Practicing in an apartment without using an e-kit

gusty

Platinum Member
I want to find ways of being able to imitate the feel of a drum kit (mainly just bass/snare/hats) in a way that is quiet enough for an apartment. The best thing I can think of so far is to use a rubber pad for the bass drum, use a snare drum which is completely padded on the inside with towels and things, and muffle as much as possible a pair of hats. Has anyone come up with inventive ideas of how to practice like this?
 

MileHighDrummer

Senior Member
It's a very difficult proposition. The best answer is to have a practice location. If the complex has a basement somewhere, or a local practice studio, or an industrial or commercial building who's owner wants to make a hundred dollars a month letting you practice... But you'll not likely silence your drums enough to keep from getting complaints in the apartment - and keep a reasonable practice action. I believe there are several other threads on this very subject.
 

Grummbles

Junior Member
I have recently found my own solution for this very problem. The E-kit just wasnt cutting it anymore I needed the real feel. I used my cajon for a bass drum and padded the hell out of it and even then I play very lightly on it. My snare and toms are covered with tea towels and I can make small hats out of splash cymbals etc. Also consider getting an old suitcase for a bass drum. And rod sticks. If was going to make a video touring my setup but wasnt sure if it was needed. If people are interested I could put something together.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
You should try a Pearl Rhythm Traveler kit with the mesh heads it comes with. They also give you neoprene pads for the cymbals and I've found it very quiet (as in no noise traveling through the walls of an apartment). Yes, the mesh heads are a little more bouncy than mylar plastic heads, but it's closer to a real drum than electronic pads. Of course, you're also dealing with almost silence but at least you get to use your sticks and you can play as hard as you like.
 

Mr. Compactness

Senior Member
I'm in the same situation. I was using a Yamaha DTX500 but still not happy with the feel or the sound. I actually missed the feel of sitting behind an acoustic set more than anything if I had to choose.

So what I wound up doing was:

Bass drum: - Felt strips on both sides of the drum with a towel inside. I changed the beater to a Ludwig Lambs Wool. A Vater Vintage Bomber Beater would work as well. This considerably cut down on the volume. I still have to play a little on the lighter side, but it gives me a natural feel with real tone for the most part.

Toms - Vater Noise Guard pads (similar to the HQ SoundOffs).

Cymbals - I placed microfiber cleaning clothes over them, such as these: http://www.amazon.com/Jobar-International-JB4048_Jobar-Microfiber-Wonder/dp/B000Y28KKQ I cut a hole in the center of each cloth so they can go over the cymbal post so they don't slide off. One per cymbal is fine, including over the top hi-hat cymbal. I still get the rigid feel of the cymbal, and a little bit of tone. More than using the rubber Soundoff pads. I'd say rebound is better than the rubber pads.

Snare - Sabian QuietTone pad on top of my snare. It's perfect for brushes as well (though you have to take some sandpaper to it) and it has a rim.

If I choose to use something like a Regal Tip Blastick or Vater Whip I can get away without the snare pad (though I still use a muffling ring) and I don't need the towels on the cymbals.

It does help that I'm home during the day when most of the people above, below and next to me in my building are gone, so I can get away with it. But even after 5 or 6 when everyone comes home I haven't had any complaints.
 

adamosmianski

Senior Member
Maybe this doesn't cut down the noise enough for a lot of people, but I just put a wash cloth on each tom head, and small pillow underneath the snare. I push the bass drum up against a non-shared wall and put a pillow in front of it. Maybe I just have really cool neighbors, but I've never gotten a complaint.
 

Mr. Compactness

Senior Member
Maybe this doesn't cut down the noise enough for a lot of people, but I just put a wash cloth on each tom head, and small pillow underneath the snare. I push the bass drum up against a non-shared wall and put a pillow in front of it. Maybe I just have really cool neighbors, but I've never gotten a complaint.
What do you do with the cymbals?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
You could also be really friendly with your neighbors, and maybe throw them a barbecue once a month ;)
 

adamosmianski

Senior Member
What do you do with the cymbals?
Nothing. Like I said, I might just be lucky with cool neighbors. Also I don't think my cymbals are terribly loud. I don't use any chinas or anything like that.

I have seen people use a wash cloth or small towel on cymbals though. Poke a hole in the center of it and lay in on there. It cuts back the sound and resonance, but still gives you somewhat of the real cymbal feel.
 

Mr. Compactness

Senior Member
Nothing. Like I said, I might just be lucky with cool neighbors. Also I don't think my cymbals are terribly loud. I don't use any chinas or anything like that.

I have seen people use a wash cloth or small towel on cymbals though. Poke a hole in the center of it and lay in on there. It cuts back the sound and resonance, but still gives you somewhat of the real cymbal feel.
Yeah I do that with the cymbals sometimes, but I'm actually going to ditch the towels, strip down to just a pair of hats and my quietest ride and use lighter sticks. I also may try tala wands.

I actually found a white noise app for my phone that I can put through a bluetooth speaker. That might help if I have the TV on in the other room and the white noise. Like I said too I'm home during the day so it's not as big of an issue..so far.
 
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