The bass drum stroke consists of a LEGATO forearm rotation.  All strokes are initiated from a simple rotation of the forearm.  The back of the wrist should be in line with the forearm; there should be no break in the wrist when you play (i.e. no windshield wiper motion).  There should be no extra arm motion as you play, only forearm rotation.  Let the weight of the mallet help with the rotation.  As bass drummers, we play AGAINST gravity.    You can practice this by sitting with your arms resting on a table, as if in playing position.  Rotate your forearms outward so that your palms are facing up, and then rotate back to playing position.  The motion we use for bass drumming is almost always legato.  However, there are instances in which the music calls for a different type of sound and, accordingly, a different stroke style.  The stick height system established for the snares and tenors has a somewhat different definition for bass drum because of the orientation of the playing surface.  When in playing position, with the mallets parallel to the bass head, the mallets are actually set at the 1” stick height.  Rotate the forearms out (90 degrees) so the mallets are perpendicular to the head to establish the 12” stick height (the palm of the hand should be facing the ceiling).  The 6” stick height is half way between 1” (vertical) and 12” (horizontal); the mallet should be at a 45-degree angle from the playing surface.  The 3” height can be achieved with a one-quarter rotation from the playing surface.  The 9” height can be achieved with a three quarters rotation from the playing surface.  


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