Bass drum pedals can be an obsession. They have been for me. I’ve tried many. If you care to, you can read about some of my trials and tribulations with pedals here: Perfect Balance Pedal Revisted.
But this time, I’m going to tell you about my current favorite. It’s Yamaha’s Direct Drive. I’ve been using it for a while now. It feels amazing. The response is very delicate and precise. How a pedal “feels” is difficult to describe, but those of you who understand my obsession will relate. “Feel” in this case is how it responds to your touch and how it feels under your foot. When a pedal feels good, you know. The Direct Drive feels really good to me.
Besides the fact that the pedal responds so well and so quickly, there is the issue of your technique. Some pedals will work well with the techniques you use and some won’t. As I described in the articles about the Sonar Perfect Balance Pedal, that particular pedal did not mesh with my technique. I play heel-up most of the time, and I like to let the beater bounce off of the bass drum head.
I also use a specific method to get my bass drum doubles. Playing two notes in a row very quickly on one pedal requires some sort of specific technique (there are multiple methods). Here’s an article about the technique I use: 9 Exercises To Build Bass Drum Double Strokes.
The Yamaha Direct Drive pedal works very well with my doubles technique. I’ll quickly eliminate any pedal from my playing rotation if that is not the case. This pedal helps make it easier.
The last issues I consider are are sturdiness and adjustability. I love how solid this pedal is. It will withstand a pounding and I believe it’s physically going to last a long time.
Regarding adjustments, I can adjust the spring tension fairly easily. Another key adjustment that I sometimes make is to change the resting position of the beater. This position determines how far back the beater is from the bass drum head when the pedal is at rest.
Sometimes I notice drummers who have the resting position of their bass drum pedal such that the beater is only two or three inches from the bass drum head. This is a mistake; you need more distance from the head so that you have more options with your stroke. If your beater is too close, you’re limited. Since I like to have easy control over this adjustment, I look for that in a pedal. I get an easy way to do this with the Yamaha Direct Drive. I’ll spare you the details, just trust me–it’s easy to do.
I love this pedal. I think it will be my go-to for a long time to come.
That’s it for now. I’ll keep you abreast of other gear developments.
Don't miss LEVEL5's next show: 9:30pm on Wed, 2/21/17 at NYC's legendary club, The Bitter End.
"The Sybil EP," the debut from Mark Feldman's LEVEL5, is due for release in 2018, and features Oz Noy and Will Lee.
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