June 2015 Posts

Marching Pads

Welcome back to the Chops blog! In our last post we discussed several popular practice pads. Today we’re going to focus on practice pads designed specifically for marching drummers.

Vic Firth Heavy Hitter Pads

Vic Firth offers a complete line of practice pads for marching drummers with their Heavy Hitter pads. Last time we introduced the Stock Pad, which we recommend for all drummers, and the Slim Pad, which we recommend for marching drummers. The thin rubber surface of the Slim Pad is designed to imitate high tension marching snare drums.


For tenor (or quad) drummers, the Heavy Hitter Quadropad is a popular choice. Like the Slim and Stock Pads, the Quadropad features gum rubber pads on a durable wood surface. Two sizes, small and large, are available to match common tenor drum configurations. The small Quadropad mimics 8, 10, 12, and 13 inch tenor drums, while the large pad replicates the more common 10, 12, 13, and 14 inch sets. Both sets include two unattached, adhesive backed pads for the “shot” or “spock” drums that the player can set according to their preference. Each set also includes a complete set of laminates, an adhesive backed piece of plastic that increases articulation and simulates the feel of marching tenors.

The Heavy Hitter series also includes a bass drum practice pad. Like the Slim, Stock, and Quadropads, the bass pad features gum rubber surface. The purple metal frame can be mounted on a cymbal stand for practice while standing. The stand is sold separately.


Tenor drummers should also consider the ProLogix Percussion Zonix tenor practice pads. Available in five and six drum configurations, the Zonix pads feature gum rubber playing surfaces and white plastic laminates. The Zonix pads have been popular with tenor drummers thanks to their “Poly Tech Rims”, which replicate the rims of a real tenor set.


The Vic Firth Quadropad and the ProLogix Zonix pad can be played while set on level surface, such as a table or countertop, but we recommend purchasing a stand.


For those focused primarily on marching snare drum, the Offworld practice pads are a great choice. The Invader V3 practice pad is Offworld’s premier product. It is 13.5 inches in diameter and includes a raised rim to better emulate the feel of playing rim shots on a snare and avoid the dreaded “pad hands”. The playing surface is Offworld’s unique “Darkmatter™ liquid polymer”. Several different sizes and colors are available.


Whether you are a snare, tenor, or bass drummer, developing technique and learning music quietly at home has never been easier. We recommend each of the products described above. Contact us to purchase any of them!

Practice Pad Comparison

Welcome back to the Chops blog! Today we’ll be discussing practice pads.


A practice pad is a device that replicates the feel and sound of a drum, but is much quieter. They make practice easy, quiet, and most importantly, bearable for others.

You have many different options when selecting a practice pad, but with so many choices it can be difficult to select an appropriate pad. Choose a pad based on way it will be used, or the type of music you play. Some pads are versatile and can be used by all percussionists, while others are designed for specific activities such as marching music.

We offer many different practice pads, each with their own features and design. Today we’ll highlight a few or our favorites.

Remo Tunable Practice Pad


Remo has been making their Tunable Practice Pad for several decades. Available in six, eight, and ten inch diameters, it features a real Remo drum head over a foam surface. You can easily adjust the tension on the plastic rim with a flat head screwdriver to change feel of the pad. The bottom of the pad is covered with rubber for use on surfaces and includes a nut for mounting on a stand.


We recommend the Remo Tunable Practice Pad for drum set drummers, orchestral/concert percussionists, and beginners.

Vic Firth 12” Double Sided Pad


Vic Firth’s 12” Double Sided Pad features two different rubber surfaces. The soft rubber side is for quiet practice, while the louder, hard rubber side is useful for strength development. With its twelve inch wood frame the pad can be set on a snare drum during use.


We recommend the Vic Firth 12” Double Sided Pad for all drummers and percussionists.

Vic Firth Heavy Hitter Stockpad and Slimpad


For marching drummers, Vic Firth offers the Heavy Hitter Stockpad and Slimpad. Both are twelve inches in diameter and have a single rubber surface. The Stockpad’s rubber surface is 3/16” thick, while the thinner, 1/8” thick surface of the Slimpad is designed to feel more like a high tension marching snare. Consider adding a laminate, an adhesive backed piece of plastic, to both pads to increase their articulation and simulate the response and feel of marching drums.

We recommend the Stockpad for all drummers, and the Slimpad for marching drummers.

Evans/RealFeel 12” 2-sided Speed & Workout Pad


Evans’ RealFeel 12” 2-sided Speed & Workout Pad also features two rubber surfaces. The soft gum rubber surface is coated with a unique dark gray fabric finish to increase its durability. The other side is a hard, black rubber.


We recommend the Evans’ RealFeel 12” 2-sided Speed & Workout Pad for all drummers and percussionists.

Ahead 10” Snare Pad and Corps Snare Pad


Marching drummers should also consider the Ahead 10” Snare Pad and Corps Snare Pad. Both are ten inches in diameter and include a unique mechanism that quietly simulates the sound of a marching drum.


The Snare Pad features a soft, grey gum rubber playing surface. The Corps Snare Pad features the same gum rubber, but with a hard coating to replicate the feel of a marching snare.

We recommend the Snare Pad for all drummers, and the Corps Pad for marching drummers.


With so many choices, it can be confusing to find the right practice pad. We hope this will help you make an informed decision.

Need more guidance, or are you ready to make a choice, contact us!

June News at Chops

If you aren’t signed up for our Chops Transmission emails, you may be missing out on the most update happenings around the store.  Below is the June edition of the transmission.  If you don’t receive our emails, you can sign up here!

New Marching Sticks from IP and ProMark in stock

New sticks from ProMark and IP

The latest sticks from Innovative Percussion and ProMark are in stock at Chops. Check them out at the links below:

ProMark TXDC17IW System Blue – Scott Johnson Light Marching Drumstick

ProMark TXDC27W “Scooter” System Blue – Scott Johnson Marching Drumstick

IP TS-MM Michael McIntosh Model "Mizzle" Tenor Stick

DCI Season Is Underway. Get Out To A Drum Corps Show

DCI season is under way. Go see a show!

There are many opportunities to see drum and bugle corps in competition in Indiana and surrounding states. Visit our news site to see a partial list of events. Be sure to check out the event information at www.dci.org.

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Summer Practice Tools

Summer Practice Gear

Looking to build your chops over the summer? We have a full supply of practice pads in stock ready to ship.

Would you rather play on the real thing? Then check out our lineup of rental instruments on our website. Give us a call if you have any questions about these!

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June Drummer Birthdays

Ray Luzier

If you were born in June, then you share a birthday month with these famous drummers. Check them out here.

Art Blakey on “Alison’s Uncle”


This transcription and video originally appeared at allmandrums.com.

 Here at Chops Percussion we love a good drum solo, so we’d like to share a transcription of a classic!

Art Blakey, longtime leader of The Jazz Messengers, appeared as a sideman on Cannonball Adderley’s classic 1958 release Somethin’ Else. Best known for an outstanding version of “Autumn Leaves”, the album also featured Miles Davis, Hank Jones, and Sam Jones.

“Alison’s Uncle”, also known as “Bangoon”, is the closing track on Somethin’ Else. It is a 32 bar AABA form at around 206 BPM. Blakey’s solo begins at 3’49” and lasts a single chorus. The solo is a perfect example of Blakey’s strengths as a soloist: interesting and well-developed solo composition despite the relative simplicity of his licks.

This video includes audio of the solo, both at full and reduced speeds, synced with the transcription. The transcription is also available as a PDF file here.

After enjoying the solo, be sure to listen to the full track. Notice Blakey’s tasty comping behind each soloist.

We hope you enjoy!