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  #1  
Old 04-14-2012, 01:26 AM
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BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
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Default In Praise of Cheap Pedals

For some time now, I've been realising a few things about my own set up. I own several bass drum pedals. Currently I have a DW5000, a 'Jacques Capelle' pedal I was given a few years ago and a Pearl P-100TW. I can play more or less equally on all of them and have no issues swapping between them at all.

Browsing eBay, I came across a Yamaha FP6110. It's a budget, strap-drive pedal that I was curious about for two reasons. Firstly, it's very light and secondly it's a strap-drive pedal and I've always liked the feel of strap-drives since I played a very old (offset) Premier pedal a number of years ago.

I got the Yamaha pedal late this evening (obviously a late shift for the delivery driver!) and put it straight on my kit with no adjustments as it was already more-or-less how I play (low tension). I was immediately struck with just how good the pedal felt! It was light, simple and rugged and immediately I was able to play with it as if I'd had it for years; with better dynamic control and feel than other pedals that I have owned for far longer.

The really interesting thing is what I paid for it. Before shipping, it was 16.99. Shipping was 5.99. In total I spent just shy of 23. 23! For a pedal that looks brand new and feels fantastic.

I've raved before about how much I like the Pearl P-100s simplicity and lightness. I like my DW5000 but the 5000 is a pedal that retails new for five or six times the price of what I just bought my Yamaha for. There are differences - the DW5000 has a better hinge and the casting on the Yamaha is a little rough. There's no footplate on the Yamaha (which I see as an advantage although this isn't often the consensus) and the 5000 probably is generally a better-made device but it's actually let down by how heavy it feels, even on a light setting.

I see threads on here all the time about high-end pedals and I'm not saying that they don't have merit. High-end pedals are great and we know that. Honestly though, this Yamaha is just fantastic and I'm startled with the price and just how much I like it. My P-100 is great too and that's a cheap pedal (relatively).

I've come to the conclusion that I just want something simple, light and sturdy. In my view, pedal design has more-or-less reached perfection and today's low-end pedals are what would have been considered high-end twenty years ago. I don't see the need for expensive, complicated, over-engineered pedals and I don't think that anybody would really feel the need to if they spent some time playing rather than looking at the price tag.
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Old 04-14-2012, 01:30 AM
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

I believe that's the very pedal I played on in my old high school for jazz band (although that was a chain drive, so maybe a slightly different model) before they finally bought a new kit and some new hardware... I missed that pedal once it was put away in storage a whole lot, wanted one for myself even though I knew it was cheap.

I agree... I'll take light and fast over any of these ridiculous over the top featured heavy pedals that slow down the response from my foot. I'm not a fan of the feel of direct drive, but those "cheap", light pedals win any day of the week for me.

That being said... I do own a set of Iron Cobras because I had the cash and wanted a rugged double pedal and got it on a number of recommendations and I love those bad boys too. I wonder if I got my hands on one of these how I'd feel about them after an A/B...
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Old 04-14-2012, 01:37 AM
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BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

It's this pedal:



Apparently it retails new for $70. That's about the same as the old P-100 single and they're much the same.

I've AB'd it with my DW5000 and the Yamaha is an absolute winner. My DW5000 isn't going to get sold but I would imagine the FP6110 is going to shoulder the burden for the forseeable future. I played a Yamaha pedal like it when I was an Undergraduate - one that came a Stage Custom kit and liked it; this has been borne out!
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Old 04-14-2012, 01:57 AM
The Parcher The Parcher is offline
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

That's what I use. I have the chain one that came with my first kit over ten years ago on my E-kit as well.

I just toss it in my hardware bag and it has never let me down.

It is also a major plus for me that it will HANG lightly from your bass drum, rather than put a lot of stress on your hoop. I find myself often re-positioning my bass drum after evaluating stage space and this is a handy feature for me.
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:02 AM
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

I started using my old Camco again after many years. Fast, solid, light, no base plate.
Just works great.

I saw a new PDP pedal that was selling at $89 and that thing was smoooth. The bearings must be really nice because the beater swung back and forth many times after the pedal was pushed down.
I'd get one of those before a 5000. Seriously.
The 5000 started feeling bad when they went to the bigger foot board and heel plate. The 3000 with a Delta hinge would be better feeling to me.
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:05 AM
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BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

Time to start a revolution, I think. All we want is simple, light, sturdy and reliable! Take off features and just focus the pedal on simplicity.
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:51 AM
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

I hear ya. One of my favorite pedals is my old Tama strap drive from the '80s. No frills, just feels great. Looks like this one:

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Old 05-21-2012, 08:51 AM
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

This PDP 500 Series pedal is amazing for the price. I wouldn't call it "cheap" it's an affordable pro pedal. This is my suggestion to anyone seeking a good pedal.


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Old 05-22-2012, 02:46 AM
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

[quote=drumdevil9;987915]I hear ya. One of my favorite pedals is my old Tama strap drive from the '80s. No frills, just feels great. Looks like this one:

[snip]

Is that the Tama Flexi-Flyer? I had that pedal on my 1984 set of Tama Swingstars. Brilliant pedal.

Incidentally, at a running gig I have now, the house kit is a set of Sonor 1007's. And the cheapo stock pedal on that set is a pretty dang good pedal ... I quite enjoy it. (The kit, incidentally, is not inspiring ... but it has the cheapo stock heads ... but this is a matter for another thread.)

There really isn't a need to overcomplicate the whole pedal thing, is there? Good thread.

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Old 05-22-2012, 06:05 AM
sbowman128675 sbowman128675 is offline
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

I play Pearl Eliminators...but one time I had to use a schools set for a practice. It was an old set of Tamas from like 92 and the kick was even older. Single chain drive, wasent even that sturdy and the beater was......beaten in.....I could swear that I was playing faster on that then my eliminators. And it was even smoother. Than again, it may have been because it was a lighter feel....acutaly im sure that was it. lol
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

Quote:
Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
It's this pedal:
BFY, I have this pedal and the nuts that hold the spring assembly in place always rattle for me and I have to keep tightening them. They even occasionally come out, which is of course BAD if you want to play the bass drum! Of course I don't gig with it. The lightweightness is not worth the unreliability/self-noise...

Hopefully you have better luck.

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Old 05-22-2012, 09:00 PM
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

I know what you mean... I used Eliminators for almost 2 yrs and was never completely happy with them, despite them being possibly the most adjustable pedal there is... Then my teacher got a used P-900 for the student kit (same price as P-100; half the price of an Eliminator), and I instantly loved it with no adjustment. At one point I almost "downgraded" to one, but got a speed cobra double instead (which I also love).
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

I grew up on Flexi-flyer type pedals and must've tried every pedal out there before I settled on Tama's Iron Cobra Juniors. But I started to miss the strap feel and just got the Iron Cobra Flexi-glide. Problem solved ;)
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:21 PM
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

I was glad to see this post, b/c I tend to agree: A lot of equipment that is considered kind of low-end today would have been considered fantastic several years ago. And, I think some of the higher-end pedals are over-rated, and definitely over-priced. And, there are not a lot of vintage kits that I would be terribly excited about playing or owning today, because thanks to improved manufacturing processes and technology, drums and especially drum hardware is so much improved over stuff from past decades.

A good example: My Mapex Meridian maple kit is not a super high-end kit, but I'm happy with it and I'm especially please with some of the little niceties of the hardware. For example, the swiveling "shoulder ball" joint allows for an easy and quick adjustment of the tom mount. And the rubber tips on the legs of the floor tom are held in place not just by a screw, but by a screw that has a spring, meaning the tips absorb some of the shock when the drum is hit. Plus, the clamp that holds the legs has a rubber gasket, so it doesn't slip like it does with my older gear.

I could go on and on, but my view is that while classic drums have sentimental value, manufacturing and technology have made newer stuff better.
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Old 05-25-2012, 12:58 PM
DingerJunkie DingerJunkie is offline
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

I think the trend towards overbuilt/heavy hardware...especially pedals...came out of three tightly related patterns/trends which, I believe are closely associated with young/amateur players.

First (in no particular order) is/was the tuning/mixing/volume emphasis on metal/heavy rock that really took over in the early eighties. This migrated into all formats, with the bass drum tone of "contemporary country" being lower/punchier/bigger than many rock mixes of 30 years ago. Unfortunately, amateur/small-scale players usually didn't have PA rigs that included good bass drum (or any drum) micing...so hardware was designed to keep up with full-stacks and 1000-watt bass rigs. Curiously enough, those guitar/bass rigs were designed for times when PA systems couldn't keep up...many of those axe-slingers would likely sound better with lower-wattage combos that could use all of their tube saturation while a mic and PA did the heavy-lifting.

So, for point 1, basically, the pedal is trying to do a microphone's job.

Second is a personal pet-peeve of mine. Those lighter pedals were getting destroyed by young players using force and bad technique rather than finesse and good tuning. A good number of young drummers take lessons from "instructors" that teach foot technique related to the "pedal as microphone" era (not the good instructors, mind you). Gear is built to the desires (not the needs) of the market. Manufacturers build pedals to satisfy the players who break footboards, since there are more of those players in the market. Speed/sensitivity/feel only seems to come after extreme durability is guaranteed to the "sledgehammers as limbs" crowd.

The third pattern, which extends from the first two, seems to come out of an unnecessary desire for "advancement" to compensate for bad technique and decision-making. With some old tom mount/stand designs, gear would slip or lose adjustment under frequent setups and road use. Many would over-tighten gear to the point of breakage/stripping to compensate. Manufacturers build the next generation of stands heavier, but many "players" thought that meant the gear would stand up to more misuse, rather than realizing it would work without abuse! Few today are willing to face that, many times, issues with gear is their lack of awareness/technique/skill. Learn the "right way" to use stuff, rather than building stuff to hold up to unskilled cavemen who don't want to learn finesse, technique and artistry.

So, how do we get the mass of low-level, amateur or semi-pro players out there to desire a level of finesse? How do we get these players to spend that extra money on a good kick mic and lessons rather than four pedals they'll break in two years?

Okay...I'm off my soapbox now...rant over. Feel free to disagree/counter as you see fit.
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Old 05-25-2012, 02:38 PM
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

I'm currently using a set of the cheapo PDP pedals. Not the new silver 400 series, but the black ones (they were also available in red and blue).

I love the pedals, actually. But the best ones I ever had were DW 2000. I owned a Tama speed cobra for a spell, and liked it, but I couldn't afford the double version. The DW 2000's were perfect. I wish I'd never sold them.
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Old 05-25-2012, 02:44 PM
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

[quote=radman;1002750]
Quote:
Originally Posted by drumdevil9 View Post
I hear ya. One of my favorite pedals is my old Tama strap drive from the '80s. No frills, just feels great. Looks like this one:

[snip]

Is that the Tama Flexi-Flyer? I had that pedal on my 1984 set of Tama Swingstars. Brilliant pedal.

Incidentally, at a running gig I have now, the house kit is a set of Sonor 1007's. And the cheapo stock pedal on that set is a pretty dang good pedal ... I quite enjoy it. (The kit, incidentally, is not inspiring ... but it has the cheapo stock heads ... but this is a matter for another thread.)

There really isn't a need to overcomplicate the whole pedal thing, is there? Good thread.

Peace and pocket,
radman
Sorry I didn't see your reply sooner. Yes I think it is a flexi-flyer. Good little pedal.
I also have a Pearl P-900 which also feels great.
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Old 05-25-2012, 03:32 PM
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BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

DingerJunkie, your thoughts match some of mine, especially with pedals.

I can see that there were certainly some engineering flaws in older pedals. If we take the 'Speedking Squeak' as an example of an engineering flaw then modern pedals are much better although there are still issues occasionally. I think the quality of modern manufacturing is also a huge improvement over what was produced before in most instances. It would be difficult to argue that a vintage cymbal stand is as well-made as modern cymbal stands - there have been big advances there.

I do think you're right though. I think that the biggest issue with modern hardware is weight and a lack of finesse. DW hi hat stands are (mostly) massively heavy - just for the function of holding two metal plates that probably won't weigh any more than a few kilograms and using a foot to move them up and down with a spring mechanism. It doesn't need 7/8ths tubes and enormous rubber feet.

Vintage mounting hardware is a joke as far as I can tell and I'm glad that things have improved there but most of the time, the mounts are just too big. It's no secret that I think Yamaha make the best-balanced mounting system out there (in terms of size, weight, function and ease of use) and Yamaha are one of the companies that make very good lightweight hardware - although they also make some of the ridiculous hardware too - just better than most. When I see mounts sticking several inches away from the shell I just think it's a waste of space; especially on ply drums where (as far as I can tell) the benefits to the musical application are minimal (although this is not the case with sold or stave instruments - isolation mounts can make a big difference there).

All I'm asking is that companies focus on lightweight, high-quality hardware. Single-braced cymbal stands have been classed as 'specialist' or lower-end for years now. Why? DW make some good single-braced stands and Ludwig's new range looks interesting but I think there needs to be more of a commercial push to get them out into the retail environments. It's very hard to buy good single-braced hardware in the shop and instead I just buy old stands on eBay. I have several old Pearl stands that are single-braced and very well made. I want to see more like that and I always buy them over anything double-braced and heavy.
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:43 PM
Drums and cymbals Drums and cymbals is offline
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Default Re: In Praise of Cheap Pedals

My first real pedal was a Tama Flexi-Flyer strap drive pedal from the late eighties. It was a standard pedal for the Rockstar series back then. I played two years with this pedal and then changed it to a first generation Iron Cobra Rolling Glide in 1996. Since the IC I have played many pedals including the Iron Cobra Flexi Glide, and finally I settled on a Yamaha Flying Dragon with a strap.

However, over the years I have missed the Flexi-Flyer. In this October I could finally buy two Flexi-Flyers from 1990. The pedal is awesome! I changed the original felt beater to a wood beater I made in 1995. The diameter of the wood beater is rather small which means that the overall weight of the beater is a little lighter than the original felt beater. It is just so easy to play with this pedal. It is really an extension of your foot. I cleaned the moving parts of the pedal and put some oil. The pedal seems to be made very well.
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