Originally Posted by cdrums21
I really wanted to play my Bonham kit live in a current band I work with, so I decided to change a couple of things to try to "modernize" the sound somewhat. I tried tuning the toms a little lower and replaced the batter head on the kick drum with a clear powerstroke 3 and cut a small hole in the resonant head for easier mic'ing purposes. I'll tell you what man, I like the original way it was set up soooo much better. With the higher tuning on the toms and the full head on the bass drum resonant side and a coated emp on the batter side, those drums just sound huge. Tons more powerful and fun to play. Bonzo nailed the sound on that type of kit. It just doesn't sound right using "today's" tuning techniques and head combinations. I quickly switched back to the way I originally had it. It's a different animal for sure, but you just can't get that sound any other way. It's not really appropriate for commercial dance rock stuff like we mostly do, mostly due to the huge boomy bass drum, but it just kills for that classic Zeppelin sound. It also sounds great mic'ed up similar to the Ocheltree video, using room mic's and a mic on the resonant and batter side of the kick.
I guess it comes down to bringing out the qualities of the shells through heads and tuning, and what you're looking for in a drum sound. I have a DW "X" shell kit with a 22x18 virgin kick, 12x9 mounted tom on a stand and 14x12 and 16x14 floor toms. Those drums sound awesome with a Powerstroke 3 on the kick drum tuned very low, ported front head and clear or coated emperors on the toms tuned to a low midrange. Very punchy and fat and they mic up extremely well. They rip your face off in the front of house. To try the Bonham kit approach with that kit yields the same results as trying to modernize the vintage Ludwigs....they just don't sound as good. I already knew that about the DW's, I'm just posting this to share for those who are thinking about applying a Bonham type tuning to their "modern" sounding kit. It really doesn't work in my opinion, but who knows, some may actually like it....
I agree. Applying the "modern sound" to the Bonham kit leaves it sounding very dead, thuddy, and boring. This approach doesn't accentuate the shell's natural qualities. I have a Gretsch Renown Purewood Oak kit that I use to go for the more "modern sound", and it delivers perfectly. But there's something about the Bonham kit... I can never make up my mind over which kit I like more. Like you said, it's all about what's appropriate for the music. But I feel very fortunate to have two very different options available to me.