Softapads is the company responsible for improving neighbourly relationships with its noise-cancelling/muffling systems for drummers. It may now have found the solution to another age-old problem - that of sliding drums - with its latest product SoftaMats.
Endorsed by drummer Matt Letley from Status Quo, SoftaMats are aimed at all musicians where stability is a requisite for their instruments, effects pedals and so on.
These anti-creep, anti-slip mats are designed for any flooring, whether tiled, vinyl, laminate or just plain slippery.
If a venue has such a stage or flooring, this can spell disaster for your bass drum technique. Sliding drums and hardware can be one of the most frustrating and off-putting things to happen on stage (second only to being heckled!), ruining that much-needed concentration with the need to hoik back the bass drum every couple of bars.
SoftaMats come in a pack with two sheets of rectangular-shaped neoprene-type rubber, measuring approximately 46cmx20cm, with a thickness of 3mm.
This dense, hardwearing material has been "tried and tested by musicians for durability, reliability and strength of grip" and is similar to the sort of rubberised compound found on door and car mats.
These models have a slightly tacky smooth side and a rougher downward-facing side, and are extremely flexible.
We placed one of the mats on a smooth wooden floor and tried to slide it along with just the weight of our feet, and it held it firmly in place.
While using the Gear4Music WHD e-kit, we had a slight problem with the bass pad sliding around on a carpeted surface, even though the unit had small rubber feet.
So again, out came one of the SoftaMats. We put this under the pad assembly, and again it stopped it from slipping around.
Impressed so far, we still felt the acid test would be to check out the mats with an acoustic kit.
One mat went under the bass drum pedal, the other sharing the hi-hat and left-hand remote pedal from our double bass drum pedal.
The hi-hat pedal is designed to be used in conjunction with a double bass drum pedal and can be a tad unstable on some surfaces. After a pounding, the bass drum pedal wouldn't shift and the hi-hat remained exactly in place - problem solved!
There are occasions when it's just not practical to take along a traditional large drum mat to a gig, or the venue may be too tight to squeeze one in, and here the SoftaMat will be essential.