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Malleus Bass Drum Pedal

Review by Rich "Doc Spoons" Spooner // May 13 2013
Malleus Bass Drum Pedal

Late last year, I saw that small British drummaker Highwood Drums had launched its very own kick pedal line. Being aware of a reputation for high quality craftsmanship with their line of bespoke snare drums and drum kits, I was intrigued at what they could offer with a top-end pedal. 

The result is "Malleus," meaning hammer (and also the name of the tiny hammer shaped bone in the inner ear). The Malleus is designed and manufactured by Highwood themselves in the U.K. It's not just a re-branded generic design; this could be viewed as a brave move for a small independent company to undertake. These unique modular single and double pedals are made from steel, aluminum and high tensile steel. Only the best quality metals are used here, and all components are accurately milled and CNC-machined by Highwood’s own machinist and can be assembled as left-, centre- or right-footed in both single and double models. 

The result of this in-house design and manufacturing process is nothing short of industrial. The Malleus looks utterly bomb proof, and as Highwood themselves say

"Malleus components are machined to the tightest tolerance, no die cast parts, no cutting corners, a simple design with no pointless excess. It relies on solid engineering principles." Obviously I was very excited when the little box from the U.K. finally turned up for review. 

Amongst my impressions upon seeing the pedal for the first time is how simple and functional its design is! Despite its heavyweight appearance, the Malleus has no silly gimmicks or flashy performance aids. This is a tool that is designed to work just as it should. Beautifully finished, it has bearings at each moving part to ensure smooth operation, and rather than the regular drum key bolts we are used to seeing, Malleus is fitted with Allen key, high tensile dog-point screws (meaning once initial adjustment is made to personalize the pedal to your taste, these can be locked down and won't work loose with constant use). 

To attach the pedal to your kit, Highwood have designed a unique and very elegant mounting system which they have called The Toe Bar The base plate of the pedal is fitted with a machined ball, much like the tow bar on a car; you then attach a separate rubber lined C-clamp to the bass drum hoop which has a receiving socket, which when attached, simply drops on to the aforementioned ball. What's more, the entire assembly can be moved forwards or backwards to ensure you achieve the perfect striking distance for your kick beater against the drum head. And that's it—no fiddling around on your knees turning a wing-bolt or drum key each time you set up. Simply drop and go! 

In use, the Malleus is ridiculously responsive thanks to its direct drive linkage. Instead of a strap or a chain, Malleus uses a solid bar. Such is the precision with which this pedal is manufactured—that even the smallest changes in spring tension, beater placement or pedal board height have a dramatic effect upon its performance in terms of speed and power. You will need to spend some time personalizing this beast, finding a sweet spot that works for you, but it’s worth the effort because when you find your favorite settings, the Malleus will respond positively, fluidly and with lightening accuracy! 

After taking the pedal on two very different tours in the last weeks, I can happily confirm its road worthiness, reliability and faultless operation. Whether pounding out the low end in a packed rock venue or supporting subtle brush work in an intimate blues club setting, nothing broke, made a noise, came undone or fell off. Malleus has performed flawlessly and that, in my book, makes it well worth a look. 

You may be new to the Highwood and Malleus names, but I can safely assure you this pedal will give all of the big names and your current equipment a run for their money … so get hooked up!

Visit Highwood Drums online www.highwooddrums.co.uk



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About the Author
Rich "Doc Spoons" Spooner

Richard “Doc Spoons” Spooner is a British professional drummer and educator, based out of Switzerland. Doc is touring & recording with multi-platinum selling artist Philipp Fankhauser. Doc proudly endorses C&C drums, Paiste cymbals, Agner drumsticks, Baskey Drumruggs & Luggs, Hardcase Cases,Protection Racket Bags & Tour Luggage,Porter & Davies Monitoring, Big Fat Snare Drum, Kelly SHU, Tuner-Fish. Visit Doc online at www.docspoons.com  or follow him on Twitter@DocSpoons

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