Drums specialist Paul Spencer walks us through how different bass drum pedal cam shapes affect the responsiveness and feel of your pedals in this installment of Sound Pure Gear Tips.

The cam is the piece of metal on your bass drum pedal that transfers energy from the footboard through the chain or strap to the beater that causes it to fly forward into the bass drum. You aren’t going to find cams on direct drive pedals because it’s a direct linkage — there’s no need to have a piece of metal to transfer energy. But you will find them on every other type of pedal, whether it’s a chain drive or a strap drive.

There are two different shapes and styles of cams: rounded over and offset/nautilus shaped cams. They have different feelings and levels of responsiveness under your foot.

Rounded over cams have a fluid feeling all the way throughout the arc of the bass drum beater and pedal stroke. This is because there are no changes in the shape of the cam, giving you a consistent feeling. These cams are good for players who want this consistent feeling and like more dynamic playing on their bass drum.

Offset cams give you a slightly more delayed feeling early on in the stroke. They give you more resistance as you start the stroke, but as you move through the motion you pass an apex of the cam where it rounds out a little bit. This results in the beater whipping forward toward the bass drum head. These cams give you a feeling of slightly more resistance early on in the stroke, but more power later on because you have that extra force forcing the beater toward the drum. Offset cams are good for players that want that extra resistance and that extra bit of power as they play bass drum lines.

Some players want the ability to have both types of cams under their foot. Because of this, there are adjustable cams. The amount of adjustment can be pretty customizable and vary depending on the model. The DW 9000 pedal has an adjustable cam, and with a hex key, you can adjust the shape from rounded over to more offset if you want a little more resistance and power.

If you want to know what these cams feel like under your foot and with your own kit, pedals with both types of cams are available in our Try Before You Buy demo program. And if you would like to learn more about different cam types or about bass drum pedals in general, give one of our drums specialists a call!