Dialing in your bass drum pedal

BenOBrienSmith

Senior Member
We got a ton of requests for a Sounds Like a Drum episode on this topic and I realized that I never shared the video here so here ya go:
https://youtu.be/Mbvs-wXWwRY

As a reminder, we have new videos out every Tuesday following our Instagram livestream at noon Eastern time.
 

motojosh

Member
Just watched this one yesterday. Great stuff! The suggestions for the set-up process were especially helpful (spring in the middle of the adjustment range, beater at 45 degrees, adjust from there).
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
We got a ton of requests for a Sounds Like a Drum episode on this topic and I realized that I never shared the video here so here ya go:
https://youtu.be/Mbvs-wXWwRY

As a reminder, we have new videos out every Tuesday following our Instagram livestream at noon Eastern time.


You miss showing the other half of the spring tension adjustment. Just tightening the spring tension at the nut(s) isn't enough, there's more to the equation.



Spring rocker angle is a 'BIG' factor you've not even touched on, its the second layer of spring tension adjustment.





Where you adjust your rocker angle determines where in the stroke the spring engages. Rocker 'forward' allows the beater to travel before the spring engages.

As an example, I set my rocker max forward allowing the beater to travel to about 75 degrees before the spring 'starts' to engage, this means I have ZERO tension at the beginning of the stroke (I don't want spring tension early). Zero tension but the spring isn't flopping around loose either, its always in a 'ready to pull position', slop in the spring then comes as the rocker moves past the 90 degree line on its path 'up' towards the head- the return stroke for the beater, the spring rockers counter clockwise rotation viewed from the pedals right side.

As the beater crosses 90 degrees (towards the head, rocker forward) the spring then reaches max pull, right before beater impact. I don't want to fight spring tension on the beaters way up toward the head so to speak.



There's really no point is having the spring engage as soon as you depress the foot board, that's wasted energy, an un needed balance game, not an efficient way to play a BD pedal. If the springs job is to return the beater (and it is), its working against you if it engages right away.




People 'can' adapt to anything, but think about efficiency.

The spring rockers angle is the 'fine tune' to the spring tension equation. I wouldn't call this too deep, its simply part of the equation.
 

BenOBrienSmith

Senior Member
You miss showing the other half of the spring tension adjustment. Just tightening the spring tension at the nut(s) isn't enough, there's more to the equation.

Spring rocker angle is a 'BIG' factor you've not even touched on, its the second layer of spring tension adjustment.
Not all pedals have this functionality so we chose to highlight the three elements that a just about every pedal allows you to adjust independently.

Thanks for watching!
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
Not all pedals have this functionality so we chose to highlight the three elements that a just about every pedal allows you to adjust independently.

Thanks for watching!




Most pedal 'do' have the adjustable spring rockers, more have the adjustment than don't. And there's a reason for this.

Almost certain the pedal you demoed has an adjustable spring rocker. What is the pedal in the vid?
 

BenOBrienSmith

Senior Member
Most pedal 'do' have the adjustable spring rockers, more have the adjustment than don't. And there's a reason for this.
Now I'm starting to wonder if you're just referring to the capability of changing the beater angle. If you wanted to include some photos of what you're describing, that might do a better job of illustrating the adjustments you're referring to.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
Now I'm starting to wonder if you're just referring to the capability of changing the beater angle. If you wanted to include some photos of what you're describing, that might do a better job of illustrating the adjustments you're referring to.

Hmmmm, you don't know what a spring rocker adjustment is?




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drumming sort of person

Guest
The Yamaha pedals accomplish the same thing via different (and more granular) adjustments.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
DW calls it The Infinite (Slotted) Stroke Adjustment to vary the distance the beater travels before hitting the drum. For a slightly longer stroke move the screw towards the back, for a shorter stroke move the screw forwards. It's the distance between beater and head that this adjusts.

But the spring is still engaged. Adjust your rocker angle - distance beater travels before hitting the drum - does not determine where in the stroke the spring engages. It's engaged all the time.

Now I'm starting to wonder if you're just referring to the capability of changing the beater angle. If you wanted to include some photos of what you're describing, that might do a better job of illustrating the adjustments you're referring to.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
No that does not determine where spring tension is engaged. It's engaged all the time.

That adjust beater angle. Doesn't do anything to spring tension or where spring tension is engaged.

Check out this video. It shows that as adjustment for beater angle. I have same pedal. It adjusts beater angle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TrGp6dF9ZA

DW calls it The Infinite (Slotted) Stroke Adjustment to vary the distance the beater travels before hitting the drum. For a slightly longer stroke move the screw towards the back, for a shorter stroke move the screw forwards. It's the distance between beater and head that this adjusts.

But the spring is still engaged. Adjusting distance beater travels before hitting the drum (what DW calls it) does not determine where in the stroke the spring engages. It's engaged all the time.

Hmmmm, you don't know what a spring rocker adjustment is?




...................
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
DW calls it The Infinite (Slotted) Stroke Adjustment to vary the distance the beater travels before hitting the drum. For a slightly longer stroke move the screw towards the back, for a shorter stroke move the screw forwards. It's the distance between beater and head that this adjusts.

But the spring is still engaged. Adjust your rocker angle - distance beater travels before hitting the drum - does not determine where in the stroke the spring engages. It's engaged all the time.
No that does not determine where spring tension is engaged. It's engaged all the time.

That adjust beater angle. Doesn't do anything to spring tension or where spring tension is engaged.

Check out this video. It shows that as adjustment for beater angle. I have same pedal. It adjusts beater angle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TrGp6dF9ZA

DW calls it The Infinite (Slotted) Stroke Adjustment to vary the distance the beater travels before hitting the drum. For a slightly longer stroke move the screw towards the back, for a shorter stroke move the screw forwards. It's the distance between beater and head that this adjusts.

But the spring is still engaged. Adjusting distance beater travels before hitting the drum (what DW calls it) does not determine where in the stroke the spring engages. It's engaged all the time.


'If' you have your spring engaged 'all the time' so to speak, which means there's a slight bit of tension on the spring with the pedal at rest, then the the adjustable rocker screw will alway be at 180 degrees (6: O'Clock). Where you put that screw on the rocker does determine beater angle, but again that's only if you have constant tension on your spring.

I don't want to fight a BD pedal spring from the get go, it's pointless and a waste of energy, and it makes it more difficult to play the pedal as you're always adjusting your foot/stroke to constant spring tension which is crazy IMO.

What determines the the rocker screw position to beater angle is actually spring tension, if the spring is loose (no tension at the beginning of the stroke) the rocker screw will position itself away (clockwise-up/towards the bass drum head) from the 6: O'Clock (180 degree) position until it engages the spring.



Most drummers have + tension on the their springs with the pedal at rest, and just because they never thought about it, that's the way the pedal came, rocker at 180 degrees, spring loaded, tension as soon as you depress the foot board, its not at all an efficient way to play a BD pedal tho.

If the BD pedal springs job is to return the beater (and it is), why would you want tension on he footboard all the time? Makes no sense. You fighting from the word 'Go', a waste of energy. The most efficient use of energy comes when a pedal's spring is set to engage late in the stroke, close to impact, the only place the spring is really needed. Why tension your foot at the beginning of the stroke?

Spring tension on a BD pedal is not linear, its compounded, the deeper you get into the stroke, the more tension the spring experts on your foot.

The biggest problem with beginning drummers on the BD pedal is their inability to overcome 'constant' spring tension, its actually a backwards way to developing a good pedal technique.

You only need spring tension to return your beater, not create resistance at the beginning of the stroke, that's energy working against you.
 

cutaway79

Silver Member
'If' you have your spring engaged 'all the time' so to speak, which means there's a slight bit of tension on the spring with the pedal at rest, then the the adjustable rocker screw will alway be at 180 degrees (6: O'Clock). Where you put that screw on the rocker does determine beater angle, but again that's only if you have constant tension on your spring.

I don't want to fight a BD pedal spring from the get go, it's pointless and a waste of energy, and it makes it more difficult to play the pedal as you're always adjusting your foot/stroke to constant spring tension which is crazy IMO.

What determines the the rocker screw position to beater angle is actually spring tension, if the spring is loose (no tension at the beginning of the stroke) the rocker screw will position itself away (clockwise-up/towards the bass drum head) from the 6: O'Clock (180 degree) position until it engages the spring.



Most drummers have + tension on the their springs with the pedal at rest, and just because they never thought about it, that's the way the pedal came, rocker at 180 degrees, spring loaded, tension as soon as you depress the foot board, its not at all an efficient way to play a BD pedal tho.

If the BD pedal springs job is to return the beater (and it is), why would you want tension on he footboard all the time? Makes no sense. You fighting from the word 'Go', a waste of energy. The most efficient use of energy comes when a pedal's spring is set to engage late in the stroke, close to impact, the only place the spring is really needed. Why tension your foot at the beginning of the stroke?

Spring tension on a BD pedal is not linear, its compounded, the deeper you get into the stroke, the more tension the spring experts on your foot.

The biggest problem with beginning drummers on the BD pedal is their inability to overcome 'constant' spring tension, its actually a backwards way to developing a good pedal technique.

You only need spring tension to return your beater, not create resistance at the beginning of the stroke, that's energy working against you.
If your spring is under tension when it's at rest, it will be under even more tension once it reaches the head, which will help it travel back more quickly. So, by slacking the spring (as you're suggesting), if you do fast single footwork, it will take longer for the beater to get back to you (from the first hit), and it won't have the same momentum, nor will it have the spring helping to bring the beater back for the full length of travel. This will cause a loss of speed and power in your strokes.

Just as the spring isn't engaged during the beginning of the stroke, so will it also not be engaged part of the way back to you. Like gunning your car up a hill, then releasing the gas for the last bit - the car will still make it up the hill, but it will slow down quite noticeably for that last bit. I tried setting my pedals like you are suggesting years ago (mid '90s, then again in the early '00s)... There's a reason it's not a popular concept. If you can't handle at least minimal spring tension, it may be time to start doing some leg exercises. But hey, if that setting works for you, keep on with it.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
If your spring is under tension when it's at rest, it will be under even more tension once it reaches the head, which will help it travel back more quickly. So, by slacking the spring (as you're suggesting), if you do fast single footwork, it will take longer for the beater to get back to you (from the first hit), and it won't have the same momentum, nor will it have the spring helping to bring the beater back for the full length of travel. This will cause a loss of speed and power in your strokes.

Just as the spring isn't engaged during the beginning of the stroke, so will it also not be engaged part of the way back to you. Like gunning your car up a hill, then releasing the gas for the last bit - the car will still make it up the hill, but it will slow down quite noticeably for that last bit. I tried setting my pedals like you are suggesting years ago (mid '90s, then again in the early '00s)... There's a reason it's not a popular concept. If you can't handle at least minimal spring tension, it may be time to start doing some leg exercises. But hey, if that setting works for you, keep on with it.



Its a relaxation technique that needs to be developed, just like one would develop a tension technique to overcome constant spring tension. I can't get way more speed and power with no tension at the beginning of the stroke, it allows the foot to move faster, that power increases the action of the BD head, the 'other' spring in the stroke.

Fast foot work with more power is much easier to obtain when the spring is not constantly loaded. Momentum is directly related to and a factor of beater travel, my beater head is 90 degrees at rest, I can get lot's of momentum much easier.

A constantly loaded pedal spring means you're wasting energy, creating tensioning in your leg(s) and balance is affected. I played with heavy duty springs (late 70's early 80's) and for me in hindsight it was the opposite of an efficient foot technique, you're overcoming too much tension to start the stroke and you're overcoming too much tension on the return, its simple physics. The same concept as an eccentric cam. There's simply no need for spring tension at the beginning of the pedal stroke, Im way faster, more relaxed and more powerful without it.

So using the spring rocker positioning to set up my pedal(s) is critical, not just using it to set beater angle.
 

cutaway79

Silver Member
Its a relaxation technique that needs to be developed, just like one would develop a tension technique to overcome constant spring tension. I can't get way more speed and power with no tension at the beginning of the stroke, it allows the foot to move faster, that power increases the action of the BD head, the 'other' spring in the stroke.

Fast foot work with more power is much easier to obtain when the spring is not constantly loaded. Momentum is directly related to and a factor of beater travel, my beater head is 90 degrees at rest, I can get lot's of momentum much easier.

A constantly loaded pedal spring means you're wasting energy, creating tensioning in your leg(s) and balance is affected. I played with heavy duty springs (late 70's early 80's) and for me in hindsight it was the opposite of an efficient foot technique, you're overcoming too much tension to start the stroke and you're overcoming too much tension on the return, its simple physics. The same concept as an eccentric cam. There's simply no need for spring tension at the beginning of the pedal stroke, Im way faster, more relaxed and more powerful without it.

So using the spring rocker positioning to set up my pedal(s) is critical, not just using it to set beater angle.
Like I said, do your thing if it works for you.
 
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