More experience as a drummer, less muffling of the kit..what does that tell us?

balboa

Senior Member
we mature players also have more finess and our motor skills are finer tuned. i used to play through the drum and beat the skins hard. now, i never break sticks, cymbals or heads and the techniques ive learned have helped me bring the true sounds of the drums out.
 

Joe Morris

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
I haven't used muffling on my drums in any recording sessions over the last 20 years and I do no less than 300 sessions a year. I have only been asked once or twice to put some (moon gel) on my snare. For what its worth. Joe
 

fat in the middle

Senior Member
The original band situation is where one has the ability to develop their 'sound'. Steve Gadd plays with everyone, therefor has to be chameleon. Theres alot of players out there that are in original projects, so they can develop a sound. That said, knowing the history of drums sounds, and the ability to access them is invaluable for even an original band. I saw Pat Stewart play, and he was constantly altering his tuning on his snare between songs for different timbres. One lug can change the sound!
 

SqueakySpeedKing

Junior Member
It seems that the more experienced one becomes as a drummer, the need for muffling and muting the kit becomes less and less. I know for me, any type of muffling on my snare or toms takes away certain sonic characteristics that I find desireable.... the high end bite of the snare, the attack and full resonant tone of the toms. But, when I was a beginner, I muffled the crap out of my kit to get rid of any excess overtones that sounded unnatural and was perfectly happy. Obviously, becoming a more mature player, an experienced tuner and acquiring a "taste" for wide open sounding drums will lead most drummers to not use any muffling devices whatsoevr, but is there more to it than that? Is it better to not muffle your drums since most more experienced players don't? What are your thoughts?
I did the same thing. I was intimidated by riveted cymbals. Now my drums are always wide open and I use larger, thin cymbals. Some with rivets. One gains the element of control as one gets older.
 

burnthehero

Pioneer Member
As we get older, we see things in the proper perspective. And the nuances and subtleties become much more appealing.
 

PocketGroove

Junior Member
I think that as you become more experienced, you start to know what sounds you want from your drums, and tune accordingly, in my opinion dampening should never be a substitute for careful tuning, but often a little piece of moongel can take away just the right amount of unwanted ring.
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
One other aspect to add to the "debate" as it were...I think there is a HUGE difference between a soundguy who requests muffling because they have a definite idea of what they want to hear rather than some sound guys I've dealt with who are just used to one thing and frankly act like they don't want to be bothered. I have worked with both and the second type is pretty annoying usually spends very little time working on sounds at all.
The vast majority I've encountered fall into that latter category. Musicians are just there to make their jobs more difficult (and possible in the first place).
 
R

Royal

Guest
My opinion is that as a musician gets more experienced he/she knows how to tune the drums to get the sound required & being happy with it needn't dampen the drums too much, or at all.

As mentioned, if a beginner has a real cheap sounding kit & little or no experience in tuning, then the desire to muffle the drums is understandable.

Also....I come across too many drummers that don't get someone else to play/hit their drums so they (the drummer) can hear the true sound of the kit from a distance.
 

Paul_Klein

Member
In your typical bar-setting where the sound guy will usually close mic the entire kit (which is the type of gig my band plays), is it probably best to muffle the snare/toms a bit? Thinking back, I usually don't muffle them AT ALL (I do muffle the bass drum always). Would I probably be helping the sound guy/our sound if I started muffling in this type of situation?
 

Cymbalrider

Pioneer Member
The biggest reason I've noticed is that people generally don't know any better. They are taught to believe (from each other and the general market) that you need Remo Pinstripes with muffle rings and pillows and kick pads and such. Then you are told to play on these hard to get a big sound. This is pointless and leads to so many people breaking sticks, heads and cymbals. Personally, I have two kits to cover all extremes. I have my Mapex 6 piece studio kit with the modern suspended toms all with EC2s to get a moderately resonant sound to fit most styles. Then comes my Gretsch Catalina Rock kit with big 26,13,16,18 drums all left open with a warm sound. Muffling drums limits what you can do with them including the sensitivity. Controlling the sustain, or dampening, is ok, and sometimes needed depending on the room.
 

MadJazz

Silver Member
I thought of bringing this thread up instead of making a similar one.

My question is: Why don't we muffle cymbals as much as we muffle drums?

The more muffled the drums are, the more dominant the cymbals are perceived.
I think there needs to be a good balance between the sustain of drums and cymbals. How do you cover that? I hardly ever see people muffle their cymbals but we don't want crashes and rides ringing for ages while the drums are focused.
 

Retrovertigo

Senior Member
i cant believe that this thread has persisted for three whole pages. what is left to discuss? wide open drums sound big and they "sing". thats cool. muffled drums sound dead and warm. thats cool too. GREAT! move on!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
i cant believe that this thread has persisted for three whole pages. what is left to discuss? wide open drums sound big and they "sing". thats cool. muffled drums sound dead and warm. thats cool too. GREAT! move on!
You've actually managed to miss the meaning behind the original question and over simplified the resolution.
 

Elvis

Silver Member
i cant believe that this thread has persisted for three whole pages. what is left to discuss? wide open drums sound big and they "sing". thats cool. muffled drums sound dead and warm. thats cool too. GREAT! move on!
Not always.
Sometimes muffled drums sound dead and COLD.
Sometimes wide open drums sing but sound small.

...and sometimes, that's the sound the drummer is going for.




Elvis
P.S. I agree with "keep it simple", too.
 

Bruce M. Thomson

Gold Member
good thread, that`s like "How can can I get rid of that dirt on my T-shirt? Throw it away or make the best out of it and experiment?"
I really never muffled drums, NEVER and I hate it. I hate the sound, this typical "bob"- sound, just awful. I think muffling drums extremly is just like making "make-up" on my face, it just hide the actual problems.
Better way would be to experiment with tuning till you find a good tuning and try out different heads. I think it`s good to explore how the drums react on different tunings, it will make you of course much more experienced. I had this problem a few days ago: My 12" tom sounded hoorible because of an awful lot of overtones...a good friend and guitarist said that I could "muffle away" this problem...just don`t like to do it, I kept up experimenting and reading some tuning guides et voilà: I got a good open jazzy sound.
So, just ask yourself: What gives me more experience? To muffle or to experiment till you find and to read? I guess it`s the second possibility...

Karl
You are very wise for such a young man; I do believe you are going to one hell of a jazz drummer. In my case it is the other musicians who are generally insisting on some sort of tone control
( they are not jazz players) so I find a balance, in small spaces I will use e-rings and the Evans pillow in the bass, otherwise I prefer the freedom of full on, unrestricted drums that sing.
 

Bruce M. Thomson

Gold Member
Yes, all points are correct and Bermuda has the experience in the studio (engineers do like less resonance on the drums in most cases) and on the road; what I like was DrummerCarl's observation that he became more personal with his sound and that it perfected his tuning. You may still have to make adjustments for studio and room and band mates but it's like high end audio; once you know all of the rules then you can start breaking them. So in the end it sort of comes back to tuning and like in audio, what sounds good sounds good, regardless of how you got there in the end. My walnut Black Panther sounds great either way but if I am playing some countrified soulful rock it sounds very spot on with an e-ring on it, so I use it.
 

Strangelove

Gold Member
Drum muffling as far as my recollections go (and I am 52 years old) go back to when Remo Weatherkings replaced calfskin heads on drums. While the Remos were great at holding their tune compared with calfskins, they put off the nastiestiest of sounds, a plastic ring or overtone, especially when tuned at higher tensions. I always figured the built in mufflers that drum makers went to during this era was to get plastic heads to sound more like natural hides. Those that do not understand why muffling may have been desirable should sometime play a set of calfskin headed drums, then you may see. I have never played natural hides that needed muffling, even at high tensions.
 

Bruce M. Thomson

Gold Member
Drum muffling as far as my recollections go (and I am 52 years old) go back to when Remo Weatherkings replaced calfskin heads on drums. While the Remos were great at holding their tune compared with calfskins, they put off the nastiestiest of sounds, a plastic ring or overtone, especially when tuned at higher tensions. I always figured the built in mufflers that drum makers went to during this era was to get plastic heads to sound more like natural hides. Those that do not understand why muffling may have been desirable should sometime play a set of calfskin headed drums, then you may see. I have never played natural hides that needed muffling, even at high tensions.
That is a good point, improvements are always being made. It was Krupa I believe who had hi-hats raised off of the floor for example, was there resistance to that idea? I think not so I don't think there are set rules about what you can or can not do with your drums.
I think adjusting your tone by what ever means you choose to achieve your desired sound is just fine and something drummers seem to have more control of than say a trumpet player (Dizzy being a noted exception, he was criticized back then but his accidental discovery of a bent horn is quite acceptable now) and when you think of it Bonham, who is quite popular on this site used normal heads rather than resonates to achieve the sound he wanted and felt strips on his bass. I read an article where the writer was trying to achieve a similar sound of a tom he heard on a standard R & B number, he could not get it right and it bothered him; finally he was able to meet the drummer from that track and ask him (by the way it was a Al Green song) how he did it. It turned out not to be a tom but a de tuned conga drum. Creativity is as much about drumming as is anything else. By the way, empty restaurant serviette containers make a fantastic percussion tool, try it out.
 
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