Before the genesis of the drum set, percussion instruments were played only by hands. During the big band era, band leaders came up with the idea that the percussion line takes up too much space and that the different types of drums should be grouped.
Thus, a single drummer would now have to play different drums simultaneously. The drum set was born, and started its journey. The tipping point really came when Ringo Starr was starring on American national television playing a drum set.
Ever since then, the usage of different pedals to help in incorporating the usage of the lower limbs in drumming has become ubiquitous. The two most common applications for pedals are the different bass drum pedals and the hi-hat pedal, but there is quite a wide range of pedals with different functions available.
There are three distinct types of bass drum pedals, differentiated by the way the force from your feet is driven to the batter head through the beater. The three different models are the belt driven, the chain driven and the direct drive model. There are high end drum pedals featuring any of these technologies, so the choice is really just a matter of personal taste.
All three technologies come with their respective advantages and disadvantages. Direct drive pedals require almost no maintenance and they work without lag. However, there is a mechanical feel to them that some drummers dislike and their adjustability is also lower.
Belt driven pedals lack power when it comes to dealing with lag, yet they have a swift speed and are also quite light. Last but not least comes the chain drive model: they provide quite good stability and adjustability. Also, the lag presented by them is almost negligible – maybe the only drawback is that the chains have to be cleaned and taken care of fairly regularly.
Rarely sold separately, hi-hat pedals give you the ability to control the motion and relative position of the two parts of you hi-hat cymbals. Usually the pedal comes bundled with the hi-hat stand. The hi-hat stand presumably is the most versatile among your drum set’s hardware.
Perhaps the most important factor you should look for in a hi-hat stand is great stability and precise adjustability of the legs so that you can play smoothly on different surfaces – I had played at different open air events and having a good hi-hat stand means that you need not to worry about setting up and playing drums on grass.
There is another factor that might differentiate a top notch hi-hat stand from the average and that is extendibility. You might want to set up a clutch on your stand so that when you are playing double bass pedals you can close the cymbals without the pedals; or maybe you just want to set up a splash cymbal next to your hi-hats attached to your hi-hat stand.
Hi-hat pedals are also made using different engineering models, so there are belt driven, chain driven and directly driven hi-hat pedals on the market.
The market for drum pedals is really endless, and it would be impossible to list all the different ways one can use a pedal. Some of the more common usages are setting up pedals for remote hi-hats. In that case, you have an auxiliary hi-hat that is controlled by an extra pedal.
Or maybe you want to free your hands from having to regularly hit the cowbell in your Latin rhythms: there are solutions where the cowbell is hit by a pedal. Really, the possibilities are endless – and playing the drums is really just “applied creativity”, so, why not get started on finding something cool and new?
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