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Kick Off With a Bass Drum Practice Pad

It’s practice time again – you’ve got your practice pad sorted and have been getting those rudiments under control, but the whole time your right foot is itching to play along. What can you do about that? Stomping on the floor isn’t cutting the mustard. Luckily, there are some bass drum practice pad options which allow you to get your right foot in on the action.

What are these pads, exactly?

While it seems that every manufacturer has their own interpretation of what the pad should be made from, and how it should appear, essentially they all serve the exact same function.

The practice pad generally consists of a rubber playing surface which is mounted to a sturdy frame. The features of each one may be slightly different, but here’s some specifics to consider when choosing yours:

Portability

While relatively portable, even at full size, you may want to consider one that folds away to save space and increase portability.

Double pedals

Do you have double bass pedals on your kit? Make sure that the practice pad accepts two beaters.

Feet

Consider a pad with spikes if you’re concerned about it sliding across the floor. This may not be a problem if your bass drum pedal already has spikes. Just sure you put a thick protective mat or rug down if you’re using spikes on a wooden floor!

Your practice time is precious. Make the most of it. Click here to see my recommendation for a bass drum practice pad.

Do I need one?

You may not be able to play your full sized kit when it comes to practice time. Maybe it’s because your acoustic set is too noisy, or you don’t have access to it all the time.

Whatever the reason, if you are already spending some quality time with your regular practice pad, it’s a great idea to incorporate the bass drum pad into your playing.

Adding another physical dimension to your practice has loads of benefits. Here’s some ideas of how to keep your right foot involved and help your independence:

  1. Keep basic time to whatever you’re working on. This way you’re still focused on your hand work,  while your foot is almost subconsciously playing along. This method won’t detract from challenging exercises, and you can add more complicated footwork as you gain confidence
  2. Do the exact opposite. Keep basic time with your hands and play more complicated patterns with your bass drum foot. A steady tempo single stroke roll with the hands could be a good exercise, while working on more complex bass rhythms.
  3. Split rudiments between your hands and right foot. Try first with one hand, and then introduce the other. This is great for coordination and independence in your playing.

As you can see from the above ideas, adding a single extra practice pad has so many benefits and so little hassle to get started. In my opinion, this setup of a single practice pad for your hands and one for your bass drum foot gives an extremely portable practice setup at low cost with almost no setup time and taking up little space.

In this video, legendary drummer Steve Smith demonstrates perfectly the advantages of this combination setup which he uses for warming up before a show and how it packs away easily when he’s done:

Are there any other options?

I would say there’s only one better setup for portable, quiet, easy to set up practice, and that’s a practice pad kit. The extra benefit to this whole kit setup is the multi level playing surfaces for your hands, which is ideal, but I don’t think you can beat the single pad with bass drum pad setup for price versus benefit while maintaining maximum portability.

Final thoughts

A bass drum practice pad will enhance your practice time by opening up possibilities to loads of hand and foot exercises which aren’t possible with a practice pad alone. It won’t take up much space, it’s easily portable, and your right foot will thank you for being allowed in on the action.

Your practice time is precious. Make the most of it. Click here to see my recommendation for a bass drum practice pad.

Do you include your bass drum foot in your practice routine? Please do leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you.

4 thoughts on “Kick Off With a Bass Drum Practice Pad”

  1. I’m a bass player and play some guitar. I understand pretty much everything about drums except how the heck you play them 😀

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand how beats and rhythms work. But whenever I try to play our drummers drums I just can’t for the love of me get my legs and hands coordinate in different time!

    At best I’ve managed to play a minute tops of a very basic beat. Now since I play another insrument I know this is down to practice. Some people are naturals and others need a lot of practice for this stuff. I think a practice pad like this could help me develop the coordination into my legs. What do you think?

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment, Jukka. Drums can like any instrument, if you haven’t had any experience they’re complex and it’s hard to play anything decent until you’ve had some practice. If drumming is something you’d like to pursue, then a regular practice pad combined with a bass drum practice pad is a great way to get down the basics.

      Reply
  2. I play some djembe drum and guitar, but I have had only very little practice with a drum set. Would interesting to try it a bit more and to get practice pads at home to keep on practising more. Thanks for a great article about bass drum practice pads!

    Reply
    • Thank you for the comment Joonas, I think everybody should at least have a play on a drum set, there’s so much freedom and expression just waiting to be released!

      Reply

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