New Speed King?'s

dustjacket

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Should I feel like a sucker spending $200 on this? I really want to try it, but does the simplicity warrant that price tag?
 

b/o 402

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Should I feel like a sucker spending $200 on this? I really want to try it, but does the simplicity warrant that price tag?
If you just want to try it, pick up an original SK used. Should be easy to find and reasonably priced.
 

steambent

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I can’t imagine how many SK were made in the 60s thru the 80s but I can tell you this it is unusual to not see atleast 1 if not 2-3 for sale between the two local MGR. I have atleast 20. All great. I can remember when the DW chain drive pedals came out ( great pedals, I own 2-3 ) and if you were still playing a speed king you were laughed at.
 

Gunnellett

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Should I feel like a sucker spending $200 on this? I really want to try it, but does the simplicity warrant that price tag?
Nope. Plenty of folks will spend 200 bucks on the new Speed King pedal. It has quite a bit going for it. The original is legendary but wasn't available for a while but now it's back and improved. Instantly recognizable by those in the know. Young drummers may not know the history of the SK and it may not have all of the cool adjustments and gadgets as the others but I can see newer drummers being drawn to it to give it a try because the SK has it's own look and just may walk away impressed and wanting one badly.

Some older drummers may say they can pick up old SK's for an average of 50 bucks and return them back to original condition and that's cool. I'd like to find some more to work on for sure. Some other folks want that SK look and feel out of the box and not need to worry about getting it race ready for the next gig.

I guess we will see how the new ones sell. I think they would do well with a bit of marketing to get the word out to the younger drummers but my crystal ball is a little foggy.
 

Toast Tee

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Sad to say, but the old new Speed Kings (the black ones, from Monroe I think) are not as well made as the old ones. I have two Monroe SKs, and on both, the posts deform and move apart with time and use. I have had to repair one. I also recognise the beater issue. Furthermore, the cams on the Monroe is a much simpler design than on the original old SKs.

I am really keen to see if the new reissue is modelled after the Monroe or the old SK.

/Magnus
I guess mine isn't that old of a new one??? Or older than the old new ones. All I know is I like it. I've been playing, well trying to play mostly Zep covers of late, as the tempos seem to fall right in my grey area. I played along with Out on the Tiles yesterday, and although not as accurate as id like, I continue to improve control. Practicing very slowly has been a big help. It's like my brain is developing new nueropathways to compensate.
The only thing I'm not used to is having the beater come back and smack my foot.
I don't mind that though, as when I was a kid taking lessons that's how the beaters were set.
 

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Kevinpursuit

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Was my first pedal back in the late 60‘s early 70’s did the job, until I got the Rogers Swivomatic. The Rogers in my opinion had it all over the Ludwig Speed King. Rogers Swivomatic was just so much faster.
CC8928DD-16BA-4157-BCCC-E4E9A49BC2AD.jpeg
 
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angus

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Lots of empathy with many comments above. I have really struggled to find a pedal with quite the right feel since I (stupidly) sold my old Tama Camco a few years ago. For the past 3 years or so I have owned a Speed Cobra (latest iteration) which is certainly a very good pedal and I have got used to it but still always felt that it was holding me back slightly. Was it the longboard? Was the feeling too light?... I no longer had a point of reference so it was hard to answer these questions.

So recently I decided have another go at finding the best pedal for me, securing extended at home trials one pedal at a time because personally I find there is always a period of acclimatisation to a different pedal so half an hour in a shop just doesn't cut it.

First up Tama Dynasync impressed me initially but after a couple of days I concluded it wasn't really any better for me that the Speed Cobra (SC).

Next up, DW 5000 single chain with Accelerator cam (they no longer make single chain with Turbo linear cam) just didn't feel right. And as a sock/barefoot player I hate DW's very textured footboard.

At this point I was starting to better appreciate the strengths of the SC that I already own. That in itself was a good outcome and the process of tweaking the other contenders had actually led me to make some positive refinements to the SC setup. Notably removing the Cobra Coil which I now realises slightly messes with my micro-timing.

So the SC had won renewed favour and I was thinking to just stick with it for now but there was more pedal option that I was curious about...

With more points of comparison I was starting to realise that my what my old Camco had, and which many modern pedals seem to have gotten away from, was a superb sense of linearity and balance. So of course I felt compelled to try the Sonor Perfect Balance (Jojo Mayer) pedal (I went with the Standard model as some report the folding mechanism on the original could be prone to issues... the Standard model does not fold but all the drive components are the same so it plays identically).

And WOW, the Sonor PB is a revelation to me!!! It has some idiosyncrasies that feel like a step backwards when you are coming from a typical (over engineered?) modern pedal. For this reason many will discount it as an option. It doesn't have an action that prioritises the throw of the beater towards the head like most modern pedals. This may mean a slight loss of power if coming from such a pedal (though it still allows plenty of power). But the return action of the beater feels so proportionate and yes, balanced.

I had never fully realised the importance of that balance until I played this pedal. I'm not claiming to have the fastest foot in the universe but my technique is pretty good and on this pedal every nuance expressed by my foot (the notes, their precise micro-timing and their dynamics) are perfectly expressed. Personally, I now love this pedal. Maybe if I'd looked at other options I'd have found something I love even more but on the other hand I doubt that as there is something abut this pedal that just seems so different to prevailing modern pedal design. And given the relatively modest cost it's an absolute keeper for me.
 

Deafmoon

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I played a Speed King back in the early 70's when everyone raved that they were the BOMB! Yes they squeaked after awhile. However, most of that came from the metal to metal contact of the pedal to the pedal plate. I don't recall having any problems with the dust-free enclosed compression springs or greased rotors under the Ludwig logo caps. I switched to a nylon strap DW 5000 in the early 80's and have played Pearl eliminator the last 22 years. I won't go back to a Speed King simply because I don't like the feel of direct drive.
 

Genr

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Speed Kings were the only pedal I played for many years when I started out. I found that they felt very different than the old Camco or Gretsch pedals of the day, or the chain driven versions that evolved from them, so you may want to try one before taking the plunge. I switched many, many years ago, and haven’t looked back. The feel of the twin compression springs and direct drive is somewhat unique, IMHO, but they are great pedals. They’ve been manufactured and chosen by top pros for many decades, without major change I’m aware of. I believe there’s a reason for that. ...and you can hear the distinctive ‘speed king squeak’ on many classic albums! Lol
 

Sammybear

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My first drum pedal was a Speed King from back in the 60's. All I remember is that it worked. Come to think of it, I think it may have squeaked, which could be annoying. Fast forward many years..... my next one was some kind of a Tama pedal (came with the kit). Seemed to work fine. Fast forward again, then I bought a Taye Go-Kit and the drum shop buy threw in a DW6000 with a thin chain (Wish I had that one back-it was light). I now play a DW9000. That seems to work fine for me. I'm not as picky as long as it works. Should I be looking for new and improved? I thought the DW9000's were apex beaters once, which is why a gave it a go...had a smooth action. The new Speed King seems like it would be fun for nostalgic reasons. Not so sure I would want to spend $200 though. I think I would rather invest in another cymbal(s) or other drum gear first. But, it is tempting.
 

Stretch Riedle

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Little did I realize my first pedal I ever touched was a direct drive...in 1966. Actually the first two: Speed King and then a Ghost.
View attachment 456554
I learned how to drum in 1985 using a Ghost pedal.
Then I "upgraded" to a Speed King.
It would be several years after that before I tried a modern pedal.
Now my main pedal is a Trick Pro1-V Longboard, with vintage Yamaha and Ludwig pedals as backup.
And yes, I just bought the brand new reissued Speed King, just to have one. It may never get played!
Stretch
 

Old Drummer

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What's with the so-called Speed King "Flyer"? The reissued Speed King looks close to right, but the Flyer has a chain instead the metal thing. This could be an improvement. I carried a spare metal thing for my real Speed King because those suckers sometimes break (not usually, but often enough to carry a spare). But I have to wonder if this is a situation in which the legal rights to the name Speed King are allowing the company to manufacture pedals very different from the original, even two different pedals both called Speed Kings.

I guess I have reservations about buying one, especially for $200. What made Speed Kings work in their heyday was that everyone had one. Thus, all stores had parts and everyone figured out ways to deal with the squeak. They were the Chevy (or later the Toyota) of pedals. Now reissued Speed Kings will be one among a zillion pedals, nobody will have parts, and for all we know the company will soon stop supplying parts (if it even does). It's probably wiser to go with a more common pedal these days, likely a DW or something.

And as for buying a vintage Speed King, sorry, it's not that easy. When I got back into drumming after a 30-year break, I looked for a Speed King, since that's the only pedal I knew. I found some worthless old junk and some refurbished ones for which the seller wanted $20 an hour for the labor he'd put into refurbishing it as well as the (high) price of the worthless junk. I gave up and bought a cheap used Yamaha for $40. As far as I can tell, it works as well as my old Speed King (and doesn't even squeak). Although I've had no problems with it, I wonder how reliable it is. But the solution to reliability reservations is to buy a second. Why fool with a $200 Speed King when $80 gets you two pedals that work as well without squeaking?

I'm curious about these new Speed Kings, and if the price were right, would buy one to find out. For the right price I'd buy an old Speed King too. But I'm not keen on paying for nostalgia. Something tells me that sticking with a pedal that's common now is the wisest course. That's after all what made the Speed King. Everybody was using it.
 

Toast Tee

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What's with the so-called Speed King "Flyer"? The reissued Speed King looks close to right, but the Flyer has a chain instead the metal thing. This could be an improvement. I carried a spare metal thing for my real Speed King because those suckers sometimes break (not usually, but often enough to carry a spare). But I have to wonder if this is a situation in which the legal rights to the name Speed King are allowing the company to manufacture pedals very different from the original, even two different pedals both called Speed Kings.

I guess I have reservations about buying one, especially for $200. What made Speed Kings work in their heyday was that everyone had one. Thus, all stores had parts and everyone figured out ways to deal with the squeak. They were the Chevy (or later the Toyota) of pedals. Now reissued Speed Kings will be one among a zillion pedals, nobody will have parts, and for all we know the company will soon stop supplying parts (if it even does). It's probably wiser to go with a more common pedal these days, likely a DW or something.

And as for buying a vintage Speed King, sorry, it's not that easy. When I got back into drumming after a 30-year break, I looked for a Speed King, since that's the only pedal I knew. I found some worthless old junk and some refurbished ones for which the seller wanted $20 an hour for the labor he'd put into refurbishing it as well as the (high) price of the worthless junk. I gave up and bought a cheap used Yamaha for $40. As far as I can tell, it works as well as my old Speed King (and doesn't even squeak). Although I've had no problems with it, I wonder how reliable it is. But the solution to reliability reservations is to buy a second. Why fool with a $200 Speed King when $80 gets you two pedals that work as well without squeaking?

I'm curious about these new Speed Kings, and if the price were right, would buy one to find out. For the right price I'd buy an old Speed King too. But I'm not keen on paying for nostalgia. Something tells me that sticking with a pedal that's common now is the wisest course. That's after all what made the Speed King. Everybody was using it.
Ya know I thought about the metal piece breaking. I've had crazier things happen.
For the $ I paid, i may as get another.
The only thing I really don't like is the squeezing at low spring tension. I can't play with more than 1/4 tension. Id the squeak by design?
 

el_37

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What's with the so-called Speed King "Flyer"? The reissued Speed King looks close to right, but the Flyer has a chain instead the metal thing. This could be an improvement. I carried a spare metal thing for my real Speed King because those suckers sometimes break (not usually, but often enough to carry a spare). But I have to wonder if this is a situation in which the legal rights to the name Speed King are allowing the company to manufacture pedals very different from the original, even two different pedals both called Speed Kings.

I guess I have reservations about buying one, especially for $200. What made Speed Kings work in their heyday was that everyone had one. Thus, all stores had parts and everyone figured out ways to deal with the squeak. They were the Chevy (or later the Toyota) of pedals. Now reissued Speed Kings will be one among a zillion pedals, nobody will have parts, and for all we know the company will soon stop supplying parts (if it even does). It's probably wiser to go with a more common pedal these days, likely a DW or something.

And as for buying a vintage Speed King, sorry, it's not that easy. When I got back into drumming after a 30-year break, I looked for a Speed King, since that's the only pedal I knew. I found some worthless old junk and some refurbished ones for which the seller wanted $20 an hour for the labor he'd put into refurbishing it as well as the (high) price of the worthless junk. I gave up and bought a cheap used Yamaha for $40. As far as I can tell, it works as well as my old Speed King (and doesn't even squeak). Although I've had no problems with it, I wonder how reliable it is. But the solution to reliability reservations is to buy a second. Why fool with a $200 Speed King when $80 gets you two pedals that work as well without squeaking?

I'm curious about these new Speed Kings, and if the price were right, would buy one to find out. For the right price I'd buy an old Speed King too. But I'm not keen on paying for nostalgia. Something tells me that sticking with a pedal that's common now is the wisest course. That's after all what made the Speed King. Everybody was using it.
The other pedal is called the "Speed Flyer" and merely seems to be a modern pedal with a vintage inspired look on the footboard. "King" is not in the name.

$200 isn't exactly insanity- adjusted for inflation the 1960's prices for Speed Kings are around $188. The new Speed Kings are made from all new tooling- the original tooling wore out and Ludwig made the decision to bring the pedal back after it left the market for a few years. No word on where it is currently made- so I am going to assume Taiwan.

$200 seems to the price for entry level "pro" line bass drum pedals. The Ludwig Atlas Standard pedal in comparison is $72. The top level single pro pedals are now $300-$450.

I can understand not wanting to spend $200- but you can easily find used ones for $25-$50 and they are easily user serviceable. If you want it mint you can even sandblast and paint it, and polish the aluminum footboard. Parts are readily available as well.

As for breakage- you always have to carry what may possibly break if you are gigging. Almost no music store these days is going to carry spare parts for pedals- and the few that do, are either 700 miles away from your gig or closed for the day. Most guys carry a spare pedal these days.
 
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TheBeachBoy

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I've rebuilt 4 or 5 of them so far. Pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Even the first time through wasn't really nerve-wracking. I keep an extra in my car which I've used before. I don't think I've spent more than $50 for any of them. I haven't bothered with anything cosmetic on them because I'm the only one going to see them and I feel like the "battle scars" tell its history.
 

Old Drummer

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The other pedal is called the "Speed Flyer" and merely seems to be a modern pedal with a vintage inspired look on the footboard. "King" is not in the name.

$200 isn't exactly insanity- adjusted for inflation the 1960's prices for Speed Kings are around $188. The new Speed Kings are made from all new tooling- the original tooling wore out and Ludwig made the decision to bring the pedal back after it left the market for a few years. No word on where it is currently made- so I am going to assume Taiwan.

$200 seems to the price for entry level "pro" line bass drum pedals. The Ludwig Atlas Standard pedal in comparison is $72. The top level single pro pedals are now $300-$450.

I can understand not wanting to spend $200- but you can easily find used ones for $25-$50 and they are easily user serviceable. If you want it mint you can even sandblast and paint it, and polish the aluminum footboard. Parts are readily available as well.

As for breakage- you always have to carry what may possibly break if you are gigging. Almost no music store these days is going to carry spare parts for pedals- and the few that do, are either 700 miles away from your gig or closed for the day. Most guys carry a spare pedal these days.
Almost all good points.

I didn't mean to imply that $200 is too much for a pedal. I'm unfortunately aware that many drummers nowadays have to take out second mortgages to buy a pedal. My question was whether buyers are getting $200 worth of pedal or $100 worth of pedal and $100 worth of a nostalgic name? I'm not saying that this is the case. I'm just always suspicious when there's a reissue of anything.

Interesting that most drummers are now carrying an entire spare pedal rather than carrying parts. This wouldn't have occurred to me in the old days, but I've already realized that this is now a good strategy. I keep seeing decent, used, lightweight pedals selling for well under $50. I've therefore already concluded that were I gigging, I'd just buy one of these and carry it as a spare.

My one quibble is your conjecture that Speed Whatevers are made in Taiwan. That's possible, but my sense is that Taiwan is now mostly engineers and offices. I think the Taiwanese are also outsourcing manufacturing to China.
 

el_37

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Almost all good points.

I didn't mean to imply that $200 is too much for a pedal. I'm unfortunately aware that many drummers nowadays have to take out second mortgages to buy a pedal. My question was whether buyers are getting $200 worth of pedal or $100 worth of pedal and $100 worth of a nostalgic name? I'm not saying that this is the case. I'm just always suspicious when there's a reissue of anything.

Interesting that most drummers are now carrying an entire spare pedal rather than carrying parts. This wouldn't have occurred to me in the old days, but I've already realized that this is now a good strategy. I keep seeing decent, used, lightweight pedals selling for well under $50. I've therefore already concluded that were I gigging, I'd just buy one of these and carry it as a spare.

My one quibble is your conjecture that Speed Whatevers are made in Taiwan. That's possible, but my sense is that Taiwan is now mostly engineers and offices. I think the Taiwanese are also outsourcing manufacturing to China.
It is tough to say about the value. None of us have tried the new Speed King yet. It is nice to be able to buy a new one, but I guess we will have to wait and see if its worth buying.

Some guys just have to buy new no matter what- so I would assume they are a large part of the target market.

Most of the more expensive hardware is made in Taiwan- hence the higher price tags.

Axis is the only one I know of making stuff entirely in the USA and almost nobody realizes they make cymbal stands too- including their dealers!
 

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