kick drum question

wquade

Junior Member
On my kick, I have a coated Powerstroke 3 on the batter, and a clear Powerstroke 3 on the front (22"). I loved the sound when I first put it on. It was a revelation. After a while, it has become pretty lifeless. It's about time for a change of heads.

I've been trying to emulate the sound of Mitch Mitchell and cats like him. With pictures I've seen of Mitch, I've noticed that there doesn't appear to be any kind muffling on the kick. Was he getting a good thud without it being overly resonant and boomy by playing very gently? Or did he, like so many others, use felt, or other ways to dampen the sound?

I'm almost tempted to put on regular coated heads on the front and back, and take it from there. I stopped dampening my toms a while back, and now I'm rethinking the kick sound. What do y'all think?
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
On my kick, I have a coated Powerstroke 3 on the batter, and a clear Powerstroke 3 on the front (22"). I loved the sound when I first put it on. It was a revelation. After a while, it has become pretty lifeless. It's about time for a change of heads.

I've been trying to emulate the sound of Mitch Mitchell and cats like him. With pictures I've seen of Mitch, I've noticed that there doesn't appear to be any kind muffling on the kick. Was he getting a good thud without it being overly resonant and boomy by playing very gently? Or did he, like so many others, use felt, or other ways to dampen the sound?

I'm almost tempted to put on regular coated heads on the front and back, and take it from there. I stopped dampening my toms a while back, and now I'm rethinking the kick sound. What do y'all think?
A lot of rock (and jazz) drummers did not put any muffling in their bass drums back then. I use only a very small towel rolled in a "croissant" shape resting on the batter head, and I use "normal" heads (ie: no muffling integrated in the design of the head)
 
M

mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
The kits of that era had heavily rounded bearing edges. Most kits now have very sharp bearing edges.

A rounded edge generally projects less but has a slightly warmer tone; in fact to modern ears, it sounds a little muted. If you have sharp edges it's worthwhile just adding a very small amount of dampening to the bass drum to try and stop some of the brighter projection qualities.
 

Bertram

Silver Member
A lot of rock (and jazz) drummers did not put any muffling in their bass drums back then. I use only a very small towel rolled in a "croissant" shape resting on the batter head, and I use "normal" heads (ie: no muffling integrated in the design of the head)
I have the same kind of muffling - but iwth a clear powerstroke as batter - and a standard yamaha logo head on front.. with a port hole.
 
D

Doctor Dirt

Guest
Mitch tuned very much like a jazz set would be tuned except he had larger drums. What I remember was a full reso miced outside the drum (I could be wrong considering thoughs days) saw the Experience 5 times icluding Band of Gypsies with Buddy and Billy.
Your application is pretty heavy on weight PS 3 front and back is alot of material on the drum. You can try more tension to try to get closer to Mitches sound but maybe if you had the kick drum he used and the head application you'd get there quicker.
I use Aq. Super Kick 1 for batter (no patch) and the Aq. Regulator (full head) I mic outboard for the first time in over 30 years and its fun to have more chances at tuning with a full head than the ported ones. Porting is a luxury when your internally micing, other than that theres no need to cut out all the good resonanting. I don't muffle my drums I tune them so they don't ring or fart or doing anything else that isn't "drum like"! Doc
 

opentune

Platinum Member
I suggest for a wide open sound like Mitchs, an Ambassador reso and your PS3 or an Emp on the batter would be fine. No dampening inside, and no hole. The felt strip (one, 3 - 5 inches wide, thats all) works perfect to cut the excess 'ring' on the reso, and yes as mentioned earlier, tuned a little high. I use to dampen the bass drum but find I prefer a more resonant sound and work with the heads/tuning a little more, rather than filling the drum with stuff. Experiment!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The kits of that era had heavily rounded bearing edges. Most kits now have very sharp bearing edges.

A rounded edge generally projects less but has a slightly warmer tone; in fact to modern ears, it sounds a little muted. If you have sharp edges it's worthwhile just adding a very small amount of dampening to the bass drum to try and stop some of the brighter projection qualities.
Fantastic bit of earned knowledge there.

Also, if you decide to not port, that significantly affects your pedal feel. The sound is a little over the top, but that's just my take on it. The pedal feel is what made me abandon the idea. I always think every drum should start wide open as far as heads go, single ply clear or coated top and bottom, see how the drums sound au natural, then experiment. I prefer a short bass drum note and a long tom note. I did my experimenting lol, and i know what I like. If I recorded a song and the song needed a wide open bass drum, which does sound cool for certain stuff, I'd do it, but live, if I can only have one sound, yea short and punchy. You could go open but port, that takes the excessive rebound away. It will be an adjustment, especially not porting.
 
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Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Also, if you decide to not port, that significantly affects your pedal feel....

The pedal feel is what made me abandon the idea....
How does it affect the feel Larry? Can you elaborate, I'm interested as I always played with a 6" to 8"port on the head.

Thanks...
 

Bertram

Silver Member
How does it affect the feel Larry? Can you elaborate, I'm interested as I always played with a 6" to 8"port on the head.

Thanks...
Not having a porthole:
Less air get's out of the drum - makes the pedal more bouncy.

Having porthole:
All the air inside the drum get's pushed out, makes the head more well... flat - and less rebound.
 
D

Doctor Dirt

Guest
You also get much more sound returning back to you. If the band you work in is loud just get their backline amps even with your shoulders or in line with your kick drum. You'll be able to hear the drum much easier and you can adjust it very quickly from room to room. Again if your using an internal mic set up you do need a port but keep it at 5 inches and not bigger. Set the port in one of the lower quadrants most of the low end will be in the right or left quad and thats were your mic placement goes. Keep the mic closer to the reso not the batter unless you want a country music attack or slicky sound. Not for me!!!!
Every drum is different but generally speaking those are the sweet spots. I used an old Maye system and my mic stayed in the drum and the chord stayed plugged in with the rest of the chord in a booze bag!
The full reso head is working great and other than lugging the little mic stand and keeping the D112 in the mic case its all good. My new (to me) Premier Signia 16x20 is a Monster and anyone who thinks a 20" can't delivery can come on down and check this little 5ply Maple rering boy out!!!! I had to back the channel down that the 16x22 YRC was in, truth!
If some of you guys reading this post port, use muffling of any kind would like to give an open tuning a chance I think you'll appreciate the drum sound regardless what your using. You will need to become more active with tuning and put a squeeze on your toms as you take them out of bags/cases. Drums need to breath and don't need to be held back if their to loud use a heavier head or get some 8.9 or 10ply shells. Try it, open the boys up! Doc
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
How does it affect the feel Larry? Can you elaborate, I'm interested as I always played with a 6" to 8"port on the head.

Thanks...
You're in for a big difference in feel and sound, as the good Doctor and Bertram already stated. A 6" port is like having no front head at all, or so I've read. Ports need to be smaller. Dr. Dirt said 5", but I use an old CD, which is about 4" I think.

You need to try it yourself, meaning going full on gonzo with the bass drum. It's fun, and if you've never played a fully headed, wide open, unmuffled, unported kick drum, then you owe that to yourself. You might like it, but you won't know until you try. Be ready for some serious bounce back on your beater. If you bury the beater when you play, good luck in not getting unwanted bounces afterward. IMO a kick set up like that, the beater should be played with rebound, not buried.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
To the original post-er, experiment, and try an unported reso for awhile, no dampening, give it a chance as suggested here. It will be closest to what Mitch Mitchell did, and maybe thats the sound you want - emulate his old heads rather than the array of modern choices. I've tried several things with my bass drum but have now after years returned to no port, simple open sound, old fashioned heads and a big felt beater. It kicks arse....
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
You're in for a big difference in feel and sound.... You need to try it yourself, meaning going full on gonzo with the bass drum. It's fun, and if you've never played a fully headed, wide open, unmuffled, unported kick drum, then you owe that to yourself. You might like it, but you won't know until you try. Be ready for some serious bounce back on your beater. If you bury the beater when you play, good luck in not getting unwanted bounces afterward. IMO a kick set up like that, the beater should be played with rebound, not buried.
Thanks Larry, I'll give it a try, I don't bury my beater, it's all on bounce, so for that at least I'll be OK.

BTW, my port hole is CD's sized... and off center.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
On my kick, I have a coated Powerstroke 3 on the batter, and a clear Powerstroke 3 ...
I set my smaller (20 & 22 inch) kicks with dual P3's, and yeah, they're punchy little devils. But yeah, heads do wear out. Depending on how much you play, a year (at the most) is about the lifespan of a head.​

I've been trying to emulate the sound of Mitch Mitchell and cats like him. With pictures I've seen of Mitch, I've noticed that there doesn't appear to be any kind muffling on the kick. Was he getting a good thud without it being overly resonant and boomy by playing very gently? Or did he, like so many others, use felt, or other ways to dampen the sound?
Like MFB said, Mitch was playing a thin shelled 3 ply kick, with reinforcement rings. The reason those drums are so desirable today is because they sound the way they sound. You want Mitch's sound ... best way to get it is get a pre '76 Ludwig kick.​
Failing that ... old school head set up was ... typically ... a batter kick head with a felt strip, or sometimes a homemade ritchie ring. Or make a square around the beater zone with hospital tape. There were no Pinstripe or Powerstroke 3 heads back then. Cats usually added their own muffling to an Ambassador or Emperor batter head. And indeed, starting with coated Ambassador heads batter and reso., that's where a lot of guys started. You can always add muffling ... much harder to un-muffle.​
Also, part of the sound, the Speed King was probably the most widely used pedal, and the beaters were usually hard felt.​
 

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Bertram

Silver Member
Thanks Larry, I'll give it a try, I don't bury my beater, it's all on bounce, so for that at least I'll be OK.

BTW, my port hole is CD's sized... and off center.
Gj on the bouncing. But even though it's off center , there's still a huge difference. HUGE capital.
 
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