bass drum 6

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Once you have all these beats mastered all the beats on this page, try combining some to create two bar phrases. Practice moving from beat to beat at random to build additional bass drum control. Then, move on to our drum lessons here, or on the learn to play drums and how to play drums websites.

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