The Axis-A Longboard Pedal
I have bought myself an Axis-A Longboard pedal. It is really something. I have let my other buddies at Billy's know about it. I'm going to copy some of it here for you so you can get an idea about this pedal:
My wife and boy are up north for the week
and I am left here to slave. So, I best
start slaving at what I like best.
Here's another few photos of the Axis A-
Longboard and what I'm now doing to it.
After being reminded by Racman, I decided to
duplicate what Vuk was doing in the afore-
1. In the first picture, I show the pedal, with
my replacement spring and VRUK attachment. The
VRUK just sits on the lower part of your foot-
board, as you can see.
2. In the next picture, I insert the Allen wrench
into the special screw holding the spring, about
to remove it - wanting to replace again, the
3. In the next picture, you can see that I have
replaced the original spring and now have my
hand on the Sonic Hammer beater, which I am about
to replace with a regular beater. You also see
that I have a little help from my friend, Margarita.
4. In the last picture, you can see the older beater
in the place of the Sonic Hammers.
You may ask why the change. Again, I want to
duplicate what Vuk did in his video. The older
beater sits way back and so I need that original
spring, which hase more slack, in order to allow
it to strike the head, without excess effort.
As you can see, I'm sipping that glass very slowly.
Now, after playing "Stratus" a couple of times,
with the Axis A, with the original spring and the
conventional beater, I'm finding it a hard choice,
deciding which is actually better.
I was just playing barefoot and let me tell you,
that is heaven on earth. I can't decide. I'm to
try a few more things.
This VDL is really a neat feature on this pedal.
You can fine-tune the rebound you want from the
head. It's REALLY something! You can get this
thing just right. That's why people buy this, I
think. Otherwise, you have to find EXACTLY the
right spring for you, though that is not im-
possible. I have been working on some bop, which
requires real control down there and the adjust-
ment really came in handy.
The VDL (Variable Drive Lever) on the Axis-A pedal has turned out to be the most significant development by Axis, I believe. Try and picture this in your mind. The lever that pulls down on the beater has long been in the same position on the various pedals that we have used. With this innovation, you are now able to move that towards the kick or away from it. It seems like nothing but I'm telling you, it's everything. I'm so glad Vuk talked me into getting this particular pedal because the old ones did not have it and it makes the total difference for me. Towards the kick drum, it's maximum leverage and power, WITHOUT rebound. Away from the kick and towards the pedal is maximum rebound and control, with a loss of power. Look at the pictures and see if they help you understand this idea. If not, I'll take more of them but it's the crux of the new Axis.
Hey it's Pete. I remember you from Billy Cobham's web page. I still visit frequently but I haven't posted in a while. How's it going? I think I'm Addam there or die_lezte_something...hehe
I'm fine, thanks. Work is busy but that will never change. As long as there is a world, there will be markets.
Glad you contribute to Virgil - one of the greatest drummers of all time. While there aren't many players herer into Jazz, that doesn't mean I can't listen to Virgil's music and jazz at the same time!
You're always welcome... here or at Billy's. By the way, he's doing well too.
Man you know a good bit about pedal mechanics, that's really handy info to know. Still haven't gotten that damn spring!!
Btw how much did you pay for the pedal, i only got an iron cobra a couple of months back so i couldn't fork out another €500 for another double pedal, esp. ordered in from America:(
I like the Vruk but i want to get good using the normal heel-up technique way first.
Hi. I encourage everyone to get to know their pedals. It's some of the most important equipment that we have. For me, nothing is right if my kick isn't right.
The Axis-A cost around $190 for the single-pedal. It's a superior pedal, I believe.
I play the Iron Cobra too and that's a fine pedal, as well but it's not like the Asix-A at all.
I would experiment with the beater distance from the head. The closer the beater to the head, the more control you'll have. If you want to try a heavier gauge spring on it, they're available at your neighborhood hardware store. I'd also change the beater, trying a conventional one, just to see. Remember that the more tension you have, the closer the beater needs to be to the head.
The VRUK is cool but I have not really enjoyed using it with the Axis-A, though I will keep trying. The longboard almost does what the VRUK does to a pedal.
The VDL (Variable Drive Lever) is a fantastic feature.
These pedals aren't cheap but I'm hooked.
By the way, there is a sweet spot on this pedal, low in the longboard. It's so smooth and quiet. What a joy it is.
Very cool post Peter, thanks!
As always peter thanks for the advice:) You definitely sound like you're having lots of fun!
I am just trying to help out. I'm on the
same journey with you guys. I know you'd
do the same for me. These pedals are very
expensive and you could use a little info on
them, I'm sure, especially if you're thinking
of buying one or a pair.
Here's another note from Billy's:
Another note on the Sonic Hammers (SH)
from me and this is very important:
They are HEAVIER than conventional beaters
and this makes a big difference in response.
Be ready for that if you go for them. They're
just TOO heavy for me. I much prefer my
conventional beater on the Axis.
With the VDL, you don't need the SH.
Play on, guys! :cool:
I like the weight, i don't like a pedal to feel too light. I found that i did have to up the tension on the springs when i moved the beater closer to the BD skin. I actually have the spring tension all the way up with those little weights you get on the cobras right up on the top. So i really really do have to try and get a new higher gauge spring like you suggested peter.
This is all speaking in terms of playing heel-up of course. i find my calfs aren't 90 degrees vertical to the floor at all but slightly back, there's more weight under the knee for me and my ankles are more responsive because i moved from heel down technique and that was the angle they were at when my heel was on the floor.
off the point a bit but i've just noticed the balance for double-bass heel-up is aided by more strength in my stomach. i'm able to keep my legs up easier, so i'm doing sit-ups now (bruce lee style left elbow to right knee and vice versa).
Let me know how it goes with
the new spring.
As for the sit-ups:
Ah so! :D
Here's another post frm Billy's on the
Axis-A in comparison, talking about
the angle the lever, chain or strap is
at, while resting and then depressed:
I also use the Iron Cobra. It's true
that it is square, coming down but the
typical 90d plus, angle is still there.
Don't get me wrong. This is one of the
best conventional pedals out there but
pardon the pun, Axis is coming at it
from another angle.
Check out this photo* of the Axis-A, next
to a conventional (in this case, an old,
Tama, belt drive unit):
*I put cardboard behind it because I needed
some contrast, with the computer screens
It's not a perfectly square picture but you
will see the essentials.
Look at the lever and belt, which are
pulling down these beaters. While resting,
the angles differ markedly. If fully depressed,
the Axis-A would still be at an angle less
than 90d. The belt-driven pedal will max at
90d. This is the big difference.
Herein is the feature that gives a "natural
bounce" to the Axis-A. This is besides the
spring/bounce that is, of course, associated
with the spring itself.
If you get a chance to read this, next
time you're at the show, have Axis let
you try these somewhere. Make sure
it's the one with the VDL (Variable
Drive Lever). The adjustments that
you can make with this mechanism
are crucial, I think.
It was great seeing on that bitter cold
night, north of Chicago. I'm sure I'll see
you again and my best wishes to the
finest drummer I have ever seen.
Here's the drawing, showing the area, where
the difference between the Axis VDL and the
I have been doing more work on other
pedals and I just wanted to let you know
that I got back a DW5000 that I had loaned
out to a great female percussionist, while
I was working on her (down guys!) pedal
and I remembered how good the action
was on it.
With that in mind, I took a close look at the
mechanism, pressing down the footboard,
drawing the beater and I found that the
angle produced approximated that of the
Axis-A, with the VDL I talked about.
Remember that the VDL (Variable Drive Lever)
is what I believe the crucial element on the
Axis pedal, which changes the angle of the
lever to the beater in depression.
I believe this is why the DW5000 has such
good action, though the Axis-A is smoother.
I am purchasing another Axis-A and going
to double-kick, after almost 30 years.
I just wanted to encourage those thinking
of saving some money, with some used DW
equipment. There's a lot of value there.
One more thing, the DW9000 is out and
while it looks nice, it's actually even more
expensive than the Axis! Boy! That thing
BETTER BE smooth or people are going to
I'm new to this message board via a referral from the tigerbill.com website - check it out. I'm glad someone is trying the Axis Longboards. In my situation I play on a Drumframe and I thought I would share a few of my discoveries in my "lab" on doubles. My pedals are Pearl Eliminator using the blue cam and belt drive. I play 2 bass drums - a definite plus over the double pedal which I used to play modified with the Axis drive shaft. My top speed is 16ths at 220 bpm with this setup. I believe the reclined angles of the drumframe help a lot with the action because the angle of the footboard is much steeper without actually moving the beater back any further. I learned my doubles technique from the "ballistic" video. I've heard speeds of 270 are possible but I am wondering how? I tried the Axis X pedals and didn't like them - the footboard is too short. I am a size 9 and wear watersocks while playing. My foot fits the Pearl pedalboard exactly. That VRUK atachment looks interesting (what does it stand for?) but with the drumframe the wings are not long enough to add an attachment like that. My pedals are about an inch and a half away from the edge already. The A longboards would probably just make it by themselves. I am definitely going to try them out. I have also tried these beaters - sonic hammers (too heavy), dw, Tama wood, and Slug but I always come back to the Pearls with the hard surface - not felt. I also angle my bass drums up a little more than the 90 degree position. Ideally I would think that the closer the head is to the beater so that the beater hits at exactly the top of it's stroke - not beyond it- would be optimal. What do you guys think?
As for the Axis-A's, they really are something and
very different from the X's, in that they have the
VDL (Variable Drive Lever). The longboard itself is
wonderful, allowing much more board to the foot,
especially on the lower portion.
I am very new to double-kicking and have been
experimenting a great deal, as you can see in the
Make sure to check the VRUK videos I linked you
to. They are very interesting.
VRUK is just what people started calling Vuk (his
actual name) after a while. It just kind of happened.
I was curious about 2 things:
1. what is the length of the footplate of the axis longboard pedal. measure it from the edge of your bass drum hoop to the end of the plate.
2. what is the distance of your beater from the drumhead? measure from the drumhead to the top and front of your beater head. My beaters are in the 5 to 6 inch range. Any less and I lose power and volume - any more and I will lose a lot of speed.
Also - do those pedal attachments for the heel come as an accessory with the longboards?
1. 13-14 inches from hoop. It's a 14-inch plate.
2. You can change this, with either the Sonic
Hammer OR with your Allen wrench OR you can
use a more conventional Pearl beater (Quad)
like I do and at the original Allen setting, it's 5.5
inches away from the surface of the head.
3. If I understand you correctly, the Longboards
come as they are, all assembled, with only the
"Sonic Hammer" needing to be placed and this
you can supplant, as I have, with my beaters.
If you have an older model Axis X pedal, which
is not a Longboard, you can get a conversion kit.
I hope that this answers your questions. Let me
know if it doesn't.
Thanks for the info. Looks like I'll be able to use them on my Drumframe. The Pearls are 13 inches fyi. What were those attachments you had on the more conventional pedals in your movie files? Also - does the Axis package come with those nylon spacers etc. or a "kit" where one can adjust the footboard angle?
Oh, you meant the VRUK attachments!
No, Tommy. Those are separate attachments
altogether. That was not me in the movie files.
That was Vuk himself, demonstrating them.
I don't have those nylon spacers you mentioned,
with my pedal.
Very interesting. Does Axis make those VRUK's? I was on the phone a couple of months ago with the big cheese over at Axis (I forgot his name) and he told me about a little kit they have to make even finer adjustments like I mentioned. I was specifically talking to him about the X-pedals that I didn't care for but I'll bet you it is available for the longboards as well.
Tommy G. (also a big Marco Minnemann fan!)
Axis does not make the VRUK attachments but
Vuk is in negotiations with them and they may
fuse to make some kind of combo-product.
We'll have to see about that.
I was not aware of the "kit" you mentioned. I
will bring it up, when I talk to them next.
I use the Axis-A Longboard, which comes with
the VDL (Variable Drive Lever), which is very,
very useful. This changes the angle at which
the beater is brought down and this modifies
the response of the beater off the surface of
I'm continuing to experiment with pedals,
waiting for an Eliminator, right now.
Incidentally, Marco is a fine drummer, Tommy.
Go out to the VRUK site and check
out the physics thre. I can attest
that the beaters are brought back
further and that the power gained
from them can't be matched and
that's not to mentioned what that
means for the second stroke.
Thanks for the info on the VRUK site. I checked it out and it is very interesting to say the least. It seems like it may be worth a try for only $200 (for 2). I just hope the technique is easy to learn and I don't have too much "unlearning" to do. The pain in the neck with this setup is that I will have to modify my Drumframe somewhat to accept the added length it will have on my pedals. Based on your measurements you did for me (thank you very much) the Axis Longboards will fit perfectly by themselves. If you need any input on the Pearl Eliminators let me know - I've been experimenting with them for over 2 years now. Finally - I got a new DW kit this week. It's done up in broken glass finish ply with a blue fade. It will put any sparkle finish out there to shame. I know because my old DW kit (2 years old) was a lacquer sparkle job that just looks so weak next to the broken glass - you have to see it to believe it. I have a big kit, too. Two 22X18 bass drums, 8,10,12,14,16 Fast size rack mount toms and a 13X7 snare - all maple. The snare is unreal. It's the same size as the Yamaha Akira Jimbo beech snare that I have been using - which is also excellent. I crank 'em up really tight (but not choked) and I get get that great Bill Bruford sound.
That set-up sounds just fantastic.
Before you go for the VRUK attachments,
I want to talk to you about it.
I'm not sure if you are aware of it but
Tim Waterson uses them. If you contact
Vuk at VRUK, he will send you a CDR, which
includes Tim using his technique on the
VRUK attachments and which differs
markedly from Vuk's.
The technique (Vuk's) is NOT easy to learn.
Some of it counters the natural tendencies,
which drummers develop. That does NOT
mean, however, that the attachments are
not useful. If you approach it Tim's way,
especially on double-strokes, you can get
a LOT of power out your kicks.
Another thing to consider is how the Long-
board emulates the action somewhat,
giving the heel and opportunity to inter-
act with the beater. Heel-down players
will get a lot out of a Longboard.
Back to the VRUK - when just depressing
the attachments themselves, you get
powerful strokes into the kick surfaces
and this just cannot be matched, without
them. Especially the double-strokes are
enhanced, though I am not using them,
If you were in the Chicago area, I'd have
you try mine before you decided. It's not
for everyone but the physics are worth
some effort. If you have the money to
burn, I think you should have them around.
Let's chat more about it.
Hey, Tommy. My wife is from Greenwich.
Where are you out there? I come out
there every year. I have family and clients
there. Who knows? Maybe we can hook
About those tendencies - we naturally
bring our feet down to produce strokes.
The VRUK works in the same way BUT
the heel produces a stroke on its own.
If you're producing strokes with the
heel, you need to accustom yourself
rhythmically to this. This is easier said
Still, it's worth some effort.
Why are you even thinking of using
another pedal, like the Axis-A Longboard,
when you're using the Eliminator?
Of course, I use the Axis-A but I have an
Eliminator being sent to me, so that I
can try them side-by-side.
I'm interested in the different cams. I
ordered the belt-drive for smoother
action. I understand they're using kevlar
now so I'm not worried about wear.
Speak of the devil! I just received it!
I have tried all the cams, preferring the
blue cam. You might have guessed. :D
Easy adjustments etc. The cams come
out and back in quickly too.
This is a fine pedal. It certainly feels
different on my left foot. I had to loosen
the spring a little for it.
I wish it had a longboard.
I was just on the phone with the
factory at Axis. I was inquiring about
these optional spacers that allow for
the raising of the footboard. I'm ordering
them so as to raise the angle, which I
believe I will like, especially for my
doubles, which I have been spending
more time on lately.
I'll wait to receive them before I make
a decision on whether to sell my Long-
board for another Pearl or the other way
around. Tom, let me know if you're inter-
ested and I'll give you dibs. ;)
I am in Shelton at the very Northeastern end of Fairfield County just past Trumbull - maybe 40 - 45 minutes from Greenwich on a good traffic day. I'm definitely into getting together when you come to CT.
How are your doubles with the Pearl? The strap (which I have) will be no problem in terms of wear. You can really go nuts with the settings with all of the cams. The red one looks like it may be imitating the Axis drive a bit by pushing the strap closer to the drum. Even though the red cam makes the pedal feel really light (and don't forget about the 3 powershift adjustments at the heel) but you may need to compensate for loos of power by raising the beater a bit. It's just the reverse as you go from blue to white to black. I dug out the sonic hammers today and tried some settings again - yuk!! I definitely don't care for them. You know what beater is nice though is the Axis Marksman. They were on the X pedals I tried and I put them on the Pearls and the rebound was great. Let me know how you make out with those spacers. The steeper the angle the better. The guy at Axis told me the Axis pedals were designed to compensate for the weight of the Sonic Hammers. I don't think so. They were like moving a truck on the Axis X's. :))
Enjoy and keep me posted.
I just installed the spacers.
YOU HAVE TO GET THEM! Put
three of them on (the max) and
it's just a world of a difference!
Excellent. Are the doubles easier to do? How does it compare with the Pearl pedal now? You had asked me before why I would even consider another pedal. Well - the truth is anything that will make my doubles easier and faster to do I will buy it! The problem for me is that the likes of Sam Ash and Guitar Center and all the other so-called rumshops in the area don't carry the full line of Axis equipment. I suppose I'll have to order it (hopefully from Guitar Center - they had the X's before - the ONLY pair in the whole friggin' store! I need that 30 day trial with a money back guarantee feature. What would you estimate the angle of the footboard to be with the spacers on?
I tried a new combo on the Pearl today with the red cam, my usual spring tension (slightly more than medium) and moving the beater height up (leave about an 8th of an inch of beater shaft showing out of the bottom of the shaft hole. It was cranking! Rolling at 220 bpm no problem. Fairly powerful strokes, too.
Are you also using the Axis driveshaft? I hope so because there is zero "play" in it - which is what you need in a double pedal for precision. Looking forward to your reply.
Rumshops? Sure! let's try Drumshops! :)
I have one Axis-A Longboard and now,
one Pearl Eliminator. I have to hold onto
one and sell the other.
After trying the spacers, I'm in REAL trouble
now (much harder for me to decide).
The doubles ARE easier, Tom.
A higher footboard makes it the superior
pedal, with the better action. It's so easy,
at the higher angle, to find that sweet spot.
That's the Longboard design for you. It's
a great approach to kicking.
By the way, the spacers lifted the footboard
by 3/4 inch. It doesn't seem like much but it
sure feels like it!
At higher speeds, you have to make sure you
are in the perfect spot on the Eliminator.
You can find it but it's just not as easy
as with the Axis-A Longboard.
Since the Longboards are so expensive, it
makes it a hard choice but if you're playing
single-kick, I think you just have to have
them. It's just that good - that smooth.
Remember that the Axis-A Longboards have
the VDL, which allows you to come back
below a 90-degree pulldown of the beater
lever and this is a totally different
feel here. Doubles are ultimate, here.
I did adjust the Eliminator's Power Shifter
to the A position, which I like, Tom.
Boy, oh boy...
Would you say your Axis board angles is around 45 degrees?
My Powershifter position in this last setup is in the middle - usually I have it all the way back. You can get a better rebound if you tune up the head slightly. Looks like I'll probably try some Longboards within the next few weeks. I have to know!!! Sometimes I can be such an equipment geek. :)
They are a different animal, Tom.
I spent 40 minutes on the phone
with Axis design yesterday! What
a nice guy! Try talking to someone
from Pearl or Yamaha!
We talked about the VDL, the long-
board etc. I asked him to consider
making the longboard longer. He
said that I was not the first to ask
for it. He is actually considering it
and when it happens, I'll be one
of the first to know.
He encouraged me to reset the
beater distance back, using the
Allen wrench and also said that
if I had X's, to reset the base
plate forward to see what that
He went on to mention that he
was aware of how "some" of
the major drum companies are
trying to get around his patent
with all of these different ideas
but that they have not gotten
there yet. ;)
He mentioned that drummers
have not gone for the VRUK idea,
the triggering of the stroke, via
the heel-mechanism apparently
too much of an adjustment for
them, though he acknowledges
Tim Waterson's use of it.
When you try them, make sure
you are working on the Axis-A
Longboard, WITH the VDL. You
have try all the options on it,
especially the setting closest
The Power-Shifter setting was
another idea that originally
came from Axis and when set
furthest away, or towards the
head, your maximum rebound
should be gotten.
I can be a geek about things
but mostly pedals and hardware.
When it comes to drums I'm al-
most generic, choosing durable
composites that aren't weather
sensitive. Heads matter more.
Let me know how your experience
goes and don't buy anything until
you check with me on your prices.
Great info! I will let you know.
Do me a favor and check into the
DW9000 pedals and give me your
review of them. When I play it, I
will do the same but I have a recom-
mendation on it and I want to check
it out thoroughly.
I can tell you already that the footboard is way too short on 9000. Doubles and DW pedals don't go together.
The best price I can get on the longboards is 200 a piece. How much was your spacer kit and is it possible to raise your footboard higher with more spacers or was 3 the absolute maximum limit?
Thanks for the note on the DW9K.
To raise the footboard on the Longboard,
you can pull back the beater by undoing
the Allen screw, over the spring assembly.
Just pull it back to 30-35-degrees. You
will get a lot more whip from it. Now, you
may have to loosen the tension a tad. Try
and feel what's right for you. This is a start.
Now, adding the spacers is easy. Undo the
Allens at the top of the footboard and in-
sert the spacers. It'll cost $11, with shipping
and handling. Nothing. It works. I asked for
shorter screws, though. They protrude just
a little. Really, you can use any washers
down there but their spacers are made for
the job. I'll let you know if they replace them.
It feels a LOT better with them.
I think that 5 is the max, 4 being realistic.
3 seems like enough.
That thing is a work of art.
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