Getting the perfect sound for bass drum.

I play a pearl forum kit, and i'm trying to find the perfect sound for my bass drum.
I haven't changed the heads (i don't know if they make a difference on the bass drum) , and i have a pillow in the bass drum face up, just where the beater strikes it.
The bass drum makes a loud sound but i feel it is too harsh.

I've tuned both its heads over midway, it could go just a bit tighter i suppose.
Also it has a slight ringing on the inside when i strike it , maybe because most of it is hollow and the pillow is only stacked up to the front. I was wondering what could reduce this? And what could give me a damper yet loud sound without sounding too harsh.

The Old Hyde

Take everything out of the drum, put on a Superkick II on it with a patch for the beater and your all set. Play it the way it was meant to be played, wide open.


"Uncle Larry"
Try tuning it this way: full front head, no muffling inside, batter head tuned to a little above "just above wrinkle"... kinda low (to move the most air). Tune the reso head medium tight. Make the beater hit as close to center as you can, right above is perfect. Experiment with that approach, it has always served me well.


Gold Member
If you use little to no muffling inside the drum, then your head selection makes a big difference. The Aquarian Super Kicks are really good bass drum heads, the EMAD is pretty much standard anywhere, the Remo Powerstroke 3 is my personal favorite. These heads are "premuffled", so you won't need to put stuff in your bass drum anymore.

You can always go out and get an old fashioned Coated Ambassador or Emperor for your bass drum, stick a pillow or blanket in there, and call it a day, but you loose a lot of tone that way... plus the drumhead industry has really veered off that path in favor of premuffled heads for good reasons. At the end of the day, what you have is just more options. Find what you like and play the hell out of it.

I would definitely experiment with new heads and loose the pillow if you can.
Ohh alright...
And suppose i get a head such as the powerstroke 3, how would i tune it?
Do i need to get a reso head as well, or does that not make too much difference?
I'm at a thump sound, not too harsh, with less ring, and not too overpowering, but being clear and very bassy. Haha :)


Platinum Member
A PS3 tunes the same way as any other head. It is a great choice for a more open sound. Also common sense says if you want a more open sound, get the packing/pillows out.

IT is worth the time to experiment to get to know your bass drum and the variety of sounds, the relationship between batter and reso. The recommendation above from larryace is a great start, and you may want to vary it from that point depending on what kind of sound suits your tastes.


Platinum Member
The "perfect" sound ...... everyone has a different idea of perfect. And every time you buy a bass drum head, that's $20-$40. So ..... experiment. An "old school" method to create a muffled head, is to use felt. Try putting a felt strip on the batter head. Try putting a felt strip on the reso head. Find out how much/how little muffling you need, to get the sound you want.​


Do you mash or bounce your beater?. Do you have a hole in the front skin?

Your latest description,, is that what you have or what you want for a bass drum sound?
It will be way easier to get a better drum sound if you buy new front and back skins..

I suggest an evans emad set.. or aquarian superkick with an ambassador on the reso head.

If you mash your beater, Having a hole in the front skin can help
Also, try muffling the front skin as well. That where your extra ring could be coming from.. I use an old sheet or old clothes touching both skins,.. More on the beater side.. than the reso, but I don't let the reso ring freely..
Other things that ring are mounted toms or floor toms that ring sympathetically.. but I assume you've ruled that out..


Platinum Member
Thump is kind of a difficult adjective. It implies not much sustain, but little else. Are you after a lower pitch? Or a more mid bass thump? Most things that kill sustain will also affect the volume you get out of the drum as well.

In my experience, the EMAD has a shorter sustain and naturally goes to a higher pitch than the SuperKick. I have both heads. The EMAD worked well on a Pearl Masters Custom Maple I had but every other kit liked the SuperKick better. I took the EMAD off the Renowns I have now and put the SK on. I'm migrating to a more open sound and will probably put an EQ3 on there soon. I'd tried a PowerStroke several kits back but at the time I wanted a deader "thwap" kind of sound, which the SK excels at.

A lot of the thuddy sounds of the past are with shallow drums with felt strips on either side.

Look up the Bob Gatzen video on kick drums. There is a lot of good information there.

Also, recognize that the drum sounds entirely different behind it than it does out where the audience hears it. And the effect will be really different in every room.
Oh, right now im at a loud bump of low pitched sound, with a little ring to it. It kind of sounds like a deep floor tom, but with more bass to it. It kinda sounds like 'doop doop'
I'm looking for a mid-pitched light thump, that isnt harsh or overpowering, like this one

Also, i don't have a hole in the skin, and i'm not too sure what 'mash' and 'bounce' of the beater are.
And i'm gonna try muffling the front skin too :D i think that should cure the ring


Platinum Member
Thats a thump alright. Personally that sounds Dead and muddy to my ears but whatever floast your boat. Chekc it out - A nice big pillow in there.
If you want the same sound, its pretty easy, no need to buy any new heads. Use your existing heads and throw your pillow or laundry in there, resting against your fairly loose batter (at JAW). No money spent.


Senior Member
Well that sound is just tons of pillows in a bass drum close mic'd, not a tone I would use to play with people. Try a coated SK III tuned medium and a ported reso head, possibly with a small pillow on the bottom lightly touching a head. That might be close to what you want, without being a giant pillow.


Platinum Member
Oh, right now im at a loud bump of low pitched sound, with a little ring to it. It kind of sounds like a deep floor tom, but with more bass to it. It kinda sounds like 'doop doop'
I'm looking for a mid-pitched light thump, that isnt harsh or overpowering, like this one

Also, i don't have a hole in the skin, and i'm not too sure what 'mash' and 'bounce' of the beater are.
And i'm gonna try muffling the front skin too :D i think that should cure the ring
If you're looking for the sound in that vid, then just do what he did and stuff your drum full of pillows until it doesn't sound like a drum anymore but a slap on mylar. Not hard at all. This sound does tend to be popular with metal and "double bass" folks, since you get maximum slap definition at the expense of tone.


Platinum Member
That sound is probably from the camera on the batter side. On the audience side of the drum, you probably can't hear it with anything else going on. Very loose head so that there is no note to speak of, pillow to further kill any semblance of a pitch, and the click pad stuck to the head so that there is attack from that side. This drummer probably doesn't play anywhere and only hears his drum from behind the throne.

This is only useful for recording or mic'd up. It won't go anywhere in a room. What little pitch there is comes from the initial movement of the head when it's struck.

When people talk about getting a tone from the drum, what they are usually talking about is it resonating at a discernible pitch or note. I've used both terms above. The example doesn't really have any pitch or tone to it.

Are you recording? Playing at home, or playing out? If playing out, what kind of venues? Kick in what kind of PA? That will have a big say in how dead you want your kick to be.
Mashing means to dig the bass drum beater into the head and leave it there when playing a stroke.. Bouncing means to have the beater bounce off the head like a drum stick..

Like the others said muffle both skins a fair amount tune.. medium tension, a little highr than getting the wrinkles out and you'll bet that kind of bass drum sound..

For recording I use this setup..


Senior Member
And also what does your bass drum sound like? And what style of music is it good for?
Mine is more of a boom with some sustain, you can get long notes if you use rebound with the beater or short punchy notes if you bury the beater in the head. I use it for rock, funk, jazz, blues, basically anything except speed metal where you can't have much sustain or the notes blur together. Find a good tuning then learn to use your body to get different sounds from the drum.

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
The difference accoustically is as big as on any other drum. What happens when mike is a whole different story.

I've used coated and clear PS3 as well as a coated Ambassador. I can make them both work. Just take them over the wrinkle stage and then go from there.

I'd experiment with tuning and dampening as on any other drum. It still depends on the style of music and your personal taste.

Depending on what you want different materials and sizes need different treatment.