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-   -   What happened to classic bass drum tuning? (http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=105515)

kevdrummer28 03-26-2013 05:45 AM

What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
What ever happened to taking a bass drum and tuning it to sound how you want it to sound with very little to no muffling at all? I'm talking like the Bonham's. Both John and Jason use little to absolutely no muffling. Why do companies keep making all these premuffled heads that all sound and look about the same with all these glued on foam rings that I always hear come off. I'm about to buy a new kick head, was looking at Aquarian's, Evan's, and Remo's premuffled heads and I kid you not, if I lined up the reviews some of them sound the same. The bad ones sound the same and the good ones sound the same. Most even had all the same problems. Then I look at the good old unmuffled heads and I see actual good variations in reviews.

Is there anyone else out there who still believes in taking a drum head, preferably the kick head, tuning it to the music you're playing unmuffled, then playing it to bring that specific sound out of it? I may be old-timey, here as I'm about to turn 20, but I'm just not buying all these premuffled heads. I'm about to buy a new kick head and I'm generally a Remo guy, so I'll probably do a coated Powerstroke 3 on my kit I use for playing rock. Anyone else feeling this idea? Just wondering.

Cleforo 03-26-2013 06:02 AM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
Aren't Powerstrokes pre-muffled heads?

Pocket-full-of-gold 03-26-2013 06:05 AM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
Bonham did muffle. Sure he didn't stuff the bass drum with blankets et al, but a felt strip on batter and reso is muffling, however you slice it.

And fwiw, so is a PS3. That little plastic ring is there to dampen overtones. Granted it's not a big foam ring....and certainly not the same extent as stuffing the bass drum with a blanket, but it's still a pre-muffled head nonetheless.

kevdrummer28 03-26-2013 06:05 AM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cleforo (Post 1122715)
Aren't Powerstrokes pre-muffled heads?

Not as heavily muffled as the Aquarian Super Kick II, Evans Emad, and Remo Powerstroke Pro/Powersonic.

porter 03-26-2013 06:05 AM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
Well, lots of modern music uses what is basically the same bass drum sound. Plus, EMADs, Powerstroke Pros, and Super-Kicks are easy head to tune- people can just slap 'em on and get a desirable sound with little effort.

I use a Powerstroke 3 as well (which, for the record, is a premuffled head) but the only situation I think I'd use no muffling would be in an unmiced rock situation, sort of like Bonzo's style of music. In my rock band that's basically that with mics, during rehearsal, the kick with no muffling just overpowers pretty much everything, especially the bass frequencies. Porthole or no, I think muffling's a very useful tool but agree that one can get much more versatility from a relatively-lightly-pre-muffled head (powerstroke 3) than a plastic-and-glue-laden head like the EMADs and such.

Edit: I should mention that I think probably the max muffling I'll ever need is the Evans EQ pillow. Generally I like it unported with the pillow slightly touching both heads but for gigs I use a ported head and pull the pillow away from the reso enough to not touch it and muffle the batter a bit more. People that have blankets & stuff their kicks up with like 2 vertical inches of pillows are, to me, grievously misinformed.

kevdrummer28 03-26-2013 06:06 AM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pocket-full-of-gold (Post 1122716)
Bonham did muffle. Sure he didn't stuff the bass drum with blankets et al, but a felt strip on batter and reso is muffling, however you slice it.

And fwiw, so is a PS3. That little plastic ring is there to dampen overtones. Granted it's not a big foam ring....and certainly not the same extent as stuffing the bass drum with a blanket, but it's still a pre-muffled head nonetheless.

Like I said, they used little to no muffling. Felt strip is nothing compared to these pathetic glued on foam rings I keep reading about falling apart.

kevdrummer28 03-26-2013 06:09 AM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by abapicaltaenia (Post 1122719)
Porthole or no, I think muffling's a very useful tool but agree that one can get much more versatility from a relatively-lightly-pre-muffled head (powerstroke 3) than a plastic-and-glue-laden head like the EMADs and such.

This is where I was going with my original post. Glad to see we have similar ideas and I wasn't the only one.

These insanely foam/glued heads are just seeming so dumb to me.

Pocket-full-of-gold 03-26-2013 06:11 AM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kevdrummer28 (Post 1122720)
Felt strip is nothing compared to these pathetic glued on foam rings I keep reading about falling apart.

Same effect....to reduce the vibration of the head. A felt strip that runs across the drum or a foam ring that runs around the drum......very similar indeed. There's certainly more similarity to the process than differences. The degree of muffling may vary, but the principle remains the same.

porter 03-26-2013 06:12 AM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kevdrummer28 (Post 1122723)
This is where I was going with my original post. Glad to see we have similar ideas and I wasn't the only one.

These insanely foam/glued heads are just seeming so dumb to me.

I can at least agree with you there. I had a GMAD and once the initial "woah, it's a studio sound, in real life" thing wore off it just sounded like, well, a kick drum with plastic glued to it. Same thing with the school kit's Powerstroke Pro.

Bo Eder 03-26-2013 06:21 AM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
Actually, I came from the days when heads like Pinstripes were new, and Powerstroke 3's didn't exist yet. There was only one time I got my 22" Slingerland bass drum to sound good with black dots front and back and felt strips on both sides. Once. When Remo came out with the Muff'l, I jumped on those but found myself cutting the foam ring in half because it was too much.

When the PowerStroke 3 came out it was a God-send! I think everyone rejoiced ;)

But in my older age now, I'm just lazy. It was so hard to get a good sound with the felt strip, and I never got that nice round low tone like I do now with a PS3, so in this case it's good. But I did see those new heads the kids are buying and I too, think its too much. Louie Bellson once said that you want the bass drum to ring a little because by the time the sound gets to the audience, you don't hear the ring anyway. The ring is what makes it sound like a drum, and not a cardboard box!

porter 03-26-2013 06:35 AM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
Definitely, Bo. Kits that breathe, in my experience, sound better to the audience than most others. Even a tiny bit of duct tape on my floor tom head decreases the volume so drastically that I wouldn't dare bring it to a gig without properly tuning it beforehand. I can't imagine what the volume difference is like between, say, an Aquarian Force I and a Super-Kick 10.

It works for practically all performance situations- at PASIC this year, the Santa Clara Vanguard battery director (forget his name right now) was talking about this same concept on marching snares. If you crank the heads to the point of 'dead'ness from the player view, that's all there is the sound and it gets 'eaten away' if you will by the air on the way to the audience. However, with a ring & resonance to that sound, it has sort of a fatty shell for the air to eat through that leaves the core sound intact & louder to the audience. Man, I'm hungry now.

Bo Eder 03-26-2013 06:57 AM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by abapicaltaenia (Post 1122732)
Definitely, Bo. Kits that breathe, in my experience, sound better to the audience than most others. Even a tiny bit of duct tape on my floor tom head decreases the volume so drastically that I wouldn't dare bring it to a gig without properly tuning it beforehand. I can't imagine what the volume difference is like between, say, an Aquarian Force I and a Super-Kick 10.

It works for practically all performance situations- at PASIC this year, the Santa Clara Vanguard battery director (forget his name right now) was talking about this same concept on marching snares. If you crank the heads to the point of 'dead'ness from the player view, that's all there is the sound and it gets 'eaten away' if you will by the air on the way to the audience. However, with a ring & resonance to that sound, it has sort of a fatty shell for the air to eat through that leaves the core sound intact & louder to the audience. Man, I'm hungry now.

Regarding the drum corps reference, they're kinda the purveyors of what they don't like. In their quest for cleanliness from say, twelve snare drummers, the drums would not sound as clean if you went back to drums they used back in the 70s and early 80s, which to me, sounded more like snare drums. And not the over-tightened tabletops they are today. I was at DCI show this past summer and I was surprised that the modern bass drum section sound sounds like bass drums with pillows in them. I didn't get that. I really liked it when tonal bass drums were new and they rang a bit so you could actually hear the tone. But then again, they want clean, so that's the only way to get it.

porter 03-26-2013 07:23 AM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bo Eder (Post 1122736)
Regarding the drum corps reference, they're kinda the purveyors of what they don't like. In their quest for cleanliness from say, twelve snare drummers, the drums would not sound as clean if you went back to drums they used back in the 70s and early 80s, which to me, sounded more like snare drums. And not the over-tightened tabletops they are today. I was at DCI show this past summer and I was surprised that the modern bass drum section sound sounds like bass drums with pillows in them. I didn't get that. I really liked it when tonal bass drums were new and they rang a bit so you could actually hear the tone. But then again, they want clean, so that's the only way to get it.

It always seems to me like they should use that for practicing and maybe turn it down on the muffling a bit for the performance. Ah well, I couldn't care less about their cleanliness after 3 years of marching band (in the front ensemble). That kind of metronomic recital just does not interest me in the majority of DCI music I hear.

our tenor players even use Pinstripes :(

con struct 03-26-2013 07:34 AM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
I don't muffle my bass drum, and I haven't cut a hole in the reso head either.Pinstripe for the batter, coated Emperor for the front. And, surprise! It sounds like a bloody bass drum. Full and resonant with a lot of body. It speaks.

Mission accomplished.

lefty2 03-26-2013 08:41 AM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
The best kick head I've used is S.K. 1 My 80's Tour Custom 22 has one on it. My Birch Custom has a P.S. 3. I don't like it. I cut most of the dampening ring out of the inside and it sounds better. When I buy a new head it'll be S.K. 1. My kicks are ported and a thin piece of foam lightly touching both heads.

skod 03-26-2013 05:58 PM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
My favorite recorded kick drum sound of all time, bar none? Simon Phillips from his album Another Lifetime, in the first track "Jungleyes". Listen to that on a good monitoring setup and see what you think... Now, there's a classic unmuffled sound to which to aspire. Sits in the mix beautifully, too.

KarlCrafton 03-26-2013 06:05 PM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
I'm in the "taking a bass drum and tuning it to sound how you want it to sound with very little to no muffling at all" camp with my bass drums.

Since 1996, I've used single ply Coated Batters, and a regular SW (or Ebony) head on the front of my bass drums. The deeper (20", sometimes the 18" depth) bass drums get a 4" HOLZ, but the 16" depth is usually full front. I do like the feel with a small hole on the 16" depth though. It sounds great either way.

I use a small piece of foam at the bottom of the shell to soak up the bounce around, but other than that, I don't muffle my bass drums. The foam doesn't touch the heads.
Sometimes I use a small roll thing between the pedal posts and head to tighten the sound/action up a little. It's small, so it doesn't really "muffle" it.

Never have a problem, always sounds great.

I don't care for pre-muffled heads at all. They sound and feel dead to me behind the drum. Out front, they can sound good, but a Clear PS3 99% of the time has that plastic-y slap/smack sound, and I hate that. I really only have to deal with that on back line kits at festivals, so not that big a deal.
The Coated PS3 doesn't seem to have that annoying sound though.

porter 03-26-2013 06:12 PM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
A slap sound on clear PS3s, I find, is easily avoidable on my kick by taking it up a bit. However I am eager to try a coated one.

kevdrummer28 03-27-2013 07:24 AM

Re: What happened to classic bass drum tuning?
 
Thanks a lot for all your input, guys. I think I'm going to go with either a coated Emperor, or coated Powerstroke 3, and see what sound I can get without muffling.

On the last kick drum I had, goodness I hated it, but I actually achieved a money sound without any muffling, and it was a 20x20. I hated it cause it didn't fit me at all, and was a drum I had to accept in place of another kit they didn't make anymore. But I was actually able to get a sweet tuning out of it, that sound guys loved because it gave them great amount of attack, and still with enough bass to fill up the sound. But my current bass on my rock kit is 22x18. So I'm sure I'll have a little fun tuning it for the money sound again.

Really, thanks for all your input.


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