How do I make my Keystone's jazzy?

Salty Dog

Senior Member
What would be the best set of drum heads to put on a Ludwig Keystone if I'm looking for a Jazz sound? I'm asking since this drum set is known to be more popular for rock. My concern is mostly with the bass drum since it's a 22 in. X 17 in deep. I understand that tuning plays a huge part in achieving the sound but what would be a good starting point?

Thanks
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
Try a coated single ply batter tuned up on the higher side, that should get you in the neighborhood.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I agree with the other posters so far - a coated Ambassador would be my choice all around.
 

Jankowske

Senior Member
You have to sit down and play doop pish dadoop pish doop pish dadoop pish splang a lang splang a lang diddly bop a doop psssh. Coated ambassadors might help.
 

Salty Dog

Senior Member
Ah well being new here I didn't know that you all had a funny bone in you.
However I will assume and hope some of you are better drummers than you are comedians. Ah well looks like I have a sense of humour too.

Fortunately some gave me ttips that turned out to be more reasonnable than what I expected and thank you for that. I was expecting answers like you need a more traditional 18/12/14 set-up but yes I understand it's the musician that makes the instrument. I will remind myself of that when I bring my minivan to the race track.
 

Jankowske

Senior Member
Well you really can do anything you want with your Keystones...jazz, swing, metal, rock, funk, pop, jug...you won't be hindered from playing jazz just because they are more "rock" sizes. I'm sure it would make manufacturers happier if everyone had to have a separate kit for everything. But what is a jazz drum kit anyways? Catalogs today will have you believe it's a 16-20" bass drum and smaller fusion toms, but look at what they played back in the day. Monster bass drums and normal toms. If you think your shells are too thick then that could be discouraging, but I've seen lots of jazz played on Sonors.

Tune your toms and kick higher than you would for rock, and maybe tune your snare to a more medium tension. Whenever I break down to a four-piece to (attempt to) play jazzier stuff, I tune my toms up until they "sing" and the kick drum up until it's a little bumpier. My snare is usually pretty cranked so I drop it down to get a fatter sound. I've heard tell that some jazzers like coated batters on their kick, like a coated emperor. A coated head on the front might be a good idea, too. Don't pillow it up too hard if at all; try the old felt strip thing. Some people like to use fiberskyns all over the kit. I have one on the front of my kick and I dig it.

All of that is just a vague nudge in the direction of what the average "jazz" sound is. There are guys out there playing jazz on 12 piece kits with clear G2s, and they're probably making good music. Experiment with different tunings a lot and try to find what YOUR "jazz" sound is.
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
I like either a coated single ply head muffled with a felt strip or a coated Powerstroke 3, much less fuss. Again, you're going to want to tune it higher than you would for a rock setting. I like a felt beater but that big fluffy one that Harry suggested will work too.

Then comes the fine art of mastering the feathering of the bass drum. What I love about the Jazz tunings is that you can tap the bass to get a little rumble on the low end or give it a good smack for an accent.

If you're starting to go more Jazzy in your drumming then I might suggest looking into having that deep kick drum sliced down to a more traditional 14" depth.
 

Salty Dog

Senior Member
Red Menace, shortening the bass drum depth to 14 in. was something I was going to get done. I know a trusted source that can do it for me. Besides the sound I just love how a shallower bass drum looks.

I also agree that the size of the drum is irrelevant in my case as many greats played on 22-24/13/16 set ups.

I've already tuned my toms to a higher pitch and I like what I hear. The keystone shell is relatively thin so I get a nice resonance from it... it sings like some would say. I personally prefer not to pack any muffling devices in my bass drum other than the one integrated in the drum head but I will give the felt strip a shot.

Thanks for the advice.
 

anzi

Member
For a jazzy vibe I would recommend using a not ported bass drum resonant head. It will take some time to get used to, but it will be a lot more jazzy. I also like to use coated heads everywhere except the snare resonant ofcourse. The coated resonants on the toms really give a old school flavor.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Aside from the 10 mil coated heads the trick is in the tuning. You want to crank the drums up until they are just below their choke limit. Bass drum too!
The Keystones won't go as tight as a 6 ply Gretsch Round Badge before choking but they will come close.
On the bass drum I recommend a 10 mil Remo Fiberskyn in front and a PS3 coated as batter.
 
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