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Old 12th September 2019
Gear Guru

Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I’m not sure I’ve ever had to record a double kick!
A friend of mine lent me his drum set while he was away for the summer. I set it up with my own kit to have a sort of Ginger Baker/Billy Cobham kind of kit. It was a blast. These kinds of setups are usually about more than just two kick drums - they often are to encourage a full ambidexterity as far as right and left hand "leading".

Without a proper summation of how they’ll be used it’s difficult to say what to do, but I’d be struggling to think how to treat them. For example, are they both panned centrally? If so, why not just have a double beater on a single kick?
I remember owning some albums from the 60's where they would pan them full left and right, but because it was going to vinyl much of the low-frequency stuff was channelized into mono. You could still hear the "click" of the beater on the sides, though.

If panned slightly L/R, is the drummer mainly playing one kick or is he always alternating? Either way, you’ve got a slightly weird stereo effect going on - either your kick is mostly off centre, or every hit is panning.
Many drummers are using the double-kick for sheer speed- fast left right rolls or inserting a quick 16th "in-between". I always looked at the double-pedal thing as a 'convenience' for small stages and not enough roadies.

Unless there’s a really good reason why not, I’d strongly suggest recording with a single kick and double kick pedal. If nothing else, it’s one less thing for an inexperienced recordist to have to deal with - it can be hard enough getting a great kick tone without having to do it twice over?
I only had the setup for a few months, but I tuned the two drums differently and I think there was something there that could easily become an 'integral' part of someone's playing. Something that you would have a hard time talking them out of.

Like trying to tell a 6-string bass player he only needs a 4-string bass.
Any good examples of double kick recordings someone can show to demonstrate how it can work practically
I think its true that the majority usage of two kick drums is just for sustained speed. Most double bass drumming have the drums only slightly apart in panning and in tuning. They are usually meant to be heard almost as one really fast drum. The kick drum Part is IMO, usually one part, not two parts. But there are exceptions.

On "Politician", Ginger Baker really seems to use it as a "4th" limb- an independent voice,. Go to about 1:20 WOPDzD_P9gg&list=PLzEG2f9QAl8Np-6-4lbJtBpDeJXJG12ZF&index=6

Mike Portnoy - Dream Theater - these sound tuned the same but they also sound like they might be samples - they are panned slightly L-R of center - go to the 11:05 minute mark. These are quite loud in the mix, but not fully panned and so fast that, IMO you don't really have time to fell the mix "shifting". To the extent you do, it may well be intentional.

Billy Cobham - Mahavishnu Orchestra - Birds of Fire. Slightly panned.

Red Hot Mötley Crüe

And then there are guys like this: Thomas Crémier - he is triggering and does a double stroke on each pedal for some inhuman speeds.