BY BRAD SCHLUETER
Remember the Zalmer Twin Pedal? I thought not. While Zalmer was first out of the gate with a workable double pedal design in the ’70s, Drum Workshop was the pioneer in marketing and popularizing the idea. During their humble beginnings, DW was best known for making pedals – specifically their DW 5000 double pedal, which has remained popular for several generations of drummers through thoughtful revisions to its original design. The company’s PDP division now offers two new flagship Concept pedals to augment its entry-level 400 and 500 series pedals. They represent quite an upgrade.
Concept bass drum pedals are available in both single and double versions. The first thing you’ll notice about them is their brushed aluminum footboards, which make them look far pricier than they are.
The PDP logo is etched into the toe area of the footboard, but the rest of the surface is completely smooth, which is ideal for drummers who use sliding or pivoting foot techniques.
A round rubber dot marked XF – which stands for “extended footboard” – is inset into the heel plate, and in fact, these footboards are longer than standard. By way of comparison, DW’s 9000 has about a 10″ footboard, Tama’s SpeedCobra footboard is noticeably longer at 11″, while the Concept pedal fits between them at 10.6″. This longer footboard will especially appeal to drummers interested in developing heel-toe technique, which has become a staple of modern metal drumming.
Concept pedals have a double chain system that traverses an attractive cobalt blue aluminum low-mass cam. Beneath the footboard you’ll find a black aluminum base plate and black cast upright frame assemblies that make the footboard stand out even more. The pedal features a needle-bearing hinge, and has a spring rocker adjustment and a couple of spikes to help secure it in place. A thumbscrew-operated hoop clamp is located on the right side of the unit for easy access, and a handydrum key and clip is located on the base plate (there are two base plates on the double pedal). The drive shaft on the double pedal is a lightweight unit.
The two-sided beater has a round rubber disc that contacts the head and a larger and harder impact area on its reverse side. They thoughtfully include beater memory locks so you can easily reset your preferred beater height, and there are rubber hoop guards to keep the clamp from marring your hoops. PDP doesn’t include a case with these pedals.
Prior to playing the unit, I checked out its fit and finish. This is a nice looking pedal, due mainly to the footboard, though the rest of it looks similar to other inexpensive pedals. The drive shaft felt pretty solid with only a tiny amount of play. In fact, it featured the same drive shaft as those on PDP 502 and 402 pedals, though I noticed their web site photo displays a nicer shaft than the one on my review unit.
Fortunately, thanks to the needle hinge, the footboard only moves up and down and doesn’t wobble or budge at all if you try to move it from side to side, which indicates tight tolerances. That’s a good thing since wobble can wear on parts, especially the hinge, causing energy loss. When you try to play as fast as you can, every bit of lost of energy will slow you down and more quickly increase fatigue. Minimalists will be happy that there’s very little to adjust on the pedal beyond the spring tension,
spring rocker, and beater height. If you love to fiddle and tweak your pedals endlessly, this isn’t the unit for you.
There was ample room on the footboard for my size 11 feet, and I was able to employ my beginner level heel-toe technique comfortably on it. After tweaking each side of the pedal, it felt fluid, was relatively balanced, responsive, and easy to play. Frankly, I was surprised how nice the pedal is for this price. If I were capable of blasting at 280 it might be another story, but at my “school zone” double bass speeds it didn’t hold me back.
Features Longboard design; brushed aluminum footboard; double-chain drive; low-mass cam; needle-bearing hinge; spring tension adjustment; spring rocker adjustment; adjustable spikes; thumbscrew-operated hoop clamp; drum key; two-sided beater; rubber hoop guards.
List Prices Single Pedal $163; Double Pedal $345.
Rather than try to compete in the stratosphere against fantastic but pricey longboard models from Trick and Axis, DW/PDP kept things much more minimal, offering a simple longboard pedal at an out-and-out cheap price. Though I think of this as a starter longboard pedal, it plays better than the price would suggest and will suit many young metalheads with limited funds looking to delve into heel-toe technique.