How To Set Up Your DW 9000 Bass Drum Pedal
By Sam Bertness on February 20, 2021
Upgrading to a high-end bass drum pedal like the DW 9000 can be really exciting, especially if you're used to a pedal with a more basic design, but perhaps some of the added features make it difficult for you to know which adjustments matter the most.
The fact is, spending hours honing your pedal technique is the most important element to achieving bass drum glory.
BUT fine-tuning these 3 major adjustments will help put you on the fast track towards that fluid footwork we all desire.
1. Spring tension
One of the most important adjustments on any pedal is the spring tension. You can experiment with the amount of tension to help offset the weight of your leg, the bass drum beater, and the footwear you may or may not be wearing!
Looser spring tensions will make the pedal feel softer or floatier, while tighter spring tensions will make the pedal feel stiffer and more mechanical.
Keep in mind that more spring resistance technically means that you will be transferring less power to the head and you’ll be working harder for less volume, so ideally you'll want to strike a balance.
Thankfully, adjusting the spring tension is pretty straight-forward, and worth spending a little bit of time experimenting with how it makes the pedal behave.
To adjust the spring tension - First, loosen the disc-shaped washer below the spring. Then you can tighten the spring by pressing the washer down and tightening the cylindrical-shaped nut at the bottom of the assembly. Rinse and repeat until the spring tension is at the desired setting!
The same method is used for loosening the tension of the spring, but instead of tightening the cylindrical washer, you'll want to loosen it. Again, check the tension regularly to see if it’s where you want it!
Note: It can be a little tricky to adjust the spring tension on the DW 9000 since the spring assembly is located on the inside of the pedal frame.
2. Beater and footboard angle
On many pedals, the relationship between the footboard angle and the beater angle is fixed – that is to say, you cannot adjust one setting without changing the other at the same time.
However, with the DW 9000, you’re able to adjust both independently, which is one of my favorite features!
Let's start with the beater angle since it will initially impact the footboard angle (don't worry, you can go back and modify the footboard angle later!). Take your pedal key and stick the longer hex section through the frame. Loosen the stroke adjustment screw, which is located at the top of the spring assembly. Once this is loosened (but not removed), you can swing the beater forwards and backward to change the overall length of the stroke.
Longer strokes can deliver more power potential but requires a 'wind-up' on the part of your foot (imagine how a golfer or a tennis player winds up for a stroke), while the opposite is true of a shorter stroke.
Next, we can go ahead and mess with the footboard angle, since the footboard was moved when we adjusted the beater angle. The footboard angle adjustment takes place on top of the cam, where the chain terminates. Loosening the key bolt here will let you slide the chain along the channel at the top of the cam, pulling the footboard up or lowering it down. This will change the angle of where the footboard rests and where it terminates.
Both of these adjustments feature index markers, and from the factory, both are set in the middle of their channels, so it's easy to 'reset' your pedal to factory settings if you want to start from scratch again!
3. Cam profile
This feature is what makes the 9000 pedal truly unique in the DW pedal lineup.
By adjusting the drum key bolt on the cam, you can change the curve of the pedal’s cam system from a fully rounded cam profile to a full offset cam profile. Setting the pedal to either of the two extremes will mimic the feel of DW’s Turbo cam (round) and DW’s Accelerator cam (offset).
Note: On pre-2013 pedals, this will actually be a hex-head bolt, not a drum key bolt, but you can still use your pedal key to make the adjustment by using one of the hex ends!
Why would you want to adjust this setting, though?
I've found that using the round cam profile makes the pedal feel very predictable by creating a 1:1 relationship between the motion of your foot and the velocity of the beater.
The offset cam profile provides additional resistance during the opening of the stroke, which then almost completely drops off towards the middle of the stroke, resulting in more power and a sensation of speed eclipsing the movements and strength of your foot. Cool!
Play around with the different settings to see which one fits your playing style!
All 9000 pedals come with a heavy-duty woven nylon strap that you can swap out with the pedal’s drive chain. The nylon strap will give the pedal a softer feel and will accentuate more delicate footwork, which can be especially handy for playing smaller bass drums or other percussion instruments.
Of course, the simplest adjustment of all is the beater! All 9000 pedals come from the factory with DW's signature 101 dual-sided beater. Just spin it 180-degrees to switch between the warmer felt playing surface and the more aggressive plastic playing surface.
So tell us, which features have made the biggest difference in your playing?