Review: Blockhead Rhythm Maker Bass Pedal For Rock Band

pedal1

Breaking Rock Band pedals has become a way of life for me.

Always looking for the Ultimate Replacement Unit, I found an inexpensive and intriguing third-party solution from Blockhead.

Did it survive my (admittedly brutal) thrashing?

Blockhead’s last replacement pedal offering, the ‘Hit Kit‘ left a bad taste in my mouth, so I wasn’t exactly sure if I wanted to risk $29.99 for a similar experience. After doing a little research, and hearing the word ‘durable’ thrown around an awful lot… I decided to make the leap.

I’ll start with the good: the pedal is HEAVY. Even though it is lacking the velcro or spiked traction of higher end pedals, or even a way to attach to your kit’s base, it doesn’t slide much.

The adjustable spring action of the Rhythm Maker is nice, feeling closer to a real pedal than the stock equipment, and allowing you to adjust throw and resistance. The spring itself is sturdy and if (when) it breaks, replacement springs are as close as your local music store; you can use replacement parts for a real spring powered drum pedal.

pedal2One of the big disappointments with this unit is the ‘double bass’ feature. The box (see the image above) touts ‘INCLUDES A SPLITTER FOR DOUBLING UP YOUR BASS BEATS. USE 2 PEDALS AT ONCE AND KICK LIKE A PRO!’

While this is technically accurate, the reality is far from what you’d imagine.

Hooking up a second pedal does in fact allow you to use both pedals. Just not at the same time. When one pedal is depressed, the other becomes not functional. If you rest your leg with the pedal down (like most drummers who don’t like to get cramps in their calves) the other pedal doesn’t register kicks.

Unless you’re the kind of drummer that keeps the pedal lifted between hits, this isn’t going to work for you.

I’ve got news for you: you can get the same ‘double-bass’ effect by using a $3 headphone splitter from Radio Shack.

[UPDATE: If you are looking for the ability to play with double-kick, I suggest you read this story instead: Product Review: Roadie Double Bass Coupler]

Another problem is the curly cable. When will peripheral designers realize that curly cables get in the way? I actually had a small chunk of the cable torn out because it got caught in the spring system. A longer, straight cable would have avoided the problem entirely.

Lastly, for all the talk of this being a ‘sturdy’ pedal… it ain’t. Certainly it FEELS like it can take a beating, but compared to the stock Rock Band 2 (the redesigned pedal with the aluminum plate), it’s actually pretty fragile. I’ve yet to break the redesigned stock pedal, even though it’s seen more use, and the Rhythm Maker is currently split in 3 places, and the flimsy metal plate it uses to reinforce it’s plastic base has bent and peeled away. It’s mostly cosmetic, offering no real stability benefits. Flat out, it’s one of the most easily destructible pedals I’ve used.

Bottom line is this: If you’re breaking pedals already, or you want the experience of using double-bass, this isn’t going to help. If you want a more ‘realistic’ feel to your kick, or you want an inexpensive backup pedal… you could do worse.

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4 Comments

  1. I GOT THAT PEDAL FOR CHRISTMAS! WORKS GREAT!

  2. i got 2 blockhead drums pedals
    is the best bass pedal I’ve used in my life

  3. The Pedar SUCk! My wife (120 LB) Broken playing on EASY! after 2 week of use!

  4. I thought it was the greatest pedal (from using the stock) I ever used…until it broke a week through. I play expert drums, and I play metal songs, so yea, I expected it. I screwed in two steel bars underneath, and that did the job…til it broke in to places, both where the steel bars ended. Then, I applied a ton of fiberglass and resin (not once, but twice), and now the pedal is having a hard time trying to break again. The spring didn’t keep it’s stiffness, so I put a new spring in, and now the adjuster is starting to break on me. It makes me think about getting the $80 destroyer =\


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