Bass Drum Pedal Spring Tension: How to Get the Right Setup

The spring tension on a bass drum pedal affects how the drum feels and sounds. In this article I’ll explain the pros and cons of high vs low tension, and how to adjust the spring tension to suit you.

Increasing the bass pedal spring tension will cause the pedal to rebound more quickly, however it makes it harder to control and will require more effort to use. Lower spring tension is better for playing double bass and using techniques which require more precision and control.

Low vs High Spring Tension

The tighter the spring tension is on the bass drum pedal, the more springy the pedal will feel. In other words, the pedal will be harder to press, but will have more rebound.

However, having high spring tension is not great if you need more control or need to feather the bass drum. It can be hard work to control because you’ll need to effectively control the level of rebound on the pedal with your foot.

The advantages of using a bass pedal with low spring tension are that it easier to control and play quietly. Lower tension = less rebound, as there’s not as much energy in the pedal to tame.

A lower tension is often preferred for metal and playing double bass even though you’d need to play fast. This is because the added control is more beneficial in these situations.

High TensionLow Tension
Has a springy feelBetter for playing slow 
Produces a higher volumeBetter for quieter volumes 
Hard to control the reboundEasy to control
Increased foot fatigueLess foot fatigue 
Low vs high bass pedal spring tension

How to Adjust the Spring Tension

How to increase the bass pedal spring tension:

  1. Loosen the nut on the top
  2. Push the top nut down to stretch the spring out
  3. Tighten the screw on the bottom to lock it in place

How to lower the bass pedal spring tension:

  1. Loosen the nut on the top
  2. Pull the top nut down to compress the spring
  3. Tighten the screw on the bottom to lock it in place

How Tight Should the Pedal Be?

Okay so now we know how to adjust the tension, and the pros and cons of high and low tension, how do you dial in the right settings on your bass pedal?

It’s very much a personal preference, some drummers like to have a super high tension whereas others will prefer there to be barely any tension at all.

Consider the answers to the following questions.

  • Do you like to have lots of control? This is where a low tension is better
  • How long is your beater length? A longer beater generally suits a higher tension, whereas a shorter beater typically works best with lower tension
  • Are you playing heel up or down? Heel up works better with high tension compared to heel down

I’d recommend adjusting your bass pedal spring tension and trying the extremes. Practice with both max and minimum tension and you’ll get an idea of how they feel and what they excel at. You’re likely to get a preference for either the highest or the lowest tension.

Once you’ve tried the extremes, adjust the bass pedal spring tension to medium. Then from there, you can adjust up or down based on your findings when trying the extremes. Experimentation is key, spend some time playing about with different tensions until you find the sweet spot.

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I’m here to share with you my passion for drumming, as well as some tips and tricks for choosing and making the most out of your drum kit and accessories. Whilst I play primarily on electronic drum kits, I love all things drumming and hope to share this with as many people as possible!

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