Drummers - how much tension on bass pedals?

Discussion in 'Drums & Percussion' started by TedEH, May 2, 2018.

  1. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I've been playing a lot of drums lately and spending time with some other drummers kits. What I've noticed is that the pedals I've been using (cheap Gibraltar set) have a lot less tension in the springs that pull the pedals back. And I do mean *a lot* less. As well as, just because of the design of the pedals, the "action" feels very different.

    There seems to be a bit of a tradeoff happening. With my own pedals, I can maintain a constant 16th note for much longer since I'm not getting much resistance from the pedals. But, when doing quick rolls, the pedals don't seem to return with my feet in the same way which makes short bursts hard to pull off without being really sloppy.

    As a middle ground, I cranked up the tension on the pedals I've got - but they seem to be limited just in terms of design, so that I can't really get the same feel as the more expensive pedals. Like if you ranked the tension on the pedals I've tried, mine were at like a 2, the ones I liked were a 6, there was a set I tried where the drummer had it TO THE MAX and it was too much work to fight against it. With the new adjustment on my own pedals it feels like I've gotten up to maybe 4, but I'd like it to be closer to that 6 I tried.

    I'm considering trying some shorter/tighter springs to see if it'll get me part of the way there.

    Does it sound like this is something I can accomplish with more tension, or is this just the effect of the design of the pedal? Is it possible I've reached a point in my drumming that a more "pro" quality pedal is really what I'm looking for?

    Any advice is appreciated.
     
  2. Ebony

    Ebony Blastology

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    Chain drive pedals are inherently sloppy, and even though the more expensive ones are better, my DW9000 are still sluggish as hell compared to my Trick Pro 1V. If you want medium-ish tension and more precise rebound I'd say a pair of well-made direct drive pedals are the way to go.

    Personally, I run my pedals with tension to the max.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  3. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Right now what I have is a Gibraltar 3000 series with a strap instead of chains. There's two that I borrowed for a bit -> The one I liked was a DW (I think the 5000), but I'd probably want slightly less tension than the way he had it setup. I don't know what the one I didn't like was cause I didn't care enough to look, but it wasn't a DW.

    I feel like "sluggish" isn't so much my complaint... it's more like what I have is.... too fast? Like it doesn't return with my foot in a way that I'd like. There's little bounce back. Like it's too effortless to move forward, so when you want to do a quick roll of some kind, there's not enough resisting you to do it smoothly.
     
  4. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    ALL the tension.

    But tension isn't the only thing to worry about - beater distance also has a big effect on feel. How far back from the head do you have your beaters?

    For a while I kept my resonant head unported for extra rebound but I think that was doing more harm than good. Good for EXTREMELY quick doubles, but actually harder for moderate doubles (like, something you might actually play in the course of a song). Or so I found it anway.
     
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  5. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I have no idea what I'm doing with drum hardware, but I tend to crank my spring tension up as high as I can get it on my Tama Iron Cobra. I've broken the springs before on backline kick pedals, because stupid me wants a little snappier return, and I figure it won't possibly harm anything permanently, then we end up with someone having to run out to get another pedal. Oops.
     
  6. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    After some thought, I think there might be something to this. I don't think the gibraltar pedals I've got have any way to adjust this. Where the DW pedals I borrowed were adjustable in a bunch of ways, mine basically just have spring tension and that's it. I could take the height of the beaters down but I dunno if that would reaaaaally do what I want.

    I've, I think the DWs are an offset cam, and have heavier beaters in general. All of this could be adding up to a nicer feel than what I've got: no adjustments, round cam, light beaters, light spring tension, etc.
     
  7. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    Beaters too short also leads to a lack of control, basically longer and further away = stiffer feel and greater control. The thing to avoid is going SO far back that the beater is having to go past vertical to reach the head, that's when you get it feeling impossible to play.
     
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  8. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    The bit I'm actually finding hard to play is when you want to do just short bursts, like when you throw in a random triplet somewhere. I can sustain fast 16th notes forever because of the low tension, but when I try to just throw a random quick triplet in, the first note hits but the follow-up hits don't always connect. I can confirm that with both pedals, the beaters are hitting in the same spot, but if the shape of the pedals are different that might not mean anything. I might head out to a drum shop nearby and just try a bunch of stuff out. If I run into a dw 3000 for a reasonable price, maybe that would be the way to go. It's very possible that I've outgrown the super-entry-level pedals I've started out with.
     
  9. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I'd recommend trying out a bunch of pedals to see how they feel. Sometimes Guitar Center will have a bunch of pedals thrown up against a rail so that you can try them, but, often times, these pedals are not really adjusted in any way that makes any sense. But the kick pedal is such a central piece of hardware, that it's not a bad idea to splurge and spend a little more on it. IMO, give me a nice kick pedal, a nice hihat stand, a nice snare, a nice snare stand, and a nice pair of hihats, and then I can use budget gear on everything else. It's not unusual for drummers to use a house kit, but bring their own kick pedal, snare, and/or hihats.
    The other thing, though, is that kick pedals tend to cost a lot of money. I'd love a Dualist triple pedal, but those go for $600-700 used if you're lucky enough to find one, and that's just difficult to justify. I do think you can find some road-worn DW double pedals for under $200 on eBay if you watch regularly. They aren't too bad to fix up, if you know where to get parts - just don't order parts directly from DW unless you want to pay a lot of money.
     
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  10. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I ended up spending some time in a shop nearby and talking it out and poking around with a bunch of their pedals. Their drum guy had also pointed out the Iron Cobra 600 they had (it's some kind of 25th anniversary thing), which seemed to be a similar vibe. Based on my familiarity with the 5000, I took home a DW 3000 and will take it to the jam room to try to set it up tonight, with my friends 5000 available there as a reference for how his is adjusted. I did a quick initial setup using a mesh kit I have at home and I definitely feel a difference (those quick triplets are easier for sure) but it's not a good test since the mesh is super spongey feeling and not really representative of how it'll work on a real kit.

    I've got a couple of shows on the weekend, so we'll see if I'm confident enough after tonight to depend on the upgrade for a live setting. Normally I wouldn't risk a gear changeup this close to a show, but the gibraltars don't strike me as exactly super reliable gear on their own either sooooooo. :lol:
     
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  11. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Yeah, I think you'll be a lot happier with the DW 3000 than with the Gibraltar. I'm not that well-versed in the 3000, but I don't think it's functionally that different from the 5000, and the 5000's are very reliable.
     
  12. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    My understanding is that the 3000 and 5000 are pretty much the same, save for some extra bells and whistles on the more expensive one. The 5000 also supposedly comes with two different cam/sprocket options ("accelerator" vs "turbo") where the 3000 only comes with the "turbo" variant.
     
  13. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I had also been looking into pickups, but I guess that blows this weeks "spontaneous pulling the trigger on music junk I probably don't need" budget. :lol:

    For now, at least. Maybe pickups next pay.
     
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  14. SYLrules88

    SYLrules88 I play drums!

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    What did you end up getting, if anything? I personally never liked the feel of DWs. I bought an iron cobra power glide in high school when my buddies bought the DW 9000 series. I think the DWs just felt too lightweight and I liked the heavier feel of the tama. 8 years ago I bought a pear eliminator and I don't hate it but I don't love it either. Still haven't quite figured out exactly what my ideal tension and feel is :lol:

    In addition to messing with the beater height and starting point from the head, you could try adjust the counterweights on the beater shaft. Once I got those set on the iron cobra, it made all the difference.

    Honestly, my feet suck right now :lol: I'm bought a few small replacement parts and brought the iron cobra back to life but the linkage is pretty dead. Thinking of switching back to that one as my main pedal once I get that last part.
     
  15. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I mentioned it a couple of posts up - ended up with the DW 3000. I had been slightly worried about using something new at a show, but it worked out pretty well. I'm actually pretty glad there was more tension than I had jammed with, since the excitement/adrenaline of a show makes everything feel might lighter/faster.

    Some weird drama within the band means that the previous drummer is coming back for a few weeks and doing one show, then I'll be back at it again. The old pedals definitely feel cheap by comparison now.
     

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