Ryan Bloom on Bass Pedal Counterweights

  • Posted on: 20 November 2013
  • By: sheldonkreger

I recently switched to Mapex Falcon hardware, and the double bass pedal came with weights to place inside the beater. These double bass counterweights come in 10 gram and 20 gram variations. I decided to ask Ryan Bloom what he thought about them. After reading his book Double Bass Drumming Explained, I knew he would be the right guy to ask.

Here's his response.

"The deal with the weights is that they fit into the beaters to fill in the hole through the center. The only reason they even come out is that you can upgrade to 20g weights instead of the 10g. The reason they exist is to even out the motion of the pedals during your strokes and to provide inertia for repetitive notes.

I have always played with the weights on my iron cobras (they attach to the shaft below the beater) and I believe it has really helped me play evenly and cleanly for single strokes. I really found out the benefit of them when I had a student recently who machined out his pedals, and cut down his beaters, and built a custom footboard essentially, to make his cobras feel like axis. Every effort was made to make them lighter and "quicker." The effect of all this reduction in weight was to make heel-toe double extremely easy, but with the compromise of making single strokes extremely "squirrely" and uneven. With no weight, you can play very fast but every little inconsistency in your stroke is revealed. Adding weights to the beaters on this guy's custom pedals instantly gave him better single stroke accuracy and consistency, plus the obvious bonus to top end volume for heavier genres of music which he was interested in. I basically changed his whole outlook on double bass in a few lessons… and learned something new about pedals myself.

So if you want to play fast singles with accurate timing I would use the weights. If you are more concerned with playing double strokes and having a light feel, don't use the weights. But lack of weight actually, counterintuitively, makes you have to do more of the work.

That's my 2 cents. By the way I am working on a follow up to my book that I sent you. The main critique, despite my clearly outlined intentions, was that my book did not have enough beats in it. So, I am going to give the people what they want and put more beats in the next one. "

Be sure to check out Ryan Bloom's Youtube Channel, too.

Ryan Bloom

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