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Guitarists looking for ways to enhance their live performances could benefit from using foot drums, to add some flavor with simple rhythmic multi-tasking.
One of the great things about performing with a guitar is that there are many different ways you can make your performance more interesting. For many decades, guitarists have experimented with different tools to do this.
Effects pedals are one way of spicing up a guitar performance, but using foot drums is another method that can be equally as effective. These are percussion instruments specifically designed to be played when your hands or occupied by playing the guitar.
Foot percussion for guitar players comes in many forms, from foot tambourines to kick drums. In this guide, you’ll find our selection of the best options available, along with detailed descriptions of their capabilities.
What are the Best Guitarists Foot Drums?
In-Depth Guitarists Foot Drum Reviews
Meinl Percussion Electronic Stomp Box - Kick
Meinl Percussion Electronic Stomp Box - Kick Review
With its innovative design, this stomp box by Meinl is perfect for accompanying guitarists during live performances. You can also use it to create versatile sound effects that are useful for all types of performances.
The Meinl Percussion stompbox features a large and sensitive push button, allowing for quick and precise playing. It also has a 1/4-inch output jack, enabling easy connection to any amplifier or PA system. Moreover, the aluminum casing and grip pad make this foot drum very durable and ready-made for the rigors of the road!
Furthermore, you don’t need to be an experienced drummer to use the stompbox. If you are an acoustic or electric guitarist looking to make live performances more interesting or just need simple hands-free percussion, this device is a worthy choice.
Meinl has designed this foot drum for ultimate portability without compromising on playability. Its compact size makes it easy to transport in a backpack, making it ideal for busking or playing unplanned gigs.
- Robust aluminum housing
- Produces a deep kick drum style tone
- Sensitive push button
- Kick drum sound is compatible with all genres and style
- Compact and easy to transport
- Connects to any amp or P.A speaker
- Limited to one percussion sound
Logjam Microlog - Piezo Stomper
Logjam Microlog - Piezo Stomper Review
This Microlog by Logjam is an innovative and compact stomper perfect for any guitarist who wants to add rhythmic accompaniment to their performance.
Its small size makes it ideal for fitting inside an acoustic guitar case or on a pedalboard, so you can easily bring it anywhere. With just one 1/4″ cable connection, you can hook up the Microlog to your amplifier or PA system and start adding percussion to your guitar parts instantly.
The Logjam Microlog Piezo Stomper features a non-slip rubber base that keeps it firmly in place while playing. It also has no power adapter or batteries needed – all you have to do is plug in and go!
This makes it great for traveling musicians who want something lightweight to use without worrying about charging or changing batteries.
After a short time using this device, it becomes apparent that it is an excellent tool for any guitarist looking to add some extra depth to their performances. The small size and lack of power requirements make it incredibly convenient, while its sonic attributes are also impressive.
- Produces a big kick drum sound
- Piezo pickup for amplification
- Non-slip base
- Doesn't need a power supply or batteries
- Easy to control dynamics through velocity
- Compact and easy to store or move around
- Limited to a kick drum sound
Latin Percussion LP Foot Tambourine LP188
Latin Percussion LP Foot Tambourine LP188 Review
The LP188 provides a great way to add an extra layer of sound to any guitar-based performance. It’s built with the classic Latin Percussion design and quality, which means this tambourine is designed for maximum durability and a crisp, clear sound.
The four nickel-plated steel jingles provide a bright tone that will cut through the mix without getting lost. In addition, the LP188 has a secure elastic band self-adjusts to fit most feet for comfortable playing during extended performances.
It’s easy to play this instrument in time, making it perfect for acoustic guitar players who want to add something extra to their sound while they perform. In addition to guitarists, drummers who have a quiet kit can incorporate this tambourine into their set.
The LP188 isn’t just for live performances, either – it’s small enough to be used in the studio for an extra layer of sound and texture during recording sessions. The Latin Percussion LP188 Foot Tambourine is also great for teaching novices the basics of rhythm.
With its durable red plastic frame, you can use this instrument confidently, knowing it will last many years. Overall, the LP188 is a great tool for guitarists or other musicians looking to expand their sonic arsenal while performing or recording.
- Four jingles made from nickel-plated steel
- Comes with two mallets
- Lightweight and mobile design
- Prominent treble frequencies
- Easy to play in time
- Lacks low-end frequencies
Pearl Export EXL Lacquer Bass Drum
Pearl Export EXL Lacquer Bass Drum Review
It’s becoming more common for guitarists to use kick drums to accompany their playing, as this can add more low-end frequencies to their performances and help to accent specific beats in their strumming patterns.
However, if you want to do this, it’s important to choose a bass drum that won’t overpower or clash with the frequencies of your guitar.
The Pearl Export EXL 22″ is the perfect choice for guitarists looking to add some extra depth and resonance to their playing.
This bass drum features a 6-ply poplar/mahogany shell and SST construction, which make it more powerful and resilient than other kick drums in this price range. It also has a gorgeous lacquer finish and matching wood hoops to help boost its aesthetic appeal.
The Remo Powerstroke ported resonant head and Pearl mini muffler pad also keeps sound levels consistent throughout the performance, so you won’t be contending with it when playing your guitar.
- Kick drum with mahogany/poplar shell
- Remo Powerstroke head
- Lacquer finish
- Produces a punchy, loud kick drum sound
- Ideal for louder styles of guitar playing
- Comes with a muffler pad for quieter performances
- Considerably larger than other foot drums
Meinl Percussion BassBoX
Meinl Percussion BassBoX Review
The Meinl Percussion BassBoX is ideal for acoustic guitarists looking to add rhythmic components and more sonic depth to their performances.
The BassBoX is made of Baltic birch with a matte finish and features an L-shaped bass beater with a rubber striker that requires a bass drum foot pedal (sold separately).
It also has an aluminum rail for skid-free pedal mounting and a front-facing bass port for projection and easy miking. Furthermore, this foot drum for guitarists provides great sound quality both live and in the studio, creating huge beats when miked up.
This makes it perfect for accompanying acoustic guitarists as well as developing rhythm skills, while street percussionists can use it as an alternative to playing a full-size bass drum.
The thumping bass tones created by the BassBoX work perfectly with intimate sets, adding a layer of groove and texture.
- Mounts onto a kick drum pedal
- Projection port faces the audience
- Comes with an L-shaped beater
- Produces a penetrating kick sound
- Sounds excellent with a dynamic mic
- Suitable for large venues
- Bass drum pedal is not included
Latin Percussion LP386 Tambourine Pedal
Latin Percussion LP386 Tambourine Pedal Review
This foot tambourine pedal boasts a solid construction which means that users can rely on it for long-term and heavy use, and the included chain-driven DW 2000 pedal has a smooth action, so you don’t have to worry about missing notes.
The LP386 rotates the included LP tambourine along a natural arc, which allows you to produce authentic tambourine patterns while playing with your feet. With its Smart Practice Stem Pad, you get a snappy report and good rebound – perfect for confident performances which can comfortably play guitar while creating complex rhythms.
Additionally, the Latin Percussion LP386 Tambourine Pedal can be used as a standalone bass drum pedal when paired with the included beater, so it’s a good investment. It also has a unique appearance that is sure to make you stand out when performing!
While this foot drum is slightly bigger than most of the other options we’ve covered, it’s still pretty easy to disassemble and place into a bag for transportation if required.
- Chain-driven foot pedal
- Causes the tambourine to rotate
- Doubles up as a kick drum pedal
- Gives you complete control over the rhythm
- Great for practicing foot percussion techniques
- Can be detached and used with a cajon or floor tom
- May require some practice if you’re inexperienced with kick drum pedals
Foot Drums for Guitarists Buyer's Guide
As you can see from the options we’ve presented in this guide, there are many different instruments that you can play with your foot while also playing the guitar.
The foot drum that you should choose depends on a variety of factors. Your style of guitar playing must be compatible with the instrument, otherwise, it may be drowned out by the volume or be too loud for your guitar.
Once you’ve selected the right foot drum, you may need to spend some time practicing the technique of moving your foot in time with your guitar playing. It might feel unnatural at first if you’ve never done this before.
However, as any drummer will tell you, after a short while, your feet will automatically play rhythms in time without feeling like you have to think about separating from what your hands are doing.
Let’s discuss some key things to consider when buying a foot drum to accompany your guitar playing.
Things to Consider When Buying a Foot Drum for Guitarists:
Consider the sound
The most important thing to consider is the sound you want from a foot drum. If you need a jangly, high-end instrument, a foot tambourine will be the best choice, but if you need a powerful low-end sound, a kick drum-style instrument is a better option.
Think about playability
One of the areas that foot drums vary the most from one another is their playability. Even if the drum sounds great, you won’t be able to use it to its fullest potential if it doesn’t feel comfortable, so make sure you consider the physical design as much as the sound.
Consider style compatibility
Electric guitar players who use distortion and play rock songs will likely need a louder, more punchy foot drum than acoustic singer-songwriters who play with softer dynamics.
Assess the portability
If you often need to take your gear to different places for performances or rehearsals, you’ll want to choose a foot drum that is portable and compact.
Key Aspects & Features of Foot Drums for Guitarists
How to Choose the Right Foot Drum
Guitarists have an abundance of ways they can add depth and texture to their performances. Adding percussion instruments like foot drums can take things to another level, allowing them to explore new sonic possibilities.
While foot drums come in many different forms – tambourines, bass drums, stomp boxes, cajons and more – all provide a unique way for guitarists to expand their sound.
When choosing the right foot drum for your style of playing, it’s also important to consider the material from which it is made.
For example, some wood frame drum shells tend to be better suited for acoustic-style playing, whereas metal shells are often used in more rock-oriented styles.
If you’re using a Cajon or a bass drum, you’ll need a pedal that operates a beater and strikes the drum’s shell.
The Challenges of Multi-Tasking
Once you’ve found the right foot drum for your needs, it may take some time to get used to incorporating it into your performance. It’s important not to expect too much from yourself in the beginning – instead, focus on developing a basic technique and gradually move up from there.
Foot drums can provide an exciting new way for guitarists to expand their sonic arsenal and add another layer of depth to their performances.
They can also be a lot of fun, so don’t be afraid to experiment and explore the many possibilities that foot drums have to offer. With the right instrument and some patience, you’ll soon be adding an exciting new dimension to your guitar playing.
Tone & Prominent Frequencies
It’s important to consider the prominent frequencies of the drum; some produce low-end frequencies which complement the guitar’s tone, whereas others, like tambourines, are more midrange and treble-heavy.
For acoustic guitarists, a tambourine can be used to create a unique and vibrant sound while playing open chords and single notes. This is because the tambourine has more of a mid and treble range sound that blends in well with an acoustic guitar’s resonance.
Similarly, bass drums are great for adding a low-end thump to your sound. When combined with an acoustic guitar, the bass drum will provide a deeper and more full-bodied sound.
For electric guitarists, foot drums can provide an interesting alternative to traditional percussion instruments.
Stompboxes, for example, produce a powerful and punchy sound that can help to add energy and intensity to any song. These are especially useful for rock, metal, and blues as they add a groove to the music.
Foot Drums for Guitarists – Pickups, Mics & Amplification
If you want to be able to amplify the foot drum, make sure that it has a pickup installed, otherwise, you’ll need to use it with a microphone.
A few different types of pickups are available, such as piezo pickups, which can be installed directly into the drumhead, and contact mics that pick up vibrations from the drum body.
For best results, it’s generally recommended to use an external mic or a DI box when amplifying your drum – this will provide you with more control over the sound.
When amplifying, you’ll need to consider the volume of your foot drum concerning your guitar’s volume. If it isn’t loud enough, you may want to use an additional amplifier or a PA system.
Additionally, be sure to check that the frequency range of the drum doesn’t conflict with that of your guitar – too much low end from the foot drum can muddy up your guitar’s tone.
Foot Drums for Guitarists FAQs
How Can You Dampen a Kick Drum?
If you need to reduce the volume of a kick drum to use with your guitar or dampen the tone, an effective way is to put an absorbent material inside the soundhole.
Popular options for doing this are cushions, pillows, or sheets. These will help deaden the sound, making the dynamics tighter and reducing the volume noticeably.
Can You Play Two Foot Drums While Playing Guitar?
If you’re confident at playing rhythms with your feet, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be able to play a pair of foot drums to accompany your guitar playing. In fact, drummers often do this with the kick drum and the clutch of a hi-hat.
It may take some practice to become confident using two foot drums at once, but this will open up many new possibilities for adding rhythms to your guitar.
You could, in theory, use a bass drum with a tambourine and create complex rhythms to enhance your performances.
What is The Best Way to Amplify a Foot Drum?
If your chosen foot drum comes with a built-in pickup or can play digital samples, you can simply connect it to a set of speakers using a TRS or XLR cable. Alternatively, you can palace a microphone inside the soundhole or close to the skin to amplify it.