Friday, August 13, 2010


I've been a drummer now for 4/5th's of my life. That's a long time. Over the years, as a guy with day jobs of one sort or another since I graduated high school and began attending college, I continued to play music in school from 6th grade until college and then in various blues, rock and "miscellaneous" bands (reggae, ska, experimental, r&b, folk, jazz, c&w, etc) until the present day.

I played in bands when I was a cop and when I was in law school. Before and after my police and law school days, I played in bands. Every chance I could, I played in bands. It's my psychotherapy and my relaxation.

So I've done more than my fair share of gigging. With several exceptions, much of my drumming since the early 80's had been mostly in blues and blues-based rock bands.


My first pedal ever in the early 70's, like many other American kids, was the Ludwig Speed King. I developed a marked fondness for the "solid link" (instead of chain or nylon/leather strap) because of this pedal, and although I now use two double-chain link pedals in gigging, for many years I used the Speed King. They have a habit of squeaking, so oiling their mechanism is a must.

All of my drumset playing during my junior high years was done on a Speed King, both at school in stage band and at home. I wasn't yet playing in rock bands, that would wait until 9th grade, and then I would transition to the Rogers Dynasonic Pedal.


From age 11 until after high school, I owned Rogers Dynasonic and Powertone snare drums and a Dynasonic pedal and high hat. My drums during high school and into my 20's were always Ludwigs except for the Rogers snares. But after using a Rogers Dynasonic pedal in the 8th grade I was hooked on them. They enabled me to play far more intricate beats than the Speed King, and for me I was able to get a lot more power out of the Rogers.


I stumbled into a King Beat in 1982 when I bought a used Ludwig drumset that had both bass drum and HH pedal that were King Beats. Heavy duty. Solid metal link on both pedals. Still use them both today. Put many, many, many miles gigging through the 80's on my King Beats. Both are now retired to home kit use.


I have a pedal I picked up when buying another used kit in the 80's, and it is a Tama pedal from I think the late 70's. It uses a nylon strap and seems very identical to the Rogers Dynasonic pedal, except scaled slightly larger and more heavy duty. I carry a couple of spares with me when I gig. I've gotten to where I don't carry a spare snare any more, just a repair kit and some extra heads tucked into my cymbal case. But I do carry a bass drum spare, after having had several pedal fails during sets over the years. I keep it in a small bag as it folds compactly and keep it under the passenger seat of the car.


Another used kit I bought came with a double chain Eliminator pedal. It's a great pedal and has a solid base made of steel. It is the pedal that I most often play with in outside gigs in places where I expect my gear to get dusty or humid or sandy. I use it at home on my V-drums as the main pedal.


I got one of these in the early 90's and never looked back. What a great pedal. Mine still looks like new. I have a double pedal setup, which I have on occasion used, but mostly use it as a single pedal unless I'm messing around at home or in a jam with friends that gets a little jazz-fusiony. They have come out with fancier models since the early 2000's that are supposedly better than the 5000, but many thousands of drummers like me have stuck with their 5000. It is my go to preferred pedal. I have yet to have an issue with any Drum Workshop product that I own, and I've owned some going on 20 years now.


Yamaha makes a very good line of pedals, both new and used. One of their new pedals compacts down flat for easier transport. I particularly like their solid link pedals. I don't have one right now but would get one at the right price because they have a great feel and offer great control.

When I was in high school, the "GHOST PEDAL" was all the rage. I had one of the all metal ones, and the guy at the long defunct Brook Mays on the Southwest Freeway in Houston where I bought it spent about an hour helping me adjust it just right. He advised me against adjusting it myself, as the double spring tension on each side made it very complicated to adjust, and it had taken the salesman several years to learn how to properly adjust it.

I didn't listen, of course, and I fiddled with it, and had to take it back in to get another adjustment to get it set up like it was originally. I think it was a cool alternative at the time to the Rogers Dynasonic and the Ludwig Speedking, but better pedals would soon hit the market in the late 70's and early 1980's.

1 comment:

  1. fascinating article! i used to bruise my foot w the s.k. as it swings back so far i bought 2 new ghosts after that bc when i asked the clerk at leos music, where leonard haze of yesterday and today frequented ghost is what he said he was using. LH told me he recorded the 1st album w that camco and, when the strap broke, he switched to his speed king. when i stopped playing sold my ghosts and when i got back into it i bought a tama king beat which i still own and is still awesome although i normally play axis dbl peds. seem the k.b was the best of its time. no worries about it falling apart and you can adjust the throw ant the other cool features about it...