Getting Used to Sounds

Jankowske

Senior Member
Have you guys ever hated the sound of something, but then used it enough to where you were indifferent or even grew to like it?

Back when I was younger and dumber, I "needed" to have a china cymbal, but I only had enough to get a 14" agazarian. I honestly hated how it sounded, but used it and got used to it...until my dad snagged me an old 18" riveted wuhan at a flea maeket for $15. I actually yelled at my band members after I showed and played them my new one, something along the lines of "this sounds so GOOD! And this sounds like CRAP. How could you let me use that thing all this time? I played SHOWS with that thing." That dirty old wuhan started cracking after a year so, so back to the 14", which I hated all over again. Now I'm back to being indifferent again.

Another time I was given a handful of cymbals, among them a 16" scimitar bronze and a 16" ufip bravo medium-light. I had this heavy-stick phase that killed that tasty old bravo, so then I was forced to make do with the scimmy. It's hard to remember hating it because now I actually genuinely like the sound of it.

I also cracked an 18" meinl meteor years ago, which upset me almost as much as the ufip because of how inexplicably good that chunk of brass sounded. I came back from guitar center a week or two later with my 18" A medium crash, because of all the used pies they had there at the time (quite a few), I hated it the least. I think it's alright now.

An example for drums: I was sick of my X7 snare for some time, so I got a blacrolite on the 'bay on a whim. I haven't spoke of it before because I still don't like it. However, it led me to try some different wires on my X7 and spend a long, long time getting to know it again with tuning and different heads. That X7 sounds almost perfect to me now. I guess this isn't really the same as cymbals, since you can't tune a cymbal. But who knows...maybe I'll like that blacrolite someday...

Anyways, I think it's funny how particular and obsessive I can be when picking out new gear, yet when stuck using something less than perfect- or even obnoxious-sounding, I just deal with it and make music on it anyways. I can play every cymbal in a music store, ignore their looks, and with just a few taps, instantly know which would be my perfect-sounding dream cymbals from the rest. And here I am playing a bunch of mediocre-to-my-ear stuff that's grown on me to some extent but that I'm not attached to. Nobody in my band cares about the particulars of my kit's sounds, and I know that the audience doesn't care, so what's it matter? And even when I'm recording, I usually never give a second thought to the timbre of my cymbals during playback.

I'm going to continue to blow my money on gear anyways. Rant over. Have you guys ever had a long-term relationship with something crappy sounding that you grew to love or tolerate? Cymbals, drums, guitar, wife, whatever.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
Have you guys ever hated the sound of something, but then used it enough to where you were indifferent or even grew to like it?
Hell, yeah. That's how I learned the difference between ... I forget the term of art used here ... a kit that sounds good from the throne and a kit that sounds good in the room. When I was taught how to tune for the room, it took me AGES to get used to how it sounded from the throne. I hated it. Hate, hate, hate. Now "throne tuning" sounds odd to me and room tuning sounds normal.
 

Jankowske

Senior Member
That too!

Since my last head change, I noticed that my 12" tom always sounded the best to me, my 8 and 14" were alright, and my 10" tom was always a little bastard that had some weird sound to it. A few months ago my girlfriend was tapping on them while I was on the couch. Lo and behold the 10" sounded the best and the 12" was completely dead. Had to go rethink how I tune my toms (and my life) and then get used to that sound.

Also, I think a lot of newer drummers can relate when it comes to muffling and growing out of using a bunch all the time. I can only imagine how dead my toms sounded out front five years ago when they had rings and moongels.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I normally wouldn't choose a drum that I didn't like, in the hope that I could tune it into shape (or a cymbal that didn't speak to me, in the hope that I'd get used to it over time.) But I've had the opposite problem, where something that I love suddenly didn't sound so great anymore, even with a few cymbals, where they shouldn't really change. With snares, even with new heads (and wires if necessary,) sometimes I just can't put the life back in, and I'll stop using the drum.

What's weird is, I'll try it again a few years later, and it sounds great again!

Bermuda
 

BachBeat

Senior Member
I've churned through many different snares and cymbals over the years - everything from Brady snares (3) through to inexpensive mass-produced drums, and heaps of different cymbals.

There are lots of times where I've heard something and been really interested, and a handful of times where I've heard something and just about fallen off my chair. I've never sold something from the second category, but have spent plenty on the first!

I've enjoyed having my aural palette develop and change through owning and playing all of this gear. I've shelved great gear, only to bring it out again for a test-run and get pumped about it all over again!

I've just swapped the batter and wires on my Fidock Fatboy, and it now sounds off. Not horrible, but it's way out of whack. I'll mess around with it over the next week or two to see how it goes. The drum is incredible, but as usual, there are some ways to set up gear that seems to work better than others. I'm not playing it at the moment, until I can breathe some life back into it.

The usual offender with me is cymbals. As a rule, I've got to love it pretty much straight away, and then keep loving it for weeks and months for it to stick around. I've gone through about 30 rides in the last few years, and I've grown to really enjoy some, but after leaving them and coming back to them, they sound a bit off (similar to your china story).

At the moment, I have about a dozen cymbals, and a half-dozen snares, and they're all pretty much here to stay. It gives me enough to cycle through, finding new things that I appreciate about it, without having too much to get lost in :)
 
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