Drum muffling gone wild


Senior Member
Saw this in a local craigslist listing. Although I am in shock over what is in the two rack toms, I am bewildered at what is in the floor tom...a piece of styrofoam???



Platinum Member
Amazing! I can't imagine that styrofoam block having much of an effect at all, since it's only touching the head in a very small area, and doesn't really weigh much.

Here's another extreme one (although I guess this is more to keep the volume as low as possible. Looks like a classroom):


Staff member
I'm salivating over that quality 6 lug snare too ;)

Although I hang my head in despair, I've witnessed worse. I have seen cushions in all toms, a bass drum completely filled with a duvet, & the ultimate shock, a cushion inside a snare drum at a gig. The "artist" had apparently prepared his kit as "PA friendly" !!!!!!!


Junior Member
A cushion inside a snare drum?!
Sometimes I think people are doing everything they can to stop their drums sounding like, well, drums.
Why are they so scared of a bit of sustain?


Platinum Member
Those foam blocks in the racks are like rivets on a ride- nice sizzle. Probably sounds more like a gargle though. I think its the next big trend...


My old guitarist was a wannabe drummer. He has a set of Yamaha Stage Customs (I'm pretty sure that's what they were). Anyway, he asked me to tune them. I went over to his place and hit them. each drum sounded like a piece of cardboard.

When I asked if he minded if I removed each head to tune the kit from scratch he told me "You'll have to take the T-shirts out then". No joke there were 3 to 6 T-shirts in each the 12", 13" toms and 14" floor tom. The bass drum had such a huge piece of foam rubber in it that neither head stood the slightest chance of resonating.

The kit sure sounded better after I left plus he found a bunch of shirts he "hadn't seen in a while".

And they say drummers get drool on IQ tests. Freaking guitarists : )


Senior Member
This is like in the 70's when drum companies would make their drums all nice with great woods and the artists would go into the studio and muffle all the ring and tone right out of them for that cardboard box tone that was so popular.

I think some people muffle not for tone but purely for volume reduction. As if how they sound doesn't matter, they have to be quiet at all cost. I play acoustic open mics. I'd rather play multi rods all day than boxy sounding drums. Plus with all the instruments, even with acoustic guitars, the ring blends in to the overall sound. A nice round snare sound works great for me, i'd never muffle it to heck just to make it so soft you could wail on it and nothing comes out. That's the wrong idea. I might control it with a tiny piece of moon gel but that's about it.


Platinum Member
Because there's so much EQ and compression on drums on record.

Because the drum sounds different from the driver's seat.

Because tuning by ear and feel is by and large a lost art.

Because nobody understands that that slight overtone and ringiness is what will make your drums heard further than twenty feet away.

But then, we can say the same thing about other instruments, to some extent. Have you ever picked up a novice's guitar or bass, and the action is set so high you can barely fret a chord? Same thing.


Well, my kit is in my bedroom, my bass drum is full with my summer clothes (and in summer I stuff my winter clothes in it) - it's still loud enough to be heard in every room of the house :D Once I can practise in a proper rehearsal studio there won't be any silencer pads and muffled sounds....


Silver Member
worst muffling I ever ran into was I was taking over drum duties for a local band that I was friends with. One of the guys in the band had his kit there to use, it was a mid 70's 6 piece concert tom set up. He had actually put peel and stick vinyl floor tiles on the underside of the the batter heads, and had about 2 pounds of duct tape on each skin.
The sounds they made were indescribable.

The owner told me I could tune them up how I wanted. First thing I did was ripped off all that crap. The owner looked like he was going to cry. lol.


Senior Member
I use a crap ton of moon gel on my toms, but I don't think the sound dead. I just wanted them to be quiet but I now prefer the more thud-ish sound over a huge BWONG. And I don't muffle just because of bad tuning either. They are nowhere near as bad as 70's toms though.

As for my other drums, it's just one moongel on my snare and a pillow in the bass drum. Once I get a PS3 batter head, that pillow is not going to touch either head. I also have a PS3 ebony reso head on the bass drum.


Platinum Member
I brought my Sonor Special Edition Maple snare into the recording studio last week with a new Remo Ambassador-X coated on it all tuned up and ready to go.
The engineer wasted no time applying tape and tissue to it. He then stuffed a towel inside of my bass drum through the porthole and made it contact each head to completely kill them :)
I understand the reasoning behind it but it is painful to watch it being done to the drums that you have tuned to perfection.


Pioneer Member
I shall reveal my own misguided "muffle follies".

I only offer the following disclaimer: I love the sound of my drums to usually be open, loud, a little ringy and tuned a little higher so they sound nice out front. -

But let's get real. I hate practicing with that drum sound. My practice room sounds like hell. 8 feet high and 30 feet long concrete wall. I like to practice with no ear protection (I know, I'm an idiot) or with those light Vater baffled ear plugs.

In the photo below, with those small pieces of cut out t-shirt pieces and some blue painters tape, my drums sound like poop. I've even put back on the original heads that came with the kit when I bought it which are completely dead and tired.

I don't care about how bad they sound. I retain almost all of the feel of my other playing kits and I get to practice like I perform.

I watched a few videos of me playing this last year and it just looked like I was phoning it in. Even on up tempo rock songs, my playing just looked boring and not entertaining. So during the adjustment period of getting used to my crashes being a little higher, using some bigger unnecessary movements, I started muffling my practice kit this way just so I can bear to play the damn thing for more than an hour a day.

I sound like I'm playing the cardboard boxes that Don Henley's Ludwigs came in.



Platinum Member
I sound like I'm playing the cardboard boxes that Don Henley's Ludwigs came in.

You know I love the Eagles, I really do...but everytime I hear those 70's/ early 80's recordings of his drums, I almost go into a fit of uncontrollable laughter.
Every. Drum. Sounds. Exactly. The. Same.
Bass drum, snare drum, rack tom, floor tom - they all sound like a 16" concert tom with a wallet taped to them. Hahahaha
I mean, just listen to "Heartache Tonight" - close your eyes and imagine Don is playing every note on the same drum, maybe just hitting in different areas - near the edge, center. It's hilarious.
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Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Well, my kit is in my bedroom, my bass drum is full with my summer clothes (and in summer I stuff my winter clothes in it) - it's still loud enough to be heard in every room of the house :D Once I can practise in a proper rehearsal studio there won't be any silencer pads and muffled sounds....

Ha ha! I used to stuff my big rain jacket in my old 24" Slingy bass drum. No port hole either.