DRUM PEDAL CARE
At Gear I get a lot of questions about maintaining drums. Mostly little thing like how to tune a drum, how to set up a snare strainer properly, what sticks to use etc. One of the main maintenance issues that people rarely think about (until it's too late) is their bass drum pedal. When you think about it, the bass drum (or kick drum) pedal, is working the most on any given gig or practice session. Your pedal probably moves back and forth thousands of time on any given gig. When this is happening parts are vibrating and bolts and screws may be coming loose slowly over time. Your beater may be loosening a bit over many weeks of playing. The lubricant that is used on the chain and in the cams of your pedal is also being tested all the time. If you don't check all these parts on your bass drum pedal on a regular basis your pedal WILL let you down at the worst time - right in the middle of that big gig on the big song that features your great playing!! There is nothing worse than the failure of a bass drum pedal during a show... there isn't too much you can do to overcome it than ride it out and fix your pedal after the song...
This doesn't have to happen if you do regular maintenance on your pedal. I used to take my old Pearl P-100 pedal down to my dads work bench every month to give it a maintenance check.
Here are the things I would do (and still do!!):
1. Take a drum key with you and tighten up all your bolts that use the drum key. You will be surprised at how loose some of these might be.
2. Take a screw driver (usually a slot and or Philips - star) and tighten all the other screws. Don't forget the ones on the bottom of the kick-plate of the pedal - they can come loose as well.
3. Take a can of WD-40 (or any other spray-oil lubricant) and lubricate your chain and cam. Also spray any other moving parts- like where your spring attaches to the pedal and the bearings where the shaft meets the legs of the pedal. Even lubricate the hinge where the foot pedal itself meets the floor. This step is very important when recording. We have all heard of people recording there best performance only to hear their squeaky bass drum pedal coming through on every hit!! John Bonham from Led Zeppelin has many of these squeaks on a few Zep. songs!
4. Make sure your beater is straight and flat against your bass drum head. Some companies like Tama allow the drummer to pivot the head of the beater so it is flat against the head. If you can't do this with your beater at least make sure it is straight and tight so it won't drop on you while you are playing.
5. Check your tension screw or bolt and make sure it is tight. You wouldn't believe how many pedals I see at Gear that have the tension spring loose! Because of the pedals movement your tension will change as you play if the tension screw isn't securely tightened.
6. Pack your pedal separately from your other hardware. So many drummers throw their pedal into the same bag as their heavy hardware (stands and tom holders) and wonder why their pedals get broken in between gigs? If your pedal doesn't have a carrying case, than try and find one. An old small carry on type suitcase can work. Or even a separate bag will do. Just be more careful packing it away and it will last a lot longer.
Hopefully this will help keep your bass drum pedal up and running, and make it last years longer than you think. If you are in the market for a new pedal I often tell people to buy a good one (you have to spend some money-good pedals are going to be $150.00 or more) and if you keep up the maintenance you will never have to buy another one. Always try to get a pedal that has a case included as this will also help your pedal last through time.
Hope this helps! please come down to the store and ask for me anytime if you have any more drum related questions.