The Best Bass Drum Pedal
The Ultimate Guide
Looking for the best bass drum pedal? We’ve got you covered. This is the ultimate bass drum pedal guide, with the best bass drum pedals available today. It’s vital to have a great pedal, because it’s one of the most important pieces of drum gear you’ll own: Along with your snare drum, your bass drum gets more use than just about anything else… The bass drum is central to your drum kit’s sound, so make sure you’ve got a good pedal and good foot technique. Working on technique is your department, but we’ve done the work to find the best bass drum pedal available, in the three most important categories:
- The best bass drum pedal for beginners (under $100).
- The best bass drum pedal for intermediate drummers (under $200).
- The absolute best bass drum pedal, regardless of price.
The most versatile
pedal under $100
Perfect for beginners, or
for a spare pedal.
Super smooth action.
Fast single chain drive.
Adjustable beater angle.
The top pedal for
The super reliable
workhorse of pedals.
Super smooth action.
Solid double chain drive.
Adjustable beater angle.
Excellent hoop clamp.
Full rubber grip bottom.
Trick Pro 1-V
Trick Pro 1-V
Everything you'll ever want in a pedal
...and everything done
The smoothest action.
Chain or direct drive.
Adjustable beater angle.
Fastest hoop clamp.
Easiest tension adjustment.
Further down, we’ve also explained some of the most important bass drum pedal parts, including drive types, footboard styles, and different cams. These are some of the key factors affecting how your pedal feels and plays. We’ve gone in-depth here to help you understand the important stuff, so you can buy the best bass drum pedal for you.
The Best Bass Drum Pedal in 2018
We’re gonna get straight into it: What is the best bass drum pedal available today, for the different types of drummers out there? If you’re shopping for a new bass drum pedal, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve tested over a dozen different pedals to find the best ones, and we’ll tell you exactly why they’re worth your money.
Use the links below to skip to a specific category, or scroll down to see everything.
• The Best Bass Drum Pedal for Beginners (under $100) •
• The Best Bass Drum Pedal for Intermediates (under $200) •
• The Absolute Best Bass Drum Pedal (regardless of price) •
• Buying Guide: Bass Drum Pedals Explained •
Best Bass Drum Pedal for Beginners Under $100
Pearl P930 Bass Drum Pedal
First up we’ve got the best bass drum pedal for beginner drummers: Perfect for when you’re starting out and need something good that won’t break the bank. If you got a stock bass drum pedal with your beginner’s drum kit, this will be a very nice upgrade. How have we defined a “beginner bass drum pedal”? Well, we’re looking for the best bass drum pedal under $100. Quality and affordability are important here. When testing these pedals, we’ve also made sure that they’re not just a beginner’s toy – it’s important to buy something that you’ll enjoy using for years to come.
For the best bass drum pedal for beginners, it came down to two contenders after sorting through the noise: The DW 2000 bass drum pedal, and the Pearl P930 Demonator… When it comes to the best bass drum pedal under $100, these are two of the best. Looking closely though, there’s one clear winner: Pearl’s P930 Demonator bass drum pedal. Here’s why it’s the best bass drum pedal for beginners, and the best bass drum pedal under $100:
Best Bass Drum Pedal for Beginners (Under $100)
Winner: Pearl P930 Demonator
The Lowdown: Pearl P930 Bass Drum Pedal
First up, the Pearl P930 bass drum pedal is an extremely well built chain-drive pedal, and it plays super smooth. Importantly, it’s also extremely versatile… Pearl have included some excellent features, many which are usually only found on more advanced pedals. There’s even some features here you won’t find on on the most expensive pedals! The versatility makes the Pearl P930 really stand out, and it’s why we rate it as the best bass drum pedal under $100. As a beginner, it’s priceless to be able to experiment with different bass drum pedal configurations to find what works best for your feet. The P930 Demonator lets you do this more than any other pedal in this price range… By the time you’re ready to upgrade, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for in a bass drum pedal. For these reasons, the Pearl P930 Demonator is our pick for the best bass drum pedal for beginners, and the best bass drum pedal under $100.
The Features: Pearl P930 Bass Drum Pedal
- Fully adjustable beater angle (independent of the footboard): This allows you to position the beater at any angle. Importantly, changing the beater angle doesn’t affect the footboard height, which happens with a lot of other cheap bass drum pedals. Great work by Pearl for making this happen!
- Interchangeable cams: This is something really unique – You get a round cam (for a consistent feel across the whole pedal movement), and an eccentric cam (which increases the beater’s speed as it gets closer to the drumhead). This is something rarely seen in a drum pedal, let along a drum pedal under $100. Tip – see our bass drum pedal buying guide below for more on cams.
- Powershifter footboard: The footboard can be pushed forward or backward, depending on your preference. Find the footboard placement that works best for you.
- Great spring tension adjustment system: Pearl’s locking mechanism is quick and easy to lift, adjust, and snap back into place.
- Double bass drum pedal options: You can buy the add-on kit to turn your single pedal into a double bass drum pedal. You can also buy a double pedal right from the start (model number P932). The double pedal version is smooth, solid, and comes with the same features as the single pedal (full independent beater angle adjustment, interchangeable cams, Powershifter footboard, two-sided beater).
- Double bass pedal hi-hat setup: The slave pedal’s tower is on the right side (instead of being double-sided), making it easier to position the hi-hat stand to the left.
- Two-sided beater: A plastic side (for a brighter attack), and a felt side (for a slightly warmer bass drum sound).
Why It’s Amazing: Pearl P930 Bass Drum Pedal
The above features, combined with an extremely solid, reliable, and smooth design, give the P930 the award for the best bass drum pedal for beginners, and the best bass drum pedal under $100. Being able to try different cam types, beater angles, and footboard positions all in the one pedal is perfect for beginners. It’s like having four pedals in one. Importantly, this is a really smooth and well-built bass drum pedal, and something that you can still use even as an intermediate or advanced drummer… The P930 isn’t a toy that you’ll quickly outgrow. In fact, if you’re a more advanced drummer looking for a great spare bass drum pedal, the P930 is a perfect choice.
Pearl have done a great job, with top build quality and stand-out features that make the P930 deserving of the best bass drum pedal for beginners award. Both the singe and double bass drum pedal version are great quality, and cannot be beaten for the price.
The Pearl P930 is the only bass drum pedal to feature in our huge article on the best drum gifts.
Best Bass Drum Pedal for Beginners (Under $100)
Runner Up: DW 2000 Bass Drum Pedal
We think this pedal is worth a special mention in our best bass drum pedal for beginners category… The DW 2000 is a very smooth and well built piece of equipment, and a great bass drum pedal. DW are renowned for building top-quality drum hardware, and the DW 2000 is no exception. It doesn’t take top position in our best bass drum pedal for beginners category, because it’s simply doesn’t have the versatility of the Pearl P930. However, if you want a no-fuss beginner bass drum pedal that is ready to play right out of the box, the DW 2000 is made for you. This is a beginner’s bass drum pedal for people who don’t want to get lost in the huge range of adjustments with the Pearl P930.
The Lowdown: DW 2000 Bass Drum Pedal
There are enough adjustable parts to set up this pedal well, without being overwhelmed by options. Like the Pearl P930, the DW 2000 is a single chain pedal with a smooth feel and a very solid construction. It’s worth mentioning that the beater angle and footboard height are not independently adjustable (changing one will move the other). The beater is two-sided, however both sides are plastic (compared to one felt and one plastic side on the Pearl P930 above). DW have included some thoughtful features with the pedal: There’s a handy drum key clip built in. There’s also velcro on the underside of the base plate, to stop this pedal slipping on carpet (retractable spikes are also included). The double pedal slave has a single right-side tower, making hi-hat placement easy, and the double pedal action is very smooth for a cheaper pedal.
Why It’s Our Runner Up: DW 2000 Bass Drum Pedal
Overall, the DW 2000 is an excellent beginner’s bass drum pedal, and one that will serve you well for years to come. If you’re overwhelmed by the range of adjustment options with the Pearl P930 above, you’ll be very happy with the DW 2000… There are less changeable parts and options (just the basics compared to the P930), but everything functions very well. It takes our runner up position for best bass drum pedal under $100 due to the excellent build quality, smooth feel, and rock solid reliability.
Best Bass Drum Pedal for Intermediates Under $200
DW 5000 Bass Drum Pedal
If you’ve got more than $100 and want a step up from the beginner options, this is the category for you…. The best bass drum pedal under $200, for intermediate drummers. There are a lot of contenders around this price range, but there’s one pedal that really stands out: The DW 5000. Here’s why we rate it as the best bass drum pedal for intermediate drummers:
Best Bass Drum Pedal for Intermediates (Under $200)
Winner: DW 5000 Bass Drum Pedal
The Lowdown: DW 5000 Bass Drum Pedal
The DW 5000 is an industry standard, and for good reason. Chances are you’ve seen or used one somewhere: these are the ultra-reliable workhorses of the bass drum pedal world. The DW 5000 is extremely well built, with a great range of features and an extremely smooth feel. You can tell DW understand what drummers need in a pedal, based on what they’ve included in the design. If you only buy one bass drum pedal for your whole drumming life, the DW 5000 is an absolute top choice. Why have we rated the DW 5000 as the best bass drum pedal for intermediate drummers? At this skill level, you need something designed for plenty of gigging on different kits and in different locations. The latest version of the DW 5000 is perfect for this, and it’s backed up by a super smooth action.
The Features: DW 5000 Bass Drum Pedal
- Solid double chain drive, which can also be replaced for a strap drive.
- Tri-Pivot Toe Clamp: Clamps quickly and securely to any bass drum hoop, making it a great gigging pedal to use on different kits. This is one of the best clamps we’ve seen, because it automatically adjusts itself to any type of hoop.
- Adjustable beater angle, chain length, and footboard height.
- Two cam options: When buying, you can choose from the Turbo cam (for a consistent feel across the entire range of motion), or the Accelerator cam (for increased beater velocity across part of the motion, making the pedal feel faster). Tip – see our bass drum pedal buying guide below for more on cams.
- Non-skid rubber grip across the entire underside of the base plate, plus retractable spikes.
- Easy to reach hoop clamp nut, offset to the right of the footboard (rather than underneath the footboard like a lot of pedals).
- Two-sided beater: A plastic side (for a brighter attack), and a felt side (for a slightly warmer bass drum sound).
- Double bass pedal thoughtfulness: The slave pedal’s tower is on the right side (instead of being double-sided), making it easier to position the hi-hat stand to the left.
- Drum key clip (with drum key) built into the base plate.
- Add-on accessory pack available, to change the footboard weight and heel plate height (the SM1260 pedal customizing kit).
- A nice nylon carry case.
Why It’s Amazing: DW 5000 Bass Drum Pedal
There are some great reasons why the DW 5000 takes our award for the best bass drum pedal for intermediate drummers. Most importantly, the DW 5000 is super smooth and super responsive. It feels great under your foot. Beyond this though, it also comes loaded with some really thoughtful features for intermediate drummers. DW has an amazing track record for build quality, and this is is a bass drum pedal that will easily handle years of heavy playing. Beyond the great action and build quality, there are some features that really make this pedal stand out: The Tri-Pivot Toe Clamp, which saves time when setting up. The full rubber bottom, which means there’ll be no slipping on hard surfaces. The offset hoop clamp nut and drum key clip are both very handy. Finally, there are enough adjustments for you to set up this pedal exactly how you like. For all of these reasons, the DW 5000 pedal takes the award for best bass drum pedal for intermediate drummers, and best bass drum pedal under $200.
How it stacks up against the competition:
Like we said above, there are some great pedals in this price range. We’re being a little picky here, but it’s the little things that get the DW 5000 across the line as the best bass drum pedal in this category. All of the bass drum pedals below are super smooth and have a great action, but it’s the practical features of the DW 5000 that make it really stand out.
DW 5000 vs. Pearl Eliminator Redline
The Pearl is a great pedal, however the DW wins because of a few top features for gigging drummers. When playing a lot of shows (especially on different kits), the DW 5000’s Tri-Pivot clamp system is really handy… It just works well, every time. The full rubber grip across the bottom of the DW 5000 is also handy for times when you can’t use spikes. The drum key clip is a small but thoughtful feature: you’ll always know exactly where your key is. All of these things add up to time saving and less stress, which is great when you’ve got short setup and pack down times on stage. The Pearl Eliminator Redline is super smooth, and the interchangeable cams are a great feature… If you’re really into customization, then the Redline is a top choice. Overall though, it’s the practical things that get the DW 5000 over the line.
DW 5000 vs. Tama Iron Cobra 900
The Iron Cobra is another top pedal, and definitely worth checking out (especially if you’re a Tama fan). The one thing that beats it is the DW 5000’s new clamp system, which works a little better than the Iron Cobra’s. Yes we’re being picky here, but it’s a very close race. The latest version Tama Iron Cobra is super smooth, and the beater is one of the best we’ve used. However, after spending time with both pedals, we’ve chosen the DW 5000 as a close first.
The Absolute Best Bass Drum Pedal
Trick Pro 1-V
Okay, so you want the most solid, responsive, and reliable bass drum pedal to serve your feet… Something that you’ll buy once, and use for the rest of your drumming life? We tried a lot of pedals, but there’s one that really shines. The absolute best bass drum pedal is the Trick Pro 1-V, and here’s why:
The Absolute Best Bass Drum Pedal
Trick Pro 1-V
The Lowdown: Trick Pro 1-V Bass Drum Pedal
There are a lot of expensive bass drum pedals out there with great features and a super smooth action. However, there are a lot of things that make Trick’s offering really stand out. Trick have really raised the bar for bass drum pedals with the design, features, and thought that has gone into the Pro 1-V… This is why it takes top place as the absolute best bass drum pedal out there. First of all: Yes, this pedal plays like butter. The bearings are extremely smooth, and all moving parts are perfectly aligned; there’s nothing that rattles, squeaks, or shakes. It plays incredibly smoothly, without feeling too light or flimsy; it’s solid enough to take an absolute beating. The Trick Pro 1-V is available in chain-drive or direct-drive versions, with either a shortboard or a longboard footplate (tip – see our bass drum pedal buying guide below for what all of this stuff means). We think it’s the absolute best bass drum pedal out there due to its amazing feel, extremely smooth action, and some game changing features:
The Features: Trick Pro 1-V Bass Drum Pedal
- All precision machined parts: Most pedals are made with die-cast parts, but precision machining means everything fits together perfectly when these pedals are put together. It gives an incredibly solid and smooth feel. Grab the footboard and try to wobble it left and right… it won’t budge.
- Solid and super fast bass drum clamp system: A tough spring-loaded mechanism, rather than the usual screw-on clamp. This pedal clamps on and off in under a second, which is perfect when setting up or packing down at shows. It grips tight, and it has wide grip range.
- Versatile adjustable clamp system: The whole bass drum pedal’s clamp can slide forward and backward, meaning you can align the pedal perfectly to any bass drum. This is useful for fine-tuning exactly how close your bass drum pedal is to the drumhead.
- Extremely tough construction: You could drop this pedal from the third floor and it would probably still be playable (not recommended!).
- The easiest spring tension adjustment, ever. Spring tension is adjusted with an easy to reach dial on the top of the pedal tower, rather than underneath. You can dial in your perfect spring tension with one hand while playing, so you can quickly feel out the perfect tension. This is a huge step up from the usual get-down-on-the-floor style of spring tension adjustment.
- Independently adjustable beater angle and footboard height, with markers to help you remember your settings.
- A super versatile beater: It’s height-adjustable and angle-adjustable, and the face can be screwed off to swap between plastic, aluminium, and felt (depending on the sound you want). The angle adjustment is important, so you can ensure the beater’s face hits the bass drum head perfectly.
- A strong compression spring is used, rather than a tension spring. These are less likely to break, which is especially handy if you like a very tight bass drum pedal tension.
- Versatility: You can convert this pedal from a chain-drive to direct-drive, and from a shortboard to a longboard (the longboard version is called the BigFoot). There is also an advanced trigger system available. Parts are available direct from Trick’s website.
- Bonus points for the double bass version, which is actually two fully functional single pedals connected by a buttery smooth drive shaft. This means you can play double bass on one bass drum or two, without needing to buy different pedals. You can also use one pedal for a cowbell, tambourine, jam block, foot snare, or anything else when you’re not playing double bass. The pedal converts from a master-and-slave double pedal to two full single pedals in seconds. There are some really expensive double bass pedals out there that don’t convert to two single pedals, so well done to Trick for making this so easy.
Why It’s Amazing: Trick Pro 1-V Bass Drum Pedal
Trick have created something really great, which is why it gets our award for the absolute best bass drum pedal, period. When you’re spending big money on a bass drum pedal that you’ll keep forever, you need one that is versatile, reliable, smooth, and rock solid. Trick tick all of these boxes, but so do a lot of other top-of-the-line pedals. The Pro 1-V really stands out because of the unique features that show Trick truly understand what drummers want: The easiest spring tension adjustment of any pedal we’ve seen (no more getting down on the floor), the fastest clamp system ever, enough adjustments to suit even the fussiest drummer, a double pedal made up of two stand-alone single pedals…. the list goes on. Try finding all of the Pro 1-V’s features in any other bass drum pedal. The best thing is, all of these features are done well. Because of this, Trick’s Pro 1-V takes out top position as the absolute best bass drum pedal. The only downside is the price: You’ll pay a lot for it (although you’ll never need anything else). Trick ticks all the boxes – they’ve created a pedal that is a joy to use and that will stand the test of time. This is why it gets our award for the absolute best bass drum pedal out there.
Comparing the Pro 1-V to the competition:
We’ve spent a lot of time covering why the Trick Pro 1-V is great, so we’ll keep this part brief… Compared to most pedals out there, it’s the features we’ve listed above that set Trick apart. Here are the key points between some of the other brands that come up when you mention Trick, and why we think the Pro 1-V wins:
Trick Pro 1-V vs. Axis A Longboard & A21
Axis make great bass drum pedals. You’d probably be very happy with one. They’re actually a touch lighter feeling than the Trick, which might be a positive for you. However, a couple of important things put the Trick Pro 1-V ahead of Axis’ offerings:
- Axis pedals do not allow independent footboard and beater angle adjustments… This is a critical missing feature if you’re even moderately interested in fine-tuning your pedal. Change your beater angle, and the footboard angle has to move with it. Axis have the sonic hammer beater to overcome this (you can move the beater face closer to the drumhead). However, if you change to a different beater, you’re stuck.
- The Trick Pro 1-V double pedal can be much more easily split into two fully-functioning single pedals (it takes seconds).
- The Trick Pro 1-V feels slightly more solid than both of the Axis pedals we tested out… Trick definitely wins in the build quality department. Axis aren’t bad, but Trick just take it to the next level.
- Trick also gets across the line due to a bunch of other unique features: The super fast bass drum clamp, extremely well thought-out spring adjustment system, and much more versatility with general adjustments.
Trick Pro 1-V vs. Czarcie Kopyto
Czarcie Kopyto is one bass drum pedal we couldn’t test out for this review. We wanted to mention it here though, because it often comes up when people talk about the absolute best double bass drum pedal. They’re built-to-order, and can’t be found in stores. As far as we can tell, the reviews are great, but we can’t give an award for best bass drum pedal to something we can’t test! Beyond this though, there are a few other things that made us choose the Trick Pro 1-V instead of the Czarcie Kopyto:
- Czarcie Kopyto have ripped a ton of stuff from Trick’s design (there are some striking similarities between these two pedals!).
- The spring tension system is towards the bottom of the pedal tower, meaning it’s harder to adjust.
- The bass drum clamp system is a screw-type rather than Trick’s great clamp system.
- The Czarcie Kopyto is direct-drive only, whereas you can change the Trick to a chain or direct-drive.
- The Czarcie Kopyto is more expensive than the Trick.
- The estimated delivery time is 6 months when you order.
We couldn’t test the Czarcie Kopyto, although it seems like a great pedal from all we’ve seen. However: you’ll end up paying more, waiting longer, and missing some of Trick’s unique features. We’d love to test one out to be able to compare it properly in our best bass drum pedal roundup.
What’s your favourite bass drum pedal? Have you used any of the pedals we reviewed? Let us know!
If you’ve read through the reviews above but you’re still not satisfied, then take a look at the top rated bass drum pedals on Amazon.com.
Full Disclosure: We’re not paid by anyone to write these reviews, and we’re not associated with any of the companies making any of this gear. We’re not told what to write – this is our honest opinion after a lot of testing and research.
Bass Drum Pedal Buying Guide: Bass Drum Pedals Explained
There are some key things to look for if you’re buying a bass drum pedal. Specifically, the footboard type, the drive type, and the cam type are three of the biggest factors affecting how a bass drum pedal feels and responds. These things are usually not changeable, although there are some more versatile bass drum pedals out there. Understanding these things will help you buy the best bass drum pedal for your feet. Since these are the three biggest factors in determining the feel of a bass drum pedal, we’ll cover each in detail now:
Bass Drum Pedal Footboard Type
Shortboard vs. Longboard Bass Drum Pedals
The footboard is the part of the bass drum pedal that you press with your foot. The width and length of the footboard will change how you play the pedal, and the location of your personal sweet spot (the place your foot feels most comfortable). There are two main types of bass drum pedal footboard: shortboard (regular) and longboard. Besides one being longer, a shortboard bass drum pedal has a heel plate (which doesn’t move), while the entire length of a longboard is playable. Shortboard is the standard bass drum pedal footboard type – most pedals use this style. Longboard bass drum pedals have become popular across the last decade (although they’ve been around for a much longer time). Here are the positives and negatives for shortboard vs. longboard bass drum pedals:
Shortboard Bass Drum Pedals
- Shortboard bass drum pedals can be played with both heel-up and heel-down bass drum technique (you can rest your heel on the heel plate for heel-down).
- Heel-toe technique is completely possible, however some people find it harder. Having a shorter footboard forces you to improve your heel-toe technique, since there’s less room for error.
- Your sweet spot will be slightly higher on the footboard compared to a longboard.
- The sweet spot zone will be slightly smaller, since the pedal is shorter.
- Shortboards are easier to use for people with tiny feet, and more difficult for people with giant feet. If you’ve got feet within a wide normal range, foot size won’t make much difference for shortboard vs. longboard bass drum pedals.
Longboard Bass Drum Pedals
- Longboard bass drum pedals can be played with heel-up technique. For heel-down technique, you’ll be resting your foot on the footboard itself (rather than a fixed surface), which can make it more difficult.
- Heel-toe technique is easier. There’s a larger area to use, and more room for error.
- Your sweet spot will be slightly lower on the footboard compared to a shortboard.
- The sweet spot zone will be slightly larger, since the pedal is longer.
- Longboard pedals are easier to use for people with giant feet, and more difficult for people with tiny feet. If you’ve got feet within a wide normal range, foot size won’t make much difference for shortboard vs. longboard bass drum pedals.
Shortboard vs. longboard bass drum pedals:
which is better?
It mainly just comes down to personal preference… It’s possible to play like a pro on either. You can play blisteringly fast, or with pinpoint accuracy on either. If you have gigantic feet, you’re probably better off with a longboard. If you use a lot of heel-down technique, you’ll probably prefer a shortboard. If you really can’t decide, then the best bass drum pedal for you is the Pearl Demon Drive: This pedal can be quickly converted between a longboard and shortboard right out of the box. You can also buy different footboards for other bass drum pedals (like the Trick Pro 1-V we’ve reviewed above), to convert between longboard and shortboard without needing to replace the whole pedal.
Bass Drum Pedal Drive Type
Chain-Drive vs. Strap-Drive vs. Direct-Drive Bass Drum Pedals
The bass drum pedal’s drive is the part that connects the footboard to the beater.
The drive type of a bass drum pedal is important, because it links your foot movement to the movement of the beater. Different bass drum pedal drive types will therefore change how the pedal feels under your foot. Bass drum pedal drives come in three varieties: Chain-drive, strap-drive, and direct-drive pedals. Each drive type has its positives and negatives, and many drummers have their preferences. A lot of the differences are fairly small across bass drum pedal drive types. However, when you’re doing hundreds or thousands of bass drum strokes each day, these small differences can make a difference. Here’s a comparison of the different drive types out there, to help you buy the best bass drum pedal for your feet:
Chain-Drive Bass Drum Pedals: Power
Chain-drive bass drum pedals are the most common type of pedal out there. A chain is an effective and versatile way to link the footboard to the beater: Chains can move freely enough to respond to fast movements, without too much stiffness slowing you down. Chain-drive bass drum pedals are great for power… You can generate a lot of force with a chain, almost like you’re whipping the beater into the bass drum head. For this reason, a chain-drive bass drum pedal is great for drummers who want a big and powerful bass drum sound. The Trick Pro 1-V bass drum pedal (reviewed above) is available with a chain-drive.
Single chain vs. double chain bass drum pedals:
- Single chain bass drum pedals (a thin single chain) = Lighter & faster feeling. The thinner chain is more free to move, which means it can move faster.
- Double chain bass drum pedals (two chains connected side-by-side) = Sturdier & usually more durable. The thicker chain adds slightly more bulk and friction to the movement.
Strap-Drive Bass Drum Pedals: A Middle Ground
Strap-drive bass drum pedals (also called belt-drive pedals) use a strap made from a strong material like nylon or kevlar. Older strap-drive bass drum pedals used leather, which was prone to breaking. A strap-drive pedal is great if you want something faster than a chain-drive pedal, but with more room to move than a direct-drive pedal. Compared to a chain-drive bass drum pedal, a strap has less moving parts to slow the pedal’s movement. However, some people feel a strap-drive pedal has slightly less power compared to a chain-drive pedal. Compared to a chain-drive pedal, strap-drive bass drum pedals usually feel smoother and lighter. The beater’s movement is also slightly more responsive when the footboard is pressed. A strap-drive bass drum pedal is a good middle ground between the power of a chain-drive, and the precision of a direct-drive pedal. If this is the feel you’re looking for, then a strap-drive pedal is probably the best bass drum pedal type for you. The DW 5000 bass drum pedal (reviewed above) is available with a strap-drive.
Direct-drive bass drum pedals: Speed & Precision
Direct-drive pedals have a direct link (made of solid metal) between the bass drum pedal’s footboard and the beater. Chains and straps can be affected by slack, both when beginning a stroke and when lifting your foot after a stroke. Direct-drive bass drum pedals avoid this problem. You’ll know exactly where your bass drum beater is at all times, because the beater and footboard always move as one. The benefit here is that you’ll have a lot more precision with your strokes. You can also play extremely fast, since there’s no slack or extra moving parts between the footboard and beater. Some drummers prefer this, while others find these pedals too hard to control. There’s less room for error with a direct-drive pedal, so it forces you to improve your timing and technique. For this reason, direct-drive bass drum pedals can take a little getting used to. Direct-drive pedals are great for drummers looking for speed and precision… If this is what you’re searching for, then this is the best bass drum pedal drive type for you. The Trick Pro 1-V bass drum pedal (reviewed above) is available in a direct-drive version.
The Best Bass Drum Pedal Drive Type?
Each drive type is useful for different situations, but a lot of the choice simply comes down to personal preference. If you’re wondering what is the best bass drum pedal drive type, the answer is it depends. They can all feel great, and they can all function smoothly (especially after you’ve adjusted to them). There are differences, but it’s also completely possible to play a direct-drive pedal with extreme power, or a chain-drive pedal with extreme precision: Your bass drum foot technique will have a big impact on these things. As a general guide though, you can keep the above tips in mind when shopping for the best bass drum pedal drive type for your playing style. The DW 5000 bass drum pedal (reviewed above) can be easily converted between a chain-drive to a strap-drive. The Trick Pro 1-V bass drum pedal (reviewed above) can be easily converted between a chain-drive and a direct-drive. If you want versatility with drive-types, one of these might be the best bass drum pedal for you.
Bass Drum Pedal Cam Types
Round vs. Flat Bass Drum Pedal Cams
Cams change the feel of the pedal as you use it. More specifically, cams dictate how the beater moves from the resting position to striking the bass drum. The cam is the part that the chain or strap moves across as you press on the footboard, and different shaped cams will change this movement. Think of the cam as the translator between the footboard’s movement and the beater’s movement. Direct drive pedals don’t have a cam, since the footboard and beater are connected directly (no movement translation is required).
As you press down on the footboard to complete a bass drum stroke, the cam’s shape will affect how the beater moves:
Round Bass Drum Pedal Cams = Consistency & Control
With round cams, the beater always moves at the same velocity, regardless of where your footboard is (i.e. regardless of where you are in a stroke). The movement is always consistent, which makes this type of cam great for precise bass drum control. If you like a consistent feel and good control, the best bass drum pedal for you will be one with a round cam. The Turbo Cam version of the DW 5000 bass drum pedal is a great example of a round-cam bass drum pedal (pictured).
Flat Bass Drum Pedal Cams = Acceleration & Speed
With a flat cam, the beater moves towards the drumhead with greater velocity compared to a round cam. This gives greater acceleration to each stroke, without actually needing to move your foot faster. This type of cam is great for speed: fast double-bass drumming or quick double/triple strokes. If you want greater beater acceleration, the best bass drum pedal for you is probably one with a flatter cam. A great pedal with a flatter cam is the Accelerator Cam version of the DW 5000 bass drum pedal (pictured).
Mixed-Shape Bass Drum Pedal Cams
You’ll sometimes see cams that are part round and part flat. The same rules apply as above, depending on where you are in a bass drum stroke: When the chain/strap rolls across the round area, the beater movement will be consistent. When the flatter part of the cam comes into play, there will be a boost in velocity. You’ll often see flatter areas towards the end of the cam, boosting velocity just before the beater hits the drumhead. How does this actually work? The shortest distance between two point is a straight line. With a round cam, the chain/strap runs around the round edge of the cam, meaning it covers more ground at the pedal is pushed down. With a flat-faced cam, the chain/strap is being pulled almost directly down when the pedal is engaged, meaning the beater will move faster. Once you learn these little rules, you’ll be able to tell exactly how a pedal will respond just by looking at the cam.
Cam-Changing Bass Drum Pedals = Versatility
Most pedals have a fixed cam that can’t be changed. However, there are a few pedals out there that allow you to easily swap the cam, or change its shape. If you want options, one of these is probably the best bass drum pedal for you:
- The Pearl Eliminator Redline, the Pearl P930, and Pearl P932 bass drum pedals all come with removable cams. When you buy the pedal you get two (P930 & P932) or four (Redline) different shaped cams in the box (pictured above).
- The DW 9000 bass drum pedal has an adjustable cam, which can become rounder or flatter depending on your playing needs.
Bass Drum Pedal Feel
There’s one other simple (but super important) thing….
This one is often overlooked when people make adjustments to find the best bass drum pedal action, or the best bass drum pedal feel.
It’s an inexpensive thing, but it always has a huge impact on how your bass drum pedal moves, and your overall bass drum sound.
I’m talking about the bass drum beater:
Your beater’s material type, size, shape, and weight will change how your bass drum sounds, and how the bass drum pedal feels.
There’s a lot of stuff to cover when it comes to bass drum beaters, and it really deserves a whole article to explain all of the important stuff.
Luckily, we’ve got one:
Click here to read everything you need to know about bass drum beaters. This free article covers the different beater types, shapes, sizes, weights, and (most importantly) how all of this actually affects your bass drum’s sound. We’ve also covered the best bass drum beater in each category, so you know which beaters are worth buying once you’ve found the best type for your sound and style. Don’t neglect your beater.
Want More Free Drumming Resources?
While we’re on the subject of bass drums, see our article covering everything you need to know about bass drum port holes: How they change your sound, where they should go, and whether you actually need one. If you’ve every had questions about port holes, this is the page for you.
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