Bass Drum: Pillow, or no pillow?

joshvibert

Senior Member
Oh, me thinks I may have struck a nerve.
Not really, I just thought it was a funny response. I prefer to tune my drums correctly and do my best not to use any muffling unless called for by the sound man. However, a muffled bass drum is quite different than a wall. You want to see a waste of an instrument where you may as well kick the wall...check out a cajon.
 

Zickos

Gold Member
Not really, I just thought it was a funny response. I prefer to tune my drums correctly and do my best not to use any muffling unless called for by the sound man. However, a muffled bass drum is quite different than a wall. You want to see a waste of an instrument where you may as well kick the wall...check out a cajon.
I've played on a couple of bass drums that have had pillows stuffed in them. They didn't have a thud, they had a th....
 

Raelthomas

Senior Member
I use one of those funky little evans pillows that has a "spring" to it, so it touches the head, until I play the drum, when the impact makes it float away from the head for a moment allowing (I think) a bit more tone to come out, then get damped real quick after the note sounds. I like it a lot more than a big pillow or blanket which just kills tone to me. If there are overtone issues when close-micing or what have you, I place some cloth up against the outside of either the batter or the reso. One of my kicks has a port, the other doesn't.
Yeah, I was never really sold on those specialty pillows until I picked up a free one.. I really like it. I used to use quite a bit of pillowage but these seem to tone down the sustain really effectively.
 

Reggae_Mangle

Silver Member
I don't think it merits having such a hard and fast rule. Having trouble with overtones in a specific setting? Mute as required. The music is all that counts in the end.
 

bigiainw

Gold Member
I have nothing but air and a Kelly Shu in my bass drum, so no pillow, although this is the first time for me- i usually used a folded blanket in mine, but with my current drum and batter head, its just not needed. I use a Remo pro something or other with a foam ring built in, the head tuned about a full turn above JAW. 2 falam slams at the beater impact points and i have all of the thud and attack I need, as well as some nice resonance and tone. I always felt that fulling my bassdrum with foam, pillows or whatever just made it sound like a smaller drum, which I could have bought anyway. The engineers who have heard it really like it, as do I. I have nothing against the use of anything that makes a good sound- I simply don't need it at this point.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Here is my bass drum muffler. This is a one-of-a-kind muffler, it's one that I actually have a sentimental attachment to, one that I cherish and use with great pride.



My mom made it. Some years ago I found myself talking about my dissatisfaction with using rolled-up kitchen towels placed behind my pedal to control ring. She wanted to know all about it, wrote down the details, and about a month later I got this in the mail.

It's made of heavy-duty denim, filled with some kind of beads surrounded by a soft packing material. The amazing thing is it works great!

It's my custom-made bass drum ring control muffler, made my my own mother's loving hands.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Here is my bass drum muffler. This is a one-of-a-kind muffler, it's one that I actually have a sentimental attachment to, one that I cherish and use with great pride.



My mom made it. Some years ago I found myself talking about my dissatisfaction with using rolled-up kitchen towels placed behind my pedal to control ring. She wanted to know all about it, wrote down the details, and about a month later I got this in the mail.

It's made of heavy-duty denim, filled with some kind of beads surrounded by a soft packing material. The amazing thing is it works great!

It's my custom-made bass drum ring control muffler, made my my own mother's loving hands.
I love your Mom and I have never met her :)
 

con struct

Platinum Member
I love your Mom and I have never met her :)
All musicians love my mom. And she's always had a way with musicians.

She would show up at a gig, nice little old lady, and I mean any gig, and when it was over she'd go up to the baddest, meanest player in the band and ask him a most ingenuous question, and suddenly the cat would turn into a nice boy talking to an older lady. It was amazing. She could have given him a glass of milk and he'd have drunk it.

My mom knows all about the music business.
 

GrowthMusic

Senior Member
Unless I'm working a session where it's "required", I put nothing in my bass drum for a couple of reasons.

For one, my philosophy of "what goes for the hands, goes for the feet" applies to my drums as well. I don't stuff my toms or my snare drum, so I don't really see the point in stuffing things in my bass drum, when I prefer "muffling" that comes from the heads, not stopping air movement in the drum. Where my philosophy becomes inconsistent is the fact that I do muffle the bass drum significantly, however.

I use an EMAD front head with the largest foam ring for most things. Occasionally if I need a more "Bonham" tone, I take the ring off. The front head is a stock coated Tama head with a tone ring like a PS3. It's got a 4" offset hole and a KickPort installed (you gotta get one!!!) so it's also muffled quite a bit but not to the point of being dead. I generally tune the heads to the lowest tone the head makes a resonant "boom" and the reso head gets a 1/4 turn more. That's it! I get a thick, low, punchy tone that allows the shell the breathe and the air to move freely. I've never had any complaints about the sound from the dozens of engineers I've worked with.

I also like the feel of an open bass drum. The head "gives" just right. When I play bass drums with pillows and stuff in them or even a small EQ pad, something just doesn't feel right. I think, to me, the drum shell needs to resonate. Stick something inside and it stops. I don't even mount my stickbag on the floor tom anymore because I notice a SIGNIFICANT decrease in shell resonance. Poeple often underestimate the tone that comes from the shell. They think the heads are it! Bang on your floor tom open, then put your legs around the drum tightly and play it again.... you'll notice.
Excellent advice right there. And yes, those Kick Ports rock! :)
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
All musicians love my mom. And she's always had a way with musicians.

She would show up at a gig, nice little old lady, and I mean any gig, and when it was over she'd go up to the baddest, meanest player in the band and ask him a most ingenuous question, and suddenly the cat would turn into a nice boy talking to an older lady. It was amazing. She could have given him a glass of milk and he'd have drunk it.

My mom knows all about the music business.
That's very cool, & to have something drum related that's crafted by your mum's hands is just the best thing ever :)
 

Sparkboss

Senior Member
No pillow! No blanket! No nothing! (i understand that's a double negative, but what i mean is nothing at all)

Hit that sweet spot for tuning and put a 4" port hole in it, and it's perfect for me!

PS3 heads, by the way
 

drum4fun27302

Gold Member
I have a Yamaha beech custom 22 where I have nothing inside. SK2 on batter and Aquarian regulator with an offset hole. Sounds killer.
I have another Yamaha (older cheap 80's 5000 serie/predecessor of the stage custom) and have nothing in that one either. But different setup. I had a coated Aquarian force 1 front and back and it had a nice "boom" to it. The band complained that they liked the beech custom better (duh!!!!) and said that it has a more defined sound.
So I put a kick port in the cheap kit. I lost that boom but now, it is more "defined".
It will never match the beech custom though. But I like it.
Any way, no pillow for me !
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
Here is my bass drum muffler. This is a one-of-a-kind muffler, it's one that I actually have a sentimental attachment to, one that I cherish and use with great pride.



My mom made it. Some years ago I found myself talking about my dissatisfaction with using rolled-up kitchen towels placed behind my pedal to control ring. She wanted to know all about it, wrote down the details, and about a month later I got this in the mail.

It's made of heavy-duty denim, filled with some kind of beads surrounded by a soft packing material. The amazing thing is it works great!

It's my custom-made bass drum ring control muffler, made my my own mother's loving hands.

That's cool!
Looks like the one I use, only mine is white! !!:)!!
Yep, they work great and are no muss, no fuss.
I think it works as well as a felt strip, but sounds better than that felt going across the whole head. It sounds way better than any pre-muffed heads for me (size, and shell taken into consideration).

I made a shorter one too (goes just slightly past the posts), and it doesn't seem to make much difference.
.........................

bigiainw said : I always felt that fulling my bassdrum with foam, pillows or whatever just made it sound like a smaller drum.

How much junk have people been stuffing in a bass drum???? It's making me wonder. I only have the foam in there to stop the sound bouncing around. It's not even touching the heads.
If I was just playing at home and not giging, I wouldn't use the muffle thing though. It sounds cool real open, but for live, the muffle knocks it down just enough to sound open and natural without the head resonating too much.
The 16x26 sounds especially cool without the muffle, and the 18x26 kind of doesn't really even need it. With the mic at the hole, it's a bit farther away from the head, and with a full front head, it's a pretty solid sound on it's own.
 
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