Most neurons in the external and internal segments of the globus pallidus and the substantia nigra pars reticulata (GPe, GPi, and SNr) are characterized by a high-frequency discharge (HFD) rate (50-80 Hz) that, in most GPe neurons, is also interrupted by pauses. Almost all (∼90%) of the synaptic inputs to these HFD neurons are GABAergic and inhibitory. Nevertheless, their responses to behavioral events are usually dominated by increases in discharge rate. Additionally, there are no reports of prolonged bursts in the spontaneous activity of these cells that could reflect their disinhibition by GPe pauses. We recorded the spontaneous activity of 385 GPe, GPi, and SNr HFD neurons during a quiet-wakeful state from two monkeys. We developed three complementary methods to quantify the balance of increases and decreases in the spontaneous discharge of HFD neurons and validated them by simulations. Unlike the behavioral evoked responses, the spontaneous activity of pallidal and SNr neurons is not dominated by increases. Moreover, the activity of basal ganglia neurons does not include bursts that could reflect disinhibition by the spontaneous pauses of GPe neurons. These findings suggest that the discharge increase/decrease balance during a quiet-wakeful state better reflects the inhibitory input of the HFD basal ganglia neurons than during responses to behavioral events; however, the GPe pauses are not echoed by comparable bursts either in the GPe or in the output nuclei. Changes in the excitatory drive of these structures (e.g., during behavioral activity) thus may lead to a remarkable change in this balance.