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  #1  
Old 10-02-2011, 06:11 PM
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The Gedge The Gedge is offline
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Default Taping drum heads

I'm planning to tape the heads of my toms and snare to muffle some of the sound and give a less sustained tone. I have some questions about it.
1: Is it worth bothering with?
2: What would sellotape/scotch tape do to a clear plastic drumhead if left on there for a long time?
3: Is it more effective on the resonant or the batter head?
4: Where would be the best places on the tom and snare heads to apply it?
Advice please!
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  #2  
Old 10-02-2011, 08:17 PM
audiotech
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Default Re: Taping drum heads

I wouldn't tape any of my heads but instead tune them differently. If I really had to, I would use Gaffer's tape on the batter side. If it's not on the head too long, it will come off cleanly without residue. A lot of time taping heads is just a real short cut for proper tuning. Another popular alternative would be "Moon Gel", but again most of the time it shouldn't be needed.

BTW, please don't use Scotch tape.

Dennis
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  #3  
Old 10-02-2011, 08:26 PM
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Default Re: Taping drum heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Gedge View Post
I'm planning to tape the heads of my toms and snare to muffle some of the sound and give a less sustained tone. I have some questions about it.
1: Is it worth bothering with?
2: What would sellotape/scotch tape do to a clear plastic drumhead if left on there for a long time?
3: Is it more effective on the resonant or the batter head?
4: Where would be the best places on the tom and snare heads to apply it?
Advice please!
1. It's really up to you. When I was younger, I used to use tape. Now, I don't tape my drum heads at all. If I'm recording and I need to control overtones, I might use moongels instead.
2. Like anything else you put tape on, the longer it stays on, the harder it will be to get off. Any tape will do that.
3. You can muffle either side of the head, but most drummers apply the muffling to the batter head, be it tape, moongels, internal mufflers, snare rings, etc.
4. Probably towards an edge in a place on the head that you don't usually strike it.

I'm not sure why you're planning to muffle your drums, but drums don't sound the same behind the kit as they do in front of it. A lot of the sustained tone you're talking about is inaudible to your audience and removing it actually makes your drums quieter and less full-sounding. Just my 2 cents.
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  #4  
Old 10-03-2011, 04:03 AM
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Default Re: Taping drum heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8Mile View Post
1. It's really up to you. When I was younger, I used to use tape. Now, I don't tape my drum heads at all. If I'm recording and I need to control overtones, I might use moongels instead.
2. Like anything else you put tape on, the longer it stays on, the harder it will be to get off. Any tape will do that.
3. You can muffle either side of the head, but most drummers apply the muffling to the batter head, be it tape, moongels, internal mufflers, snare rings, etc.
4. Probably towards an edge in a place on the head that you don't usually strike it.

I'm not sure why you're planning to muffle your drums, but drums don't sound the same behind the kit as they do in front of it. A lot of the sustained tone you're talking about is inaudible to your audience and removing it actually makes your drums quieter and less full-sounding. Just my 2 cents.
X2 one of the most common mistakes drummers make is tuning for what they hear behind the kit and not what is heard in front. Stand 10 ft in front of your kit and have someone else play it, If not happy with the sound adjust the tuning. Also keep in mind the tone of the drums will dramatically change depending on the room you are in. If you play out in different rooms you will need to tune the kit to the room.
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  #5  
Old 10-03-2011, 04:40 AM
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Default Re: Taping drum heads

if you're taping your heads i think you're using the wrong head or tuning it wrong.

my 2cents.
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  #6  
Old 10-03-2011, 06:45 PM
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Default Re: Taping drum heads

Muffling toms and snare is frowned upon here generally speaking. If you're unmiced, you're killing your tone in the audience by muffling. But if you must muffle, a little tape near the edge should do it, but even with the most minimal amount of muffling, you are still killing your tone from the audiences perspective. Those overtones are what makes a drum sound like a drum and when you muffle your overtones out, it doesn't sound like a drum anymore. Instead it sounds like you're hitting sheets of cardboard. But if it makes you happy, muffle away.
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  #7  
Old 10-03-2011, 06:57 PM
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Default Re: Taping drum heads

Don't do it man it's a trap!!!!!! If you feel the need to muffle, do it VERY VERY VERY sparingly. A little tape goes a long way. If you find that you need a whole bunch of tape (in my book that's a piece of tape the length of my pointer finger or more) you have a tuning issue or you need new heads. Sometimes old heads can have some funky overtones. I encourage you to look up Bob Gatzen's tuning videos on youtube.

Good luck,

-Kyle
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  #8  
Old 10-03-2011, 07:34 PM
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Default Re: Taping drum heads

It's also a mental shift into forcing yourself to realize that those overtones sound good. My guess is the OP has never heard a recording of himself with his muffled toms. That's what stopped me from muffling, a recording of my lifeless, cardboard-y sounding, very lightly muffled toms.

I like the overtones because they make the note's duration a little longer. When it's muffled and the note just stops short....I can't stand that sound.
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  #9  
Old 10-05-2011, 03:54 AM
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Default Re: Taping drum heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
It's also a mental shift into forcing yourself to realize that those overtones sound good. My guess is the OP has never heard a recording of himself with his muffled toms. That's what stopped me from muffling, a recording of my lifeless, cardboard-y sounding, very lightly muffled toms.

I like the overtones because they make the note's duration a little longer. When it's muffled and the note just stops short....I can't stand that sound.
thank don henley for that. of course ringo's drums were muffled on later recordings.

but henley abused the frikkin' privilege!!! how much duct tape, foam, wallets, kotex can you put on one drum??????
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  #10  
Old 10-11-2011, 11:42 PM
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Lunar Satellite Brian Lunar Satellite Brian is offline
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Default Re: Taping drum heads

Don't do it.

Moon gel if you're that desperate.
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  #11  
Old 10-12-2011, 07:53 AM
Biscuit Biscuit is offline
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Default Re: Taping drum heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8Mile View Post
I'm not sure why you're planning to muffle your drums, but drums don't sound the same behind the kit as they do in front of it. A lot of the sustained tone you're talking about is inaudible to your audience and removing it actually makes your drums quieter and less full-sounding.
I'm going to third this. Also i would never put tape of any kind on any drum. To me, it just looks unprofessional and can make a really beautiful drum look like garbage. If you need some dampening pick up some moongel or dampening rings.
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  #12  
Old 10-12-2011, 01:56 PM
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Default Re: Taping drum heads

Okay, I'll provide another perspective, but first I'll say that like everyone else so far, I don't muffle my drums with anything, not even my kick drum.

BUT. There are sounds that only massively taped up drums can get. As nickg pointed out, there was Don Henley and Ringo using rolls of duct tape and towels to kill any hope of a tonally rich sound that most of us like, but there are also a lot of modern drummers (and some really good ones) who are going for some of that retro-vibe and are doing a lot of muffling. Bands like MGMT, Phoenix, and The Black Keys all have drummers that dampen the hell outta everything. Seems to work for them.

Not my sound, but it has a certain vibe to it.
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  #13  
Old 10-12-2011, 02:09 PM
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Default Re: Taping drum heads

I must admit when I was a young lad I went through a stage where I applied tape to my heads.
When I learned how to tune I stopped because I wanted to hear the wonderful tone that I created.

I use heads with built in dampening on my bass drum and sometimes on my snare.
If I am recording I use factory dampened heads on my toms sometimes.

With the factory dampened head choices that exist there is no reason to put tape on drumheads.
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  #14  
Old 10-12-2011, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: Taping drum heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
I must admit when I was a young lad I went through a stage where I applied tape to my heads.
When I learned how to tune I stopped because I wanted to hear the wonderful tone that I created.

I use heads with built in dampening on my bass drum and sometimes on my snare.
If I am recording I use factory dampened heads on my toms sometimes.

With the factory dampened head choices that exist there is no reason to put tape on drumheads.
Well said Bob. Luckily we don't have to tape heads anymore because of the great head choices out there. Hopefully we will never fall back into the concert tom, kill the drum sound era. :)
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  #15  
Old 10-12-2011, 04:32 PM
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Default Re: Taping drum heads

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Originally Posted by sticks4drums View Post
Well said Bob. Luckily we don't have to tape heads anymore because of the great head choices out there. Hopefully we will never fall back into the concert tom, kill the drum sound era. :)
It's kind of funny, I was doing some close mic recording with my Pearl Rhythm Traveler kit recently. The toms of course have no bottom heads.
I had Evans Coated EC1 heads on the toms and I tuned them tight.
I got a really great warm sound with a long sustain.
I was shocked.
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  #16  
Old 10-12-2011, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: Taping drum heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
It's kind of funny, I was doing some close mic recording with my Pearl Rhythm Traveler kit recently. The toms of course have no bottom heads.
I had Evans Coated EC1 heads on the toms and I tuned them tight.
I got a really great warm sound with a long sustain.
I was shocked.
Must of been the room more than the drums I would think.
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  #17  
Old 10-12-2011, 07:22 PM
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Deathmetalconga Deathmetalconga is offline
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Default Re: Taping drum heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Gedge View Post
I'm planning to tape the heads of my toms and snare to muffle some of the sound and give a less sustained tone. I have some questions about it.
1: Is it worth bothering with?
2: What would sellotape/scotch tape do to a clear plastic drumhead if left on there for a long time?
3: Is it more effective on the resonant or the batter head?
4: Where would be the best places on the tom and snare heads to apply it?
Advice please!
What kinds of heads are you using? It sounds like you need to use thicker drum heads.
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  #18  
Old 10-12-2011, 08:45 PM
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Default Re: Taping drum heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8Mile View Post
When I was younger, I used to use tape. Now, I don't tape my drum heads at all. If I'm recording and I need to control overtones, I might use moongels instead.
Same here. Seems to go with age, like playing increasingly dark cymbals.


Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
It's also a mental shift into forcing yourself to realize that those overtones sound good.
Yep, especially with snare. I used to think overtones sounded "amateur" ... holy mother of Mergatroid!


Quote:
Originally Posted by konaboy View Post
X2 one of the most common mistakes drummers make is tuning for what they hear behind the kit and not what is heard in front. Stand 10 ft in front of your kit and have someone else play it,
Good point. These days I rely on others' feedback because no one in my current band seems keen to get behind the kit. The poor creatures don't understand the joys ...


Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
... There are sounds that only massively taped up drums can get. As nickg pointed out, there was Don Henley and Ringo using rolls of duct tape and towels to kill any hope of a tonally rich sound that most of us like, but there are also a lot of modern drummers (and some really good ones) who are going for some of that retro-vibe and are doing a lot of muffling. Bands like MGMT, Phoenix, and The Black Keys all have drummers that dampen the hell outta everything. Seems to work for them.
Yep.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdadruma
It's kind of funny, I was doing some close mic recording with my Pearl Rhythm Traveler kit recently. The toms of course have no bottom heads.
I had Evans Coated EC1 heads on the toms and I tuned them tight.
I got a really great warm sound with a long sustain.
I was shocked.
That happened to me at a gig in 2009. I was shocked too and commented to the engineer, who said "Yeah, those little drums scrub up great".

Thing is, we don't like to admit that a drum whose design flies in the face of all we consider essential for a good sound can sound great :) Acoustically they're pretty quirky but when they're close mic'd they suddenly get a tasty boom.
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