Jojo Mayer is somewhat of a legend these days. He’s firmly secured his place in the drummer’s hall of fame as someone who possesses incredible technique and a unique approach to replicating electronic sounds on the drum kit. His instructional videos have inspired drummers all over the world to improve their hands. Things got scarier though when Jojo showed everyone what he could do with one foot. His combination of sliding, swivel and heel/toe paved the way to the design of a new pedal that Jojo swears by for the working drummer. The Perfect Balance pedal aims to end the search for the ultimate bass drum pedal – with some amazing features on board.
Jojo Mayer teamed up with long-term endorser Sonor to incorporate some unique features into one pedal to do it all. The philosophy is to keep the design smart and effective, to do what every pedal needs to, but also to keep things simple while doing it. Jojo Mayer describes the reasons for wanting the new pedal was the simple fact that modern pedals provide more throw, speed and power on the forward motion compared to that of older, vintage pedals. Jojo wanted to create a pedal that had the same modern throw but the old school return motion that enabled an even faster stroke, because as a player, he himself couldn’t find a happy medium with current pedals on offer.
PACKED TO THE RAFTERS
The Perfect Balance pedal features a low mass drive system where the drive cam and beater hub are made as one unit. This is connected to a round cam for a perfectly balanced stroke (surprise, surprise). The elongated footboard adds leverage, and is polished perfectly smooth to allow for extended techniques such as heel and toe or sliding. The most amazing feature on the Perfect Balance is the ability to fold down at via the push of a button. This is obviously for a more portable pedal (it even comes with a bag), but the action of ‘opening’ the pedal to the playing position is actually combined with attaching it to the bass drum hoop in one action via the self-mounting clamp, which adjusts to any hoop thickness. Finally, just to put the icing on the cake, all screws used on the pedal are a standard size Allen key with the thought being that if, for some reason you lose a screw on the road, any hardware store could accommodate you.
Ok, so I won’t beat around the bush – this pedal is epic. Ignore the convenience and design for a minute (I’ll come back to that) and just focus on the feel, as this is what the pedal is really designed for. It’s super responsive and very quick. Jojo Mayer claims the forward stroke should feel the same as the return stroke and I would agree. Even if you adjust the height of the beater, you still get the same stroke, just a little heavier. The simplicity of the design means that it remains true to the philosophy regardless of what you do to adjust it. However, adjusting things like spring tension and beater height does make it feel different to that out of the box – which seems to have the best combination of everything. I actually own one of these pedals. I played it in the shop and was blown away. Over time, as my foot got used to the pedal, I ended up playing around with it as sometimes I found it too quick and needed some more weight. The folding motion and portability is actually really good, but I did find it a little bit tedious to adjust it to a different bass drum hoop when I had a different kit every night on tour. You have to make sure it’s fully locked in on the hoop before playing or it’ll fold up on you mid song. I’m merely nit picking here on a pedal that is actually amazing. I would suggest trying a Perfect Balance pedal in a store. You’ll be blown away I reckon. Super cool.
For more details on the range of Sonor products, head to drumpartner.com.au.
Hits and Misses
Outstanding design and quality
Amazing feel and fast motion
The most portable and funky pedal you’ll ever play
Needs to be fully locked in or can accidentally fold during play