If you’re looking to double down on those bass drum rhythms, it is pretty much necessary for you to get a double bass pedal. It’s a must-have for metal head drummers, though can easily be utilized across a wide range of genres for unique rhythms and sounds.
Regardless of whether you are a veteran of heel-toe or swivel technique, or if you are getting through to the dark arts we know as double pedalling, this guide will help you find the right pedal.
Many of these double bass pedals employ different mechanics to work when compared to standard drum pedals, meaning finding the right one can be a bit more difficult.
Luckily, we’ve created a comprehensive guide so that you can spend less time sifting through drum forums and more time drumming away at lightning speed.
- 1 Understanding Different Pedal Types
- 2 Pedal Adjustability
- 3 Do You Feel Comfortable When You Play Your Double Bass Drum Pedal?
- 4 Footboard Size
- 5 Cams
- 6 Top 5 Double Bass Pedals
- 7 Time to Double Down
Understanding Different Pedal Types
The mechanism that connects the footboard to the beater is known as the pedal drive. Different pedal drives offer different kinds of functionality, meaning one can have a completely different effect on your playing vs. another.
Let’s dive into the three different types of pedals: Chain Drive, Belt Drive, and Direct Drive.
Chain Drives are probably the most popular types of chain drives and can be found in either single or double.
Double Chain Drives are excellent in that they are far more durable than their single counterparts when used heavily. They also don’t have as much horizontal flex, giving you less side-to-side movement that can occur in heavy-foot drumming.
Single Chain Drives, on the other hand, are usually prominent on entry-level pedals and cost less. That being said, they are still very quick and responsive, making them great for those who are looking for pure speed over stability.
Belt Drives utilize a solid belt instead of a chain, helping to give your pedal a much lighter feel and less friction overall. For a long time, people didn’t buy belt drives because they didn’t have as much longevity as chain belts.
Modern belts, however, are far more durable and long lasting. A great example are Pearl belts, which are crafted with conveyor belt material.
The one major disadvantage of chain drives is that the master links can sometimes fall off or collapse on themselves during faster strokes. Belts are much stiffer for better connection and control. They also can be closely monitored over time in terms of wear unlike chain drives, meaning you don’t have to worry about them falling apart on you randomly during a show.
Direct drives have a direct connection between the footboard and the beater called a bridge. Because you don’t have an extra piece creating the connection, you essentially get an increase in power, response, and control.
If you’re all about the increased speed, control, and overall technique, you really can’t get anything much better than a direct drive pedal. This is especially true if you are a heel-down player.
A good double bass pedal, should be able to adjust to your preferences. The more adjustable the pedal, the better. Adjustability refers to things like the spring tension, the beater height, and the distance between each of the pedals.
How difficult is it to adjust these things? You don’t want to spend a half hour trying to calibrate your pedals to your liking.
Does the pedal come with a unique key for adjustments? Hopefully not, as if you lost it, you’ll be out of luck until you buy a new one. Your best bet is to look for a pedal that uses a universal key.
Do You Feel Comfortable When You Play Your Double Bass Drum Pedal?
If not, it might not be the best pedal for you. One pedal might be perfect for one drummer, but be terrible for the next.
See if your feet fit correctly on the pedal. You may need a larger pedal if you have larger feet. How heavy are your beaters? If they’re too heavy, you might find it hard to get tons of energy and speed in your kick. Consider all of these things while playing around with different pedals to see what you feel best with.
While footboards come in a pretty wide variety of shapes and sizes, there are two that we see most often: The standard footboard and the longboard footboard. Standard footboards have a hinge at the heel, which gives you a flat base at the end so that you don’t need to utilize it for any action. Longboard footboards, on the other hand, do not have that hinge, meaning the entire footboard turns into a playing surface.
If you utilize heel/toe techniques, you might enjoy the feel of a longboard much better, as it seems to flow with rapid heel/toe double strokes a lot more. This also goes for people who have bigger feet or play with larger footwear like boots.
Cams are the pieces of the pedal that attach the beater to the drive, allowing you to pull the beater in response to the way the footboard is moved. The two types of cams include: Rounded and offset.
Rounded cams have a nice, flowy feeling to them all the way through the arc of the beater. Because there aren’t any changes in their shape, you mostly get a consistent feeling throughout. These offer a much more dynamic feel as well.
Offset cams have more of a delayed feeling, or resistant feeling, with each stroke, though they tend to round out a bit as you pass through the apex of the cam. Essentially, they give you a really nice whip as you pass through with a build of power near the end of the stroke rather than the beginning. For a bit of power and resistance, offset cams are where it’s at.
Top 5 Double Bass Pedals
If you have the money to spend and are in the market for a pedal without any slack or delay, the Pearl Eliminator Demon Drive is one of the best around.
It’s completely adjustable and easy to calibrate to just about any type of drummer out there as well. You can move the direct link closer to or further from the beater head for an increase or decrease in aggression/control. Beyond that, you can adjust the length and tension in fine increments to give you the perfect feel.
Pearl has crafted a direct drive that gives you tons of speed and control, yet remains much less expensive than many direct drive pedals out there. Even with the durable and solid steel spines, it is still incredibly lightweight.
The bearings used on this pedal come from Ninja Bearing, a company that is well-known for making bearings for high-end skateboard trucks.
Lastly, you have a duo-deck feature, essentially allowing you to choose between standard or longboard style with a little bit of adjusting.
Bottom Line: From advanced technology to ultimate playability and versatility, the Pearl Eliminator Demon Drive is simply one of the best double bass pedals on the market. With shock absorbing control, insane speed and power, and an array of adjustable features, it is one of the few double bass pedals that you can really fine tune to your playing.
DW is known for manufacturing some of the best metalwork on the market. The DW 9000 truly outshines other double chain drive pedals out there thanks to the use of high-quality materials and expert craftsmanship.
There are many unique things about the DW 9000, one of them being the floating rotor that spins around the driveshaft smoothly unlike a fixed one. They have also included tension springs within the frame rather than on the driveshaft, to give you the best alignment possible.
Like the Pearl Eliminator Demon, they also allow you to adjust many different things from the cams to the slide bar, to the hex bolt, creating a responsive and versatile rig.
Their tri-pivot toe clamp system allows you to switch between the accelerator and turbo sprockets for changes in stroke feel as well.
Bottom Line: For a pedal that is smooth as butter and durable as an aircraft, the DW 9000 is one of the best around. While not AS adjustable as the Pearl Eliminator Demon, it still gives you a surprising amount of tweakable parameters for a lesser price.
Best Budget Option
If you’re just looking to dabble in the world of double bass drum pedals, but aren’t quite sure that you want to invest a ton of money into one, you should set your sights on the PDP by DW.
Obviously, they don’t come with all of the same high-end features as the 9000 series, though they are still constructed with high-quality materials and the expert craftsmanship of DW.
They are also excellent for beginners in that they don’t have many adjustable parts (aka tons of things to fiddle with). You can just set it up and get to playing right away.
The pedal comes with 2-way beaters, a single-chain drive system, and offset cams on each side. Even without the professionally set balance that you often find on high-end models, you still don’t get tons of annoying delay. The spring tension adjustment is relatively standard, as well as the distance adjustment too.
Bottom Line: For a small cost, the PDP by DW delivers sturdy performance, basic adjustments, and enough to get the double bass newbie up and running without any fuss or fight. It is truly the best budget/beginner pedal around.
You’ve no doubt seen the Pearl Eliminator Redline out there before, as it’s probably one of the most famous double bass pedals on the market. Even for the lower price tag, this belt drive pedal gives you unmatched craftsmanship and technology.
The footboards on this bad boy are coated with a beautiful traction grip to give you a closer and connected feel. You also have Pearl’s unique click lock adjustment for personalizing your feel off the bat.
Like their higher end Demon pedal, this one also comes with interchangeable cams to help best suit your playing style.
You get Ninja skateboard bearings for reliable, yet smooth playability, 4-sided quad control beaters for different playing styles, and ultra-quiet spring suspension with universal joints. This gives you insane response and recovery, even while moving through fast stroke sections.
While you can’t tweak as much as the Demon Drive, the Redline still gives you an unreal amount of adjustable features for the price.
Bottom Line: The Eliminator Redline is perfect for those who are looking for a smooth and responsive feel or a good middle ground between a chain and direct drive.
TAMA’s single chain drive Iron Cobra 200 is a very affordable pedal with many of the same high-quality features of top-tier pedals out on the market.
For starters, the pedal is insanely lightweight, making it easy to travel with (any drummer will be happy not having to haul around a heavy pedal from gig to gig), though it is just as sturdy and stable as their higher end options as well.
If you’re looking for speed, you’ve come to the right place. Thanks to the responsive shape and design of the footboard, you get a pedal that is both speedy and easy to control. Pair that with the Power Glide Cam and you get seriously smooth action.
Bottom Line: Compared to other pedals that we have talked about, the adjustment features on the Iron Cobra are relatively limited. That being said, if you are looking for a pedal with serious speed and playability, this makes for a great entry to intermediate level double bass pedal.
Time to Double Down
Whether you’re looking to take your drumming to lightspeed or just add a bit of character to your regular drumming, we hope that our guide was helpful in giving you everything you need to know about the dark arts of double bass pedalling.
For it’s insane adjustability, speed, control, and versatility, we have to crown the Pearl Eliminator Demon Drive as the best double bass pedal out there. Obviously, it may cost a bit more than you may be willing to pay, though if you are dead serious about your pedal, it’s difficult to find one that’s better.
Ultimately, you have to consider the things above when you’re looking for your favorite, as it truly comes down to personal taste and feel. Good luck and keep the metal strong!