Common FootDrum Questions

Answered by Pete Farmer, Inventor and Builder

What cymbals do you recommend?

There really is no one perfect hi hat set for the FootDrum. It all depends on your personal preference, style of play, and budget. In an ideal world, you can visit a music shop and play and listen to them in person. I did a blind sound test here in the shop and I ended up liking the Sabian HHX X-Celetor 14″ Hi Hats the best. I usually play those in my FootDrum but I’ve also tried out the XSR and AAX hats and liked their sound as well. Since the style of play in the FootDrum isn’t as nuanced as hand playing, you really can’t go too wrong. The FootDrum fits 10-14″ hi hats and they are easy to swap out if you find you want to experiment or use hats you already own.

I put together a set of 14″ crash cymbals which is special for the FootDrum. You can still get the hi hat open-close chink sound but also use the bottom hat cymbal striker (pedal 6) to get a truer crash sound. This is a good set if you are getting the 6 Pedal FootDrum because you don’t have the option to add a crash/splash cymbal mount on your FootDrum.

Does the FootDrum require maintenance?

Given the number of moving parts in a FootDrum, simple maintenance will be necessary to keep everything in smooth playing condition. As you would never take the stage without tuning your guitar first, I strongly recommend looking over your drum and adjusting or tightening things as needed before you play. In addition, there are many adjustable components and various setups to consider. You may find you want to make small adjustments depending on the song, venue, or style of play at any given time. I’ve tried to design things to be as intuitive as possible so that someone who has little experience with drums or basic “shop” knowledge can figure things out.

What if something breaks or I need support?

While we don’t have an official warranty policy, it is very important to me that you enjoy your FootDrum with full confidence. It is my name and invention and I take that very seriously. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have questions or if your drum isn’t performing as you need it to. If you need a replacement part or help adjusting things, I will get you what you need to be back in the swing of things as quickly as possible. Over the last ten years I’ve been able to solve questions and help troubleshoot with pictures, videos, and video chats to get things back to normal. The best way is to send me an email, with some pictures or a quick video, to help explain the issue and we will go from there.

Is it easy to change things around in a FootDrum?

I always encourage FootDrummers to explore how the FootDrum works in its entirety and to experiment! Every FootDrum is shipped in a default set-up, which isn’t to say that it is the right way – just the way that I happen to like best and feel would work well for most FootDrummers. I’ve designed the FootDrum to have lots of options to suit a wide variety of playing styles, whether installing a different type of percussion or changing the tension on a drumstick. Many pedals have multiple options, like playing Stick Percussion (anything mounted on a drumstick) or Mountable Percussion (anything with a mounting bracket attached to it).

Past customers have had lots of creative ideas and made some really cool modifications beyond my design. Some have inspired me to rework things to incorporate them! I really appreciate feedback and work hard to put great ideas and suggestions for improvement into the design. Know that the current design reflects many years of thought and feedback from FootDrummers around the world.

How long does it take to learn how to play the FootDrum?

As with most every serious musical instrument, time and practice is required to find your rhythm and play with a comfortable confidence. While there are some that can happily perform with a FootDrum a few days after receiving it, especially if they are already accustomed to playing foot percussion and multi-tasking, it is generally safe to assume you will need at least a few weeks of dedicated practice. I always recommend starting simple and don’t overthink it. I have the most fun playing when I let go a bit and it feels like all four limbs are dancing together. 

The Instagram account FootDrum101 is a great place to check out playing tips and performances from musicians around the world.

How long does it take you to build a FootDrum?

I build FootDrums in small batches, by hand, and it generally takes around a few weeks for each batch to be completed. Additional things can alter the timing, like delayed parts coming from our vendors, the timing of other FootDrum orders and time needed to design and manage inventory (for the FootDrum or my other instruments and add-ons). I am constantly working to improve the design and parts I use and so small changes between batches can happen. 

How long have you been making FootDrums?

I think I made my first FootDrum in 2002, although it doesn’t look a lot like the current FootDrums. I built it for myself to play while busking in Seattle as a hobby. It quickly became an obsession and then a year later became a side job. It became a full time job in 2006 and I’ve been building them full-time ever since. While the fundamental concepts remain the same, the design has seen many significant upgrades and improvements over the years. I have built well over 300 FootDrums and they have been shipped to six continents. The V.10 is my tenth major iteration of the FootDrum.

 

FootDrum101

Learn more from the pros! Check out this great Instagram account for tips and ideas from FootDrummers around the world.

Have a different question? Let us know!

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