If there's one thing drummers are known for, it's not disposable income. Fortunately, if your bass drum pedal breaks down you don't need to spend $100 at the local music store for a new one. In fact, you can build a very good product with things already laying around your house.
Things You'll Need
- Leather Punch
- Screen Door Hinge
- 1/4" Pvc Pipe
- 3 Feet 2-By-4 Lumber
- Table Saw
- 8 Screws
- Leather Strip
- Masking Tape
Building the Base
Turn on your table saw and align the blade to 90 degrees. Pushing the wood through the blade while protecting your fingers, cut the 2-by-4 into three foot-long pieces. Cut two of the pieces in half horizontally, creating two 6-inch 2-by-4 boards. Cut another in half vertically, creating two foot-long 1-by-4 pieces. Finally, cut one of these in half again, creating a foot-long, 1/2-by-4 piece. This will be the foot pad of the pedal. Drill a small hole at the center of one end of the foot pad and tie a loop of string around it.
Stack two of the 6-inch pieces on top of each other and hold them together with a vice. Using a drill bit only slightly larger than the size of your PVC pipe, drill a hole through both boards. The hole should be near the top of the boards, but not so high that it will split the wood. This hole will allow the pipe to spin.
Place the two 6-inch pieces, now with holes, six inches away from each other, standing vertically. Lay between them another of the 6-inch pieces, creating a U shape. With a 1/16th-inch drill bit, drill thin holes where the pieces, then screw the pieces together tightly. To make a stronger foundation, apply wood glue to the sides of the pieces before screwing them together.
Glue one of the one-foot boards to the front of the U. Then, as above, screw the pieces firmly together. This forms the structure of the pedal.
Preparing the Pipe
Cut the PVC pipe to 11 inches with the table saw.
Drill a 1/4th-inch hole in the middle of the PVC pipe. With a hammer, nudge the dowel through the hole so it stands upright from the pipe.
Puncture a hole in the leather strip using a leather punch. Pull the leather strip around the dowel on the PVC pipe, ensuring the leather sits away from the front of the pedal. This will ensure that the pipe rotates in right direction.
Drill a small hole in the other end of the leather strip, and attach to it the spring by wrapping the hook on the spring into the hole.
Wrap the tip of the dowel in a full ream of masking tape. This will be the mallet of the drum pedal.
Finishing the Pedal
Mount the foot pad (the 1/2-inch board cut in step 1) to the frame by attaching the door hinges to the end without the loop of string and then screwing the hinges into the frame. This should allow the pedal board to move back and forth without falling off the frame. The foot pad should operate just like a door on its hinges.
Loop the string through the spring attached to the leather strip to create tension. Now, when you step down, the tape on the dowel should move forward and beat your drum.
Line up the pedal to your bass drum to make sure it works.
Check your bass drum before beginning. You might need to adjust the sizes in order to make it fit. You can experiment with other material for the head, such as tennis balls, rubber balls, or even the head from your last professional pedal.
Make sure when you attach the leather strip it is going in the right direction. If not, your pedal will rotate backwards.
Nate Brown has been writing about California, economics and music for more than five years. He holds a Master of Science in economic history from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in international political economy from University of California, Berkeley. Brown's work has appeared in "The Beaver."