Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Jojo Mayer Bass Pedal follow-up

On 5 August 2012 I wrote a brief piece titled Jojo Mayer Bass Drum Pedal.

Jojo Mayer Perfect Balance Pedal

This is a follow-up with some additional thoughts after I had a cursory, hands-on session with one.

Jojo Mayer has spent over a decade designing this pedal, swinging the pendulum back to old school style pedals.

Some of the design goals included non-accelerating cams and strap drives. Before proceeding, understand that I am basing my five star rating and effusive comments on my personal perspective. I am a jazz drummer who plays heel-down and who started playing in 1964 when the emphasis was on what was done on top of the kit with the bass drum relegated to a time and pulse keeping instrument. So my needs are probably not in line with more modern drumming styles, and definitely not rock drumming where 16th notes on the bass drum are the norm.

The claim that this pedal is almost invisible to your touch is true from my brief (thus far) experience. It reminds me of the Axis X-L Longboard Single Drum Pedal from both a touch and response perspective, as well as the long board configuration. In addition, this pedal shares the single post design with the Axis.

An advantage (to me) is it allows me to move my foot as far forward as I want to shorten and control my stroke for very light playing.

The other hand, the old school beater (very much like the Ludwig Felt Bass Drum Pedal Beater) is a plus to me, although I generally use the Vater Vintage Bomber beater for the type of music I play. But that fact should also clue you as to where I am coming from when you are deciding if this is the pedal for you.

What I do not much care for, but can live with, is the split foot plate where you have the foot and feel plates separate. I prefer the Axis cited above or the Ludwig Speed King, both of which have a single plate. But, that is a personal preference and - remember - I am a strictly heel down player. Do not allow my preferences to deter you from checking this pedal out.

Other things I love include the fact that this pedal quickly folds flat, and when you are unfolding it, the clamping mechanism automatically engages your bass from hoop as you bring it into the playing configuration. Another nice touch is the carrying case that is included.

The only thing I strongly dislike - and this is a personal preference - is how narrow the foot board is. True, there is a round portion where you can place your toe or to provide a stable resting point for your foot, but it is disconcerting for me. Many players use a lateral motion to get speed. For those this foot board design is probably perfect. I, on the other hand, do not play fast bass drum patterns so any advantages of that design feature are lost on me.

Despite my minor complaints I think Sonor's 'Sonor Perfect Balance' name is an apt description. This is one of the most balanced, responsive and natural pedals on the market today. Jojo Mayer did an excellent job designing it, and Sonor's engineers took that design and created an amazing pedal that swings the pendulum back old school feeling with modern technology.

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