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Bill Sanders Brush Pad

By some complete coincidence, just as I received the Florian Alexandrou-Zorn brush DVD in the post, I was handed this new brush practise pad from Bill Sanders to review.

The pad itself is thinner than the equivalent rubber stick pad, but has the same chromed rim finish and rubber underside.

The playing surface itself is a white plastic with a slightly rough surface, not dissimilar to the finish of those plastic school desks. I did wonder if it was rough enough as it doesn’t feel quite as rough as a coated head. There is also the question of wearing the pad out; although Bill claims the surface has been extensively tested and proven to be resistant to wear.

Other concerns I initially had were to do with how stable the pad would be once applying pressure and then sliding the brushes as well as the size. The pad itself is only 12” meaning slightly limited space for the motions that brush playing requires. It does however fit nicely on top of the 14” rubber pad.

For comparison, the Remo Brush Up Pad has a pre-tensioned, foam backed Fibreskyn head with a metal rim and is a full 14” and fits on a snare drum. The price difference is about £18 at the time of writing; the Bill Sanders pad coming in much cheaper.

So how does a pad with a fundamentally different make up fare?

I was pleased to find the sound of the brush on the surface is actually rather good, from a swishing point of view at least. Taps can easily be heard but without the depth of a drum don’t allow for resonance.

The rubber underside does a fantastic job of keeping the pad firmly in position when played on even the smoothest, shiny surface whilst applying pressure to the brush to get a fat sound.

Somewhat crucially, the size didn’t really bother me when I actually got around to playing. The motions required to play brushes invariably take time to get comfortable with and catching a wire under the snare rim is a common issue, at least to begin with. Playing on the 12” pad does in fact make transitioning to a 14” incredibly easy as there is more room on the head.

There is one other great advantage to the design of this pad. The plastic playing surface means you can use dry wipe pens to draw the hand patterns onto the pad and then wipe off when done. This for me is a fantastic feature!

Overall I like this pad, it’s not as fancy as some of its rivals but it does what you need it to; it stays still and provides a nice surface for practising brush playing on. What more do you need?

Rob Crisp

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