Cutting a hole in the bass drum...How big, methods etc...


I think I read most of the posts here, but I didn't see this bit of logic: If you have a hole cut in your resonance head, you can manipulate damping material inside the drum without having to shake it around to get it in the right place. On my 22" Ludwig classic maple, I used a Emad head and had no need for a hole in the front; it sounds GREAT! On my 26" Maple I haven't been able to find an Emad head in that size. It looks like Aquarian makes an Emad clone (or maybe Evans cloned Aquarian), I'll have to check it it. I currently have a pinstripe on the batter side of my 26", but not enough damping, so I bit the bullet and used an Aquarian Porthole on the front, mainly so I could move damping materials around... And I don't like the black Ludwig head anyway -- it's way too heavy --, so it's no big loss for me there... Of course, I couldn't find any damping material around, so I took a bunch of the grandkid's discarded stuffed animals... It's better, but I still probably need the Aquarian... anyone else make an Emad-type head in a 26?" (Oh, for you purists; if I ever get in a band that plays Zep again, I'll go back to Remo (unported) heads on the BD.


Junior Member
The heated can trick is fantastic!!! I did it myself and it was a charm. Just like the earlier posts said. You simply get a can, I think I used a coffee can, 5 inches in diameter. Place it on a stove burner for about two minutes. Having you bass drum head OFF THE DRUMSET and ready, you simply take the heated can off the stove with potholders or something like that and place the can onto the bass drum head where you want the hole to go.

nvm this answered my question lol sorry, and thanks zero


Junior Member
I'm one of those, "back in the day" 70s and 80s club drummers who took the front head off completely. We were loud back in the day too, laying a Shure mike on the pillow jammed against the beater head inside the drum.
My little 20" Fibe sounded like a big, thick cardboard box getting hit with a baseball bat. Bap, Bap, Bap Bap, BAP!

A problem with that method was, you had to do something with the hoops, T-bolts and claws. Instead of letting them rattle around in my kit boxes, I stashed them in the back of a storage closet at the Club we were playing. We were on a circuit and had been hitting this particular roadhouse once a month and were scheduled to keep doing so . . .who knew. The next week our schedule changed and we didn't return to that club for almost four months.
It had changed ownership and of course my hoop and hardware were nowhere to be found.

Another problem with the no hoop/no head method is the front of the drum can start to get out of round. Especially since I was using the Premier Tom Mount that goes straight through the top of the bass and loads on the bottom.

With Fibes changing hands and going in and out of business over the years, I was never able to replace the parts.

I put the drums away about 1985, but broke them out again in 2000 to join a punk-pop band and start playing live again. the cardboard box sound worked well in the clubs, and when we went in the studio.

However, I wanted to get my set whole again, join the modern world with a small hole in the resonance head, and generally replace bits of hardware that were showing the wear of 30+ years.

I finally thought of searching eBay for hoops and Fibes Tbolts and Claws and in this last year have replaced everything that was worn broken or missing. The hardest find was the Fibes Tbolts and Claws, but I got them a month or so ago and started looking for Hoops.

There are tons of hoops on eBay, none Fibes, but I decided I could live with after market hoops. About two weeks ago they came up, a pair of Custom Rodgers Hoops, chromed metal, I got 'em for $55 for the pair including shipping.
Man, do they look sweet on those Clear Acrylic Drums with all that other chrome hardware.

So I searched and found this forum and this thread today, cause I was cutting a hole in the front head and was looking for guidance.
What I did was use a junk CD as the Template (about 4-1/2" dia.) to mark a circle, loosened the head but kept it on, then using the CD as a guide, I used the Exacto Knife to cut around the line. Worked perfectly.

Wordy first post, hope to keep exchanging info with you guys . . .


Silver Member
Yeah, it's just you. Please list your discography of stuff you recorded without a hole in the resonant head. I'd love to hear some of it.

Recorded without a hole in the head. I use zero dampening in the bass drum...when you look through the batter side, you just see some nice clean looking maple...the way I like it.

If you're into the sound of a ported head, go for it. If you like concert toms and no resonant heads at all, go for that too.

My school of thought it, someone designed this drum a long time ago with two membranes that are in a symbiotic relationship with one another to move air and generate sound. Who am I to mess with that. If you want to mess with it, go ahead, but I am not.


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Senior Member
Re: Hot Can Method

Has anyone ever use the hot can method on a Remo Fiberskyn 3? It almost seems like its not made of plastic so I'm unsure if the can would melt a hole through it. I could always cut the hole but the hot can method seems to be the easiest way to cut the hole.


I used an empty tin to burn a hole in my head, worked like a charm! Cheers for the idea whoever came up with it.
Those suckers paying 30 bucks for a kit to do the same thing from a shop...
Most holes in a bass drum are 5 inches in diameter. The amount of holes depends on the amount of Microphones your are planning to put in it (one mic for each hole)

I can reccomend the kickport too, they optomise the bass drum sound and it means you dont have to fill the drum with curtains and towels.

As many others have mentioned, it is possible to simply remove the front head and stick the mic in there, which is a free option, yet most will find it aestetically unpleasant.

If you want to go the full way, take a look at the May Micing System. This company puts the mic inside the drums, probably real expensive though!


Honorary Lifetime CEO
Staff member
I just put a kickport on my 22 inch Gretsch Renown bass drum. The reso head is a single ply Remo coated head and I csn tell you the difference is dramatic. I still bury the beater and have the batter head fairky loose to prevent the pedal from bouncing. I tightened the reso a little more than normal with the KickPort and it sounds great. Should have done a before and after sound byte. Kind of a tease right now with my healing elbow and not being able to spend much time drumming.


Senior Member
I just cut a hole in my front skin using a sharp knife. Didn't even take the head off. It works well, it does not seem like the head is going to break, and it looks kinda decent since I duct taped the outlines of the hole.... lol ^^


Junior Member
This may sound silly but I really want to try the aluminum can method, but I can't find the correct sized can at the grocery store. Does anyone know where I can find a can with 5.5 in. diameter? The ones at the grocery store are at most 3.5 in. I was also thinking of trying to find something at a hardware store. Thanks for any advice.


O's make reinforcement rings and they have an adjustable cutter over the years I have come to the conclusion that a single hole of 7" in a 22" makes the front head resonant properties virtually non existent so at that point you may as well dampen the front head completely, using 2 smaller holes does not.

KICKPORT also has the same effect, you dont hear the reso head anymore as the weight and it's rubber construction cancel the head.

I cut 2 holes , 1 on the left and one on the right slightly above the other.
The one on the right is for the microphone and the other to let the air out.

I cut the righthand hole just slightly larger than the microphone ( sm52 or senn 902) 4" the one on the right an inch bigger.

Tuning is everything and I only have to use minimal dampening when I get it right ( most of the time)

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Drummer Otto-V

Junior Member
I cut a 4" hole in the resonant head of my bass drum for better recording sound. Used my 4" Paiste Accent Cymbal to draw a perfectly round circle on the head and then just cut it with scissors. Finally, I used a lighter to burn the edge to avoid tearing. It looks good and does its job just fine. Have never had any problems with it.
I chose to cut the 4" hole because I didn't want to change the sound and feel too much.

I'd say this method is a lot easier than the heated can method. Recommend it to anyone who doesn't want to pay for making the hole.

I know at least Gibraltar makes some products for cutting the hole and reinforcing it. Has anyone tried? I'm curious to know if they are any better than these free methods.


Senior Member
Anyone wanna help me out?
I usually get a 5" black reinforcement ring (because I have black front bass heads), but still install it on the "inside" of the head. I do this because it looks cleaner and is a blacker black than the black heads sometimes are. (Yes, I'm OCD.) I try to offset it similar to an Aquarian Regulator head. After it's stuck on, I slowly trace around the inside diamater with an Xacto knife with light pressure until the hole is cut. This will give you a clean edge, and the ring helps protect it from dents and tears.

I have 22" bass drums and use a 5" reinforcement ring. Why those sizes? 22" bass drums are mroe common, and this particular ring comes in a 5" size. I don't know who makes the reinforcement ring as I've never seen one in a packaging. Could be Aquarian, or Cannon, or someone else. Looks like KickPort makes them now too. I've also used Aquarian Regulator front heads with a 4" hole. I have used a larger size hole (maybe 9-10") that I randomly traced from something else, but it let too much air escape. I also placed that dead center, another bad idea.


Senior Member
Cutting a port hole in bass drum...

What is the best way to cut a hole in a bass drum for a mic? Also, and related, where would you place the hole for best results?



Platinum Member
Re: Cutting a port hole in bass drum...

I personally think the best and easiest way is to get something like the port hole thing below from Aquarian (Remo and Evans make them too, I believe.) Stick that on, then use a razor blade to carefully cut out the hole in the head.


Most people will say to put the hole in the bottom right or left "corners", but be sure to have it high enough to be able to get a mic stand in the bass drum.


Silver Member
Re: Cutting a port hole in bass drum...

Yeah, you want something 4"-6" midway between the center of the head and the hoop. One way people do it is heat up a can (coffee can, soup can, etc.) of appropriate size and just melt a hole into the head. That's quick and easy and leaves a perfect circle every time. I install Kickports in my heads, so I just use the ring included as a guide, and cut it out with a utility knife. With a Kickport, the hole doesn't have to be perfect, either, so it's fast and easy. I've also found that if you stick the ring to the inside of the head, you end up with a much cleaner look on the outside.

Any way you do it, just make sure you're careful


Junior Member
OK, here's my deal. I've got a vintage 1965 Hollywood set that I've been playing for the past 45 years. I recently got re-interested in my set and bought a vintage Ludwig logo bass skin. However, I've been playing without a front bass skin forever and didn't like the muffling effect when I put the front skin on. So, I feel I need to port the skin, not for a mic, but to retain more of the "feel" and sound that Ive become used to after all these years, if that's possible. So basically I want to have the Ludwig logo skin just for the vintage effect. I bought a hole cutter from Gitar Ctr and need to experiment and will probably do 2 ports.