There is no greater frustration for drummers than having your bass drum pedal or hi-hat slide away from you while playing. You can’t focus on what you’re playing, you fall out of the groove, and you have to take the time to readjust everything only to have it slide away from you again.
Let’s fix that!
In my experience, velcro on the bottom of your pedals placed onto a carpet surface is going to be the best way to ensure your gear doesn't slide around.
Let's go through some of the different options available so that you can see what will work best for you.
First and foremost, make sure that all your gear is on some sort of carpet. Ideally you have carpet flooring in the room, but if not you can always buy a drum mat or cut up a section of cheap carpet to stick under your drum set.
A drum rug is a great thing to have handy even if you don’t use it at home, because you never know where your next gig might be at and what kind of floor they have. You don’t want to arrive at a venue only to find that they have a concrete floor and you are sliding around everywhere.
All your gear should be firmly planted on the carpet surface, and it’s important that at least 2 legs of your drum throne are on it as well - This way the whole carpet section doesn’t slide away from you and everything stays as 1 unit.
Deploy The Spikes!
Most drum pedals are going to come with some sort of spike on the bottom that you can extend to stop it from sliding forward. If you aren’t on a carpet, make sure the spike is not sticking out because it will ruin your floor. Otherwise, extend those spikes all the way!
Sometimes this will be all you need to do. It might very well stop it from sliding forward, but a lot of the time this still might not be enough or they will still move around from side to side. There's also the possibility that the spikes will eat up your carpet, in which case you should use...
Just like the spikes, most pedals will probably have some sort of rubber on the bottom to stop it from sliding, but make sure to check because there’s a possibility that it doesn’t come equipped by default.
If you decide to install some rubber yourself it’s very cheap and easy. Just make sure that the rubber has some grooves in it that run perpendicular to the length of the pedal. This will ensure some extra resistance that helps keep the pedals in place.
It’s as simple as finding a suitable rubber pad from amazon or home depot, cutting a few small strips out of it, and gluing them to the bottom of your pedal using something strong like gorilla glue.
The only downside to rubber is that it’s pretty much completely dependant on downward force in order to create the friction necessary to stop it from sliding.
This means that as long as your foot is pressing down with a bunch of weight the pedal will should be fine, but as soon as you loosen up on that weight and apply any kind of forward or side force it will slide pretty effortlessly across the carpet which is exactly what we don’t want. This can be a common problem for things like slave pedals in a double bass setup or hi-hat pedals since your foot is usually moving off and onto the pedal a lot causing lateral movements.
Velcro To The Rescue
My personal favorite drum pedal sliding fix - trusty velcro. I didn’t even think about velcro as a solution until I bought a good quality pair of double bass pedals that came equipped with it.
The velcro is so strong that it’s actually kind of a pain to remove from the carpet when you need to move or take down your gear, however, I’ll take that problem any day over sliding pedals while playing. They are seriously rock-solid and I know I'll never have to worry about them budging.
Installation is pretty much the same process as installing rubber on the bottom of the pedals. You’ll want to make sure to buy industrial strength velcro and not some flimsy low-grade stuff. It’s still pretty cheap - you can find rolls of it for under $10 on Amazon, and you don’t have to cover the entire bottom of the pedal with velcro either. A strip near the heel and a strip on the front end will do just fine.
If there are screws on the bottom, it can be a good idea to cut a small hole in the velcro and feed the screw through it in order to further secure the velcro in place.
Or if you are feeling extra lazy you can just buy a new pair of bass drum pedals that have velcro on them already!
Other Ways To Stop Bass Drum Pedals From Sliding
There’s a product on the market called Phat Foot which is basically a long strap that hooks around a leg on your drum throne and connects to the bottom of your drum pedal. It’s a great way to keep everything in place in the off-chance that everything else fails.
If you are in a Macgyver-mood you could even try to come up with something similar yourself if you have the right supplies around the house.
If you have an electronic drum set and your electronic kickpad has screw-in style feet, there’s a solution on the market for sliding called KBrakes. They are basically wide little pads that you would replace the existing rubber feet with.
Another less ideal option with electronic kits is to run an extra bar right behind the kickpad which would stop it in it’s tracks. The major flaw with this is that it can damage components and cause extra vibrations to the whole drum set, so it’s a good idea to apply some foam padding to the front of the bar if you decide to go down this route.
As you can see, there are a ton of different paths you can go down when it comes to keeping your bass drum pedals from sliding around. Depending on your current situation you can pick the best option for you, or try a combination of solutions.
The main things to take away from this article are that carpet is a must-have when it comes to keeping drum gear in place, and velcro is probably going to be the best, most versatile, and most trustworthy option in the long run for most people.