There are a million drum different practice pads out there… Some are great, and a lot of them are kind of average.
When Freddy Charles reached out asking us to try his signature pad, we were in two minds as to whether to review it: Do we want to go down the “let’s start reviewing all the pads” path? This is DrumheadAuthority, not DrumPadAuthority. How can we just review one pad without giving people other reviews to compare it to?
There’s so much choice out there, it’s incredibly difficult to sum up whether one pad is worth checking out.
However, as you’ll see, Freddy’s pad is definitely worth checking out.
Why? Mainly for the pad of course (it’s great), but also for the excellent content you get with it (especially if you’re a beginner or intermediate drummer).
Let’s take a deeper look.
The Freddy Charles Signature Drum Pad: Made For Bounce
Okay, so first up it’s very important to point out that this pad was built for stick rebound.
It actually makes other pads feel dull and a little lifeless in comparison… During the review process, I compared the Freddy Charles pad to my usual Evans RealFeel pad. Now it’s hard to go back to the Evans, as the sticks just don’t pop back up in the same way.
Why does the pad focus on stick rebound? Well, Freddy’s playing style is lightning fast. On the drum kit, his hands move in a blur, using each drumstick’s rebound to his full advantage. He’s created his drum pad with this same playing style in mind. Take a look at the video below to see him in action.
The pad gets its rebound from the high-quality silicone rubber used on the playing surface. A lot of other pads are made from a softer (and cheaper) gum rubber (and my Evans RealFeel falls into this category, explaining why it gives less bounce).
It’s the pad’s silicone rubber that makes your drumsticks pop in a similar way to a tom or snare drum tuned up medium/high. For beginner drummers especially, this rebound is perfect for training your hands and finger muscles to control the sticks as they bounce back off the pad.
The pad itself feels very solid. The silicone is more than thick enough to ensure you never notice what is underneath when playing on it. I remember my very first practice pad overlooked this important detail (it was a custom-made pad from my city’s drum store)… Each hit gave a woody thud as my strokes vibrated through the thin rubber and into the wooden base.
The striking area is 8 inches, which gives enough space without leaving you with a bulky oversized pad. The silicone is attached to a solid white wooden base. On the underside is thin soft padding, with an 8mm threaded mounting hole in the center (allowing you to attach the pad to a regular cymbal stand).
The Extra Content
Going back to that stick rebound we were talking about earlier. It’s great to have, but you need someone to help you make the absolute most of it. Luckily Freddy provides both an ebook and a video showing you how to do exactly that.
As we mentioned, Freddy’s hands are lightning fast, so the video and ebook are naturally geared towards helping drummers achieve similarly fast hands. The content is designed for beginners, but it’s also extremely useful for intermediate drummers who want to improve their chops by honing in on some of the fundamental building blocks of drumming.
The video starts with the very basics, and moves into how to use the stick’s momentum to your advantage, the most-used rudiments, coordination, exercises, and general drumming advice.
The ebook also breaks things down to a very basic level, with a strong focus on giving drummers the ability to master their hand technique, which they can then apply to the drum kit to do some great things. The book covers key rudiments, as well as useful exercises and sticking patterns to help improve coordination and speed.
All of the educational content is methodical, with an emphasis on gaining control and technique rather than simply aiming for flat-out speed. The speed comes naturally as you gain more control over your hands. The book is written to complement the feel of the pad: you’ll learn how to use stick rebound to your advantage to create fast and consistent single strokes, double strokes, and other movements.
Each step you learn builds upon the previous one, and by the end, you’ll have some great tools in your drumming toolkit.
Freddy was actually kind enough to write an article for us covering how to start drumming with a practice pad – take a look to get a great insight into his teaching style.
On top of all of the above, you also get a pair of 5A Freddy Charles drumsticks, which are well balanced with a wooden acorn tip.
The Freddy Charles Signature Drum Pad: Is it worth it?
For drummers shopping for a practice pad, we can say with confidence that the Freddy Charles signature pad is a top choice. And this is especially true if you’re a beginner.
You get a well-built pad with excellent stick rebound, great educational content, and a nice pair of sticks. It’s definitely worth it, and your hands will thank you once you’ve worked through the content and mastered the bounce.