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  #1  
Old 07-28-2008, 07:25 PM
remoAKA remoAKA is offline
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Default Getting the best from your Bass Drum?

Hello everyone

I'm looking to renew my heads, I've always used Remo PS3's on the bass drum, but I'm thinking of using something more standard instead.

Does anybody here use standard diplomats or ambassadors (or other manufacturer equivalents) for their bass drum?

At a Dave Weckl clinic earlier this year, he mentioned that he would rather use the same head on his bass as that on his toms, in order to get even dynamics between his hands and feet. If using a Powerstoke he would have to kick a lot harder than his hands were hitting the other drums.

Cheers
Tony
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:29 PM
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drumtechdad drumtechdad is offline
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Default Re: Getting the best from your Bass Drum?

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Originally Posted by TonyAKA View Post
Hello everyone

I'm looking to renew my heads, I've always used Remo PS3's on the bass drum, but I'm thinking of using something more standard instead.

Does anybody here use standard diplomats or ambassadors (or other manufacturer equivalents) for their bass drum?

At a Dave Weckl clinic earlier this year, he mentioned that he would rather use the same head on his bass as that on his toms, in order to get even dynamics between his hands and feet. If using a Powerstoke he would have to kick a lot harder than his hands were hitting the other drums.

Cheers
Tony
Many guys use a slightly muffled batter head with a single-ply reso as you describe. For miked situations this will almost certainly require additional muffling. For unmiked, though, it might be just the ticket: if you play out unmiked you need "boom" rather than "thud"--a bass drum that makes a nice recordable "thud" will not be heard unmiked. We almost always play out unmiked, I use PS3s front and rear and nothing in the drum. The control ring takes away the boinginess but leaves plenty of sustain.

Unmuffled single plies will result in even more boom, which you may or may not like. Back when I started playing (when dinosaurs roamed the earth) guys would use a felt strip to muffle the head. This is cheap and almost infinitely adjustable because you can locate the felt strip to cover a small or large area of the head, or anywhere in between. This lets more tone out of the drum compared with pillows, blankets, futons, etc.

The Weckl comment is just silly. Bass drums do not sound like, feel like, or are tuned like toms. I've never heard a drummer complain that the bass drum feels different from the toms. Even with the same type of heads, bass drums are a different beastie entirely, beginning with the fact that they're played with a pedal, not sticks. Don't let this silliness influence your thinking.

He may have meant that today's super-muffled bass drum heads are too quiet compared with toms, and in that he's right. Some of the heavily muffled heads out there are totally unsuitable for anything but miked use. But IMO heads like the PS3s are not in that category, and are perfectly suitable for all uses: as is for unmiked, with some extra muffling for miked.
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Old 07-29-2008, 10:56 AM
remoAKA remoAKA is offline
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Default Re: Getting the best from your Bass Drum?

Cheers DTD

I think you're right, Dave's comment was more geared towards your thoughts that they are too quiet compared to the toms.

I think based on your opinion, I'll stick with my PS3, and maybe just play around with tuning a bit more ; )
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Old 07-29-2008, 04:14 PM
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drumtechdad drumtechdad is offline
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Default Re: Getting the best from your Bass Drum?

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Originally Posted by TonyAKA View Post
Cheers DTD

I think you're right, Dave's comment was more geared towards your thoughts that they are too quiet compared to the toms.

I think based on your opinion, I'll stick with my PS3, and maybe just play around with tuning a bit more ; )
If you want some boom, try this: first tune the reso. Start from finger-tight and very gradually bring up the tension, no more than 1/4 turn at a time. (Best to use two keys at opposite tension rods.) After every round of a 1/4 turn, strike the head in the middle with your finger or a mallet. At first you get a flappy, papery sound. After some tension has gone on you'll get a real tone--a nice low note that sustains. Stop here. Note that this is higher than the usual "just above wrinkle" stage, but not by much.

Then do the same with the batter head, but after you get that real tone, add a little more tension. You can keep raising the batter if you want, you'll hear the sustain become less and the attack get stronger as you go up. Leave it where it strikes your fancy.

Keep your increments small; with bass drums there's a very fine line between just the right amount of tension and too much.

This method results in a bass drum with some sustain, which a lot of drummers are trying to avoid. But in a live unmiked situation it's the only thing that will allow the drum to be heard.

Of course, if you're miked all the time, or if you just want a nice "thud" in your practice room, it's a whole different story.

When we're miked (pretty seldom) I put on another PS3 reso that has a 4" port located off-center. That dries out the drum quite a bit, but if the sound guy wants more muffling I'll add an Evans EQ pad to the batter and/or a small rolled-up hand towel against the reso.
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:18 PM
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crlujan crlujan is offline
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Default Re: Getting the best from your Bass Drum?

I've got Remo Coated Emperors on both the Batter and Reso sides of my bass drum. It sounds great. They're the perfect heads for my situation. I roll up a little t-shirt and put it between the pedal and batter head down by the hoop. That's all the muffling I need. But I'm using a 16 inch bass drum so I don't really know if that helps you much.
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