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  #1  
Old 01-26-2013, 03:56 AM
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Default Quieter kit needed

I played a show last night with a minimal setup (20x18 kick, chad smith snare, hats and an 18" crash used as a multi).

We scored a residency at that club and one of the comments from the crowd was that the drums were too loud. I asked if perhaps the other instruments were too quiet but the consensus was that they weren't.

First off I am not interested in using brushes or canes, and I'm not going to go and buy an 18" kick. I am looking for a few solutions as to how I can still enjoy myself while making less noise.

So far I have thought off putting alot more muffling in the kick, switching to a wooden snare drum, tuning low, using a muffling ring, and perhaps smaller sticks (I use 5bs). I can make an effort to playing quieter but as it is I'm not a hard hitter.

Am I missing something? Is there a particular snare head that I could be using?

I have 3 wood snares, 2 14x5.5 and a 13x7, would the 13 be best?

Thanks!
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:10 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

was the kit mic'd? Were the other instruments mic'd?

Was there one piece of the kit that people were complaining about like the bass, the snare, cymbals?
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:15 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

Don't hit as hard?

Seriously, snare drums are especially freaking loud.

I've heard un mic'd acoustic kit overpower amplified guitars many times. The kicks are easy to deal with. The snare and cymbals are usually the culprits.
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:35 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

Bunches of things. Lighter sticks, maple 5As or even smaller like SD4s. Choking up on the stick rather than holding it down at the end. Practicing super quietly low to the drums so you get used to playing soft without choking the drive. There is a lot of work out there for a drummer who can play quietly. People like to hire someone who won't drown them out. There is an art to swinging at the drum and letting up at the last second so you are still in time but not loud.

Then there are the things you can do to the drums. Damped heads like the EC3s. These drive me nuts sitting in on a normal gig where people have them as I feel like I have to pound them compared to my undamped G2s (G1 or Ambassador on the snare). Also, tuning the reso head on the snare lower so there isn't such a sharp crack. You don't have to sound like Johnny Vidacovitch, but you may discover that you like the versatility of sounds you can get this way. I use either a cheap maple Ludwig that I put wood hoops on or an Acrolite tuned on the low side for quiet gigs. Small and/or thin crash cymbals. I have an A-Custom fast crash that still sounds good at conversational volumes. I put a sizzle chain on my 18" and it sounds good at low volumes.
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:49 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dre25 View Post
I played a show last night with a minimal setup (20x18 kick, chad smith snare, hats and an 18" crash used as a multi).

We scored a residency at that club and one of the comments from the crowd was that the drums were too loud. I asked if perhaps the other instruments were too quiet but the consensus was that they weren't.

First off I am not interested in using brushes or canes, and I'm not going to go and buy an 18" kick. I am looking for a few solutions as to how I can still enjoy myself while making less noise.

So far I have thought off putting alot more muffling in the kick, switching to a wooden snare drum, tuning low, using a muffling ring, and perhaps smaller sticks (I use 5bs). I can make an effort to playing quieter but as it is I'm not a hard hitter.

Am I missing something? Is there a particular snare head that I could be using?

I have 3 wood snares, 2 14x5.5 and a 13x7, would the 13 be best?

Thanks!
Ya, it's probably that Chad Smith snare that was the culprit. Man, that thing cracks like a whip. The other drummer we jam with uses one. Maybe you need a deeper brass one tuned way down low for that type of gig. I don't really know, I'm just taking a guess.

Other than that, you can put one of those sound walls in front of your kit like they do in those church band set-ups.
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  #6  
Old 01-26-2013, 07:46 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

If you aren't willing to play with something other than sticks, or use smaller drums, then it's going to be hard to reach your goal here. The best you can do is play lightly, which I find far less fun than just using some thin bundle-sticks and actually being able to put some spunk in your playing, while staying quiet.

Check out specifically the pro-mark "cool rods". They are small and light, to me they feel the closest to a real stick out of all the bundle options I've tried(about like a 7a). Taping the top and middle with electrical tape not only adds some needed weight, but solidifies the feel of the stick, again making it seem more like a regular solid-wood stick. Even with all this, it's much quiet-er, especially on the cymbals, which tend to be the loud part that irritates people.
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  #7  
Old 01-26-2013, 08:10 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

Kona - nothing was mic'd, attached is a pic of the setup.

I asked my friend and he said it was the snare and hats, that were offensive as there were "alot of highs in the room"... I guessed it was the snare but not the hats.

He said the "ride" which is actually a ufip 18" rough series crash didn't cut through, maybe it's because it's a very very dry cymbal, which leads me to believe I could use some drier hats and then they won't be so offensive... am I on the right track?

might be my excuse to get some benny greb hats :)

I'm thinking of using my Akira Jimbo snare for this gig... I have an evans onyx that can go on it with a control ring, might just do the job. Might try the EC3's and smaller sticks and softer playing as suggested too.
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  #8  
Old 01-26-2013, 08:58 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
If you aren't willing to play with something other than sticks, or use smaller drums, then it's going to be hard to reach your goal here. The best you can do is play lightly, which I find far less fun than just using some thin bundle-sticks and actually being able to put some spunk in your playing, while staying quiet.

Check out specifically the pro-mark "cool rods". They are small and light, to me they feel the closest to a real stick out of all the bundle options I've tried(about like a 7a). Taping the top and middle with electrical tape not only adds some needed weight, but solidifies the feel of the stick, again making it seem more like a regular solid-wood stick. Even with all this, it's much quiet-er, especially on the cymbals, which tend to be the loud part that irritates people.
Heavy +1 for the ProMark Cool Rods (or even Hot Rods at a little thicker). Coincidentally, I just got back from playing a gig tonight using the Hot Rods. They are a great compromise in keeping volume down while still playing with some "oomph".

I too use a 20x16 kick, 14x14 floor, 20" Multi ride, 14" hats, and a 14x6.5" Ludwig Supraphonic as my small gig kit. Works beautifully with the Hot Rods and I get compliments from my band mates, bar patrons, and staff every single time. I'd rather have them tell us to turn it up rather than down.

Believe me, I was in your shoes and fought real hard with myself "Oh I should buy this and that to make it quieter." In the end it was using the Hot Rods exclusively that made a WORLD of a difference. Do not be afraid to try them out. Not only ProMark but Vic Firth, Vater, Ahead, etc make variants of these kinds of bundle sticks.

And finally, yes, be mindful of the type of room you're in - low ceilings, tile, hardwood floors, and on and on affect the sound, reverb, and how the drums travel within the room. You learn over time how to adapt to different room types/venues.
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  #9  
Old 01-26-2013, 10:54 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

You don't need CoolRods or any other piece of gear.
This is not a jab at you but I see this with almost every drummer I have seen in club/rest. gigs. It appears as if you need to work on limb balance. Record yourself with a single mic 10' in front of the kit a few feet off the ground. What do you hear?
Throwing money towards buying "quiet" gear is not going to do you any good. If your hats and snare are too loud it is not their fault. Dry hats or a wooden snare might take some of the edge off, but it is your hands you need to take control of. The room also makes a huge difference in which frequencies and reflections cut through in the nastiest of ways. Muffling can help but you would be better off tuning your technique to the room instead of trying to make your kit sound like cardboard.

I learned this when I picked up the sticks thanks to my teacher. It became glaringly obvious by playing with acoustic string and guitar trios in fancy-pants restaurants years later. Nothing scares a diner, or makes the restaurateur hate you, more than laying into a 24" ride 4' away from a $500 tab table.

Again this is not a jab at you, but I notice this often on the rare occasions I am able to see a live group. The hands are almost always the culprit as the hats and snare, especially drummers who rimshot every backbeat, are often too loud.
Internal dynamics and balance don't seem to be high on the priority list of most drummers these days.
I commend you for realizing there is a problem though, and I hope you figure out what you can do to please your band and venue owner.
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Last edited by ineedaclutch; 01-26-2013 at 10:58 AM. Reason: I forgot to mention the not needing CoolRods or any other crap spiel.
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  #10  
Old 01-26-2013, 11:27 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

I thumped for 20+ years and in the last few years I've had to tone it down.

The biggest benefit to this end for me came from choking up on the sticks. Other things that helped were using lighter sticks (small bead sticks are gentler on the ride and hats) and, of course, privately practising playing quietly with intensity, though that takes time and you need a quick fix.

Never liked rods on the snare myself (tak!) but you may find a song or two that will benefit from using them. Or brushes for that matter - you can still make a fair racket with brushes if you want.
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  #11  
Old 01-26-2013, 02:01 PM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

I haven't given it a whole lot of thought but if you go down this quiet passage, does it affect your ability to play loud?

What's choking up on the sticks?
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  #12  
Old 01-26-2013, 02:16 PM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

Yes it will affect playing loud, it makes it easier because you have more control, also sounds better. Also tuning your snare down will help make it blend more and cut less, smaller sticks are definitely needed, 5As would be fine. And as clutch says its mainly the hands and individual limb dynamic control, but that's actually a difficult skill that takes time (a few months minimum) to really do right.

Choking the sticks is holding them further forward, I prefer the train your hands method but for a quick fix it works, but that would affect your ability to play loudly.
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  #13  
Old 01-26-2013, 03:12 PM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

I'll echo the general vibe of learning to play with a lighter touch in general.
Aside from that though, I have a few suggestions that might help in the gear department that may ease the ears of your listeners until your hands get used to it.

For your bass drum: try switching out the beater to one of the fluffy vintage style ones.

Hi hats: This might sound messed up, but try stuffing some balled up tissues into the bell/bow area between the hats.
Too many will affect the action and kill all of the sizzle but 3-5 seems to cut a lot of the roughness.

Sticks: I'd definitely suggest a pair of multi rods of whatever brand, Watso mentioned taping the ends which should remove some of the 'tick' if that's not what you're looking for.
I know that Vic makes soft tip sticks in various sizes too, felt covered tips.
Not as soft as mallets and you still get articulation, they seem to take a bit of the edge off pingy or bright cymbals.
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:19 PM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

You can also loosen the snare head a bit so it doesn't have so much crack, and you can invert your hats. No money expended.
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  #15  
Old 01-26-2013, 03:22 PM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

Dark cymbals could help out a bit but I must admit I like dark cymbals for everything;-) I would also use a wood snare.
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:34 PM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dre25 View Post
I played a show last night with a minimal setup (20x18 kick, chad smith snare, hats and an 18" crash used as a multi).

We scored a residency at that club and one of the comments from the crowd was that the drums were too loud. I asked if perhaps the other instruments were too quiet but the consensus was that they weren't.

First off I am not interested in using brushes or canes, and I'm not going to go and buy an 18" kick. I am looking for a few solutions as to how I can still enjoy myself while making less noise.

So far I have thought off putting alot more muffling in the kick, switching to a wooden snare drum, tuning low, using a muffling ring, and perhaps smaller sticks (I use 5bs). I can make an effort to playing quieter but as it is I'm not a hard hitter.

Am I missing something? Is there a particular snare head that I could be using?

I have 3 wood snares, 2 14x5.5 and a 13x7, would the 13 be best?

Thanks!
Why are you oposed to using brushes or rods (canes)? If the music calls for it, why not use it? Not to say you have to use those on every acoustic gig, but use what the music dictates.

However, a quieter (wood) snare and a little all around tuning/muffling will probably get you into the volume range you're looking for. That and dynamic control.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:48 PM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

solution is achievable In this order:
1. lighter touch
2. wood snare tuned low
3 lighter sticks
4. blanket on bass drum (its a deep one)

Thats a small place. With that kind of kit you're mostly keeping time right?... rutes sound great for that. You know, Nirvana Unplugged and all.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:50 PM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

BTW I looked at that pic again. Your guitarists have quite large amps fro that small place. Sure it isn't them?
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:25 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by opentune View Post
solution is achievable In this order:
1. lighter touch
2. wood snare tuned low
3 lighter sticks
4. blanket on bass drum (its a deep one)

Thats a small place. With that kind of kit you're mostly keeping time right?... rutes sound great for that. You know, Nirvana Unplugged and all.
This is good advice. BTY, didn't see anywhere as to what kind of music you are playing?
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:14 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

I have a set of Dream Bliss hats that are really thin and not very capable of playing loud. If you have a soft touch with them, they will get a nice quiet and darkish sound that would probably fit with that gig.

I think the choking up on the stick thing is just an adaptation to the situation. If you need to be really loud, go ahead and grab 'em by the butts. But if you go to a percussion teacher, they will usually tell you to hold them at the balance point. There, or slightly up from there will give you the most control. And let you get both soft and loud hit. Look at videos of Steve Jordan and notice where he holds his ride stick. I think this is to get the balance on the kit that he's after. Less ride and more snare. He holds the left stick pretty close to the end. Surprisingly so for someone who plays a trad grip.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:23 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

Jesus Christ, just play lighter for crying out loud. It's technique, control. You don't need to buy anything.

You should be able to play your drums, to play any drums, from whisper-soft to devastatingly-loud.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:38 PM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

I tend to go with the opinion that this is a control issue and not so much gear.

I'll ask the question though - quiet in relation to what? How quiet does it need to be and conversely what's too loud. Too loud in a restaurant gig is different than too loud in a club on a stage playing rock.

That being said, there is indeed a quieter cymbal based on lathing techniques, weight, sizes, etc.... Example a Bosphorus Master's Vintage is inherently quieter than say a Zildjian "A" or other types of cymbals. I own a bunch of different stlyes of cymbals and there are indeed differences.

There are sticks that can assist in playing quieter. These will not provide you with any more or less control than you have. That's up to you to develop.

At the end of the day though - there's nothing but development of control that will allow you to play any volume on any choice of drum or cymbal.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

Playing softer is the cheapest and most versatile option, but If you want to go down the equipment avenue, try using V/F 8D sticks. Use a felt or wool B/D beater and darker cymbals.
I use a felt beater to lose some of the BD when practicing.
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  #24  
Old 01-27-2013, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

Volume is the biggest issue we drummers face. It's hard to be behind the drums and at the front of the house at the same time. We have to rely on someone else, at least to get us on track.

With enough practice you will be able to learn how hard to hit but, unless you have some kind of feed back, it's just a guess.

Or.....you could get lazy and use Edrums. Then it's just a matter of turning the volume knob up/down :)
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:30 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

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Volume is the biggest issue we drummers face.
I really wish that it was the biggest issue that I had to face, lol.

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Old 01-28-2013, 01:03 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

Muffling.. More Muffling.
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:53 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

A lot of good advice (opentune, dmacc, con struct's blunt, but accurate ... lol). Agree with the "it's all about control" sentiment.

The pics indicate you are surrounded by glass and hardware flooring. That "cracking" Chad Smith snare is not your friend. (Although, perhaps it can be tuned lower...?)

Don't lose the gig for you and your pals .... use multi rods if you have to. BUT, this is a great opportunity to add a new skill - playing softly at all tempos!

best,
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:25 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

I got a good crash course lesson on dynamics in my playing when I started my new band. Then it was just myself and a piano player who sang lead.

We didn't have anything to run vocals out of so I just had to stuff my kick full of bedsheets, bought a set of 7As and played a light as I could, it took some time but eventually my playing developed dynamics and I could play comfortably with low volume. I also don't care for rods or brushes as a low-volume substitute for sticks. I think everyone has covered this well enough but the truth is that it takes practice just ike every other technique. Start with smaller sticks and a foam beater, tune your snare lower and the rest is in the hands.

I read an article in a Modern Drummer issue that had a big influence on me when I started playing. The writer asserts that he believes that he should be able to play any piece of gear quietly. Obviously thinner cymbals and smaller drums are going to be more suted for a low-volume gig but the real trick is going to be your teqhnique.
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  #29  
Old 01-29-2013, 06:36 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

So you're saying I need sand hats?
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:36 AM
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Default Re: Quieter kit needed

I picked up some vater "recording" sticks, they make a difference, hopefully it's enough. They actually make my hats sound alot nicer with their little tips. I tried various canes and rods but I just don't like playing with them. I'll see how the next gig goes.
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