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How to Play "Heel-Down" Technique on the Drums

Learn how to play the "heel down" bass drum / hi-hat technique from drum expert Jason Gianni in this Howcast video.


There are a few different techniques for the feet that you can use on drum set. One of them is the heel up, and the other one called heel down. It's exactly what it says, which is basically that your heels are down on the base of the pedals, and you are pivoting your ankles to move your feet in order to depress the hi hat and the bass drum pedals.

When you use this technique, your feet are basically flat or flush to the pedals, and you would bring your toe back, strike the pedal, and pivot your ankle in this respect. Rather than lifting up your whole leg and driving the entire leg down, it's more of a pivot from the ankle.

If I were to do this on the hi hat pedal, it would look something like this, and you might find that your heel comes off the ground a little bit as you depress the pedal with your toe.

On the bass drum pedal, it looks something like this. In addition, on the bass drum pedal, if you don't want to drive the beater directly into the head, you can pull the beater off the head, which creates a little more of an open sound. This is done especially in the Jazz genre, and it sounds something like this.

The heel down technique is going to be a little bit more of a softer vibe, or a softer sound that you would get, rather than the heel up technique, which is a little stronger and louder. So, heel down works for softer styles such as Jazz. You can put a pattern together, and they could work together. It would look something like this.

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