When drummers mistake thud for deep

JustJames

Platinum Member
...
We know drums are more difficult to "tune" than many other instruments...
Andy, with very genuine respect, I don't think that statement is true.

I think that what is at play here is that for drums the definition of "in tune" is more imprecise, and therefore difficult to communicate, and therefore difficult to learn.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
To be honest, there hasn't been any improvement in drum sound (live or recorded) since about 1972. Although, I might add, there is really nowhere to improve. All the good sounds have been done (as well as all the lousy sounds).
I can't agree with that, simply based on my own experience / endeavours, but replace "improvement" with "advancement", because there theoretically is no "better" then I absolutely can't agree. Even if advancement was only limited to consistency & effective tuning range, progress has been made for sure.

It's come to the point that I believe that in a live miked setting the actual drum has little or no effect on the final sound.
Live - mic'd, I can agree to a significant extent, but from a sound engineer POV, having a strong fundamental in the foundation at source sure makes life much easier, & the end result invariably better.

Andy, with very genuine respect, I don't think that statement is true.

I think that what is at play here is that for drums the definition of "in tune" is more imprecise, and therefore difficult to communicate, and therefore difficult to learn.
I get where you're coming from, & it's true, but "more difficult" still applies to the almost infinite number of variables and the length of time necessary to perform the task. Of course, in all but rare cases, we don't "tune" drums, we tension them. Compare our "tuning" regime to that of almost any tuned instrument, & it's a night / day thing. I'm thinking we're lucky to a degree though, drum "tuning" is less sensitive in live performance compared to tuned instruments. A slight slip & a guitar sounds immediately horrible. The same slip in drum tuning merely equates to a slight loss of characteristic.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I happened on a band playing a local spot last night and was saddened to see and hear a beautiful Ludwig classic maple setup that was muffled to the hilt. Napkins duct taped to tom heads and what looked like a super kick II with a large piece of foam backing rolled up inside the bass drum and a kick port to boot!

I knew a guy who draped hankerchiefs under the tom heads (between the head and bearing edges) and crammed a bunch of crap into his bass drums because he liked them to sound "deep".

When ever I see this kind of stuff I feel like a parent watching another parent commit child abuse. I had to get home to my set to love it for it's openness and assure it that I'll never be that parent.
Sounds like an 'all the gear, no idea' type. It's a shame....for the gear!

Didn't know crap and deep meant the same thing :)

Really offensive post, you should really think before you type someone's feelings might get hurt :) (Sarcasm!!!)
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I think there are several things that get in the way of a good drum sound. I do think that tuning drums is more difficult than most other instruments. Just the sheer number of tension rods multiplied by the number of drums that make up a kit and you are going to have a more complex situation.

I also think that the lack of using a clearly defined pitch level works against us too. Even when we talk about tuning unless we talk in specific pitches in hertz we resort to broad concepts of high medium and low. And based on my own experiences and the OP's thoughts on the matter I think many people's idea of "medium" is the same as my "dead and lifeless."

It doesn't help that tuning anything is boring, but drums are so much more so. It takes time and a commitment to tune well to get good results and I think without some help learning how to tune well is hard for a beginner especially, because they just want to play, not mess around tapping and twisting.

Plus, we often lack an opportunity to hear our own drums played so we know what they sound like from the audience's perspective. It's even more rare to be able to hear another drummer's sound from his perspective so when we DO find a good live sound we can compare what we heard out from to what the kit actually sounds like. Those kinds of opportunities are a big part of helping find our own sound, but they're just not practical most of the time.
 

philrudd

Senior Member
Most of us have done that at some stage - maybe not to that extent, but certainly used excessive muffling to make up for our lack of tuning skills. We didn't know any better. Especially back in the day, being young / inexperienced, & wanting to emulate the sounds we heard on records. At least the new player has information readily available these days - not so back in the 70's / 80's.

Players who over muffle generally fall into two main categories:

1/ Newer / inexperienced players who don't know better.

2/ More experienced players who never grew out of the habit / limited exposure to different playing environments / really can't be bothered.

We know drums are more difficult to "tune" than many other instruments, but I'm still constantly surprised by the lack of tuning ability / knowledge amongst many drummers - in fact, a general lack of knowledge about how drum sounds are produced - period.
Yes, yes, yes! I'm still surprised at how little muffling/taping I use on my drums nowadays, especially when I consider how much I used in my early years!

Not having any real guide when I started, I'd often get frustrated by bad tuning or a buzzing head and just throw a bunch of tape on there. But over the years, very gradually, and really without conscious effort, I've learned how to choose heads, how to tune them, and what to listen for in order to ensure that they'll have the most impact in a band situation.
 

WalterKohn

Senior Member
what looked like a super kick II with a large piece of foam backing rolled up inside the bass drum and a kick port to boot!
Are you saying that a SKII and what sounds like a Regulator reso with muffling is not a good combo??

I can say whole heartedly I disagree considering I run that setup. I only use a small Evan's eq pad barely touching the front of my SKII head and my kick sounds fabulous. Not thud and for sure is deep. Tuned to an F around 43hz on 16x22".
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Are you saying that a SKII and what sounds like a Regulator reso with muffling is not a good combo??

I can say whole heartedly I disagree considering I run that setup. I only use a small Evan's eq pad barely touching the front of my SKII head and my kick sounds fabulous. Not thud and for sure is deep. Tuned to an F around 43hz on 16x22".
I tried that set up on a 24x20 and 24x16 and in both instances they were tone and feel killers. I didn't put anything in the bass drum, that would have overkill. I'd have got more tone with mesh heads.

They also make your bass drum way too quiet.
 

WalterKohn

Senior Member
I tried that set up on a 24x20 and 24x16 and in both instances they were tone and feel killers. I didn't put anything in the bass drum, that would have overkill. I'd have got more tone with mesh heads.

They also make your bass drum way too quiet.
Interesting. How did you tune it? The bass drum reso head needs to be a lot tighter than you think on the regulator heads. Do you tune to a note or do you just tune it to what you think sounds good?

Also what heads are your current setup?
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
When I was in high school I got my first decent set, a Pearl Export with double headed toms & everything! It was driving me nuts, so before you know it I had the bottom heads off and folded paper towels neatly taped on the heads. Thud & doink! Good thing I outgrew that, now the only dampening I have is in the bass drum.
 

AxisDrummer

Senior Member
I just started a thread the other day in the "Drum Gear-Heads & Sticks" sub-forum about switching my Snare batter PS3s out for Coated Ambs to officially go unmuffled on my snare and embrace that resonance and ring. Especially playing live in a rock band.

I'm 38 years old now, but started playing regularly (gigs) when I was 16-17. I was going for that "album sound" and had Clear Pinstripes on Toms, pillows in kicks, tape on stuff.....to get that Lars Ulrich THUD.

Now after returning to drums a few years ago, I'm experiencing my new word.....

DRUMATURITY.

I like everything open now. The only muffling I currently use is a PS3 on the kick batter, ported reso. On my birch drum kit (Tama Silverstar) toms, I went from Clear Pinstripes over Ambs to Clear Emps over Ambs, to Clear Ambs over Ambs and I think I found the sweet spot....hundreds of dollars later.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Interesting. How did you tune it? The bass drum reso head needs to be a lot tighter than you think on the regulator heads. Do you tune to a note or do you just tune it to what you think sounds good?

Also what heads are your current setup?
Tried many tuning settings. Tight reso, loose reso same with batter and every combination in between. I tune the reso way up on all my bass drums but I found the regulator regulated too much and completely stopped the airflow!

I don't tune to a note, I trust my ears. Some people tune to a note, some don't but that's all personal preference and then you move onto a drums sweet spot and it gets messy from there!

Current setups are:
22x14 Coated emp with a felt strip/Powerstroke Fiberskyn Reso
22x18 PS3 Batter/Ported Attack No Overtones Reso
24x16 Clear CS dot batter/Coated Attack Terry Bozzio reso
24x20 Attack Single Ply No Overtones Batter/Old Single Ply Evans Genera Reso

No muffling in any of them, but that's what I like, somebody would probably say, I'd do this but hey someone probably wouldn't like it!
 

brady

Platinum Member
I tried that set up on a 24x20 and 24x16 and in both instances they were tone and feel killers. I didn't put anything in the bass drum, that would have overkill. I'd have got more tone with mesh heads.

They also make your bass drum way too quiet.
Interesting. How did you tune it? The bass drum reso head needs to be a lot tighter than you think on the regulator heads. Do you tune to a note or do you just tune it to what you think sounds good?

Also what heads are your current setup?
What Walter said...

Those Aquarian heads seem like they need to be tuned higher than other heads before they sound really good. Once you have them tuned pretty firm, they really sing.

Don't give up on the SKII just yet. Crank it, it will sound great.
 
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