Quiet gigs but with a good feel - which 'stick'?

A couple of people have suggested muffling the drums.

I’d start with O rings, then maybe paper napkins taped on, then tea towels like Ringo. Or upside down drum heads sitting on top, or the neoprene pads.
Take of the bottom heads? Fill the drums with foam or cloth?
 
I carry an old (OK, vintage) pair of Regal Tip Jake Hanna sticks in each stick bag if I need to go low volume. If I need to be even quieter, I'll use the Innovative Percussion brush / mallet / stick tip combo. They sound good but the feel is totally weird (springy). I can always get the sounds I need but at the sacrifice of how it feels. Thanks for this thread... tons of good info... and will probably look at some of those bamboo sticks.

 
A couple of people have suggested muffling the drums.

I’d start with O rings, then maybe paper napkins taped on, then tea towels like Ringo. Or upside down drum heads sitting on top, or the neoprene pads.
Take of the bottom heads? Fill the drums with foam or cloth?

Muffling per se will not really allow me to play more naturally, and I really don't want to make internal changes to the drums for one particular gig.

But I recall some kind of layover that was more of a mute, foam on both sides maybe, and a solid core? Will have to look into that as well.
 
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" the drum set, drum stick, drum head, that does quiet best wins"
a mark of true quality
 
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Vic virth sd-4 is a great all purpose stick. I find blast-sticks (plastic rods) to be handy if im playing a super quiet gig thats back beat city, plus they are great for train beats. I was so happy when they came out with those yrs ago cause i was going thru wire brushes when i was doing a lot of country. Stay well, play well
 
BTW, apart from the stick/drum issue, I will bring my favorite quiet cymbals on that gig... if there's a next time.

Amedia Q Series takes their regular cymbals and then drill all those little holes to control the volume. Big difference between them and everyone else's quiet cymbals.

qseries.jpg
 
A little off-topic, but am I the only one on this forum who is completely blown away that Bermuda would ask for OUR advice?
For the drummer, playing an acoustic kit 'quieter' requires a different touch and maybe a lighter stick. That's how I've always done it, though a truly quiet gig has somehow escaped me all these years. Until last night.

One of my bands was booked into a small neighborhood restaurant, with the obvious requirement being that we play quietly. It's a blues/rock band with some fairly uptempo swing & shuffles. No way my thin 'jazz' sticks (VF AJ5) would be quiet enough, so I brought out my Flix plastic brush-sticks. Of course they were quiet enough, but required minimal motion and velocity, and being kinda front-heavy and the brushes being flexible, were difficult to play at faster tempos. I can move them well enough at more moderate volume & tempo, but last night really put me to the test. I compromised my faster parts, compromised the drum sound, compromised the feel, and just didn't have a good time playing that way.

An e-kit is not a viable solution, and turning down gigs is not the answer. I'm hoping someone here has found a stick solution and I'd like to hear your experiences.

The stick must be light enough to help me control the volume, but it needs to have normal stick action so that fast parts can be played fairly effortlessly. In other words, not having to abandon energy/technique in order to work the stick (such as with the front-heavy & floppy brush sticks.) It seems like there would be a special stick designed for this. I don't expect many more of these type of gigs, but I'd like to be prepared if we ever go back to this place.

Thanks in advance!

I know you're not gonna like what I have to say but.....

When I have a gig that's quiet. I mean REALLY quiet; so quiet than no amount of muffling or stick reduction will help, I transition to hand percussion. (Like the djembe in my avatar.) Granted, it doesn't sound as "full" as a complete drum set, but still can work.

In my last band, I did a lot of hand percussion, most of which was in support of another drummer. I really didn't know what I was doing, but had a good time and the end result wasn't half bad. The few times in the past that I'd play hand percussion to back up a quiet, acoustic gig, audience feedback was always positive.

Flame away, Bermuda! :D
 
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For the drummer, playing an acoustic kit 'quieter' requires a different touch and maybe a lighter stick. That's how I've always done it, though a truly quiet gig has somehow escaped me all these years. Until last night.

One of my bands was booked into a small neighborhood restaurant, with the obvious requirement being that we play quietly. It's a blues/rock band with some fairly uptempo swing & shuffles. No way my thin 'jazz' sticks (VF AJ5) would be quiet enough, so I brought out my Flix plastic brush-sticks. Of course they were quiet enough, but required minimal motion and velocity, and being kinda front-heavy and the brushes being flexible, were difficult to play at faster tempos. I can move them well enough at more moderate volume & tempo, but last night really put me to the test. I compromised my faster parts, compromised the drum sound, compromised the feel, and just didn't have a good time playing that way.

An e-kit is not a viable solution, and turning down gigs is not the answer. I'm hoping someone here has found a stick solution and I'd like to hear your experiences.

The stick must be light enough to help me control the volume, but it needs to have normal stick action so that fast parts can be played fairly effortlessly. In other words, not having to abandon energy/technique in order to work the stick (such as with the front-heavy & floppy brush sticks.) It seems like there would be a special stick designed for this. I don't expect many more of these type of gigs, but I'd like to be prepared if we ever go back to this place.

Thanks in advance!
You'll want a stick with a smaller tip and thinner shoulder compared to the grip area - Vater's Jimmy Cobb or Bebop 550, and Vic Virth options: Keith Carlock, SD2 Bolero, or Peter Erskine.
 
You'll want a stick with a smaller tip and thinner shoulder compared to the grip area
I actually went looking for the VF Echo sticks yesterday, I know those will help but not sure if it's enough. I suppose I could just order a pair, I am one of their artists. :)
 
When I have a gig that's quiet. I mean REALLY quiet; so quiet than no amount of muffling or stick reduction will help, I transition to hand percussion. (Like the djembe in my avatar.) Granted, it doesn't sound as "full" as a complete drum set, but still can work.
We have several songs that would work okay with a cajon, but I just don't hear it for the uptempo swing songs (same stuff where I was having problems moving those brushes.)

Although a cajon would certainly make load-in a lot simpler... :)
 
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Have you looked into the Vic Firth AJ5 or AJ6 sticks? I used to use the AJ6 years ago. Definitely a low volume stick; extremely small head with very thin taper.

 
Have you looked into the Vic Firth AJ5

That's been my go-to quieter stick for some time, but it wasn't enough for the other night.
 
put the needle things on the fingers

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price is Right
 
When I had that same kind of feeling about losing the song's spirit playing with lighter sticks, I'd modify some of the bundle-sticks such as hot-rods or similar. If you tape the exposed parts of the stick together at the shoulder and top, but not the tip itself *leave about a half inch", it totally changes how those rod type sticks play, sound, and how you can move around with them.

I tend to use electrical tape, which has a dampening effect and good weight which is important because I also use the tape to re-balance the sticks a bit more towards the tip for much more natural "feel" when using them in faster scenarios. Using more electrical tape in a few layers at the top to add just a bit of weight and even out the balance, as I usually find those have a butt-end balance which kinda works against my trying to play normally. The tape added to the shoulder of the stick helps allow you to lay into cymbals and hats without being too loud. There's also a side-effect of making them last longer because the tape minimizes fraying and breaking. You'll also want to pull the tape more tight than you might expect, stretch it a little bit. If you need to play aggressively and not too loud, it's really worth messing around with those bundle sticks, it's very different.

What I eventually ended up doing is I guess what you'd consider "compromising", if I have to play extremely quietly, I tend to simplify parts, play with normal sticks, very low stick-heights and very little momentum... Damping the drums more than usual helps too. At least in my scenario's this tends to work fine because most of the time, the other players are doing acoustic instruments, and also playing more toned-down energy wise.
 
That's been my go-to quieter stick for some time, but it wasn't enough for the other night.
I seem to remember the AJ6 being even quieter than the AJ5. That small bead is really low volume but still articulate.

Barring that, maybe go to a local hobby shop and get some skinny dowels? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
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