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Old 04-16-2008, 12:44 PM
unborn_chicken unborn_chicken is offline
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Default Make my bass drum sound...better...


I bought one of those Performance Percussion slim-line bass drums for portability... for gigs... The trouble is that it sounds rubbish. I don't want to scrap it, I want it to sound better. It's standard 22" diameter but shallow depth (about 10" I think). Also, it has no resonator head (I guess for volume since the shell is so shallow).

At present the drum sort of makes a "bo-ing" sound... I want something more pithy with a lot of attack...something more like a bass drum. I want to make the best of this dire piece of kit... So I'm seeking advice from people who know better.

The first thing I plan to do is to put a decent batter head on... Any advice on this would be appreciated. There are so many types...

Secondly, mufflers to remove unwanted resonance, perhaps?

Thirdly... I don't know.

Any thoughts?

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Old 04-16-2008, 02:43 PM
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mystic fred mystic fred is offline
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Default Re: Make my bass drum sound...better...

the depth could be the main problem and the absence of a reso head - suggest fitting a reso head and those Evans Emad batter heads are really good, with adjustable ring damping, and some just place a cushion inside the drum to cure resonance problems.
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Old 04-16-2008, 06:01 PM
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dcrigger dcrigger is offline
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Default Re: Make my bass drum sound...better...

B -

Before you go head shopping - though you don't say what's on it, play with muffling. By the nature of your drums single headed nature, I would look to tuning and muffling solutions from when single headed kits were very popular (though, in the studio, they are still quite popular today.

In a nutshell, tame down that boing and you'll be left with more attack. The idea here is to start in the bottom curve of the shell and start muffling up the head from the edge of the shell towards the center - being careful to not muffle any more than you need to. And leaving the rest of the head untouched (this is the problem ring-type mufflers, they "kill" too much of a single circumference of the entire head).

Start with a folded towel - fold and lay it in the bottom of the drum - so that about an 1" of towel touches the batter. Better? If not enough, move up to a small blanket. Or a small pillow... or a larger pillow.

Always touching as little of the heads as possible, yet still achieving the effect you want.

Do realize that a lot of this bo-ing does get soaked up over a distance - rule of thumb (with all muffling) if it sounds perfect to you there at the drum, then it will be too dull to the audience.

Also, without a ported front head to help hold muffling in place, it will tend to slide away from the head unless held down with some kind of weight - I've used mic stand bases, during the 70's I even carried a small sandbag with my bass drum to keep that muffling parked where I put it.

And trust me, this sound is not just some throw-back to the disco-era. I would venture that 80-90% of the recordings you hear today utilize some sort of pillow/blanket style muffling on the BD - as opposed to pre-muffled heads (at least the ones that are more muffled than the Powerstroke III).

It should be possible to get a very usable sound out of that drum - possibly with the head you already have on to.

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Old 04-17-2008, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: Make my bass drum sound...better...

Make the heads as loose as possible and work tighter. Loose heads will vibrate less.
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Old 04-17-2008, 02:45 PM
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Default Re: Make my bass drum sound...better...

From what I understand - but i could be wrong - your problem is mainly a pitch bend: it starts at a high pitch and bends down, right? If that's the case you either need to use damping, like dcrigger suggested, or you will need to tighten your head. This will increase sustain a bit so you might still want to use damping but the drum will sound more natural that way. If it's a too high pitch or too much resonance you will need to apply less tension to the head like gruntersdad suggested. Or loosen one tension rod rather than all. That will give you more of a thuddy sound.
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Old 04-17-2008, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: Make my bass drum sound...better...

I played on a Taye Go-Kit that has a 18x7.5 bass drum. TINY drum, but HUGE sound!

Even with the stock heads which are Powerstroke 3 over Powerstroke 3, but this one had a 4" port in the front head. It has wicked punch, tasty low end tone, and a nice smack that cuts through just about anything.

Typically drums with one head had a lot boing to the sound. It isn't until it's paired with another head of the same thickness or thinner until the sound warms up and gets more full, more rich, more complex.
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Old 04-17-2008, 08:36 PM
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Cymbalrider Cymbalrider is offline
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Default Re: Make my bass drum sound...better...

Evans EQ1...I've got on on my 26". You can take out the ring on the inside if you want to. If it can control or open up a 26", I'm sure it will work great on a 20". Avoid over muffling as you haven't got much resonance to work with. Use a big solid beater too, not the little things that just slap the drum. The big round kind always work. I've heard 18x14 basses project so this one should be no problem.
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Old 06-06-2008, 01:17 PM
unborn_chicken unborn_chicken is offline
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Default Re: Make my bass drum sound...better...

Merci to everyone for all the helpful advice.... much appreciated!
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