Double pedals are a piece of equipment that many drummers don’t use. However, there are many kick drum patterns that can only be played with the use of a double pedal. So, musical styles like metal and progressive metal require a double pedal to play.
Setting one up can be a daunting task as it’s not as easy as just clamping the pedal to a bass drum. There are a few things you need to do in order to have a comfortable double pedal setup.
Table of Contents
Choosing the Pedal
Before setting up a double pedal, you need to make sure that you get the right one for you. There are a few double pedal types on the market that have design differences changing the way they feel. The three main types of double pedals are chain drive, direct drive, and belt drive.
Direct drive pedals are the easiest to use for drummers who are new to double pedal playing. They have no lag between them, are very durable, and don’t require much maintenance. However, they don’t offer many adjustment options.
Chain drive pedals are durable and offer many adjustability options, yet they make a fair bit of noise. Belt drive pedals are fast and light on the feet. These are great for playing incredibly fast patterns. They just aren’t as durable as the other types of double pedals.
Placing the Pedals
Now that you have your double pedal, the first thing to do is to place it comfortably at the drums. This is the first hurdle for anyone new to using a double pedal as it takes up more space than you’re used to.
Many drummers like to have their hi-hat stand sit quite close to the snare drum. This won’t be possible with a double pedal as the second pedal needs to fill that space.
The primary pedal fits on the bass drum the same way a single pedal would. Once you’ve done that, move on to placing the second pedal in between the hi-hat stand and the snare drum. Some drummers like to place the second pedal to the left of the hi-hat stand. However, that’s not very commonly seen.
If your hi-hat stand has 3 legs and is stopping the pedal from moving comfortably, try to rotate the legs to create space. If your hi-hat stand can’t rotate its legs, you may need to get a new one. Some stands only have 2 legs in order to make space for double pedals.
Connecting Both Pedals
Once you’ve placed the pedals, you need to connect them together with the use of the linking hardware that came with the pedals. Most double pedal connectors will require the use of a drum key to lock the mechanisms in place.
Before you do this, make sure the pedalboards and beaters of the pedals are at the same height. If they’re not at the same height, you won’t be able to play them evenly.
Get a drum key and maneuver the rod so that the screws are facing upwards. Tighten the screws as tightly as possible to ensure that they don’t loosen when playing. If they loosen when playing, the pedal will fall into pieces.
Once you’ve done this, press down on the two pedals to see how they feel in conjunction with each other. If they don’t feel even, you’ll need to repeat the process of balancing them and tightening the screws.
Placing the Beaters
The next thing to do would be placing the beaters. Drum pedal beaters are interchangeable, meaning you can buy these separately if you want to upgrade their quality.
You could also get beaters that have designs catered to specific situations. Anyway, most beaters that come with drum pedals are of high quality.
The general rule is to adjust the height of the beaters so that they hit the center of the bass drum. Hitting the center will ensure they bring the best tone out of the drum. You can adjust the beater by unscrewing the side screw with the use of a drum key, raising the beater up and down, and then screwing it in tightly again.
Some drummers will raise their beaters slightly higher in order to get more force behind their kicks. This will give them more power. However, they would then need to lower the height of the pedals themselves.
Adjusting the Tensions
The final step in setting up the pedals is to adjust their tension. The tension of the pedal means how hard or light it will feel to play. The tension of a bass drum pedal will differ from drummer to drummer. Some drummers will like a loose pedal while others will like a tight one. The best place to start would be in the middle.
There should be a screw that you can turn that will change how tight the spring of the pedal is. Twist it so that the pedal isn’t too tight or loose.
If you like how it feels, you’re ready to get playing. You’ll realize that your right foot is a lot stronger than your left foot is thanks to all the single pedal playing before this point. Don’t worry though as your left foot will catch up quickly.
If a medium tension is too loose, tighten the pedals so that they give more resistance when playing. Some drummers argue that a tighter pedal will help you play cleaner. This is subjective and it depends on who’s playing. The best thing to do is to just see what works for you.
Now that you have your double pedal setup, it’s time to start learning how to play Bleed by Meshuggah. In all seriousness, double pedal playing can be one of the most fun things to do on the drums.
Make sure you’re playing patterns slowly and doing the work to develop your left foot.
Many people will tell you that the pedal you have will affect the way you play. Although that’s true, the biggest determining factor will be the work you put into it. So, set up your double pedal and start practicing.