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  #1  
Old 11-21-2012, 08:08 PM
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Default Bass Drum Sacrilege

I have been an advocate and user of a very open bass drum sound for years, using little or no muffling, ie a PS3, or Emperor w/felt strip only, etc. No pillows or blankets touching the heads for me, thank you very much.

For some reason, the other day I got the bug to try a pillow in the kick - maybe my '70's roots were calling to me, I don't know.

But - I'm REALLY digging it!

I think a key is that I have still carefully tuned the drum, not relying on the pillow to get rid of unwanted tones. Though the sustain is very short, it still sounds fat and punchy.

It's not for every taste or every occasion, but I'm enjoying the heck out of it right now!
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:54 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

Hehe....you might get slammed by some of the purists around here ;-)

But hey....a wide open kick with hardly any muffling and non ported reso is hard to get used to playing especially once you've played with a ported and lightly muffled bass drum.

I'm trying to get used to wide open bass currently. I do not dig it too much from the drivers seat but out in front when someone else is playing it sounds very powerful,
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:59 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

all tunings & configurations have their place. I'm leaning to appreciate the advantages of many approaches, except for extremes of muffling.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

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Originally Posted by PeteN View Post
Hehe....you might get slammed by some of the purists around here ;-)

But hey....a wide open kick with hardly any muffling and non ported reso is hard to get used to playing especially once you've played with a ported and lightly muffled bass drum.

I'm trying to get used to wide open bass currently. I do not dig it too much from the drivers seat but out in front when someone else is playing it sounds very powerful,
Haha, I usually AM one of the purists!

Well, not really, but close.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:10 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

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Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
all tunings & configurations have their place. I'm leaning to appreciate the advantages of many approaches, except for extremes of muffling.
Do you consider the bass drum pillow an extreme, Andy?

Honestly, I DO consider it extreme, especially compared to the way I've played for years.

Nonetheless, I am enjoying it right now!
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:10 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

Celebrate your newfound impurity!
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:27 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

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  #8  
Old 11-21-2012, 09:34 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

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Hahahahahahahaa!! ROFL!! That's great!
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:46 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

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Originally Posted by IDDrummer View Post
Do you consider the bass drum pillow an extreme, Andy?

Honestly, I DO consider it extreme, especially compared to the way I've played for years.

Nonetheless, I am enjoying it right now!
If you're referring to a full size pillow as used on your bed, then yes. That's a step too far for me. It does have some advantages when wishing to capture a "thud" for further processing, but outside of that, it's a tone killer for me.

However, if you're referring to something like the Evans pillow, then I think they're a useful piece of kit, if used sparingly. Just kissing the reso head with one provides a nice degree of control on a full reso head, & also facilitates a "soaking up" of metallic type overtones that can distract in totally open bass drums.

All that said, I'm a hypocrite to some extent, as my favourite bass drum batter head is an Emad (single ply) with the small ring fitted.
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  #10  
Old 11-21-2012, 09:50 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

I was like you too. My bass drums were always wide open with no muffling, and just recently I put a hole in my front reso and cut an old army blanket in half and folded it up nicely and put it in the drum and that sound rocks as well. It makes life easier for any soundguy on a gig. And even as a soundguy myself, sometimes I even lamented when drummers showed up with full-reso front head because it was so hard to quickly get a standard bass drum sound. So I've been on both sides of the fence, I guess.

The big thing I've noticed is that I'm at this point where the drums no longer really matter. My technique will alter depending on what sound I need to get. So if I'm on a wide-open bass drum, I come off of the head to get the most out of it. If there's a pillow in the kick, I can drive the beater into the head if I have to to get the proper sound too. I remember when I was much young how the drumset had to be a certain way for me to sound right. Apparently, no more.

Glad you re-discovered a new sound!
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  #11  
Old 11-21-2012, 09:53 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

I use an 18x22 kit. I love the sound of a 24 or 26, so I actually play my kit extremely open (no muffling at all). The batter head is an Evans, I don't remember what series, it's been on there so long, but it came with the foam ring.

I don't use the foam ring, and the reso. head is muffleld with foam strips and electrical tape. I tune both heads up equal tension - quite a bit further than the removal of wrinkles. I get a nice bassy thud with no overtones - just a split second sustain. It feels amazing and sounds excellent to my ear - I just wish it was a 16x22... As you get deeper than than, I have a lot of problems with the response.

I'd rather have a 16x24 or a 16x26 any day.
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  #12  
Old 11-21-2012, 09:59 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

Normally I like open as well but ported on a 22". Lately I've been recording with a single overhead mic and it really takes over everything despite my light foot. Some padding with a wool blanket against both heads tones it down to blend in better, alternatively I have a 16x16" kick that works well.
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  #13  
Old 11-21-2012, 10:08 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

Pillow is a bit too extreme for me, although I used them years ago, but I like a bit of an open sound, but still a bit of focus to emphasis the low end, I've never used a pre-damped head such as PS3, Emad...

I trust the old trick of a very small bath towel rolled up in a croissant shape secure with duct tape onto a non muffled head, currently a coated emperor, no muffling on the reso head, just a 4" port hole, and a tuning on the highish side for rebound, it has proven to be the most efficient so far, at least it's a good compromise.

I'm not a huge fan of a thuddy bass drum, I want some body and depth as well as dynamics and a low pitch, pillows kills it as far as I'm concerned, having said that, I never used the Evans pillow, but I'm old , so I use old tricks :)
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:49 AM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

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Hahahahahahahaa!! ROFL!! That's great!
:)













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  #15  
Old 11-22-2012, 08:04 AM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

I don't like the way it kills volume but tell me how any double bass player gets any note definition without muffling? I need something against the head or else it feels like a waterbed and I can't hear half of the notes.
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  #16  
Old 11-22-2012, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

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Originally Posted by Dre25 View Post
I don't like the way it kills volume but tell me how any double bass player gets any note definition without muffling? I need something against the head or else it feels like a waterbed and I can't hear half of the notes.
I will bet your thoughts and questions are shared by most drummers.

Playing wide open yet still have it sound defined is an acquired skill in my opinion. I would think "select" drummers brought up on jazz from the very beginning would be some of the few that can actually play a wide open bass drum and still have it sound defined to his or her ears.

Any drum beats that have busy foot work have forced me to slow them way down to "crawl" speed and that has helped me a lot because I'm forcing myself to gain more control over how i hit the bass drum and how I approach busy syncopated bass drum patterns.

For fast linear fills.....wide open bass drum and unmuffled toms sound better to my ears.

Of course lightly muffled toms with lightly muffled bass drum compliment each other very well in my ears.

When it comes down to it.....I feel like I'm now learning how to play the bass drum.

Whatever I did over the years on the bass drum, I did with a handicap lol.
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  #17  
Old 11-23-2012, 04:35 AM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

Quote:
Originally Posted by IDDrummer View Post
I have been an advocate and user of a very open bass drum sound for years, using little or no muffling, ie a PS3, or Emperor w/felt strip only, etc. No pillows or blankets touching the heads for me, thank you very much.

For some reason, the other day I got the bug to try a pillow in the kick - maybe my '70's roots were calling to me, I don't know.

But - I'm REALLY digging it!

I think a key is that I have still carefully tuned the drum, not relying on the pillow to get rid of unwanted tones. Though the sustain is very short, it still sounds fat and punchy.

It's not for every taste or every occasion, but I'm enjoying the heck out of it right now!
It's because of the novelty. After a while you will want to go back to no dampening.
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  #18  
Old 11-23-2012, 04:46 AM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

I also grew up with interior muffling by way of stuffing the bass drum.
With the head options available today I no longer need the pillow.
I do like a porthole in a bass drum that I will play harder music on though.
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  #19  
Old 11-23-2012, 01:37 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

My 22" kick is empty, but I use an Aquarian Regulator reso head, with built-in muffling ring around the port hole. Does a great job.

(This is the back of the reso head)
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  #20  
Old 11-24-2012, 05:54 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

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Originally Posted by Deathmetalconga View Post
It's because of the novelty. After a while you will want to go back to no dampening.
It's interesting that you should say that. The pillow is already starting to lose it's shine. lol I give it another week...

But it IS nice to be reminded of options!
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  #21  
Old 11-24-2012, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

Nothing wrong with putting something in the bass drum if it sounds good. It's the standard MO for a short punchy sound. Some people just over do it and stack it to the gills. Probably where the stigma comes from.

I use an Evans EQ pad.
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:07 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

It depends on taste and the situation.

I like a little bit of muffling for my preferred allround rock/blues/fusion sound.

Open to the Carlock degree I find a bit too much as it gets in the way, but I also find muffling to the Harrison degree a bit much.

When I started working on my double bass I definetly had issues, but I didn't want to muffle too much for other things. Pprobably just from being lazy I decided it was just an ear training/technique issue and now it seems to work just fine along with my gradually increasing hearing skills and tuning ability on the whole kit. I didn't use to like too much sustain from my toms when I was practicing either, but now I don't muffle them in the practice room either. Seems my hands can give me whatever I want now and I hear just fine

So, I guess tone is just as much the hands/feet with drummers as it is with players of any other instrument.


As a guitarplayer I choose gear based on how it cuts throught he music I play and I adjust it to be as dynamic and responsive as possible. I think I'm sort of doing the same thing with drums. Extremes in either direction seem to go against that.
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Last edited by Odd-Arne Oseberg; 11-24-2012 at 11:18 PM.
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  #23  
Old 11-24-2012, 11:22 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

Quote:
Originally Posted by Odd-Arne Oseberg View Post
It depends on taste and the situation.

I like a little bit of muffling for my preferred allround rock/blued/fusion.

Open to the Carlock degree I find a bit too much as it gets in the way, but I also find muffling to the Harrison degree a bit much.

When I started working on my double bass I definetly had issues, but I didn't want to muffle too much for other things, so probably just from being lazy I decided it was just an ear trining/technique issue and now it seems to work just fine along with my gradually increasing hearing skills and tuning ability on the whole kit. I didn't use to like too much sustain from my toms when I was practicing either, but now I don't muffle them in the practice room either. Seems my hands can give me whatever I want now.

So, I guess tone is just as much the hands/feet with drummers as it is with players of any other instrument.


As a guitarplayer I choose gear based on how it cuts throught he music I play and I adjust it to be as dynamic and responsive as possible. I think I'm sort of doing the same thing with drums. Extremes in either direction with muffling seems to go against that.
Yes, for general use, I agree that moderation is usually best.

I didn't really think of it when I wrote the original post, but I did finally realize what caused me to try this experiment. I heard a band Friday night at a small club, and the only drum mic was in the kick drum. The drum was very muffled and I could see blankets and stuff inside. Their PA was fairly small and the overall volume was not loud, but they used a subwoofer on the stage by the drumkit and that kick sounded fantastic in the overall mix. I don't think it would have sounded nearly as clean and concise with the kick very open and unmuffled.

Anyway, cool input from everyone!
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  #24  
Old 11-25-2012, 11:19 PM
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Default Re: Bass Drum Sacrilege

The Evans "pillow" is great for killing the pipe resonance in the shell, without touching either head. The sustain I want from a kick is dependent on the gig. If it's mic'd though a large system, then too much overhang blurs things and leads to feedback. Especially if you have a sub in the drum monitor. At the other extreme are small bars where's there's no mic at all. An open kick carries a tone and doesn't disappear. Recording is somewhere in-between. Enough sustain that gives a real tone but not so much that it muddies up things.

Two things affect this. The amount of damping and the tuning. JAW doesn't have much sustain and doesn't need as much damping. A higher tuning gives more sustain. My usual thing for the last year or so is JAW with the Evans pillow touching the reso for the mic'd gigs, a little bit tighter for recording and tighter still with the pillow not touching either head for un-mic'd gigs. This is with a SuperKick II batter and an EQ3 ported reso. I may swap the SK for an EQ3 when it wears out to get more on the open end of things. I can still use the pillow or an extra towel or just tune it really loose if I want a dead thwack.
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