When it comes to bass pedals it is very easy to get overwhelmed by all the intricacies and complicated mechanical workings that modern day bass drum pedals have to offer. However we’re here to help! In this article we’ll give you an in depth look at the best and newest bass pedals on the market today and let you know what makes them tick!
Pearl Demon Pedals
Available in double chain or direct drive, single and double configurations.
Price: $299- $599
In 2009 Pearl introduced their Demon Drive pedal. A precision crafted, fully adjustable direct drive pedal. Now in 2012 they introduce their Demon Chain pedal featuring all the functions of the Demon Drive, but with the power and feel of a chain drive. The Demon pedals use Ninja Skateboard bearings which are micro polished low friction bearings for increased speed and dependability. Another great feature of the Demon Pedals is that they can be set to either a long or short pedal board with their patented duo-board. Demon double Pedals also feature the Z-Link drive shaft which employs race car engineering to reduce latency on the slave side pedal.
When I first tried out the Demon Drive pedal I wasn’t terribly impressed. It definitely had a lot of cool features and a very smooth feel, but the direct drive didn’t do it for me. However with the new addition of the Demon Chain I was VERY impressed. The demon chain has a super smooth feel and a lot of kick as well as being SUPER adjustable and customizable. I preferred the long board configuration, which still felt kind of short to me. However the fact that the pedal board sits about a half an inch or more off of the ground where it attaches allows you to get more leverage with your heel allowing for more use of heel toe technique as well as a powerful heel up stroke without burying the beater. The beater angle and pedal board height can be completely adjusted independently of one another giving you total control of finesse vs. power settings. The new Z-Link is pretty impressive you can pick it up and literally twirl the linkage arm while holding one of the joints and not feel any resistance, and the slave side pedal on the demon doubles definitely feels the most responsive to me. However with a $600 price tag this pedal definitely doesn’t top the value charts.
Sonor Perfect Balance Jojo Mayer signature pedal
Brand new this year from Sonor is the Perfect Balance pedal developed by Jojo Mayer (also commonly referred to as the “Jojo Pedal”) Jojo Mayer set out to develop a modern day pedal that had the look and feel of a vintage pedal. With the help of Sonor they created a pedal that has perfect balance, meaning that the initial stroke and beater return happen at the same rate of speed. The pedal features a strap drive, and a large linear cam for a super light feel. The pedal also folds up completely flat with the push of a button giving it the compact ability of a wire base pedal with the stability of a solid base pedal. Other features include a long footboard, automatic base drum attachment, and completely independently adjustable footboard height and beater throw distance.
The Jojo pedal was designed to feel extremely fast and light, and Sonor was 100% successful in this endeavor which isn’t surprising considering that Jojo Mayer was in the driver’s seat. This pedal is incredibly responsive and articulate, and has the lightest feel out of any pedal I have ever played. The strap drive however gives this pedal a very unique feel. The strap is stretchy and rubbery feeling, and when I first played it I honestly hated it. However after some time of getting use to the feeling, I was able to see this pedal really shine (literally and figuratively. Adjusting it takes some time and isn’t the easiest but once you get it where you want it you never have to touch it again. The fact that the whole thing can also fold up small enough to fit in your cymbal bag is pretty great too. However what this pedal makes up for in speed and accuracy it loses in power. The strap drive feels very light and makes it hard to really dig into the pedal without feeling like you are going to snap it. However the pedal can be retrofitted with a chain drive if you do wish to have a heavier feel. If you play jazz, funk, R&B, or pop music. This is the pedal for you. But if you play rock, punk, or anything heavier, then look elsewhere.
Tama Speed Cobra
Price: $199- $429
The Speed Cobra is Tama’s newest line of pedals. Built with speed and power in mind the speed cobra has a lighter tension spring and the longest foot board out of almost any pedal on the market today. It has a super light linear cam, and independently adjustable footboard height and beater throw distance. The Tama speed cobra also features Tama’s revolutionary “cobra coil” which is a spring underneath the pedal board that helps return the pedal to playing position making it faster with less lag. This pedal comes in both double and single configurations and a hard shell case.
The Speed Cobra is my favorite pedal out of all three, and is the one that I use. The extra-long footboard allows for more power and is perfect for performing heel toe and slide techniques. The entire pedal is incredibly adjustable and allows the user to customize the setup with ease. I have used my speed cobra for all of my gigs ranging from loud and fast punk, to light jazz and pit work. This pedal is incredibly fast, light, and powerful when playing heel down it is incredibly sensitive, and packs a monster punch when playing heel up. Plus at only $200 for the single it is the best value of all. The only down side is that the hard shell case it comes with weighs about twice as much as the pedal making it a bit of a pain to lug around to gigs, but so worth it!!
By Jayne Hensen