Playing the drum in the middle of the head?

Auspicious

Well-known member
I just saw this thread about raising the bass drum.

And it makes me wonder.. I was told to play the drums in the middle of the heads but somewhat, with my snare and bass drum, the middle spot is not the spot I like to hit the most at all.

For the snare I find it better to hit around, the rebound is better and I even prefer the sound, with more overtones? For the bass drum it's about the the same thing. To get a jazz kind of sound, I was told to lower my 18" bass drum in order to hit a bit higher, off center, and that this would give me a bit more tonality out of the bass drum. .

At first I thought it was a dumb idea.. but today, I think it's true, the sound and the feel is much better offset from the center, in my opinion.

I want to know if other people like to play off center of the snare and bass drum or if it's just a bad habit for most of you.

For me the snare is like a round zone with many sounds sectors.
 

mrfingers

Senior Member
I set my pedals to hit 1” above center for better sound and rebound. Toms and snare hits depend on the sound I want, the rebound I need.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
My bass drum beater is slightly higher than the middle. I didn't do a lot of experimenting, but it just sounds good where it is so I won't "fix" it. Remember, the bass drum is round and while you may opt for the middle vertically, is it centered left and right, which would be the same as being off- center vertically. Hope that made sense.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
My kick beaters are centered but offset equidistant from center (double pedal). I play my snare mostly in the middle, but do strike near the edges to get a more pingy sound. I also start buzz rolls near the edge.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I prefer to backbeat a bit off center on my snare... with all kinds of exceptions...and off center with my BD beater with no exceptions.

Toms, it depends what I'm going for, where I'll hit. Normally it's center. But I wouldn't want to limit myself to any particular spot on the head for everything.

Brian, your new nickname is Buzz Rolls.

I'll be calling you Buzz from now on, just sayin Buzz.
 
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C.M. Jones

Well-known member
It depends on the effect you're aiming for. For instance, striking a snare head dead-center will grant you the cleanest sound (fewest overtones) and the most volume. Before drummers start going crazy with muting strategies, it's wise for them to examine their technique. Some don't realize that they're mostly hitting a drum off-center. When they move to the center of the head, their overtone concerns are often eliminated.

Of course, there are lots of valid reasons to strike a drum off-center as well. Again, your intent will dictate your location.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
In marching band land, tenor drums are definitely struck closer to the edge than the center. Timpani is the same way.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I just thought of a kick drum beater that can extend and retract...by thought...to be able to play the bass drum at different zones on the head.
 

TMe

Senior Member
For me the snare is like a round zone with many sounds sectors.
I recently tried an Emperor X head on my snare, cranked tight. It had a great sound - but only one sound, and only if I hit it dead centre. So I think drummers who use heavy, two-ply heads don't get as much variety of sound, and need to pay more attention to a smaller "strike zone" that works.

As for the kick drum, I find that hitting it dead centre tends to kill the tone and make it sound boxy. But I like a kick sound that most people find too resonant, so what do I know?
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
On snare I play just above center, right at the edge of the center dot.

In general dead center is the most acoustically dead point on the head. It doesn't feel or sound very good on a snare though I've never noticed the same thing on toms...I wonder if head tension plays a part in toms not being as adversely affected?
 

Auspicious

Well-known member
Thanks for the the answers about the subject.

With my snare, i don't get an interesting rebound from the center for buzzing.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Do what you want, just listen to your sound. On the snare drum I would always play in the center unless you're looking for a thin, pingy sound.
 

Auspicious

Well-known member
Do what you want, just listen to your sound. On the snare drum I would always play in the center unless you're looking for a thin, pingy sound.
I think there is something wrong with the center of the batter head of my snare, I don't like to hit there at all, the tension. The head is very hard with much less rebound effect and it's unresponsive for low volume buzzing. That's why I naturally do it away from the center where there is pleasant rebound.

I wonder if that pleasant rebound is possible to get in the middle of the head.

My taste is based on not much right now. I wanted to know if there was a rule to play in the middle or outside a bit, I see that it's possible to do both.

It's a self thought kind of thing, with a very slow learning curve.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I wonder if that pleasant rebound is possible to get in the middle of the head.
The rebound is always going to be the least in the center. It's the nature of the drum. The head deflects most in the center, so naturally that part of the head will always have the least amount of rebound.

Think about a trampoline. The surface is more stiff at the edges than the middle. A drum works the same way.
 

Auspicious

Well-known member
The rebound is always going to be the least in the center. It's the nature of the drum. The head deflects most in the center, so naturally that part of the head will always have the least amount of rebound.

Think about a trampoline. The surface is more stiff at the edges than the middle. A drum works the same way.
Ahh ok then I think the mistery is solved for me then and again!

Learning new things all the time.

With my current experience and my latest tuning tests on the snare, I was not sure at all about the middle center spot of it but now it's obvious that mine is ok and well in the tolerences. I have enough evidence that it will have the least amount of rebound. This is good news, thank all and MrinsanePolack.

Apart from buzzing the snare in the middle, when I hit the center to get a single note, it's doing a fine cracking.

I can stop thinking about that now. ((;
 
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