5 budget bass drum pedals
The pedal below your bass drum foot is as important a kit component as the kick drum itself. Though good technique is an essential pre-requisite, a decent pedal can only boost your confidence and abilities.
Contemporary high-end pedals now feature almost aerospace industry-levels of engineering; the trickle down effect of features is both inevitable and welcome.
The selection of bass drum pedals here runs from the modest to the downright generous, with many bearing a more than passing resemblance to pricier models above them. They all offer excellent value for money.
First up: Pearl P-120P
Long the pedal included with each Pearl Export kit, at first sight Pearl’s P-120P could easily be confused with one of the company’s Eliminator pedals. Since 2007 it has been equipped with Pearl’s unique moveable Powershifter heel plate, which dramatically alters the feel of the action.
A round cam and chain drive make it quick and responsive to play, and improvements to the spring ensure a silent performance. The bottom of the base plate, meanwhile, features a foam coating that grips surfaces like a limpet.
With future upgrades in mind, Pearl has also cleverly designed the P-120P ready to be converted into one half of a double pedal.
Dubbed ‘Iron Cobra Junior’, Tama’s HP200B pedal is a solid, powerful piece of gear. Boasting the same Power Glide offset cam found on the road-proven Iron Cobras, the pedal has a wickedly fast action that really propels the beater into the head.
A host of other features borrowed from or inspired by Tama’s flagship hardware line complements the pedal, from the Para-Clamp hoop clamp to the spring tension adjustment. It is also the only pedal of this selection to be supplied with its own rigid case.
Yamaha’s entry-level pedal is not big on features but, like all Yamaha hardware, it is beautifully put together and has an air of reliability about it.
Lightweight design means that the pedal is seriously portable. Its chain drive delivers a suitably smooth, quiet action and the beater angle is adjustable. The supplied symmetrical felt beater is somewhere between school music room naff and retro chic, depending on your viewpoint.
Sporting the company’s trademark yellow base plate, this pedal is unlikely to get lost on a dark stage (useful when you’re scrambling to clear your gear offstage at a shared-bill gig).
It’s well equipped with an adjustable cam and a chain drive mechanism identical to that found on Mapex’s 900 series pedals. The action is consummately smooth and the pedal is fast, though the Tama model shades it for power. Also unique to Mapex is the threesided (wood/plastic/felt) beater, giving three distinct sound/feel options.
Gibraltar Prowler 5611
Gibraltar’s revamped Prowler now comes with a vented pedal board that gives it a nononsense look.
It boasts an offset cam and heavy-duty bearings, and the action is suitably powerful, though also supple. Also with an easily accessible hoop clamp and funky dual-sided beater.