How to Build a Double Bass Pedal

By AndrewD
Double bass is most prevelant in rock, progressive and heavy metal music.

One of the most significant advancements in the design of the standard drum kit includes the 1968 invention of the double bass pedal. Since then, the double bass pedal enjoys a growing application in many different genres of music. Still, these pieces of hardware remain largely factory-produced, with almost no room for adjustments and tweaks to fit an individual player. On top of this, they can be extremely expensive. This led many drummers seeking the thunderous rhythm of the double bass to construct their own pedals at home out of salvaged parts.

Salvage or purchase two individual drum pedals. The closer in make and model the better. Place both of them on the floor and sit in playing position. Decide what distance between the two pedals is most comfortable. Measure this distance and make careful note of it.

Break down the pedals into a flat base, a pedal connected to a chain or lever, a mallet attached to this chain or lever and a tubular rod running through the mallet. Remove the hardware around the rod on the left side of the right pedal, and the right side of the left pedal, so that the rod is still held in place by the mounts and the hardware on the outsides, but has at least an inch exposed on the inside.

Measure the diameter of the rod upon which the mallet is attached. Purchase a length of metal tubing with a hollow center that fits somewhat snugly over the diameter of the pedal's rod. This can be found and at a hardware store. If needed, bring the pedal with you.

Saw the metal tubing according to the initial distance measurement using a metal-cutting saw.

Remove the mallet mechanism from the left bass pedal, and carefully affix the mallet to the right side of the metal tubing, roughly an 1/4-inch from the end.

Take the exposed section of metal rod on each pedal and drill a small hole through the side with a thin, metal bore drill bit. Securely attach the hook of a thin bungee to the hole on the left pedal and stretch the bungee out.

Attach a shoe string to the hook on the right side of the bungee, feeding it through the left side of the metal tubing. Simultaneously pull the bungee through the tubing with the shoe string while pushing the tubing on to the exposed rod of the left pedal. Attach the end of the hook temporarily to the right edge of the tubing and remove the shoe string.

Get the right pedal in place and stretch the right hook of the bungee outward, attaching it to the hole in the rod of the right pedal. The bungee will create tension by itself, pulling the right pedal in toward the tubing.

Quickly cover the exposed right rod with lubrication compound and allow the tension to guide it in. The right pedal and mallet should still move independently, but now be attached to the left pedal via the bungee inside the tubing.

Turn the tubing so that the attached left mallet is forward in a “firing” position. Hold this in place while simultaneously pushing the left pedal all the way down. Place a heavy object on top of the left pedal to hold it in this position.

Drill a vertical hole with a 1/4-inch bit through the attached tubing and rod on the far left side, just before the rod hits the left pedal’s post. Repeat this a few centimeters up the tube with a horizontal hole. Place a 1/4-inch diameter bolt through each hole, and use a wrench to tighten a nut around each one until the tube acts as a secure extension of the original rod.

You now have two pedals that operate independently of each other, but still fire at the same drum. Alternate firing the pedals and get a feel for the action of each one. To disassemble, pull the right pedal away from the tube enough to unhook the bungee, and attach the bungee hook to the end of the tubing so it doesn’t retreat inside.

Tip

Make sure that any holes you drill go through the tube and the rod, leaving the hollow part of the tube unhindered.

Warning

When disassembling the pedals, be sure not to remove any hardware on the outside of the pedal rods. These must remain in order to hold the rod in place.