quality of drum sounds to the rest of the band is not important

Drumolator

Platinum Member
I can play softly on the drums and the hats and the ride. Crashes are another matter. All crashes require a minimum force to...well...crash. So they need to match whatever volume the drummer is playing. Peace and goodwill.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
Have you thought about maybe making tip caps for your sticks out of surgical tubing?
And using jazz tapered sticks?
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
Yeah, by "gear" I meant light sticks, dampening rings and thin cymbals.

As far as tuning, I have trouble playing a super tight snare quietly.
I'd also probably argue that using something like an Ambassador/G1 batter would require less force for the drum to open up and resonate than like a 2 ply batter.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
Yeah, by "gear" I meant light sticks, dampening rings and thin cymbals.

As far as tuning, I have trouble playing a super tight snare quietly.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Sure, ....with an E kit :)

With a car, it's only one control to turn it up/down. With drums it's a combination of several things like tuning, gear and dynamics.
There's that mindset I was referring to.

I don't see it like that. I never adjusted my tuning for hitting less hard. And I'm not sure what you mean by gear being a factor. Maybe sticks. But I played quiet on the exact same set, with the exact same tuning and the exact same sticks as I use to play loud with. I control the drums,not the other way around. I can play them at any volume I choose.

My dynamics remain relative to one another, except on a quieter scale when I have to play quietly. I'm playing exactly the same thing as I would by playing louder, I just don't hit as hard. The only thing I am adjusting is my force. One thing, just like a gas pedal.

Heavy metal....OK there I will concede. I'm thinking that a place that hosts heavy metal won't be asking the band to play quiet.

So I will never buy into the notion that drums must be played loud or it sucks.

Volume control is probably the #1 thing where a lot of good players, not just drummers, drop the ball.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
I don't think too many other musicians care about the overall sound of our drums as long as we are plying them correctly.
In my experience, they don't even care if we play correctly :). As long as we keep decent tempo and don't play too loud, everyone I've played with has always been happy .....or oblivious :)


Balsa wood sticks played at the edge of the snare and thin cymbals is all I can suggest.




If I have a super fast car, I can still drive it slowly. Same exact thing with drum volume
Sure, ....with an E kit :)

With a car, it's only one control to turn it up/down. With drums it's a combination of several things like tuning, gear and dynamics.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I did not reply all week because I was trying to forget about this problem. But, later today we have practice.
I hate to say it but this here speaks volumes (no pun intended). If it is to the point where you just want to forget the whole thing, the only way to make that happen is to move on.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
FWIW, I definitely disagree that drums have to be played loud to inspire. Volume has zero to do with groove, inspiration, and excitement. I was in a sink or swim situation volume-wise with my last band when starting out in our main room. Especially on the dinner set, I either had to groove no louder than speaking volume or fail.

I managed to do it for 8 years, so I don't get why I read this on a regular basis, that drums are loud and to play quietly on them is so difficult. I don't agree. I feel it's the drummers mindset that's actually preventing low volume playing. It absolutely can be done.

I play exactly what I would play loud, except I control the heck out of the volume. If I have a super fast car, I can still drive it slowly. Same exact thing with drum volume.

I can't believe that the other guys are such busybodys in trying to dictate your sound. Maybe give them a taste of their own medicine and dictate what you think their sound should be to see how they handle it.

If I was in that situation, a large part of me would want to basically tell them to focus on their own instrument, not mine. This should at the very least be a 2 way street, where they change their tone for you as well. If it's not a 2 way street, what gives them the right to dictate how you play? You are the drummer. They are the string players.
 

evolving_machine

Silver Member
The kit really is not the problem. The kit itself is the lowest possible volume for an acoustic kit not using pads. With that thick foam pad in the bass drum it is just something to hold the tom. I can leave this kit at practice and not worry about it.

I am using some jazz sticks, smaller than 7a's. The reason they want me to use sticks I think is because they can hear the snare better. With brushes the rim shots do not carry, and the ghost notes are gone.



I do not know how to describe the the type of music, Help me (Joni Mitchel), Get Ready (Temptations), Heard.....Grapevine (Marvin Gaye), Pretty Woman (Roy Orbison), and then some originals with some reggae, some of a blue grass, some of a country, and some sounding swing-like, others R&B like, hard to say exactly the style.


I did not reply all week because I was trying to forget about this problem. But, later today we have practice.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Playing at talking volume is difficult.

I would recommend using jazz equipment, which is designed to get good tone at low volumes, however it seems as if even a piano trio setup is too loud.

Have you tried egg shakers?

In bluegrass they play a snare drum with brushes on occasion.

What about just beat boxing.


Maybe bongos?
 

NickCesarz

Junior Member
The guitar player, adjusts his sound in a combination of volume and gain, and pedals, and tries to get the right sound out of his rig and he gets very serious trying to get "the right sound."
Mad props to you for being considerate in this situation! Very frustrating.

I suppose you could try using multi-rods (since they're kind of like sticks), but I've never really enjoyed playing with those in a loud setting.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
I don't think too many other musicians care about the overall sound of our drums as long as we are plying them correctly. It really drives me nuts that when I hit the ride cymbal, the cymbal itself sounds so bad. I also feel that as a drummer we have to make more sacrifices then other members of the band. Am I wrong in this observation?

When I played bass and guitar I was obsessive about a good drum sound. It's inspiring. In my primary band our drummer even wanted me to mix the drums in the studio.
 

Bruce M. Thomson

Gold Member
It would be easier if I can play with wire brushes, or nylon brushes, but they are requesting that I use sticks. At this volume, I have to choke the stick and not let it bounce. I am playing the snare near the rim. The hats have be played on the bow with bead of the stick.
I agree with makinao. I play with 2 very different sounding bands and for the more quieter band I often use Pro-Mark 7A's, they have a light touch and still feel good;muffling the drums is unnecessary.
 

philrudd

Senior Member
My advice?...stick with it!

It's a tough transition. After three decades of pretty much just playing as loud as I can, I joined a cover band that does small, low-volume gigs (restaurants, lodges, birthdays, etc.).

It took MONTHS of experimenting, analyzing and research but I finally got to a point where I not only became comfortable at a lower-volume setting but wound up finding it very enjoyable.

To start with, tell your band to get over your using something other than sticks! If the playing's too loud with sticks, but too soft with brushes or rutes, then THEY need to come down to YOUR volume. They can't argue both sides at once - that you're both too loud and too soft. If you're willing to make the change, they can turn a knob one-quarter inch to the left and get on with it.

I use the Vic Firth wooden rutes, which feel like big sticks without the volume. Using these allows for much less need to muffle the drums, and with a few tweaks in tuning and a moongel, you can get a really nice-sounding drum that breathes but doesn't overpower. I found it took some practice to refine my technique with rutes, but before too long they felt just as natural as any stick.

I converted an 18" floor tom into a bass drum, put some foam and a small pillow in there, and it sounds great - once again, without being overpowering. In one instance we played in someone's living room; for that, I secured a tea-towel over the batter head to add a little extra muffling. Worked beautifully.

Using the rutes made cymbal volume irrelevant. I get a nice 'chick' off the hi-hat, and if I really find I ever need a big cymbal crash, I strike at the base of the rute. Plenty loud.

So my setup is just the converted floor tom, snare, hats and 16" crash. (Sometimes I'll add a ride and/or small tom on a stand.) At that living room gig I mentioned, we played everything from 'You're So Vain' to 'Immigrant Song', and it worked great! Even more importantly, I was able to just forget about the volume and PLAY. I didn't use earplugs for the first time in about twenty years - that should say something.

It can be done! There are a lot of transitional pains, but they're worth it! And not incidentally, it's helped my drumming immensely having to work with these parameters - something I hadn't expected.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I thank you all for the very generous discussion. I am thinking of walking away too.

It is an old CB kit, 12, 13 toms. I installed legs on the 13 and use it as a floor tom. The bass is 22x16, and placed a large 66" x 5" foam up against the batter. 16" old heavy Zildjian for a ride, and a cracked 15" Paiste crash. The toms and cymbals are tapped, and only a little tape on the snare.
Dude, you need a hug. I commend you greatly on trying to make this work.

In my experience, the lighter you play, the less drum tone matters (to a certain extent). With that said, I pulled out my old Tama Rockstars and played one practice with them (after playing with my Pork Pie USA customs). Even though I played with Hot Rods, the guys told me I really needed to switch back after we were done. They were right, so I did.

I agree with not muffling your cymbals and using tone rings on your toms and/or snare. If you are currently playing with 7A sticks and the folks don't want you to use rods, check out the Vic Firth AJ5 sticks. I have a few pair, and they come in pretty handy. It's a nice "in between" rods and 7A's.

I always liken it to this: Playing drums softly with regular sticks is like asking a guitar player to plug in his guitar and turn the guitar itself all the way up, and then turn the amp to about 8. After this, ask the guitar player to strum the guitar, but do so in such a way that it's not much above an un-miked vocal. To be honest though, it sounds like what they are wanting is next to impossible.
 

evolving_machine

Silver Member
I would step away from the band, because my personality would not put up with such neutering.
I thank you all for the very generous discussion. I am thinking of walking away too.

The kit I am using, was given to me by someone I work with. It is an old CB kit, 12, 13 toms. I installed legs on the 13 and use it as a floor tom. The bass is 22x16, and placed a large 66" x 5" foam up against the batter. 16" old heavy Zildjian for a ride, and a cracked 15" Paiste crash. The toms and cymbals are tapped, and only a little tape on the snare. I needed a little bit of drum on the snare to play wire brushes on. I also use nylon brushes sometimes, but they want me to use sticks sometimes so they can clearly hear the beat.

There are sometimes when I play, I can get into it, but other times I am afraid to open up. After a while of playing choking the sticks and the pedal, I start to cramp up. In the past, I have had compliments of my ability to play lower volume. I have to decide if this is worth it. The drive is 45 minutes, there are no gigs lined up yet.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I don't disagree with anything you say, Larry... but gosh darn it, drummers deserve to play a good-sounding instrument too! It's always much easier to feel a good groove on my nice Ludwigs than on the entry-level, taped-up crap in a guitarist's basement...
We do deserve to play good sounding instruments. But short that, what we do is not sound dependent. Sure we all want to sound a certain way. But many times (backline or practice kits) that's just not possible. The groove isn't affected unless the drummer allows crap tones to ruin their high.


I agree to a point.

When the instrument does not make a good sound, one cannot become inspired. It actually deters inspiration, IMO.

No other musician in the band would accept a poorly tuned instrument (e.g., guitar, bass, keys) and no one would accept a poorly voiced vocal.

The hypocrisy can cause bitterness.

But this is for rehearsal, so let it slide. I hope the OP is allowed to use his instrument tuned and set up the way he prefers it for performances.
IDK, inspiration....when the drums don't sound good, inspiration shouldn't suffer. I like playing awesome sounding drums as much as the next guy, but when that's not there, we still have to play. So the only thing to do is ignore the tone and focus on the timing, dynamics, musicality etc. There really isn't any other choice except to allow it to hamstring the player.

An analogy would be me not driving a car to it's fullest potential because I don't like the color. Just my take on things, it means nothing really.
 
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