Double-bass technique requires a great deal of stamina, power, and dexterity, and the following exercises will demonstrate how you can develop these skills for your own double-kick playing. We’ll start with basic endurance exercises and gradually increase into more complex patterns. Please remember the two most important things when doing these exercises — start off slowly and use a metronome.
Ex. 1. Let’s start with a straight sixteenth-note double kick pattern without integrating your hands, just to get the feel of using both feet. We will play this two ways: RLRL RLRL RLRL RLRL and LRLR LRLR LRLR.
Ex. 2. Now we’ll incorporate basic hand patterns. Start with a RLRL pattern on kicks, the snare on 2 and 4, and the ride (or closed hat) on 1 &2 &3 &4 &. Play the bass drum pattern using right- and left-foot lead. Left-foot lead might be a little awkward at first — well, at least it was for me (and still is). If you take these patterns and practice them over and over for extended time periods with a metronome, your endurance and stamina will improve greatly.
Exs. 3—13. After you become comfortable with Exs. 1 and 2, we’ll add another level of difficulty with 11 other ride patterns, ranging from straight quarter-notes to straight sixteenth-notes. Once you are able to play these comfortably and want to further challenge yourself, try Exs. 3—13 with these footings:
RRLL RRLL RRLL RRLL
LLRR LLRR LLRR LLRR
Now let’s look at eighth- and sixteenth-note triplet patterns. The main thing to point out here is to clearly separate the triplet pattern (1-2-3, 2-2-3, or trip-a-let, trip-a-let) from the previous straight sixteenth-note patterns (1 e & ah, 2 e & ah)
Ex. 14. Play the snare on the 2 and 4, ride on the 1, 2, 3, 4.
Ex. 15. Move the snare to 1 and 3.
Ex. 16. Move snare to 3 only.
Ex. 17. Play the straight triplet ride pattern over the hand/foot patterns of Exs. 14—16.