Rimshots on every snare hit

Chris Whitten

Well-known Member
But that snare drum sound is a dream rock and roll sound to me. Big and warm with just enough crack to get over in the mix and not a bit more.
It's the same on all the Springsteen records. Rimshots on a low tuned snare.
The first few records I played on I hated my sound. It was unexciting, lacked power. Then I watched Jerry Marotta slamming rimshots and I realised I had never knowingly played a rimshot in my life before (after four years of music college!!!).
It took me a few weeks to achieve somewhat accurate rimshots, then another several months to actually achieve professional quality, accurate (same timbre, same volume) rimshots.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
Rimshots don't have to be loud. My sound consists of the majority of backbeats being what I call "gentleman rimshots".

Which to me means playing rimshots with no more volume than center hits. Or even less volume than center hits because they cut so nice. I do it most of the time because I like the added shell tone. People say they like the sound of my snare drum. What they are really saying is "I like the frequencies you are pulling out of that drum". Because that's what's really happening. It's me not the drum lol.

Just like I don't have to drive my sports car at 150 mph all the time, I don't have to play rimshots loud all the time. Quiet rimshots make a great sounding backbeat to my ear and I use them for the great majority of my single snare hits. I have to adjust to do the center hits, when I don't want the rim/shell sound.. It's just a matter of raising my left thigh a few inches. (I touch my snare hand to my thigh as a guide for precise rimshot alignment)

Jimmy, you never have to use rimshots if you don't like them. No rules. We don't want everybody sounding the same do we? I'm the same way with center hits. Not a big fan. They definitely have a plethora of uses for sure. I find rimshots work for me best in my world, but I do use center hits when they sound better to me. If for some reason I could never play rimshots again, man would my overall sound/timbre change.
 
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iCe

Silver Member
Of course. That's why I asked him about Terry Williams' time with Dire Straits.

My bad, i could't filter that our of your earlier post hehe
Anyway, nice discussion we have here with all different points of view. Very enlightening!

Back to topic: rimshots are a nice tool to draw attention. Sometimes the rest of the band doesn't hear me shouting to point something out (damn those Marshall amps on 11), so a couple of rimshots is sure to get attention hehe
 

JimmyM

Gold Member
Rimshots don't have to be loud. My sound consists of the majority of backbeats being what I call "gentleman rimshots".

Which to me means playing rimshots with no more volume than center hits. Or even less volume than center hits because they cut so nice. I do it most of the time because I like the added shell tone. People say they like the sound of my snare drum. What they are really saying is "I like the frequencies you are pulling out of that drum". Because that's what's really happening. It's me not the drum lol.

Just like I don't have to drive my sports car car at 150 mph all the time, I don't have to play rimshots loud all the time. Quiet rimshots make a great sounding backbeat to my ear and I use them for the great majority of my single snare hits. I have to adjust to do the center hits, when I don't want the rim/shell sound.. It's just a matter of raising my left thigh a few inches. (I touch my snare hand to my thigh as a guide for precise rimshot alignment)

Jimmy, you never have to use rimshots if you don't like them. No rules. We don't want everybody sounding the same do we? I'm the same way with center hits. Not a big fan. They definitely have a plethora of uses for sure. I find rimshots work for me best in my world, but I do use center hits when they sound better to me. If for some reason I could never play rimshots again, man would my overall sound/timbre change.
Since they're that important, I will use them and work on them a lot harder than I have been. Got no problem using them at all now, except I feel like the drum equivalent of climbing a mountain and losing my grip for a split second every time I go for one.
 

River19

Senior Member
Rimshots don't have to be loud. My sound consists of the majority of backbeats being what I call "gentleman rimshots".

Which to me means playing rimshots with no more volume than center hits. Or even less volume than center hits because they cut so nice. I do it most of the time because I like the added shell tone. People say they like the sound of my snare drum. What they are really saying is "I like the frequencies you are pulling out of that drum". Because that's what's really happening. It's me not the drum lol.

Just like I don't have to drive my sports car car at 150 mph all the time, I don't have to play rimshots loud all the time. Quiet rimshots make a great sounding backbeat to my ear and I use them for the great majority of my single snare hits. I have to adjust to do the center hits, when I don't want the rim/shell sound.. It's just a matter of raising my left thigh a few inches. (I touch my snare hand to my thigh as a guide for precise rimshot alignment)

Jimmy, you never have to use rimshots if you don't like them. No rules. We don't want everybody sounding the same do we? I'm the same way with center hits. Not a big fan. They definitely have a plethora of uses for sure. I find rimshots work for me best in my world, but I do use center hits when they sound better to me. If for some reason I could never play rimshots again, man would my overall sound/timbre change.

I'm in the same boat as Larry. I have been playing primarily rimshots for 30+ years specifically as I like the shell tone I get. Rimshots don't have to be insanely loud. Now if someone is playing a small/medium bar with a bell brass snare and slamming rimshots then they certainly brought a gun to a knife fight and that surely would be "too much".

Since that has been "my sound" for so long, it takes no thought to get the same perfect tone from the same exact spot (my sticks tell the story), sometimes it is a full hit and sometimes just a wrist snap, it doesn't have to be extremely loud and cutting. I also play wood snares and usually have a medium tuning.

I actually have to think more about a pure center hit than a consistent rim shot. If a tune needs a really fat center hit sound I sometimes swap to traditional grip to eliminate going on autopilot and throwing a clunker in there......
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
I'm in the same boat as Larry. I have been playing primarily rimshots for 30+ years specifically as I like the shell tone I get. Rimshots don't have to be insanely loud. Now if someone is playing a small/medium bar with a bell brass snare and slamming rimshots then they certainly brought a gun to a knife fight and that surely would be "too much".

Since that has been "my sound" for so long, it takes no thought to get the same perfect tone from the same exact spot (my sticks tell the story), sometimes it is a full hit and sometimes just a wrist snap, it doesn't have to be extremely loud and cutting. I also play wood snares and usually have a medium tuning.

I actually have to think more about a pure center hit than a consistent rim shot. If a tune needs a really fat center hit sound I sometimes swap to traditional grip to eliminate going on autopilot and throwing a clunker in there......
Great post (because we're in agreement lol)

But yea the bolded part...I'm with you there man. Center hits in my world are the exception not the rule.

I could take that 14 x 8 BB in the hardest, smallest room possible, and tame that animal to do my bidding. It's all about knowing how to hit soft all night long. Rimshots with the volume of a rimclick is what I go for when volume and cut must be tamed.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
I hit rim shots pretty much every time, and have leaned to use touch and my ears to determine when they should be stadium rock loud, or wedding band soft...but I just don't like the sound of the drum without them...it sounds "broken" to my ears.

I have never had a band leader, or sound guy complain about the sound or balance.

it is a matter of being aware...not a matter of absolutes in my world
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known Member
!It should all be about the music!
Rimshot vs centre hit is a sound thing, what is appropriate for the song... for the genre.
This is an awesome modern recording with centre hits only:

And this retro classic:

Many modern hip-hop records have sampled old drum recordings based on centre hits.
The classic drum machines like Linn Drum and DMX were based on centre hit snare, not the rim shot, which goes on to influence younger modern bands:
.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I flattened my snare a couple years ago and rim shots became an accessory. I can now choose to hit the rim if I want. With it angled I was always on it.

I like rim shots. I like them even better as a choice.
 

cbphoto

Diamond Member
Rimshots are just another sound that can be made from the kit/snare drum.

I used to play mostly rim shots while I was in a high school/young adult worship band. Later, when I began learning to record audio, I found rimshots to be problematic. They sounded harsh and dissonant. This began my trek to make tasteful snare sounds. I found some snare drums’ rim shots have a very sharp “crack” attack from a rim shot (e.g., steel shell, spotted gum shell) and some have more of a “pop” attack (e.g., maple, poplar).

Currently my problem has been laziness. There’s more effort to play the center of the head consistently for the duration of a tune than there is to play rimshots for the duration. It feels easier to simply lay/strike the stick flat to the head & rim.
 

Jml

Senior Member
I must be weird. I never use rimshots. Unless I’m playing the end of Third Eye Blind’s “Jumper”. No band I’ve been in has ever noticed or told me to play them.
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
It's the sound of modern rock and pop, as established by great drummers like Jeff Porcaro, Andy Newmark, Kenny Aronoff, and a whole bunch of 70's funk icons.
A centre hit is an equally valid sound, but not for some genres and tends to be more of a retro sound.
It's not really the drummer's decision. If the song requires a sharp precise backbeat the songwriter or producer will expect rimshots.bviously ghost nets are not played as rimshots.
It's also the sound of 70's rock drummers who had to compete with Marshall stacks to even get heard. I play a lot of rim shots but they're controlled. Not all rim shots are the same either. Another consideration is the batter side hoop you use. I'm keen on Hendrix stave snares because they come stock with S-hoops top and bottom which help in controlling the volume of the rim shot.

You tell 'em Chris.......... don't be messing with our rim shots! ;)
 

River19

Senior Member
Interesting discussion. I believe one aspect that needs to be heavily factored in here in the type of snare being played........I play only wood at this point, just the direction I gravitated to. My current primary is a nice cherry 14x6.5" I built with die cast hoops and it has exactly the sound I was looking for. The rimshots on this particular drum are really "woody" as I get a good shell tone out of it which was my goal.

If my primary was a steel, aluminum, brass, etc. I think I would find the rim shot to be a little too cutting for my particular sound. Maybe that factored into how I gravitated to wood.

The DW Craviotto snare in my avatar is pretty damn cutting for a wood drum as the steam bent shell is fairly thick. So each snare can be totally different (obviously) so it isn't a binary rimshot yes/no thing, it can and should vary by drum as well as the obvious musical factors.

But what the hell do I know......
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I'm not a fan of hearing rim shots all night long and for every song. However for some songs and for some venues it sounds good. But I hear them misused too often.
If I could play consistent accurate quiet rim shots like Larry does then I'd do it. But instead I tune my snare drum so that it sounds almost like a rim shot when I play center hits. Problem solved.

.
 

Justinhub2003

Silver Member
I have no issues with Rim shots. I think it’s what ever serves the song.

There are some songs where a rim shot is over bearing. Some where it’s required. I personally love a mix of the two.. ghosts notes followed by a cracking Rim shot. Creating dynamics in just your snare really allows the Rim shot to shine through. But all rim shots all the time, it’s not annoying to me, it’s just mostly not very dynamic the way music should be
 

Al Strange

Platinum Member
I’m firmly in the rimshots where they are needed camp…as I’m a hard rock specialist that’s been quite often for me. That doesn’t mean I haven’t got ears and would play rimshots regardless of the musical situation, so assess what’s appropriate for the song and think like a musician…always.:unsure:(y)
 

s1212z

Silver Member
"gentleman rimshots"
First thought comes to Bill Bruford, the whole video is great but here is the time stamp on this topic. Second thought, this sounds very dirty...warrants an admin flag. ⛳




Snare type, rim type and location (and tuning) can change the sound quite, I think you start to get more character of what the snare is on a rim shot, makes the snare sing and probably one of the first things I do when I encounter a new snare. Dead center, off-center, near edge rimshots...all different sound options. Diecast changes it is quite a bit, I'd say only prefer it selectively. My twin channel diecast on my thick Eames is ridiculously loud, I think triple flanged is a bit more dynamic generally. Bill above seems pretty light and off-center and just gets that nice balance for 'his' sound.

Who likes to rimshot their toms? Can't say I regularly do but its a sound option and sometimes I like it when it fits for the expression, just another choice.

Edit: Also, I wonder how much is grip an influence, I don't actively switch between trad/match...maybe someone here could comment if they do.
 
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