Axis Pedals | The ultimate drummer’s guide (2021)

axis pedals

Axis pedals have become hugely popular since their creation in the 1990s. They are known for their speed and quick reaction times underfoot becoming hugely popular for metal drummers. With the rising popularity of direct drive pedals, Axis are still one of the top brands.

Let’s find out what makes Axis pedals so popular and look at the different models available.

The history of Axis Pedals

Before we take you through the current models available, let’s take a look at the history of the pedal and why drummers wanted this pedal.

Darrell Johnston, the creator of Axis Percussion originally started working on the first concept in the late 1980s. At a young age, he was a keen drummer but soon came to the realisation he was never going to be good enough to be his full-time career.

Luckily Johnston had the opportunity to learn to machine and worked for various electrical and aerospace companies. When CNC (computer numeric controlled) machines became more common in the 1980s he jumped at the chance to work on them.

CNC machines made it possible for Johnston to machine his own pieces. He was heavily inspired by the Rogers Swiv-o-Matic and decided to use that as a starting point. The Swiv-o-Matic had a smooth feel by using a ball bearing. This is why Axis Pedals feature so many.

The original concept for the Axis Pedal was shown off by Johnston at NAMM in 1989. This model featured few ways to customise the feel but it did have the unique aesthetic Axis pedals are known for today. Johnston was quick to see the pedals limitations and got to work.

In 1991, Johnston sent out new versions of the Axis pedal to select musicians and drum magazines. After the appearance of the new Axis Pedal at the NAMM show that year they had sold all their stock and had to fulfil backorders for the next year.

Unintentionally, Axis became the pedal of metal drummers. The drummer Tim Waterson was on a mission to discover how to play the drums faster. To do this he needed a fast bass drum pedal. Tim proved that Axis Pedals were the fastest pedals available at the time breaking the World Faster Drummer foot speed record at 1,408 beats in 60 seconds.

This lead to Pete Sandoval of the death metal band Morbid Angel wanting a pair. Pete loved the pedals and promoted them starting a chain effect in the drumming community.

The pedals were created well and were fast. They lived up to the promise and delivered.

Axis Pedals have now become more popular across other genres as they are also responsive and highly customisable. It isn’t just about the speed.

What models of Axis Pedals are available?

There are a fair few different models of Axis pedals available today and it can get a bit confusing as to what you are looking at. We are going to break down the different options available to you. If you are ordering from an online music store you can find different pre-made combinations of pedals or you can visit the Axis website for a bespoke order.

There is one thing that remains consistent across all the pedals available. They all feature a direct drive.

Whereas most pedals feature either a chain or a strap, these pedals feature a metal part. This means instant reactions and control over the pedal.

To find out more about direct drive pedals check out this post.

Footboard types

The first choice you will have to make is the footboard. Although most well known for the longboard, there are a range of sizes to suit all drummers.

axis pedals foot board options

Shortboard skinny

This features a heel wedge like you would find on most pedals. The distinct shape of the board has been narrowed. If you are looking for a board most similar to that of a standard bass drum pedal, this is the option for you.

Shortboard wide

This features a pedal of normal length but with a wider top giving you more surface area underfoot.

Longboard

These are the ones Axis is most known for. These pedals are extra long with the board covering the whole surface available. The pedals don’t have a heel wedge so they will feel unusual if you haven’t tried one before. The extra length makes them perfect for the heel toe bass drum technique.

Axis Carbon Fiber Longboards

Brand new for 2021 is the Axis Carbon Fiber longboards. These are the same dimensions as the standard longboards but are made of carbon fibre. They are approximately 40% lighter than the standard longboards.

The lighter weight increases stamina for longer practice sessions and makes it easier to maintain a consistent level of power. Less weight under your foot also makes it easier for you to develop your chosen technique as there is less resistance.

If you want more resistance and an extremely quick returning of the pedal and beater, crank up the spring tension.

These boards look really cool and are some of the only carbon fiber bass drum pedals available. If you are looking for maximum speed, these are the footboards for you.

Wideboard

These are the latest version of the board available from Axis Percussion. They feature the same length as the longboards but you have a lot more surface area. This is especially the case towards the heel of the board.

Cam types

The next thing you will need to select is the cam assembly that is best for you. There are different ones available dependent on the amount of customisation you want.

Axis pedal cam options

X – Cam assembly

This is the most basic version cam assembly offered. This cam has no customisation options. With this assembly the only option you have for tweaking your pedal is the spring tension.

A – Cam assembly

This gives you a simple yet power adjustment option on the top of the pedal. Adjusting this changes the ratio of the footboard movement to the arc of the beater. Due to the construction you can can make micro changes to dial in the exact feel you are after.

A21 – Cam assembly

This features the same customisable features as the A cam. The difference is that the angle of the beater on the cam is at 21 degrees. This gives extra power to the stroke and reduces the distance to the head.

Spring types

You can add even more customisation options to an Axis pedal with the spring assembly you choose.

axis pedal spring types

Standard spring

This is a standard bass drum spring. The tension can be adjusted by either tightening or loosening the spring on the pedal.

Microtune spring tensioner

The microtune spring tensioner gives you the ability to fine tune your spring tension. With a simple key adjustment you can change the feel of a pedal. You have the ability to make smaller changes easily.

Axis pedal beater options

Depending on the model pedal you order, you may get a different beater. Here are the different options available.

Axis pedal beater types

Marksman beater

This come as standard on the majority of Axis pedals. This is a medium weight beater that is a general good all arounder.

Beater Weight: 3 oz / 85 g

Wrecking ball beater

Similar in design to the Marksman but with extra weight for more power.

Beater Weight: 3.875 oz / 109.85 g

Sonic hammer extension beater

This beater allows you to adjust the distance of the beater from the head without needing to adjust the footboard angle. The beater angle can also be adjusted to ensure a solid strike on the head. Due to the beater being placed forward, this pedal gives you the feel of extra power without adding extra weight to the pedal.

Beater Weight: 4.875 oz / 138.2 g 

George Kollias beater

This gives you beater head from the sonic hammer but without the ability to adjust the beater distance from the header. These beaters come as standard on the George Kollias Signature Pedals.

Signature pedals

Beyond the multiple options available, there are some special pre-configured pedals available.

axis signature pedals

Derek Roddy Edition A21

These are the signature pedals of the death metal drummer Derek Roddy.

This pedal features the A21 cam, microtune spring tensioners, marksman beaters and E-Kits. These pedals are available in single or double pedal configurations as well as being available in silver or black finishes.

George Kollias Edition

These are the pedals of the death metal drummer George Kollias.

The pedals feature the A cam, microtune spring tensioners, George Kollias beaters and E-Kits. These pedals also feature bespoke pedalboards. The cam is connected directly to the board rather than via an extra piece at the top of the board.

These pedals are available in single or double pedal configurations as well as being available in silver or black finishes.

Axis pedal electronics

Axis has also pushed the boundaries of electronic drums. To keep up with the intense speed of its players, new triggers had to be developed to keep up. This lead to the start of innovative triggers mounted onto the pedals.

Axis percussion pedal electronics

Electronic Kit (E-Kit)

This is the first version of the on pedal trigger offered by Axis. Once installed on your pedals you just need to adjust the angle of the small hammer to ensure it hits the trigger at the same time as the pedal hits the head. Your electronic uses this signal rather than that of your bass drum.

You need one E-Kit for each pedal.

E3 Trigger

These triggers follow a new trend of on pedal triggers. These sit under the pedalboard and produce a signal when the board pushes down on the trigger. These are simple to install and adjust and can be used on any pedals, not just Axis ones.

You will need one E3 Trigger per pedal.

Where can I buy Axis Pedals?

If you live in the USA there are numerous online music stores that you can purchase from. If you are outside of the USA you can order directly on the Axis Percussion website or via select online music stores.

Final thoughts

There is no doubt that Axis Pedals have had a large impact on bass drum pedal technology. They have introduced a number of new features and levels of customisation previously unseen.

There is no doubt that the pedal offered by Axis today are still of great quality and they are premium pedals.

The only thing to mention is that these pedals do feel different to “standard” chain pedals. If you are worried about making the investment try and have a go on a pair before committing to purchase.

DW 9000 Pedal | A favourite bass drum pedal among drummers

dw 9000 pedal

The DW 9000 Pedal has become a favourite bass drum pedal amongst drummers. They are known for being highly adjustable and reliable.  

Let’s find out more about what makes these pedals so great.

Who has the DW 9000 Bass Drum pedal been designed for?

For many years the DW 9000 pedal was DW Drums premium bass drum pedal offering until the DW MFG Machined Pedals were introduced. That being said, the DW 9000 bass drums pedals are still a premium pedal.

These are designed for professional drummers or those who have been playing for a long time and a looking for a more customisable pedal.

These pedals are highly customisable, fast and powerful. Like everything, DW makes these are very well crafted and are built to last. If you look after it, this could be the last pedal you ever buy.

Pedal features

The DW 9000 pedal has many features you would expect from a premium bass drum pedal as well as a few that make it unique.

DW 9000 Pedal Infinite adjustable cam

Adjusting the cam on a bass drum pedal can drastically change the feel. With the infinite adjustable cam, you can set your pedal from maximum speed or maximum power. 

DW 9000 pedal infinite adjustable cam

If you go for power the cam will slightly be extruded from the pedal increasing the whipping effect from the chain. The speed mode trucks the cam back into the pedal creating a smoother path for the chain.

With the infinite adjustable cam, you can choose a position between the two that gives you a balance of speed and power that works for you.

Floating swivel spring

Unlike most bass drum pedals, the DW 9000 spring sits inside the mainframe of the pedal and is connected directly to the cam. Because the spring is connected directly to the cam, you get a quicker response compared to pedals that are connected via the rocker shaft the cam sits on.

DW 9000 floating swivel spring

Choose between chain or strap

By default, the pedal comes with a chain attached. This will be the most popular option for most players but a nylon strap is also included. You can easily switch between the strap and chain to get a feel that works best for your playing situation.

This is a great feature that gives you time to experiment and find a setup that works best for you rather than having to choose between a chain or strap before making your purchase.

Tri-Pivot™ Toe Clamp

The Tri-Pivot™ Toe Clamp has been designed to ensure your pedal never separates from the bass drum hoop. It has also been designed to ensure minimal damage to your bass drum. There is nothing worse than a damaged hoop from where a bass drum pedal has been connected.

The pedal achieves this with its three padded contact points with the hoop. Two on the bottom and one that applies pressure from the top. 

This provides a solid grip without overly applying pressure to one area which can damage your bass drum hoop.

Single post-casting

One of the most awkward things about a double bass drum pedal is how do you get your slave pedal (left pedal of a right-footed double pedal) next to your hi-hat? If you are like me, you like to have them right next to each other making it easy to transition between the two. 

DW 9000 double pedal slave drive single post

The DW 9000 double bass drum pedal features a single post on the slave pedal. This means you can have the slave pedal right up against your hi-hat. 

A rubber bottom 

The DW 9000 kick pedals feature a rubber bottom to reduce any pedal movement. A rubber bottom provides enough friction to stop movement whilst being easy to lift off the surface when you want to move your pedal.

Many pedals come with a velcro grip on the bottom which does keep the pedals incredibly stable but it can make them cumbersome when you want to adjust the placement as they can be very hard to lift off a drum rug.

What can be adjusted on a DW 9000 pedal?

As you would expect many things can be adjusted on this pedal to make it feel best for your playing style. 

  • Spring tension – make the pedal faster to respond by increasing the tension.
  • Chain length – adjust the angle of your pedal by adjusting the chain length.
  • Adjust the cam – change the cam setting to get more power, speed or somewhere in between. 
  • Driveshaft – amend the length of the driveshaft on the double bass pedals for a comfortable sitting position.
  • Beater length – to ensure your beaters are hitting the centre of the bass drum head. 

Different DW 9000 pedal models

The DW 9000 series pedals are available in a few different variations to meets drummers requirements.

  • DW 9000 Single pedal
  • DW 9000 Double pedal (lefty version available)
  • DW 9000FX 
  • DW 9000 FX Double pedal 

DW 9000 FX

The DW 9000 FX pedal features everything you get on the DW 9000 pedal but with a longer footboard for those who have larger feet or prefer a bigger playing surface. 

DW 9002

It is also worth noting that on some sites you will see the DW 9000 pedals listed as DW 9002 pedals. In 2012 DW made some upgrades to the pedal which are included in this article. 

If you are buying a new pedal you will be getting the features in this article, if you are buying a second-hand pedal, check the year as some features may be missing if it was manufactured pre 2012. 

Where can I buy these pedals?

You can buy the DW 9000 pedals from your local drum shop or most online music stores. If you are ordering online here are our top picks.

Final thoughts

It is easy to see how the DW 9000 pedal has become one of the most popular chain bass drum pedals available today. It is crafted to an extremely high standard, has a lot of customisation options and most importantly, it is going to last a long time making it a worthwhile investment. 

If you are still looking for other options it may be worth considering a direct drive pedal. Here is our article with everything you need to know about them. 

Direct Drive Bass Drum Pedals | Ultimate guide (2021)

direct drive bass drum pedals

Direct drive bass drum pedals have become increasingly more popular amongst drummers in the past 10 years. Originally adopted by metal drummers they are now becoming mainstream across drummers of all genres.

In this post, you will find everything you need to know about direct drive bass drum pedals. 

What are direct drive bass drum pedals?

When the term direct drive bass drum pedal is used it is referring to the part of the pedal that connects the footboard and the cam. 

direct drive bass drum pedal explained

Traditionally kick drum pedals use a chain or sometimes a belt to connect the two parts of the pedal whereas a direct drive pedal uses a metal connector and bearings instead. 

The construction of the drive will vary by brand but that is the concept of the pedal.

Why choose a direct drive pedals

There are many different reasons you may want to consider a direct drive pedal vs a chain drive or belt drive. Let’s have a look at the differences below.

How they respond

The main advantage of a direct drive pedal is that they are fast to respond. This makes them ideal for fast playing. Hence why they initially became popular among metal drums who often play at higher tempos.

The main thing to consider is that you will have less power when compared to a chain drive pedal. Chain pedals don’t react as fast but the chain accelerates the beater towards the head with more power. 

direct pedal vs chain drive pedal response

How the beaters return to the starting position

The second thing to consider is that on a direct drive pedal there is no delay between the footboard and pedal returning to their original position. As the connection between them is fixed when the footboard has returned the pedal is ready to go. A chain or strap pedal may have some lag between the board and the beater. 

How much you can customise the feel

In most cases, direct-drive pedals are highly customisable. This means you can tweak the settings in intricate ways you may not get with a chain pedal.

This all depends on the pedal of course but in general, a chain drive pedal has more options to tweak the feel to your liking.

The history of direct drive pedals

Although direct drive kick drum pedals are popular today, they have been around a long time. The first popular direct drive pedal was the Ludwig Speed King. This was released in the 1950s and was a very popular pedal. Many people today still swear by those old pedals. They were manufacturer well and designed to last. 

The next wave of innovation and the increase in popularity amongst metal drummers was lead by Axis pedals. In the 1990s they launched their direct drive pedal. The pedal became very popular due to its speed and how much the pedal could be customised. 

Since the first Axis pedal, more pedals have entered the market. Many of these were smaller companies focusing on pedals but now the larger manufacturers such as Tama and Pearl have their versions of direct drive kick pedals. 

What direct drive bass drum pedals are available today?

There is now a good selection of direct drive bass drum pedals available on the market. Here is a rundown of our top picks and what we think of them.

Ludwig L203 Speed King

This is an updated version of the classic Speed King pedal newly released for 2020. Almost identical to the original, the new version has had a few tweaks to improve performance.

The good

  • A sturdy pedal that has stood the test of time
  • Reasonable price

The bad

  • Only available as a single pedal
  • Limited customisation

Axis Longboards

Axis offer a variety of different pedal to meet each drummer’s requirements. For simplicity, we are going to look at the most popular Axis Pedal, the A Longboards.

These are great pedals that can be tweaked and tailored for your perfect feel. They are also available in multiple finishes and configurations.

The good

  • Highly customisable

The bad

  • Expensive

ACD Unlimited Darwin FTW

ACD Unlimited prides themselves on their extreme attention to detail and quality. They only offer a limited selection of products with the Darwin FTW pedal being one of their main products. It is a great pedal and almost every aspect can be customised to your playing style.

These pedals are also growing fast in popularity and have already been picked up by drummers such as Alex Rudinger and Siros Vaziri.

The good

  • Extremely customisable

The bad

  • Expensive
  • Wait time on products
ACD Unlimited Darwin FTW double bass drum pedal

Trick Pro1-V 

These are possibly the nicest looking bass drum pedals on the market. They are available in many configurations to meet your specific needs and can be customised to meet your playing style.

The good

  • Customisable

The bad

  • Expensive

Pearl Demon Drive Direct Drive

The Pearl Direct Demon Drive pedals are a great option for someone looking for their first direct-drive pedal. They aren’t as customisable as most of the pedals on this list but they come in at a better price point. This makes it a good option to test if you like the feel of direct drive vs a chain.

The good

  • Reasonable price

The bad 

  • No longboard option
  • Not as customisable

Tama Dyna-Sync Series

Overall the Tama pedal is very similar to that of the Pearl Demon Drive. It is a similar price point with similar amounts of customisation. This is another great option for players wanting to try a direct drive pedal.

The good

  • Reasonable price

The bad

  • No longboard option

Our thoughts

I am a huge fan of direct drive bass drum pedals. After switching to them around 10 years ago I can’t see myself ever going back to a chain-drive pedal.

This is of course my opinion though. Each player has their style and aim they want a pedal to achieve. It is extremely hard to explain the feel difference. It is one of those situations where you need to give one a go in person. 

I would recommend visiting a local drum shop to try one out or see if a friend has one you can try. If those aren’t an option consider investing in one of the cheaper pedals, such as the Pearl or the Tama before making the larger investment into a more customisable pedal.