And man is my kick drum leg sore!
October 25, 2007 6:11 PM   Subscribe

Drummers! Give me some tips on how to practice without a kit at home.

I've recently taken over drumming duties in my band (After years of guitaring I finally get to play a good instrument!)
Unfortunately I only have access to the kit on practice days, (twice a week), and don't have a kit at home.

Any tips/suggestions/advice on how to stay sharp/ work on shit between jams? I'm looking more for advice for the legs, since I can practice rolls etc on my practice pad.

posted by hector horace to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You've already got a practice pad - why not set up a practice foodpedal? A few 2x4s and you can rig one up with a cheapo kick drum pedal from the pawn shop. The recoil might not totally match your kit, but it's better than nothing. As far as high hat goes, well, that's another story.

Is it money, space or noise that's keeping you from having a kit at home? I tried out an electric drum kit awhile back and was impressed with the feel and (headphone) sound. A used one might be worth looking into.
posted by anthill at 6:30 PM on October 25, 2007

There's lots of stuff you can work on without having a kit at all. You could record your band's songs at your next practice, and play along with them on the practice pad many many times until you have the form down exactly. You have to figure out what to play where, where the section breaks occur and when you need to fill, that sort of thing.

What kind of practicing are you going to be doing? What style of music?
posted by PercussivePaul at 6:48 PM on October 25, 2007

my bands drummer used to practice on empty pizza boxes, even when we were rehearsing in friends lounge rooms. With brushes they actually make a pretty good sound too. Tambourine hooked around the foot was how he got by without pedals. it wasn't super great, but it was better than nothing.
posted by robotot at 7:02 PM on October 25, 2007

If you're serious about rolls, practice them on a pillow. You can practice bass with your foot on the ground (better if you play heel-down).
posted by rhizome at 7:35 PM on October 25, 2007

You can practice independence without even using sticks...just tap your fingers and feet to try different rhythms and such.

Seconding the practice pad and footpedals. Both work very well.
posted by DMan at 7:51 PM on October 25, 2007

Personally I find nothing really replicates the response you get from actual drums, so while I will practice on pillows and such it's really not time as well spent as in front of a real kit. Is there any chance you can rent time in a studio or shared practice space another couple of times a week? I only get to play once a week so I know it's hard to get anywhere that way.
posted by loiseau at 11:21 PM on October 25, 2007

I'm not a drummer so maybe this is obviously bad advice but what about a set of electronic drums that you can play with headphones?
posted by sully75 at 7:44 AM on October 26, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for all the tips! I'm gonna look into getting a kick drum pad set up for my room.

Slight derail: Any tips on how to approach learning how to do some Bonham stuttered kick drum triplets?
posted by hector horace at 8:12 AM on October 26, 2007

Air-drumming. With your usual pedal work, it's actually a pretty good way to work up the right muscles. Make sure you're lifting your legs though, and not just tapping your feet.

For Bonham-style kick work, you need to either A: get a double bass rig and practice (hook it up to a bucket with a lip on the bottom to practice without a kit), or B: really work up your the twitch in your foot. For the latter, it helps to have the pedal balanced just so, both in springiness and position of the batter. Both cases, you need to practice A LOT, because it's really tricky to get the timing right.
posted by Reggie Digest at 10:24 AM on October 26, 2007

Oh, and get some drumming exercise books, and/or take lessons. Stuff like "3-handed drumming" is really good to know.

If you really want to work up endurance in your hi-hat foot, try playing some Smashing Pumpkins: It's all solid quarter-notes the whole way through.
posted by Reggie Digest at 10:32 AM on October 26, 2007

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