Mapex Falcon Bass Drum Pedal Reviewed!
Mapex Falcon Bass Drum Pedal
A FALCON FOR THE NEW MILLENIUM
The Falcon bass drum pedal from Mapex is sleek and refined. Rather than go for broad strokes of re-invention, Mapex wrought this pedals from intelligent, thoughtful improvements to the status quo. For starters, it looks incredible. The sleek blackness of the Falcon caught my eye right away. The finish is glossy, like a deep-baked enamel, and it invites the eye to linger. And, as you look closely, you will see the numerous subtle features and improvements that make the Falcon noteworthy.
This is a very handsome pedal from the ground up. Even the upright posts are cosmetically appealing, especially the shiny inserts in the uprights. They are made of Inox. According to everyone’s favorite artificial intelligence booster, Wikipedia, Inox is another word for stainless steel, from the French inoxydable (no oxidation). Mapex claims that these burly inserts in the frame maintain strength and rigidity without requiring that the frame be gigantic. This increased strength and rigidity also promises to maintain tighter tolerances of axle shaft and bearing alignment. On the Falcon P1000 (single) pedal, the drive shaft itself is machined from Inox. That’s kind of fancy. But the change you can really see is the reduced bulk of the pedal that this material allows.
If you’ve been shopping pedals these last ten years or so, you may have notice that bass drum pedal frames have been getting bigger and bigger in a search for stronger and stiffer. Mapex refutes that trend. Mapex has also opted for a smaller footprint than “normal” on these pedals. To many drummers, this will help with multipedal positioning. Personally, I’m just happy about less “mass” to carry around in my hardware cases! Either way, the idea is a good one: Better, not just bigger.
But better has to start somewhere – namely with the status quo as a springboard. The Falcons, single and double, are traditional pedals at their cores. Footboard/beater tension is administered by an expansion spring, and power is transferred via chain. But, with the Falcons, both a chain and a nylon strap are included, and the choice is yours. The dynamic feel of the pedal is influenced by a cam. And here again Mapex smartly includes both a round and offset cam hub with each Falcon.
Making a pedal stronger and smaller, and including both chain and strap and a choice of cams, seems a pretty good start to me. But there’s more – plenty more. Details and niceties abound in tidbit morsels of smart design, some revealed in practice.
Before I could get this pedal to a gig I had to configure it to my own “normal” setting. I usually play a Tama Iron Cobra. In previous decades I played a DW 5000, which was preceded by pedals from Gretsch, Pearl, and others, making me a pretty average consumer. I’ve tested many of the newest pedals, of many designs and brands. I usually hate the setup chore. Not this time.
I put the Falcon on a desktop. I put my Iron Cobra into position facing it. With one Allen wrench and one drum key I was able to duplicate footboard height, beater stroke, spring tension, and beater height in about ten minutes. I was thrilled. Mapex makes it all so easy. The footboard height and beater stroke are both under the pressure of one screw. I simply loosened that screw and then moved the beater and footboard to where I wanted them before tightening the screw. This is better than pedals that promote war between the two parameters you are trying to adjust. Fix one, the other moves. Fix the other, and move number one has slipped back a bit … etc., etc.
And as it turns out, that single screw was the hardest part! The rest was even easier. The beater adjustment is very direct and the reversible (felt/hard rubber) Mapex beater has a choice of two weights that go inside the beater head. The footboard toe stop is adjustable and removable (I remove mine). Spring tension looks quite normal and is easy to adjust, but please notice that Mapex has terminated the spring ends in rocker-arm assemblies. The spring does not chafe against a solid anchor. Sweet.
Even the hoop clamp is cleverer than most. Of course the pedal attaches to the bass drum hoop via a clamp, but the under side of the clamp is on a swivel plate. I’ve been waiting many, many years for this one. The Falcon pedal footboard will remain flush to the floor even if your hoop is at a bit of a cant or the floor is a bit uneven. Hallelujah! This used to be the small failure of drum pedals built on a base plate (they came about in the ’80s). And though gaining the advantages of the base plate was worth the price, it’s nice to see this small failure finally corrected. The Falcon has retractable spurs too.
The hoop clamp is tightened via a wing nut that is offset and positioned midway down the base plate. The base plate is bottomed with ridged rubber and has a removable strip of Velcro. Finally, a treaty between drummers who love Velcro and drummers who hate it! And, the Velcro strip is firmly attached to a small strip of metal that fastens with screws. This removable Velcro is sturdy, clean, and very nicely done.
The footboard has a brushed-metal finish and some lightly engraved designs in it next to the Mapex name. Mapex was looking to prevent interference underfoot that could come from elaborate carvings. The heel plate is a bit elongated and the hinge rides on bearings. Frankly, there’s very little Mapex missed in this elegantly finessed pedal.