Rock Drumming System

Double Bass Drums VS. Double Bass Pedals

If you have ever seen some of the massive drum set ups like Mike Portnoy, or Neil Peart, you will notice that a few of them are equipped with two bass drums. Learning how to play double bass drumming patterns is a great way to spice up any drum beat, and can be an awesome addition to any kit. However, is it worth spending the extra money on an additional bass drum? Or can you get the same result with a double bass drum pedal? There are some benefits to having the double bass pedal just as there are some benefits to having the two bass drums.

The Cost Of Both Pedal Systems

The first thing you are going to want to consider is the cost of either set up. Obviously you will spend more money on the extra bass drum then you will the upgraded pedals. One thing to realize is that if you already have a drum set, you may find it hard to get another bass drum that matches the exact sound and color of your original bass drum. When you have a drum kit that has seen a lot of bars and other venues, you will find the color or lacquer may fade or change a bit. This change will cause troubles when matching one bass drum to another. Apart from this is the availability of the extra bass drum. Most stores will not have extra bass drums in stock to sell individually; they will only sell them with the rest of the drum set. So because of this, you may have to do a custom order from your drum distributor or warehouse which can cost a lot of money. Your best bet is to purchase the double bass drums when you are buying the whole kit brand new.

So when you do find the other bass drum, how much will it cost you? This all depends on what kind of kit / wood / finish you choose. If you have a middle range drum kit, a bass drum could run you anywhere from $400-$1000. Higher range bass drums could set you back anywhere from $1000–$3000 depending on the make/model. Not only will you have to buy the bass drum, you will also need an additional single bass pedal for the drum. Depending on what you choose, you can spend an extra $100-$200 on this as well. Now if you decide to purchase a double bass pedal, you will spend a lot less money. The cheaper models of the double bass pedal will cost you around $200-$300. The higher quality pedals will run you around $400-$800. Rarely will you spend over a thousand dollars on a double bass pedal. Also, keep in mind that there would be two drum skins to replace instead of one, which also adds to the cost. So when you think of affordability, the double bass pedal is definitely the way to go.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Double Bass Drums

If having two bass drums cost more money, then why would you do that? Well there are a lot of pluses to having this set up. The obvious one is the size of the kit, which can be a pro and a con. Having a bigger set up looks very nice and professional, in fact you may even increase your image as a drummer. This is also increases your playing area. What does that mean? Well having two bass drums opens up a whole new area to add new drums and other percussion instruments that will compliment any song. The downside to the size is portability and storage issues. Moving a regular size kit from show to show is hard enough; add another bass drum and you have that much more to carry. In addition, if you have a small music room to work with, having a massive kit set up may not be the best use of space.

Another problem you may have with this set up is tuning issues. Having two identical bass drums means you have to tune them the exact same. Having different tunings will make your kit sound uneven and throw off your doubles. This can be very tricky at times; however, once you have this mastered this then you are way better off. When you share one bass drum with fast beats, the sound is sometimes cut down. With two separate bass drums, you are able to maximize the sound out of each kick before you cut it off with the next. The tuning issue can also work for your advantage. You may be trying to get another sound out of your additional drum. In this case, double bass drums are the only way to do this. For those who are considering heading into the studio, consider bringing in a double bass drum kit. When you mic up each bass drum individually, you will get a much richer and cleaner sound that you can isolate a lot easier than if you were recording all with one mic on one bass drum. Definitely a pro for recording!

The feel of a single pedal is a lot nicer than the feel of a double bass pedal. Every double bass drum pedal will have some sort of lag on the left pedal. Whether it is direct drive, belt driven, or chain driven, all pedals will have some lag. When you use two bass drums, you use two single pedals. Single bass drum pedals are very fast and efficient, and will cause you less stress and problems then a double bass pedal.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Double Bass Pedal

If you do not have a lot of extra cash do not worry. Buying a pair of double bass pedals is not a bad option; in fact there are also a lot of pros to choosing this method. The first obvious pro is the cost. Like I said above, you can buy a decent double bass drum pedal for around $500 - a lot cheaper then buying a new bass drum. Another obvious benefit to using the double bass pedal is the practicality of it. A double pedal is very small and light weight, making it extremely easy to carry around and store. If you have a small music room, the double bass pedal will fit nicely. Adding an extra bass drum with out adding an actual drum is a very smart idea for space. In addition the space you will save, it will be a lot easier to place your hi hats, and other cymbals around your kit. Too big a kit can be a good thing or a band thing; it is all personal preference as to what you are drumming for.

The sound difference you will get with a double bass pedal vs. the double bass drums is very minimal. Nine times out of ten you will not be able to tell the difference between the two set ups; however, the beaters on the pedals are not in the same spot. This means you will be kicking the same drum in different spot of the skin. This can cause uneven sounds from time to time based on the tuning of your drum. Properly placed pedals on a properly tuned drum will eliminate this problem immediately. You will only notice a problem with the sound if you hit the pedals at the same time, or you are playing at extremely fast speeds. Either than that, the double bass pedals will provide you with the feel of two drums for a fraction of the cost.

Using the double pedals is a great setup for those who are into speed drumming. With the two drum system, you would have to move your foot a bit of a distance to go from the hi hat pedal to the bass drum pedal. With the double bass pedal, you can place the left foot pad right next to your hi hat pedal, which would increase your speed changing back and forth. In fact the design of the pedals allows you place the other pedal wherever you want, even on the right side of your drums. This is a huge plus over the double bass drum, where you would have to move the whole bass drum around.


Well there is a lot of information here that may leave you feeling confused. The main conclusion: if you have the extra cash, and the means of transporting a big kit, then the double bass drum set up is for you. You will get a better sound for recording, a bigger kit for gigging, and a lot more creativity with different tuning options. If you are pressed for cash, and have a small music area, the double bass pedals are for you. The sound is very close to having two bass drums, the practicality of it is just phenomenal, and cost is very affordable. There is no better choice here, both are great to use and have pros and cons for each.

No matter what your decision is, as long as you continue to practice all of your fundamental pedal exercises you will continue to become a great drummer. There aren’t any techniques that one type of pedal can do that the other cannot. A major misconception is that the heel-toe technique can only be played on certain bass drum pedals. This is totally false, Jared Falk explains this in his Bass Drum Secrets DVD. The technique can be played on virtually any bass drum pedal on the market.

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