The most misused word in drumming?

boomstick

Silver Member
Given its prevalence as a TV/movie sound effect, I am puzzled by the widespread misuse of the word "punchy" when describing the sound a drum produces. Here is the classic punch sound effect:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tp7sDYEq5vI

Basically a very short sound with no sustain, but I've seen people use this word to describe virtually every type of drum out there. I've seen it used to describe 24x20 kicks, a boomy drum if there ever was one. I read another post that described the 20x8 Pearl Rhythm Traveler kick as "not punchy at all." I have one of these kicks, and punchy is exactly how I would describe it, especially when compared to my other kick which is 20x18. I saw another person say he wanted to make his toms "less resonating and more short in sound, but still be punchy." ??? So it seems to me a lot of people have a completely different interpretation of this word, or maybe it's me that does?
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Warm.

"These drums have great attack and punch, but they are so warm.....

Apparently every drum is warm, even acrylics or concrete snare drums.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I read in some Sabian literature where they describe some of their crash cymbals as punchy. Never understood that.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
This is the easiest question ever for me ------- RESONANCE ----------!




As for punchy as applied to drums, I take it as a short voice that's full of tone.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
RIMSHOT!

This one bugs me the most. The thing about words like "warm" and "punchy" is that altogether uber-prevelant and are used to describe *everything*, at least its a subjective phrase and is open to interpretation.

Not rimshot. Rimshot is a specific thing. Its a specific way to play the drums (playing the head and the rim at the same time, getting a snapier sound out of the drums). It is *not* a musical phrase that involves two snare hits and a crash, usually used to emphasize a comedic line.
 

boomstick

Silver Member
I read in some Sabian literature where they describe some of their crash cymbals as punchy. Never understood that.
Oh dear. It's worse than I thought.

This is the easiest question ever for me ------- RESONANCE ----------!
I haven't noticed that one being misused as much, but you would surely know since it's your profession. That's a real puzzler. I'm at a loss to imagine what else resonance could describe since its common usage makes it seem pretty clear, as in "he gave a moving speech that resonated with many people."

For sure. I've seen it used to describe rim clicks too.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Sensitivity: It gets overused, and used weirdly. The only usage I can think of that actually makes sense is with regard to snare response, which has to do with snare tension, head choice, and tuning. Maybe you could say a fast-responding cymbal or drum is more "sensitive" than a slow-responding one, but that's borderline.

Also technique. People say it like it means chops.

And theory-- it doesn't mean reading music, or "knowing very basic things about music."
 

boomstick

Silver Member
Sensitivity: It gets overused, and used weirdly. The only usage I can think of that actually makes sense is with regard to snare response, which has to do with snare tension, head choice, and tuning. Maybe you could say a fast-responding cymbal or drum is more "sensitive" than a slow-responding one, but that's borderline.
I agree that it's most accurate when describing snare response, but in other drums, I take it to mean you could hit it very softly and it would still produce a nice tone.
 

Jake943

Member
Chinese. particularly with Sabian-They say Chinese instead of China cymbal. Now, I know its not "misused, really, but it bothers me really bad for no particular reason.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I haven't noticed that one being misused as much, but you would surely know since it's your profession. That's a real puzzler. I'm at a loss to imagine what else resonance could describe since its common usage makes it seem pretty clear, as in "he gave a moving speech that resonated with many people."
Many players, & many drum companies confuse head sustain with resonance. Just because a drum head vibrates for a long time, does not mean it's a resonant drum. Conversely, a very short voiced drum can be highly resonant. A resonant drum is one who's shell is easily excited with minimal input.
 

boomstick

Silver Member
Ok, that makes sense now. I hadn't considered the head being a factor in people's interpretation. When I think of resonance, I have this image of a vibrating drum shell in my mind. I'll admit that it was only recently that I learned to discern between the head and shell sound. To detect such nuance, I think it takes a pretty keen ear, and lots of tuning practice.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
To detect such nuance, I think it takes a pretty keen ear, and lots of tuning practice.
Not necessarily nuance, sometimes it smacks you in the face. Essentially, a highly resonant drum delivers more tone / a more discernible note - the length of which is controlled primarily via tuning / head selection / bearing edge form.
 

boomstick

Silver Member
I think you have a more experienced ear than I, and mine more so than the typical non-musician. When it comes to identifying and analyzing concurrent sounds coming from one instrument, I think that's a pretty nuanced interpretation for most people.

I hadn't really thought about this at such a detailed level though. I'm sure it's very similar in nature to the sounds from the strings vs the sounds from the wood body of an acoustic guitar or cello or a grand piano.
 

Merlin5

Gold Member
I think the most misused word is playing a 'rimshot' when the person is intending to describe a 'rim click'. Similarly, confusion on 'cross stick' which also means rim click, and 'cross sticking' which is a way of playing fills around the kit by crossing hands under or over each other.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I think the most misused word is playing a 'rimshot' when the person is intending to describe a 'rim click'. Similarly, confusion on 'cross stick' which also means rim click, and 'cross sticking' which is a way of playing fills around the kit by crossing hands under or over each other.
Looking for the 'like' button... also not to be confused with 'stick shot.'
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
Cross sticking is a term I've only encountered in marching/corps world, and its always used correctly in that context. I've never seen it used in set world, either correctly or incorrectly.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Overused? Kick. You mean Bass Drum. But most of the so called overused words are not really overused, just words that irritate us personally. Like me with Kick drum.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
Maybe not the most overused but the one I absolutely detest is to use the word "buttery" to describe a cymbal. What a horrible food linked descriptor that should only be used on those awful competitive cooking shows or your dear old grandmas biscuits. What's next check out my fudgey china or hi-hats that have undertones of a subtle yet tangy Bouillabaisse.

No No No.

Cap'n.
 
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