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Old 02-09-2013, 05:04 AM
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Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Southern California
Posts: 11,530
Default An ironic observation

I could probably be burned at the stake for saying this, but I find it ironic that people would spend $250+ for a modern bass drum pedal that feels like an old skool vintage pedal. Jojo was saying that he was looking for a pedal that felt like some of the old pedals he used to play. Drum Workshop said their DW9000 pedal is the closest they've come to the old Camco pedal. If you wanted to go old skool, why not just stay old skool? I saw a picture of the great Lenny White playing with the reformed Return to Forever, and he had this nice set of drums. But his pedal was an old Camco. On Steve Gadd's first video, he had his Yamaha Recording Customs, but his pedal was an old Gretsch Floating Action.

If you're willing to get your hands dirty, if you bought an old vintage pedal (like a Camco, or a Gretsch, or a Tama Flexi Flyer) and just replaced the sealed bearings in the posts, you'd have a new pedal - or at least how that pedal felt when it was brand new.

I did just that recently. I bought one of those new Tama Camco pedals Musicians Friend was blowing out for $50 (I know, they're supposed to be $130, but this was a spur of the moment sale) and I Frankenstien'd it by replacing the stock chain and sprocket with a 30-year-old cam from an ancient Tama FlexiFlyer. I used it at a rehearsal this morning and I was amazed at how that pedal just flies. I was literally playing things I haven't really played before. The response was incredible. The solution here was the new bearings in the posts, and the cam with the strap. I can even put my old Flexi Flyer footboard on it if I want (that board is about 1/2" longer than the Camco one). There's also a guy on eBay who is refurbishing old Ludwig Speed Kings so they feel like they're brand new and his prices range between $80 and $100 - so there's that old skool choice as well.

I think my entire career I've been buying bass drum pedals and making them feel like my first pedal (an old Slingerland Tempo King, which was a copy of the Camco or Gretsch Floating Action too). And being the DIY kinda guy I am, I probably could've continued using that pedal if I wanted to maintain it. I've never played so hard that I've actually broken a pedal (loading accidents are something else). But think about it - when you shop for a new pedal - are you looking for something that feels completely different or like shoes, are you going for whats comfortable?

I have a theory that whatever your first pedal was, is what your foot likes. You buy new pedals as the years go on, but your foot really likes that first pedal, so when you think 'comfortable to play', your foot memory is going back in time. You can insist that yes, you have to have the plate underneath, or that the newer bearings these days are incredibly well engineered (like the Pearl Demon Drive), or that the newer return springs somehow do a better job than the old ones did. You may insist you need the longer footboard too. But something happened to me today when I played an old skool design with a lighter weight pedal but with new bearings and spring. And it only cost me $50. So at what point is it justified to spend $250 or $300 for a pedal that feels like a $75 one? I could've bought one as a spare and still saved $150 too.

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