Gibraltar Ultra-Adjust Hi-Hat Stand / Catapult Bass Drum Pedal
They're different, we'll give you that. Show any drummer the new Gibraltar Ultra-Adjust hi-hat stand, or the Catapult bass drum pedal, and the initial reaction is perplexity, followed by curiosity, and finally bewilderment.
Drummers have been using pedals and hi-hat stands of the same basic design since the 1940s. Both of these new products showcase Gibraltar's willingness to explore new ideas to help the working drummer. The Ultra-Adjust should be the answer to all your placement prayers, and the Catapult has been designed to work in harmony with your body's biomechanics.
The Catapult comprises a sturdy steel baseplate, on which is mounted a heavy-duty hoop clamp and angled 'trebuchet' arm, into which the wide-faced felt beater slots.
"The Ultra-Adjust should be the answer to all your placement prayers, and the Catapult has been designed to work in harmony with your body's biomechanics."
The striking arm is connected to a spring on the baseplate, and the very smart machined footboard has a hefty roller bearing which pushes against the striking arm and tracks up and down it on a strip of rubber. The pedal tension is changed by adjusting the baseplate spring, and the felt beater automatically adjusts to the best angle for each strike.
The Ultra-Adjust hi-hat stand features a conventional tripod base, the footboard has a very sturdy baseplate beneath it and the tripod legs swivel for optimum placement. Above the tripod is where things start to get weird, though - a short length of tubing sits between two ball joints, and above that is a conventional hi-hat stand top. The movement of the control rod is dictated by a short cable linkage between the upper and lower parts.
We started out playing with the Catapult first - its unique design meant it took some getting used to. The large beater face and long striking arm meant it felt like there was much more mass in motion with each pedal stroke, and with the one and only spring set to full tension there wasn't enough of an opposing force to prevent the beater from feeling like it had a mind of its own.
On the plus side, the roller bearing meant that each stroke was smooth, and once you had the measure of the motion, it was possible to play smoothly. Next up was the Ultra-Adjust. The flexibility inherent in the two-ball joint design means that you can position the hi-hats within about a 6", 360 degree radius of the footboard placement, and angle the cymbals inward to prevent your sticks being shaved.
Unfortunately, the cable design lacked the immediacy of Gibraltar's standard hi-hat stands.
A refreshing break from the norm. If you're craving a Bruford-esque alternative set-up, the Ultra Adjust could fulfil your dreams…
…although the cable-based system means it's not as immediate as its standard brethren. The Catapult could do with a spring under the footboard to increase rebound (à la Tama's Cobra Coil).
Without experimentation, there can be no progression, and Gibraltar are to be applauded for producing two such unusual designs. Saying that, the unconventional Catapult might be too radical for many players.
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