That's Not What I've Been Told! Drum Sound Physics

I'm still a thin shell whore. I like my thin shelled Guru tone better than the 7.5 mm Pearl shells. So my real life experience runs counter to what this guy is saying. I guess a Stradivarius body sounds best when it's rigid. Not. He says some energy goes into the shell...but IMO that energy isn't lost. IMO it goes toward shaping (according to the drum material) the resolved tone of the output.

I'm not on board with a lot of what he says.
Bottom line...you like a sound and I don't. I have thin-shelled Pearl's that I love, and, like you said, a 7.5mm Pearl snare that's a one trick pony. Give me a thin to medium- shelled drum with a wide tuning range any day. There are too many variables that come into play that we tend to forget when falling down this thickness/density rabbit hole. I've heard thick shelled drums sound great, but there's more to it than what the literature focuses on in the video.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Very interesting so far!

I'm about half way through the video, and I want to address something he read from the catalog. I'm not going to try and quote it, but essentially it says the shell should be so massive that it does not resonate at all. That way, maximum energy is extracted from the drumhead.

That is correct, physically speaking, but is it desirable? Compare this to another acoustic instrument, the guitar. To extract the maximum energy from the string, the "guitar" should be absolutely rigid and should not resonate. But is that desirable?

I'll continue watching the vid, but I think this is why some people like thin shells and some people like thick shells. Which is the instrument, the head or the drum? The string or the guitar? Don't they work together to form the overtone profile that identifies the instrument for what it is?

We never hear, "My God, that's a tremendous sounding guitar string! (Or trumpet mouthpiece, or violin string, etc.)

So far, I feel like the focus is very much on efficiency rather than character, but I'll keep watching. Fun stuff!
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
Tommy Aldridge..Steve Smith..Robbie Bachman..Russ Kunkell..on various recordings had this sound that killed me and it was all on Sonor phonic drums wether it be from standard..power or square sizes that sound was there. I'd heard tons of great drum sounds over 30 years but the Sonor sound (phonic) blew my circuits. It (is) identifiable. After hearing that sound it was phonics or nothing for me.
It seems to me from reading Modern Drummer mag. in the 80s that Aldridge and Kunkell played Yamaha drums. My memory may not be right though. Someone should let me borrow their phonics so I can compare them to my Ludwig clubdates and Starclassic performers. :D:D:D
 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
It seems to me from reading Modern Drummer mag. in the 80s that Aldridge and Kunkell played Yamaha drums. My memory may not be right though. Someone should let me borrow their phonics so I can compare them to my Ludwig clubdates and Starclassic performers. :D:D:D
I don’t know about Russ but Tommy switched to Yamaha when he joined Ozzy, I believe. I saw him in 79 with Pat Travers and he was using Ludwig.

Oops…apparently he was using Sonor with Travers. Just saw some pics.
 
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lefty2

Platinum Member
I don’t know about Russ but Tommy switched to Yamaha when he joined Ozzy, I believe. I saw him in 79 with Pat Travers and he was using Ludwig.

Oops…apparently he was using Sonor with Travers. Just saw some pics.
I saw Pat open for Foghat in 78 or 79 I wonder if Tommy was playing then? I just remember it was great concert.
 

Bozozoid

Platinum Member
It seems to me from reading Modern Drummer mag. in the 80s that Aldridge and Kunkell played Yamaha drums. My memory may not be right though. Someone should let me borrow their phonics so I can compare them to my Ludwig clubdates and Starclassic performers. :D:D:D
I remember the yamaha years with Tommy and Russ as well.
 

C. Dave Run

Gold Member
We never hear, "My God, that's a tremendous sounding guitar string! (Or trumpet mouthpiece, or violin string, etc.)
Your sticks sound fantastic!

Guess I better watch the video. I have my own ideas about shell thickness. Ideally, I want my smaller drums to have thicker shells and bigger drums to have thinner shells. My reasoning for this is based on inner shell diameter. Smaller diameters have higher pitches. Bigger diameters have lower pitches. I want to exploit that as much as possible.

Now I shall watch the video.
 

C. Dave Run

Gold Member
Okay I watched it. A few things:

1. What he says (the physics) is correct. Applying it to a specific set of drums, based on something he read 40 years ago, gives him plenty of time to form his argument. Sounding better is personal opinion, not physics.

2. If Steve Smith recorded his drums in a carpeted room the size of a closet and shaped like a cone they would sound like the southbound end of a northbound anything. The room matters.

An explination of something I feel he did poorly:

The vibrations dont bleed off to the thin walled shell and cause them to vibrate, thus robbing the head of power. That is a horrible explination.

The stick inputs 100% energy into the drum upon striking. That energy must be distributed amongst everything that moves. If only the head moves, it gets 100% of that energy. If the shell moves also, some of the energy of the head is transferred to the shell, thus lowering the amount of energy the head uses but increasing the amount of energy the shell uses. It might be something like 70/30% (made up for arguments sake), but the output is still 100%. Yes I know there will be residual losses, but let's not overly complicate an already overly complicated idea.

Now that's out of the way...

My early 70s heavy ass Pearl 16/18 floor toms are the best sounding floors I've ever had. They "sustain" for days and are loud. They also have fiberglass lined insides.

My 10" tom sounds better in a snare stand than on its suspension mount. I think it's too small/light for the mount to actually do anything but choke it.
 
Such as???
Bearing edges, snare beds, room acoustics, recording equipment/techniques, how much adhesive and temperature used to make the shell. Different rims and mounting systems. No right or wrong, it's just how our brain perceives sounds.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Okay I watched it. A few things:

1. What he says (the physics) is correct. Applying it to a specific set of drums, based on something he read 40 years ago, gives him plenty of time to form his argument. Sounding better is personal opinion, not physics.

2. If Steve Smith recorded his drums in a carpeted room the size of a closet and shaped like a cone they would sound like the southbound end of a northbound anything. The room matters.

An explination of something I feel he did poorly:

The vibrations dont bleed off to the thin walled shell and cause them to vibrate, thus robbing the head of power. That is a horrible explination.

The stick inputs 100% energy into the drum upon striking. That energy must be distributed amongst everything that moves. If only the head moves, it gets 100% of that energy. If the shell moves also, some of the energy of the head is transferred to the shell, thus lowering the amount of energy the head uses but increasing the amount of energy the shell uses. It might be something like 70/30% (made up for arguments sake), but the output is still 100%. Yes I know there will be residual losses, but let's not overly complicate an already overly complicated idea.

Now that's out of the way...

My early 70s heavy ass Pearl 16/18 floor toms are the best sounding floors I've ever had. They "sustain" for days and are loud. They also have fiberglass lined insides.

My 10" tom sounds better in a snare stand than on its suspension mount. I think it's too small/light for the mount to actually do anything but choke it.

I have definitely noticed this about 10” toms. They sound so much better when just suspended from my hand than from a suspension mount
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
He joined PT in 78 so most likely yes.
That's so cool I didn't realize I've seen Tommy Aldridge play before, there's a lot of the seventies it's kind of fuzzy in my mind though😁😁😁
 

dboomer

Senior Member
Bearing edges, snare beds, room acoustics, recording equipment/techniques, how much adhesive and temperature used to make the shell. Different rims and mounting systems. No right or wrong, it's just how our brain perceives sounds.
But none of those speak to the subject at hand … namely the physics of head and shell vibrations.
 
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