The bass drum is one of your most used drums on the drum kit. You have to play it all the time, making your bass drum beater just as important as a pair of drum sticks. So, it should go without saying that the type of bass drum beater you have really matters.
There are several types of bass drum beaters, each one catering to different situations. Some bass drum pedals come with good beaters, but some don’t. So, I have put together a list of my favorite bass drum beaters that you can buy separately from a bass pedal.
The Best Bass Drum Beaters - Top Picks
The DW 2-way beater has two different surfaces on each side of the beater head. It has a hard plastic side that provides a solid crack sound. It will let you hear the articulation of every stroke, making it a good choice for fast playing. It also has excellent rebound.
The other side has a traditional felt surface. It provides a well-rounded tone and hits hard without the slap-in-the-face attack. It’s not as loud, but still thumps the accents out with authority while letting the ghost notes sound very warm.
The two different surfaces make this beater very versatile. You could switch the beater around, depending on what sound you’re looking for in certain situations.
Another great thing about this beater is that you can adjust its weight, providing even more versatility. Some drummers like heavy beaters and others like lighter ones. The DW 2-way beater could fit either one of those preferences.
DW doesn’t sell felt replacements, meaning the whole beater will have to be replaced once the felt wears out.
The Tama Accu-Strike beater is made from thick Butadiene rubber that gives it a solid rebound and good connection with the bass drum. This beater is built with speed in mind, making it a great option for advanced players that do quick footwork or drummers that play metal.
It has a cannon-shaped head that delivers a fat attack. This gives a punchy sound that is filled with low-end.
A great feature of this beater is that you can adjust the angle of the beater head, making it a good option to use for small bass drums. Small bass drums tend to use risers, allowing the beater to hit the centre of the drum.
This can sometimes get a bit awkward because the beater will be angled weirdly. The bad angle will then wear out the beater faster than normal. So, the Tama Accu-Strike doesn’t have that problem, allowing you to position the head in different angles.
You can’t adjust the weight of the beater, which may be an issue for drummers with very specific preferences.
Vic Firth is the top stick company in the world, so it sounds a bit weird that they’re selling a bass pedal beater right? Well, they released a series of beaters called VicKicks which are kind of like specialty sticks for your bass pedal.
I’ve put the VicKick Oval Head Fleece beater on this list because it is one of my drum accessories that I use the most.
It’s basically just a standard beater that is covered with a soft fleece ball. The fleece-covered felt delivers a full and warm sound. This full sound is soft, making this beater perfect feathering the bass drum. Feathering is a technique used in playing jazz.
I use this beater for all my jazz gigs. I also use it when I have to play in intimate settings like coffee shops and restaurants. It takes away the aggressive punch of the bass drum and replaces it with a soft boomy sound.
The soft fleece isn’t going to last very long if you hit hard, meaning this beater can’t be used for every gig. It’s better to have it as a spare beater to pull out when you need to.
Like the name says, this beater is vintage. The Vater Vintage Bomber was designed to replicate the soft and boomy bass drum tones of the 20th century jazz era. All of those drummers had a classic open bass drum sound.
This beater has a fleece ball that covers the felt beater. It’s good for low-end thumps that sound slightly muffled.
It allows you to tune your bass drum high, but still get a warm sound. This is key for jazz, since it is standard to have your kit tuned high. You’ll get a musical tone from your bass drum, but still get the feel of the soft thump.
You don’t need to muffle your bass drum much when using this beater, meaning you can let your bass drum resonate more.
This beater was made for jazz, so it’s not going to work out if you use it for rock or metal. It wasn’t designed to be versatile.
Most bass drum pedals will work just fine when connected to an electronic drum pad. However, wear and tear is very common and some pedals are just too harsh for drum pads.
KAT Percussion has focused in on that niche and designed the KT-TBB Silent Strike beater. This beater is made specifically for electronic drum kits.
It uses a tennis ball as the beater to protect the bass drum pad. You’d think a tennis ball for a bass pedal feels weird, but it feels perfectly normal to play!
This beater is great for mylar and rubber drum pads. However, it tends to wear out mesh heads.
Another good use for this beater would be for auxiliary percussion. Bass pedals can connect to cowbells and woodblocks. Sometimes the sound is too harsh. The KT-TBB will lower the harshness.
Vater’s Natural Wood beater features a wooden head. Wooden heads have become very popular in the modern drumming world.
This beater produces lots of punch and volume. It’s designed to be very articulate. You can play fast notes without losing clarity and definition from the bass drum.
This makes it as great beater option for intricate styles like fusion. The wood beater also just emphasizes the bass drum sound, making it good for funk and dance music.
This wood beater is very hard, meaning you’ll have to have a bass drum patch to stop it from ripping through the head. It would be better to have a kevlar patch, since they are stronger. This beater will definitely rip through a single ply bass drum head.
Types of Bass Drum Beaters
Plastic beaters have a defined attack. They’re clear and have good articulation. They’re best suited for double bass playing, since they’ll clearly define all the fast notes.
Rubber beaters sound a little fatter compared to plastic beaters. They produce a midrange tone. Rubber beaters cater to drummers who want a brighter sound from their bass drum.
Felt is the most common type of bass drum beater. They have a balanced amount of rebound and stroke definition. They produce a deep thud and are good for drummers who don’t want the bright attack that comes from plastic and rubber beaters.
They tend to wear out over time, meaning felt beaters have to be replaced often.
Wood beaters deliver a solid punch sound. They’ll give a lot of depth to the bass drum sound and will cause it to stand out. This makes wood beaters great for styles of music that are centered around the bass drum, such as funk and disco.
Fluffy beaters are very soft and deliver a low-end thump. They’re used for soft environments and cause you to feel the kick instead of distinctly hear it. They take away a lot of the attack from your bass drum. They work best for jazz, but can be used for other soft styles as well.
Most drummers will have a stick bag that is full of sticks of different sizes for different uses, having mallets and brushes etc. It would be super beneficial to do the same thing with bass drum beaters.
They’re not expensive, making it easy to get a few of them for different uses. I personally have a fleece beater for when I play jazz, a rubber beater for my electronic kit and a plastic beater for my main kit.
Having more beaters will make you a more equipped drummer. So, go out and expand your sound with them!