How and why do drummers elevate the front of the bass drum head off the floor?

Keith Anselmo

New member
I most recently noticed or read somewhere that some drummers level or elevate the front of their bass drum off the floor so it can better met the beater when it makes contact, usually for quicker rebound, faster speed, and a square on punch of degree from pedal to head I would think?


But, what I don't understand and I've been meaning to get this question up on here for a while now, is how they actually do it? Whats the trick to this tactic? I'm sure it's no trick-of-the-trade.


Most drummers probably never even question elevating the front of the bass head off the floor, but I'm sure it's in the back of their minds, certainly.


I read a few things on doing this from; using the old wallet trick, ect.... I'm sure a plank would work just fine. In some cases I don't even see anything lifting the head up at all?!


What are some ways to perfect this technique? I think my Pedal could use a small pinch of elevation off the floor for a square on punch.
The angle at which the beater approaches the batter head will be affected by the height of the resonant side. Just keep this in mind when setting your pedal. The base plate of the pedal is going to raise the drum slightly no matter what. Personally, I like to adjust the resonant side to match the height of the batter side. Someone mentioned earlier that you don't want the drum to sit directly on the floor and I would have to agree with that. It's the same reason we try to make sure our drums are touching the least amount of things possible because it effects sustain a lot. Another reason I like to keep both sides at an equal height is because it will effect the way your beater wears down, assuming you don't use a wooden beater. The camber angle of the beater can be adjusted on some pedals but not all of them. I hope this was helpful. Great question!!!
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
Just sharing with the rest of the class....lol Adjustable beater runs about $25.

There is more than one way to skin a tom-tom...

Back in the day we used to just put a slight bend on the beater shaft to get more contact.

;)
The goal is: You don't want any splaying tension on your bass drum batter hoop from your footpedal. They have to slide together like a lock and key, so they have to be on the same plane.

If your batter hoop angle isn't parallel with the floor, and the footpedal is, the footpedal will transmit unwanted tension to the hoop when it's clamped.
The batter hoop, which means the whole bass drum.... has to be parallel with the floor and be at the exact height from the floor where the footpedal clamp can slide right on without any resistance. Lock and key.

Anything other than this will transmit wacky tensions to the bass drum batter hoop, which is a recipe for a drum that won't tune.

Getting the batter hoop and the footpedal to be in a tension free embrace will also protect the bass drum batter hoop from warping or cracking.
When I bought my kit - the bass drum hoop was wrapped in gaffer tape around the pedal clamp area - for protection I thought. Took the tape off and it was snapped clean through.
Still puzzled how that could've broken like that. (A couple of inches to the side of the pedal clamp)
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
Which book? Does the genre matter? Hardcover or paperback? Do I have to read it first? Does the color matter? I spilled pickle juice on a book, could I still use it?

Sorry, it's not you, it's me :)
Any title will do - but I prefer mine printed on birch pulp for 'attack'.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
for my 16" bass, I built a riser, that the front of the bass sits on, no real attachments, it just rests between the lugs. The foot pedal sits in a cup on the floor so neither are really attached.
 

J-W

Well-known member
Agreed. My drum has three points on the ground. The pedal clamp and two legs. The drum doesn't touch at all.
Agreed. My bass drums don't touch the ground whatsoever. Nothing touches the shell since any contact is on the hoop only. That really opened up the sound of the drum. But just getting them off the ground with spurs makes a noticeable improvement.
 

iCe

Senior Member
Does that apply to bass drum mounted toms too?
Some say that having toms mounted on the bass chokes the sound (a bit). Since i muffle my bass drums i can't tell the difference anyway.
I have virgin bass drums now (no tom mounts installed) and the kits before did have tom mounts on them, but i can't tell the difference between either bass drums since i want them to be short and punchy in sound.
 

LeftyDoug

Senior Member
I always did it because I watched that Dave Weckl "Back to Basics" video and it just made sense to me. Plus the fact that it helps the spurs dig in to the carpet. Always have your kick on a rug of some type. I watched that video very early on in my drumming life.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
Assuming the spurs are long enough, you extend them out far enough to be able to elevate the front end of the bass drum. Unfortunately my spurs are not long enough to do this being a 1975 era Slingerland kit. The other reason I imagine it is done is for the spurs to get some "purchase" on the rug or floor to prevent the bass drum from creeping.

Speaking of bass drum creep, I once went to see Elvin Jones at The Village Vanguard in NYC. This had to be late 80's or early 90's and it was his amazing band. He showed up early and proceeded to take out two C brackets. He then took out a hammer and pounded each one into the riser in front of each spur of his bass drum. Clearly the plan was to prevent his bass drum from creeping. My friend and I always would get to the jazz clubs early so we could get the best seats and we literally were sitting right in front of Elvin. During the set one of the brackets was knocked loose from the riser and his bass drum began to creep. I put my foot up and held his bass drum there for the rest of the set. Elvin was extremely appreciative. That was a treat seeing him up close and personal as he was one of my drumming heros
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
For me, my DW5k pedal wouldn't lay flat on the floor if the front of the bass drum wasn't up a little bit. It would twist as I tightened it down.
I realized that once the front was even with the lift the pedal gave the back, it all leveled out.
It's an inch give or take.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
The spurs on mine are just pointy screws with a knurled head. Can't you just find out the thread pitch (mine are 1/4-28) and just get a longer bolt and grind it to a point?
Mine are points with what I can only describe as a washer at the base of the point. It's not sharp enough to really do a whole lot but it was generally sufficient for me over my 45 years and counting off playing. I always set my drums up on a rug that I would bring with me to jam sessions or to gigs. And my new bass drum pedal has velcro on the bottom of it so my base drum goes nowhere. I do wish I could find longer spurs but then I wouldn't be playing an original kit. And given the bass drum pedal, that is no longer necessary.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I most recently noticed or read somewhere that some drummers level or elevate the front of their bass drum off the floor so it can better met the beater when it makes contact, usually for quicker rebound, faster speed, and a square on punch of degree from pedal to head I would think?


But, what I don't understand and I've been meaning to get this question up on here for a while now, is how they actually do it? Whats the trick to this tactic? I'm sure it's no trick-of-the-trade.


Most drummers probably never even question elevating the front of the bass head off the floor, but I'm sure it's in the back of their minds, certainly.


I read a few things on doing this from; using the old wallet trick, ect.... I'm sure a plank would work just fine. In some cases I don't even see anything lifting the head up at all?!


What are some ways to perfect this technique? I think my Pedal could use a small pinch of elevation off the floor for a square on punch.
Modern spurs allow you to raise the front of the bass drum off the ground a bit. I usually have my front end up about 1.5 - 2" (this is ground to bottom of the front hoop measurement). When I put the pedal on, which also rises up the rear at least .75 - 1" (depending on if your pedal has a plate or not) the bass drum is now only contacting the floor at three points. But I concur, if you leave the drum flat on the floor, when you put the pedal on, it will start to bend the batter hoop over time (if the hoop doesn't just crack). So having the bass drum somewhat tilted into the pedal helps with hoop longevity and an easier beater travel arc.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I have a 70s 22" Slingerland bass drum and the spurs just doesn't seem to want to raise up the bass hoop up off the floor.... I'm trying to think of another alternative to getting this to work, as I just recently bought a 90s Tama Iron Cobra Kick Pedal (Silver) to go along with my black Iron cobra and I want to give it the full effect of rock/punk style grooves on the bass drum.
I've owned 1970s Slingerlands and yes, those spurs will extend out far enough to raise the front off the ground. Are you sure they won't?
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
You elevate the front of the bass drum so that your pedal's beater hits the head when it's parallel to the head. Parallelness results in efficient pedal action and better playing control.
 
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