The topic of using a double bass pedal with your electronic drum set comes up quite frequently.
It can be difficult to find out information online about what electronic drum kits are compatible with these.
It’s quite simple. All you need is a big enough kick pad that can support two beaters and a double bass drum pedal.
Then you’re good to go.
Why use a double bass drum pedal?
Multiple kick pedals are very popular amount numerous styles of music, particularly metal and more complex drumming for alternative styles of music.
There are two ways that double bass drums are usually set up on an acoustic kit: the first way is to have 2 actual separate bass drums. This is a great option but it adds an incredible amount of extra weight and bulk to your kit.
The alternative is a double bass drum pedal. This is what most drummers use in the case of having two kick pedals.
If you get a decent kick pedal, the feel of these is broadly the same.
The Roland TD-11KV (pictured above) is a great option for double kick pedals because it includes the Roland KD-9 kick pad. Higher-end Roland models include even better pads for double kick pedals (Note: kick pedal needs to be purchased separately for this e-drum kit)
Getting a double bass drum pedal
If you got a pedal with your drum set, it’s likely a single one. This contains one pedal and one kick.
I would highly recommend that you invest a decent sum of money into your double kick pedal. My first double pedal was a very low budget one, and the quality of the left pedal was simply not up to par with the right one.
A great option is the Tama HP200PTW Iron Cobra 200, this is relatively cheap and comes from a really respected brand in this area.
Some more good news is that double kick pedals are almost always compatible with electronic and acoustic drum sets.
What type of beaters should I use?
This depends on the type of kick pad you own. Plastic beaters should ideally be used for mesh kick pads (such as those from Roland). Otherwise, you can use either plastic or felt heads on rubber drum pads. That’s a matter of personal preference.
Many drum beaters have both a felt side and a plastic side. You can just simply switch them around.
What type of bass drum pad do I need?
Your current bass drum might already be large enough to accommodate a double bass drum pedal.
Many kick pads already support double bass drum pedals. You just need to make sure that the kick pad is wide enough for the two pedals.
Yamaha KP65 Electronic Drum Kick Tower
It’s nicely responsive and works exactly as expected.
It contains a rubber pad. I personally used this with felt beaters, as it’s a bit quieter than using the plastic ends.
This is because its head is cloth/mesh type material which does not output as much sound. I’d recommend using plastic beaters with these.
The KD-9 is quite common to find on mid-range Roland electronic drum sets.
This is a high kick pedal which contains Roland’s full mesh head design. It’s a fantastic option if you have the budget, and it’s the largest of all of these kick pads, so it’s definitely big enough for double bass drum pedals.
Roland recommends not to use felt beaters on their mesh kick pads. This is because the felt could wear out the mesh, or vice versa. Plastic beaters work nicely on these pads.
Can I mix brands (e.g. Roland kick drum pad with an Alesis electronic drum set?)
Yes, kick pads are very standard. I’ve mixed and matched a few of these myself. For example, I used the Yamaha KP65 pad quite a lot with my Roland v-drums.
Learning how to use a double bass drum pedal
I can’t possibly explain the joy I felt the first time I got my hands on a double kick pedal. I could finally start to properly jam and practice songs by some of my drumming heroes.
So of course, the first time you start using these, you’ll try to get as much speed and sound as possible out of them.
However, after that, it’s worth taking a step back and starting from the basics.
A local drumming instructor once gave me a valuable piece of advice regarding using a double bass drum pedal: “Learn to walk before you run”. If you want to get good at using 2 kick pedals, you should practice your technique and independence gradually. This should be in a similar way to the method by which you improve the strength and independence of your hands.
Check out this great short video from Aaron Edgar demonstrating some easy double bass beats. All of these are also applicable to electronic drum sets.
Another very useful advanced double bass drumming method is the heel-toe technique, check out this great video by Derrick Pope if you’re interested in learning this advanced technique.
What’s my favorite song that uses a double bass drum?
I used to be a big metal fan when I was a teenager. The Slayer song, “raining blood” has a fast double bass drum solo that I think influenced a whole generation of young drummers to get a double pedal. Also, some iconic beats from Metallica’s song ‘One’ always spring to mind.
Neither of these are the best or most complex use of double bass drums, but they are always the ones that spring to my mind first as some of my favourite oldies.
However, it’s not just metal genres that use double pedals. For example, the great drummer Dom Famularo makes great use of a double bass drum pedal.
I hope his article has cleared things up regarding using double bass pedals for your electronic drum set.
Be sure to ask if you have any questions.
Happy double bass drumming!
Thanks as always,