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

Drumz

Member
Go to any art supply or decorating store that sells Fiskars gear and buy the Fiskars Circle Cutter.

I bought mine on Amazon.


It's fully adjustable from 1" to 8".

Place your drum head on a hard surface...concrete is great like a garage floor or basement floor. Put the center of the Circle Cutter where you want the center of the hole. Press down the stopper and turn the blade. It will cut through the mylar like a hot knife through butter. Voila! Bass drum port!
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
For the price of a hole cutter, why would you spend the time to heat a can, handle with oven mitt, risk screwing up the hole, because you can't exactly measure and risk having it not work as intended? Give me a $7 hole cutter and I can cut a hole in less time than it takes to heat the can. I can also cut holes in all sizes and not have to look for a soup can, a big can of beans, a small coffee can, a big coffee can, a 50 gallon drum...

It's also really tough to find a port hole protector in the right size. They come in 4, 5 or 6" and not Soup can, Bush's Baked Beans, Coffee can sizes!
 

Mustion

Senior Member
Place your drum head on a hard surface...concrete is great like a garage floor or basement floor. Put the center of the Circle Cutter where you want the center of the hole. Press down the stopper and turn the blade. It will cut through the mylar like a hot knife through butter. Voila! Bass drum port!
Good idea, but I'd suggest something like newspaper underneath. Concrete can be textured which leads to cutting issues.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
Thanks for the reference, but that's not what I'm talking about. When it comes to drum ports, KickPorts, and other porting methods, we are literally flying blind as to the exact port size (and depth, if appropriate) that will result in maximum output at the desired frequencies. There are so many variables involved in actually tuning a bass drum via a port (drum diameter, depth, head(s) resonant frequencies, shell resonant frequencies, port placement) that this might be an unsolvable problem without a very complicated, all-inclusive formula.

Till then, we'll just have to be content with guessing our way thru the port scenario by using our best tool for now: experimentation.

GeeDeeEmm
 

Meter man

Member
I have destroyed 3 reso heads in the last 9 years trying to cut a hole. One was the hot can, then an exacto knife and most recently, the Bass O's cutting tool. I'm done. I am bad at it :(. Now, I just buy a pre-cut head with the reinforcement ring on it.
 

notvinnie

Senior Member
we are literally flying blind as to the exact port size (and depth, if appropriate) that will result in maximum output at the desired frequencies.
Dude! Don't over complicate things. Keep the hole small, but big enough for a mic (4 inches is fine) and as far from center as feasible. Simple.
 
I have destroyed 3 reso heads in the last 9 years trying to cut a hole. One was the hot can, then an exacto knife and most recently, the Bass O's cutting tool. I'm done. I am bad at it :(. Now, I just buy a pre-cut head with the reinforcement ring on it.
The Bass O's cutting tool sucks. The blade isn't nearly sharp enough.

The Fisker cutter looks like the answer though. Also, I cut my hole on the box the head came in.
 

iCe

Senior Member
I've always used an O-ring (Aquarian or the Evans one) type porthole; sticks to the head and you cut out the center. But lately I've been thinking of getting a new set of heads for my 2 bass drums and going with a 'no-ported' reso head. Thinking of going with clear Ambassadors batter and reso: been digging the sound recently!
 

Icetech

Gold Member
Just curious, I have never used a reso head with a hole in it, does it change the feel much? Only reason i'm asking is i bury the beater and lately for some reason i can't stop the bounce.. was wondering if a hole would help with that since it would let air out and possibly not move the batter head so much?
 

notvinnie

Senior Member
Just curious, I have never used a reso head with a hole in it, does it change the feel much? Only reason i'm asking is i bury the beater and lately for some reason i can't stop the bounce.. was wondering if a hole would help with that since it would let air out and possibly not move the batter head so much?
Yes, it will help a lot. That's one of the only reasons I put a small 4" hole in it. I don't bury my beater, but I was still getting flutter. Heck, you can even hear Tony Williams' pedal flutter if you listen closely.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
Yes, it will help a lot. That's one of the only reasons I put a small 4" hole in it. I don't bury my beater, but I was still getting flutter. Heck, you can even hear Tony Williams' pedal flutter if you listen closely.
Cool.. and thanks. didn't wanna trash a $50 head for no reason :) And the sound of flutter doesn't bother me, it acutally throws me off on fast doubles and is annoying. I usually can tune it away but lately i just can't seem to get things right.
 

roncadillac

Member
Cool.. and thanks. didn't wanna trash a $50 head for no reason :) And the sound of flutter doesn't bother me, it acutally throws me off on fast doubles and is annoying. I usually can tune it away but lately i just can't seem to get things right.
Cutting a hole will dramatically help with bounce/flutter. I port all of my bass drums for this reason. Many say that porting kills the tone of the drum but I personally have never had a problem with that. If you feel like your bass drum is lacking tone after porting simply tune your reso up a half to a whole turn on each lug. I can lay into my bass drum for punch or feather it for a deep boom. I use a clear emad batter and coated eq3 reso with 4" port on a 16" bass drum... Most would say that is a recipe for a dead, lifeless, quiet drum but for me it's quite the opposite: loud, deep, resonant, and versatile.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
Cutting a hole will dramatically help with bounce/flutter. I port all of my bass drums for this reason. Many say that porting kills the tone of the drum but I personally have never had a problem with that. If you feel like your bass drum is lacking tone after porting simply tune your reso up a half to a whole turn on each lug. I can lay into my bass drum for punch or feather it for a deep boom. I use a clear emad batter and coated eq3 reso with 4" port on a 16" bass drum... Most would say that is a recipe for a dead, lifeless, quiet drum but for me it's quite the opposite: loud, deep, resonant, and versatile.
Nice.. going to order a cutter and see how it goes... right now i'm using a 22" with a SK1 and a Un-ported regulator.. it sounds fine, just the flutter. Should i bother with a kickport or just cut it and be done?

Plus it will be nice to be able to change muffling without removing the entire head :)
 

roncadillac

Member
Nice.. going to order a cutter and see how it goes... right now i'm using a 22" with a SK1 and a Un-ported regulator.. it sounds fine, just the flutter. Should i bother with a kickport or just cut it and be done?

Plus it will be nice to be able to change muffling without removing the entire head :)
I don't have personal experience with the kickport. Some love it and some hate it. With my above method and combo I get plenty of low end and I don't like the idea of this big heavy plastic thing hanging on a thin head. You can try it for yourself but I would suggest waiting. Port your head, play around with the tuning and feel for awhile, and explore the kickport later (if you even choose to at all).

Small bit of advice with the hole cutter: definitely practice a couple times on an old head or piece of cardboard first, definitely remove the head from the drum before cutting, and definitely put a piece of cardboard or wood under the head to reinforce it while cutting.

Doesn't hurt to watch a youtube video or two before diving in. It's super easy for me now but I definitely botched the first hole I cut because I didn't prep. By the second hole I was a champ.
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
I rock a 22x20 "cannon kick" with a KickPort. It's off center a bit & makes a drum that size sound like a bomb. I have a solid reso for it as well & a few studio sound engineers have had issue with the fact they can't place a mic inside.
Live front of house guys could care less. Put one in front & one on the batter side & all was well.

Plus, a solid reso allows for some good artwork. ;)
 

Icetech

Gold Member
so.. top tip for anyone that will cut a hole in a head... i used the gibralter $10 tool and it works amazingly well.. tested on a snare head first and perfect hole..
Now the fun.. my reso was a regulator which has a ring in the middle and the tool hit it, so i had a tiny bit that didn't cut.. DO NOT just grab the cut piece and give it a light tug.. RIPPPPPPP..... and $50 gone :(

on the upside.. zero flutter.. i have been playing for almost 6 years with no port and always had flutter... i should have tried this earlier :) Now i need to figure which head to order...
 

roncadillac

Member
so.. top tip for anyone that will cut a hole in a head... i used the gibralter $10 tool and it works amazingly well.. tested on a snare head first and perfect hole..
Now the fun.. my reso was a regulator which has a ring in the middle and the tool hit it, so i had a tiny bit that didn't cut.. DO NOT just grab the cut piece and give it a light tug.. RIPPPPPPP..... and $50 gone :(

on the upside.. zero flutter.. i have been playing for almost 6 years with no port and always had flutter... i should have tried this earlier :) Now i need to figure which head to order...
Happy to hear the flutter is gone, sorry to hear the head is gone. I made the preface of practicing and watching a video or two for a reason! Haha ;)

Check out the Evans eq3 ported reso head. It's a single ply with floating edge ring just like the remo ps3 or Evans eq4 batter except it's got a pre-cut port with a reinforcement already attached.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
I actually did watch videos and practiced.. practice went perfect :) It's just my life.. always hurry and then ruin stuff, no biggy.. i ordered a AQ non regulator ported head.. problem solved.

BTW.. i am shocked at how much better i can play without the beater bouncing around. Time to make up for years of fighting with that.
 
Top