Gear review – Ed Thigpen’s Brushup Pad
This is the Brushup pad by Remo and Ed Thigpen (well, at least his name is on it…) As the name implies, this is a practice pad that is designed for being played with brushes. Some of the first things that I noticed is that this pad has a hoop just like a regular drum would. This is a huge plus in my opinion because you can do anything that you can do on a regular drum, and advanced brush technique often involves making using the rim. At 14 inches in diameter it’s the same size as most snare drums and unlike most practice pads, it’s round. I don’t know why other companies don’t make their practice pads the same size and shape as your generic snare drum, seems like a logical idea to me… anyways. Its size and shape are huge pluses when you play with brushes, because you need ever square inch of surface you can get for big sweeping motions you’re gonna be making.
The bottom of the pad is a large spongy foam surface, about 1 inch thick, that keeps the pad from moving and/or scratching whatever surface you put the pad on. It’s much more effective then most practice pad bottoms, because the bottom has even surface contact. Many other pads just have a thin foam ring around the edge of the pad, this makes the pad very vulnerable to sliding around. Also, once some damage inevitably occurs to the little foam ring the pad can become lopsided, increasing risk of damaging whatever surface the pad is on. To add insult to injury, once the pad is lopsided, hard playing can cause the pad to imitate a spinning quarter about 5 seconds before it comes to rest. I know this is an odd description but that’s what happens. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go spin a quarter on a table… you’ll figure it out. Anyways, none of these problems exist with the Brushup pad so don’t worry about those problems, worry about these problems.
Wether you play with sticks or brushes this pad is pretty loud. Significantly more so if you have the pad suspended on a snare stand or something similar. This is a good thing with the brushes because you can hear the subtlety of whatever it is you are playing without difficulty. If you are playing with sticks… honestly you might as well just bring a snare drum and turn the snares off. It is freaking loud when played with sticks. If you are looking pad that you can bust out your SD1s and practice your rudiments without annoying people nearby, not the pad for you. Another thing that is both a pro and a con with this pad is that its head is a Fyberskin 3. Because of its natural texture there won’t be any chipping, flaking or any unsightly marks that you would experience with a coated head. The con is that just about anything you play on this head is going to get extremely dirty. When you play something else with the same stick or brush that you used on the Brushup pad, it will transfer that crap to whatever it is that you are playing on. If that bothers you then don’t use the same sticks and brushes you use on this pad, on the kit.
Depending on what specific qualities you are looking for in a practice pad i’d say that this puppy could swing from about 2 stars to 4 stars out of five. For brushes I’m gonna give it 4 stars because it really it a well thought out practice pad in general, and gives and excellent brush sound and feel for a practice pad, but the grimy nature of the head keeps it from a perfect score. For sticks I’m gonna go with 2 stars. It’s way too freaking loud to fulfill its role of practice pad when a snare drum with a muffled top head and no snares accomplishes the same thing. I do like the rim because of its utility, it’s a great thing to see in a practice pad and I would have given it a higher score if it weren’t for the grime.
So if you average those two ratings you get 3 stars out of 5 so that’s my final rating.
I bought it on a whim and for brushes not only is it excellent but it’s also one of the only choices you have. For sticks I use an old school blonde top Real-Feel and you’d probably better off if you used something along those lines.