Adding a double bass drum pedal to a drum set is an exciting day in a drummer’s life. When you purchase your first double pedal, you unlock access to a new world of drumming possibilities. While this is a momentous occasion, you may quickly find yourself overwhelmed by its complexity. Depending on which pedal you get, there can be a ton of adjustments and tweaks required to get you pedal dialed in. Here's a step by step guide on how to assemble a double bass drum pedal.
Finding The Right Pedal For You
There are many factors that go into choosing the correct double bass drum pedal. For the purposes of this tutorial, we are going with a solid entry-level pedal for the beginner - the DW 3000 Series Double Bass Drum Pedal. We like this pedal for its balance of affordability, adjustability and reliability. Other comparable pedals at this price point include the Tama Iron Cobra 600 Double Pedal and the Mapex Armory Double Bass Drum Pedal. Any one of these pedals would be a great choice for the double-bass beginner.
Step One: Pedal Placement
Attach the “primary pedal” (the one with the beaters) to your bass drum using the hoop clamp. To set the space of the hoop clamp for your bass drum, use the allen wrench provided to loosen the set screw on the clamp and then rotate the knurled nut to narrow or widen the gap. Retighten the set screw. Position the pedal on the center of the hoop and tighten the side wing screw securely. Use the provided rubber hoop protector to avoid damage to the bass drum hoop.
Next, place the auxiliary pedal in a comfortable position next to your hi-hat stand, making sure you have enough leg room to accommodate your snare drum stand.
At this point, you may find that your hi-hat stand isn’t cooperating with your ideal auxiliary pedal placement. Many hi-hat stands have 3 fixed-position legs which aren't very double bass pedal friendly. You can either try and work around this, or invest in a 2-legged hi-hat stand like the DW 3000 Series Two-Legged Hi Hat Stand or the Tama Iron Cobra Lever Glide Hi Hat Stand. Other alternatives include hi hat stands with an adjustable legs, like the Pearl 930 Hi-hat Stand.
All DW Bass Drum Pedals include built in adjustable spurs and non-skid Velcro on the bottom of the pedals to prevent bass drum crawl.
Step Two: Connecting The Pedals
Now that your pedals are in place, connect them using the “double pedal linkage”. You can adjust the length of the linkage by loosening the 4 key screws located at the top of the linkage. Before attaching the linkage to the pedals, make sure the footboard height and beater angles are similar on both pedals. You should then be able to attach the linkage to both cams so that the 4 key screws are facing upwards. Firmly tighten the two key screws at the end of the linkage rod to the primary pedal hex rod, ensuring the footboard height and beater angle are optimal.
Repeat this step with the auxiliary pedal side. Once your pedals are in place and attached via the linkage, make sure all 4 key screws are on the linkage are firmly holding the linkage rod in place. If this is not the case, you may find your pedal in pieces before long.
Step Three: Adjusting The Beaters
The length of the beater shaft can be adjusted to achieve the desired feel and impact area. The beater should hit the center or an area 1-2 inches above the center of the drum. Once the desired height is achieved, secure the beater shaft by tightening the beater hub key screw.
The standard Two-Way Beater has two usable sides. One side features a curved, medium felt side for a warmer attack. Spin it around for a hard plastic side that produces brighter attack.
Step Four: Fine Tuning
Depending on the quality of your double bass drum pedal, you will find more or less adjustment options to dial in the feel that’s right for you. The DW 3000 features Spring Tension Adjustment, Stroke Adjustment, and Chain Position & Footboard Angle Adjustment.
Spring Tension Adjustment affects how much force is required to move the beaters. To increase or decrease the spring tension, loosen the round knurled nut at the base of the spring assembly. Pull down on the spring to release the locking hex nut. Tighten or loosen the lock nut to create the desired tension, then release the hex nut and retighten the knurled nut to lock in the adjustment.
Stroke Adjustment can be used to vary the distance the beater travels before hitting the drum. For a slightly heavier (longer) stroke move the screw towards the back. For a lighter (shorter) stroke move the screw forward.
The length of the chain determines the angle of the footboard. Adjust in combination with the beater height and stroke adjustment to change the length of the stroke. To change the position of the chain, remove the master link connector from the chain and sprocket. Then, reposition it as directed by moving it to an alternate hole in the sprocket. The factory settings are recommended for most general playing situations and preferred by many drummers.
Depending on the music you play, the double bass drum pedal can be an excellent tool to have in your arsenal. When you invest your money into this hardware, it’s important to also invest some of your time. Become familiar with it, and keep it properly maintained. The more you know about it’s capabilities, the better it will be able to perform for you.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a double bass drum pedal, let us help you choose the best one to suit your individual needs and budget. We carry a huge selection of double pedals from the most basic beginner models, to the ultra-high end professional performance pedals. At the Drum Center of Portsmouth, drum gear is our passion. Give us a call anytime!