gear

Tama Iron Cobra HP200 Pedals

tama iron cobra

We used to carry our trap cases 20 miles through three feet of snow uphill both ways to reach rehearsals. We had to carry a paper bag full of nuts and bolts and glue because of the cheap pedals we broke every night. Things were tough. Low-priced gear was crap. We were always fixing things with paper clips, dog collars and duct tape. We’d whine to our folks for better gear but the good pedals cost too much for a neophyte. All the low-priced pedals eventually unscrewed themselves into a pile of loose nuts and bolts and tiny parts that would bury themselves in the shag carpet of your friend Victor’s house and make you look like a fool in front of that cute chick from up the street. But it made a man out of you, and guaranteed a future in the appliance repair industry.

Nowadays, what does a kid have to look forward to? How about affordable, quality pedals? How about that? Mommy cracks the wallet just a teeny bit and presto! The kid has his foot (or even both feet! What is that?!) on a sharp and shiny Iron Cobra, Jr. pedal from Tama. This gizmo is so affordable at the suggested retail price of $109.99 single and $319.99 double that his yuppie parents can probably afford a whole new drum set for the little brat, too.

Little Vinnie gets a HP200 pedal, or a HP200TW double pedal, and he’s got a sturdy and smooth, plate-mounted pedal with a chain drive on an offset Power Glide cam (for more power and speed at the end of the stroke, wimp!). It also includes Spring Tight adjustment, a movable hoop clamp, a fat, reversible, plastic/felt beater, and adjustable beater angle. When I was a kid there was no such thing as adjustable beater angle! If my Mom even heard me say adjustable beater angle she would’ve slapped me! And with the double pedal there’s a plastic carrying case! For what? Vacation in the Hamptons?! I smell spoiled brat and I’m going to puke.

Well, I’m no pervert but I want to talk about the adjustable beater angle. It’s a little misleading. See, on the Iron Cobra, senior not junior, you can adjust the beater angle independent of the footboard angle. That’s a cool fancy thing and it doesn’t come cheap. This Iron Cobra Jr. allows you to move beater and footboard angle – together. The adjustment is easy, you do it with a drumkey on one bolt, and there’s a little plastic cap with lines on it so you can mark your favorite settings. But, on the single pedal (HP200) you can’t adjust beater and footboard independently. It’s weird, though, because on the left foot – only – of the double pedal (HP200TW), you can adjust them independently. Why’d they do it like that? I don’t know. Maybe it’s a parts thing. Maybe you’re a spoiled brat. Go do your chores.

This is a well-made middle-priced pedal. Let me tell you, back in the day, a pedal like this might’ve been top dog! Okay, nowadays if you buy top of the line you get some more bells and whistles, independent beater-to-footboard angle, beaters that adjust flush to the head; cams, counter weights, etcetera. So what? Middle-priced pedals used to fall apart! This one is strong. It even comes with a hefty mounting plate. The plate’s got rubber skids on the bottom. No spikes, though. If your bass drum has lousy spikes, too, and you hit hard, you’ll be in for a Slide-O-Rama. Real men used to tie a rope from their drum throne to their bass drum to keep the kit together.

Hey, kid. You like to fiddle with your pedal? This one’s got adjustable spring tension. Nothing fancy. Turn the nut on the rod for more or less tension underfoot. It’s got a good locknut, too. So enough about adjustments.

Back in my day, we spent our time practicing, not jerking our springs. Speaking of the good old days, I remember my first chain pedal. It had a sprocket that chewed up the top of my shoe. Tama’s chain drive is on a cam with a channel, not on a sprocket. Very smooth. Safe for shoes, too. That’s important when kids these days are spending a hundred dollars on a pair of basketball shoes! What are you, nuts? A hundred dollars?! Wear old shoes and with the money you save buy the double pedal instead of the single! The double has all of this plus an adjustable linkage and the stinking plastic carry case. And you want shoes?!

Anyway, Tama put their Paraclamp on this pedal. It aligns better with your bass drum hoop because it pivots, but the wingnut for the clamp is under the footboard, old-school style. I like the Iron Cobra style, set to the side for easier access. But I guess Tama had to save money somewhere. And maybe so do you, shoe-waster. This pedal saves you money and promises durability with no loss in basic performance.

Hey, when I was a kid it was never this good. A kid today, he gets a Tama HP200 Iron Cobra Jr. pedal and he’s done! Will he learn how to fix a mechanical device in the dark, in the middle of his first gig? Noooo. Will his pedal oil his mom’s carpet? Noooo. Will his band’s demo feature a pedal squeak? Noooo.

Let me tell you where we’re headed: a whole generation of young drummers who don’t know how to whine for gear, who don’t know how to repair things in the dark, and who think that all there is to playing drums is just having a good time and playing drums! Now what kind of world is that?

What’s more, these clever Tama people slipped some other stuff in with the shipment of pedals, as if they can get me to review some other new gear without my editor’s approval. Hey! Not so fast. Just the pedals. I’m not about to give free press to your cute little clothespin multi-clamp thing and your new throne. Oh, sure, I used them, they held my cymbal arms, they held my cowbell, even held my tom-tom. Fast and easy to use, I was set up quick and easy. So what have you done for me lately?

She still didn’t talk to me. Oh, sure, I was standing there, end of the night, ready to chat a lot sooner than usual, because the MC66 and MC62 Fastclamps made my tear-down nearly instant. Did I get her number? Noooooo. Doesn’t she work as a “model” on the side? Oh, yesssss. So I, big-shot professional gear reviewer, said to her, “Honey, I have the new Tama Sumo throne. You could sit on it and I’ll photograph you for free.” And she says, “Sumo wha-?” And I explained, “The Tama Sumo HT610, $229.99, is their new super-super-wide throne with double-braced legs and “sit-tight” and “rocklok” features to keep from rocking and loosening. It’s comfy and huge enough for a Sumo wrestler, and stable no matter how crazy you get on it.” To which she asked, “Are you saying I have a big butt?” And everybody who’s not a kid knows there was nothing after that.

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