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  #1  
Old 11-18-2009, 12:16 PM
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Pollyanna Pollyanna is offline
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Default Plastic brushes

On another thread there was talk of plastic brushes.

When I first started with the current band I wasn't sure that I'd be able to use sticks and needed to learn brushes. I thought plastic brushes would give the sound a bit more oomph but went back to wire after one tryout. The sound was awful to my ear.

So I have a fairly expensive pair of plastic brushes at home not being used. Does anyone know of a way of using them that doesn't sound tinny and horrible?
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  #2  
Old 11-18-2009, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

I just brought my first pair of plastic brushes (I was sick of bent wires) The jury's still out on the sound, haven't had many gigs lately and haven't got a chance to evaluate them. I wish the would make a hybrid brush that has plastic with metal tips. Another drum product that could be created and you heard it here first.
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  #3  
Old 11-18-2009, 04:20 PM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

Polly,

I use (sometimes) Vater's Monster Brushes.



Is this what you're talking about or more like a traditional brush but of platic instead of metal?

There are so many types.


If it's the latter, then you might be sort of stuck with that tinny sound. They're just too light. The Monster Brushes are cool because they are heavier and if you roll the O-ring rubber band back toward the handle more, you can get a nice heavier brush sound.

Played tight, they give a soft but meaty thump and are pretty decent. They're very thick though so they feel a little awkward.
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  #4  
Old 11-19-2009, 07:40 AM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

TT, I bought two pairs:

Flix Rock Brush. I think the other pair are Vic Firth jazz rakes which look a lot like the red brush in your pic.

With the former I suspect they would only be suitable for hitting very hard because they make the most hideous "tak" sound on the snare playing soft. Same with rods in my experience.

With the jazz rake I find the sweeping sound lacks the tasty soothness of wire brushes. I also find the sound tinny when tapping, although they're less harsh than the Rock Brush.

I have a feeling that these "input devices" are capable of better than what I've experienced. After all, some drummer must have given them the thumbs up in the QC process. I musn't be using them correctly, or perhaps neither are suitable for the low volume music my band plays.

It may be a matter of plastic brushes only being suitable when wire brushes aren't loud enough ... ?

Re: traditional brushes, I've had an old Ludwig brushes for years (retractable, rubber handle). I switched to Regal Tip non-retractable because you can use the wooden end for rim-clicks (best sound seems to be on the "A" of "Regal Tip" written on the handle). But it means the wires are more vulnerable.

Larry, yep, bent wires are a pain. I had to snip off some bent wires just the other day after the brushes fell out of their protective tube in my carry bag.
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  #5  
Old 11-19-2009, 07:48 AM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

This is why I have multiple stick bags. Different things for different applications. What sounds wrong may sound right somewhere else. They may have been too loud for your band Pol.

Hey I am thinking of going to Bondi Icebergs on Sunday to see a mate play. Great drummer. If I go do you wanna come along?
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  #6  
Old 11-19-2009, 08:00 AM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. It seems like you need to whack the drums hard with the flat of the bristles because when you tap with the tips it sounds bleagh.

Who's the band, Wy? What time? I have a serious Monday coming up at work.

Another lesson this week?
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  #7  
Old 11-19-2009, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

I haven't had any satisfying experiences with plastic brushes when trying to play the more traditional horizontal sweeping style of playing. Like the OP said, they've just never sounded as full as a good pair of wire brushes. And FWIW, I play a lot of brushes either live or practicing

I do use Blasticks when appropriate but only when playing vertically. I also find that if I am using the Blasticks, I end up doing a lot of rim shots to get a fuller sound, even on toms.

The only big name jazz player I've seen using plastic brushes was Jimmy Cobb on a cable TV show. He sounded great but it wasn't that intimate of a mix so who knows what the brushes sounded like up close.

Jim
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  #8  
Old 11-19-2009, 10:51 PM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

I love the Vater Blue Monsters, but i think its because i have no brush technique what so ever so its a good cheater cause there are so many plastic wires. . .I have only used them on country beat shuffles tho, nothing to crazy. . . I have a pair that i think are similar to your red ones, and im with you, just cant get a good sound out of them. . .
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  #9  
Old 11-21-2009, 03:54 PM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

Plastic brushes deliver the appropriate sound for more modern music, especially new age jazz. Use them when you want something extra. Don't discard them. They have their place.
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  #10  
Old 11-23-2009, 08:05 AM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lengo View Post
Plastic brushes deliver the appropriate sound for more modern music, especially new age jazz. Use them when you want something extra. Don't discard them. They have their place.
Thx Lengo

Do you use them? If so, when playing quietly, how do you avoid that tinny "tak!" sound they make when I tried them?

All guidance appreciated
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  #11  
Old 11-23-2009, 06:35 PM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
Thx Lengo

Do you use them? If so, when playing quietly, how do you avoid that tinny "tak!" sound they make when I tried them?

All guidance appreciated
I like that tak sound some times!

If you have iTunes (and I hope you do), go searching for international music. India (Bollywood) has lots of different percussive sounds, and I suspect that some of the tracks use these plastics to good advantage on a standard kit. Also, look up Dela Dap and the 17 Hippies, and Trilok Gurtu (some really amazing stuff from both of these artists).

I agree. These plastics sound awful for traditional jazz, but for international music and acid jazz (and sometimes Dixieland), they have their place. Experiment with them. Expand your concepts. Use these for some very interesting sounds with more (or very) modern stuff. Different sounds are always welcome!

edit:

Oops! Almost forgot. Try some Scandinavian Pop music that has traditional influences. I think you'll like what you hear!
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  #12  
Old 11-23-2009, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post

Another lesson this week?

It was too bloody hot anyway to go to Bondi. :-)


What a stinking day!


This friday evening would be good for a lesson. Let me know.
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  #13  
Old 11-24-2009, 12:09 AM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lengo View Post
I like that tak sound some times!

If you have iTunes (and I hope you do), go searching for international music. India (Bollywood) has lots of different percussive sounds, and I suspect that some of the tracks use these plastics to good advantage on a standard kit. Also, look up Dela Dap and the 17 Hippies, and Trilok Gurtu (some really amazing stuff from both of these artists).

I agree. These plastics sound awful for traditional jazz, but for international music and acid jazz (and sometimes Dixieland), they have their place. Experiment with them. Expand your concepts. Use these for some very interesting sounds with more (or very) modern stuff. Different sounds are always welcome!

edit:

Oops! Almost forgot. Try some Scandinavian Pop music that has traditional influences. I think you'll like what you hear!
I see, Lengo. Don't avoid the "tak" ... Embrace The Tak! :)

I was shocked when I first tried it. I kept thinking I must have been missing something because it couldn't possibly sound that bad applied properly. So it turns out that the answer is more about context than execution.

I suspect your response will be useful for others as well.

Yep Wy, I'm on for a hit out this Friday. Since the band is now rehearsing my fill in for my downtime it's the only way I'll get my drumming fix!

I just hid from the heat all Sunday. I went for a walk at about 7pm and by the time I was a few blocks home I was semi delirious, head spinning and finding it hard to breathe. Not sure I would do too well crossing the Simpson Desert ...
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  #14  
Old 11-24-2009, 12:16 AM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

Okay Pol. I'll keep the spot open.
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  #15  
Old 11-24-2009, 12:57 AM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

I like the REGALTIP Blastick. They have limitations, But they are the best that I have ever used. When Im using wire, I use the Zildjian brushes with the 90 degree bend (or rake) at the edge.
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  #16  
Old 11-25-2009, 10:36 AM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

Yeah Bob, the Blasticks sound good here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N930IEJbMPQ

I take the Zildkians have a soft, curved bend like the Steve Gadd brushes? A 90 bend is pretty extreme.
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  #17  
Old 11-25-2009, 05:06 PM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
I see, Lengo. Don't avoid the "tak" ... Embrace The Tak! :)
Yes! Embrace the tak! It can be your friend. Tak will build postitive karma! Tak and Tik are the Hindu incarnations of past drummers from all over the world. Become one with them. :)

Quote:
I just hid from the heat all Sunday. I went for a walk at about 7pm and by the time I was a few blocks home I was semi delirious, head spinning and finding it hard to breathe. Not sure I would do too well crossing the Simpson Desert ...
HEAT? WHAT? Where in this world do you live? It's colder than a well digger's butt in Alaska here! And the rain... the rain.... THE RAIN! IT NEVER CEASES! I think I'll go crazy if I see one more drop. Oops! Arrrrgh!

p.s. If you got palm trees where you live, I'm moving in with you!

p.p.s. If you were semi delirious, head spinning and finding it hard to breathe, you probably needed a beer. :)
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  #18  
Old 11-27-2009, 12:11 AM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lengo View Post
Yes! Embrace the tak! It can be your friend. Tak will build postitive karma! Tak and Tik are the Hindu incarnations of past drummers from all over the world. Become one with them. :)
Talk about coincidence. Our band plays a blues shuffle on which I use brushes - all tapped. I'll be unavailable for gigging in December so we're training up a fill in drummer. Lo and behold, he brought out plastic brushes and it added a bit of extra oomph.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lengo View Post
HEAT? WHAT? Where in this world do you live? It's colder than a well digger's butt in Alaska here! And the rain... the rain.... THE RAIN! IT NEVER CEASES! I think I'll go crazy if I see one more drop. Oops! Arrrrgh!

p.s. If you got palm trees where you live, I'm moving in with you!

p.p.s. If you were semi delirious, head spinning and finding it hard to breathe, you probably needed a beer. :)
Sydney. It will be 34C today. There are two palm trees in my street but that's unusual. They're a bit tatty because we aren't tropical enough. How anyone could live in Alaska is beyond me. How do you cope with the endless cold and snow? I suffer in Sydney winters where it can get as low as 4C overnight. It's hell! I suspect that if it was 4C in Alaska everyone would go swimming :)
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  #19  
Old 11-27-2009, 01:01 AM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

I don't live in Alaska. I live in Oregon, USA. "Oregon" is a native american word that means "Place where it never stops f*ckin' raining!" :)
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  #20  
Old 11-27-2009, 02:48 AM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

Ahhh, I see. Should I make a Homer Simpson sound now?

You make Oregon sound like the US's answer to Germany or New Zealand's south island.
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  #21  
Old 11-28-2009, 02:16 AM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

No, actually Oregon is a great place. The summers are mild and there's lots of outdoor festivals with live music. Spring is filled with flowers and plenty of rainbows. Fall is colorful, and is picture postcard perfect. And winter is our tourist season. We are number one on the tourist circuit for amphibians!

Another good thing is that there's lots of Hippies here. You know what that means! DRUM CIRCLES! 8-)

Oregon is also a haven for artists. They paint blue skies and puffy clouds and our rugged mountains, and seascapes of jagged coastlines. When they come in winter, they save money. They only need one color -- gray.

The best thing about Oregon is there is a wide variety of music here. People come from all over. There are Hispanics, Chinese, Muslims, and plenty of people of European descent. Most of us get along just fine. This brings a wide variety of music here, and each nationality influences another music style. This part is good. Very good.

So come up for a visit sometime! Bring your drums and sit in on any of the drum circles. And bring your retractable, plastic brushes too. When you're not playing with them, they make great roach clips! Both rockers and jazz players LOVE those brushes! They do dual duty, and are perfect for those days when you just wanna lay around and listen to the rain for inspiration on new rhythms. Tippetty tappety, tappety tippety, tak tik TAK!

8-)
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  #22  
Old 11-28-2009, 01:42 PM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

A mild summer would be welcome. I was playing tennis tonight and ever after 8pm it was 30C and ultra humid. Melted for a while and had to stop mid-set because I was getting dehydrated and nauseous. The downside of global warming :(

Lotsa hippies sounds good too. I live near Sydney's largest concentration of hippies but there aren't a whole lot of drum circles. Mostly they seem to hand out socialist blah on the streets.

I expect that if I travelled with plastic brushes they couldn't go in the hand luggage because I might use them to hijack the plane.

My Vic Firth plastic brushes are a bit dodgy, too. The spring doodad in one of them malfunctioned after just a few weeks of learning sweeping on a pide box lid and is a bit floppy.
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  #23  
Old 11-28-2009, 03:26 PM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

The upside of global warming -- you get to drink more beer to keep cool.

Socialism is good. Ask any insurance agent.

Yes, you might be suspect of trying to hijack a plane with plastic brushes, but if you can afford to fly, then you can afford to buy a pair when you arrive at your destination.

You can easily recycle your dodgy brushes. Pull off the end of the tube. Pull out the brushes. Replace the brushes with a ceramic pipe that will fit in the brush's tube. Drill a hole in the side of the ceramic. Drill a large bowl in the top of the ceramic. Put the brush extended in the end of the ceramic. Reassemble the thing. Pyschedelicize the plastic tube with Hippie paint. You now have a super groovy, retractable hash pipe! Like, far out, man!

Now when you play Little Wing (I watched your video), you'll become more 'experienced'. Have you ever been experienced?

8-)

"....butterflies and zebras and fairy tales, that's all she ever can see, riding with the wind..."
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  #24  
Old 11-29-2009, 12:44 AM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

haha - hippies got it right. All that nudity is purpose-built for global warming and if all plane passengers were forced to travel naked then there would be vastly reduced risk them having sharp objects on/in their person.

I'll stay with sticks in Little Wing, though. I was playing a shortcut version of the Mitch fill in the clip but since cleaned up and now play the ruffs. I can't play ruffs with brushes, even plastic ones.
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  #25  
Old 11-29-2009, 09:21 PM
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

Can't play a ruff with brushes? Look! Just tie a St. Bernard to your snare stand and smack him with a brush when you need a ruff. It'll work.

Fly nekkid? I don't think so! I'm more likely to get stabbed if people saw me nekkid, so no ma'am! I'm keeping myself covered! I'm even gonna get me a bigger hat, just to be sure.

Kids these days! They don't know nuthin'! Do I gotta teach you everything?

I can just see it! Nekkid people everywhere! Dang! Most of 'em is ugly. I don't wanna see ugly people nekkid! I wanna see pretty people nekkid. Most people would never get married, they's so ugly. Then again, that would keep population growth under control. And hey, mostly just pretty people would be born in the future. But then, pretty soon we'd all be pretty, so how would we tell who's ugly. It's all relative, ya know. We need ugly people.... just keep 'em covered, and keep 'em off of airplanes (and busses too).

Nope. No nekkid people allowed. Only on Friday nights, and in private! And for us seniors, every third Thursday of the month, in every other month.

".... and he's walking.... in a cloud... with a circus mind... that's runnin' round....
'Saying it's alright, it's alright... do anything you want to me, on the third Thursday of January...."

Say! What are you doin' on that day? Wanna get lucky? 8-)

Knowing you, you'll probably be doin' your hair and practicing your ruffs. @#$%!
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  #26  
Old 06-21-2010, 07:24 PM
phfreq phfreq is offline
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Default Re: Plastic brushes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
TT, I bought two pairs:

Flix Rock Brush. I think the other pair are Vic Firth jazz rakes which look a lot like the red brush in your pic.

With the former I suspect they would only be suitable for hitting very hard because they make the most hideous "tak" sound on the snare playing soft. Same with rods in my experience.

With the jazz rake I find the sweeping sound lacks the tasty soothness of wire brushes. I also find the sound tinny when tapping, although they're less harsh than the Rock Brush.

I have a feeling that these "input devices" are capable of better than what I've experienced. After all, some drummer must have given them the thumbs up in the QC process. I musn't be using them correctly, or perhaps neither are suitable for the low volume music my band plays.

It may be a matter of plastic brushes only being suitable when wire brushes aren't loud enough ... ?

Re: traditional brushes, I've had an old Ludwig brushes for years (retractable, rubber handle). I switched to Regal Tip non-retractable because you can use the wooden end for rim-clicks (best sound seems to be on the "A" of "Regal Tip" written on the handle). But it means the wires are more vulnerable.

Larry, yep, bent wires are a pain. I had to snip off some bent wires just the other day after the brushes fell out of their protective tube in my carry bag.

came to this thread from another brush thread :-)

just recently bought nylon brushes (promark) and haven't really used it much yet. First time I tried them last year, didn't like the sound but for some reason, I kinda dig the sound this year :-)

here's a video of nylon brushes used on a different surface :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dj_svCl4bI4

Last edited by phfreq; 06-21-2010 at 08:48 PM.
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