The sound of the drum is within the heads

dboomer

Senior Member
From a crappy cell phone video? In a very loud room at NAMM? No.

In person inside a studio where you can hear all the nuances? You bet!

I’m not certain I’d be 10/10 every time, but in this scenario I’m sure I’d be close.
What you are saying is that there are critical components of the sound that are buried under the ambient sound. So if you have to listen in such a controlled situation does it matter?
 

TK-421

Senior Member
What you are saying is that there are critical components of the sound that are buried under the ambient sound. So if you have to listen in such a controlled situation does it matter?
I totally get what you're saying, and I think that's the bigger question. Not "Does the wood/shell construction change the sound of the drum?" Because I think most of us agree that it does. And logic dictates that it does. After all, if different woods at different hardnesses constructed in different ways resonate at different frequencies, of course it will affect how the drum sounds.

Instead, the real question is "How much does that really matter in the real world?" That is a much harder question to answer. In a dive bar, it probably matters very little. In a high-end recording studio, it'll probably make a noticeable difference. Anywhere in between is anyone's guess.
 
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GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
But, but We can carve a drum shell from European and American cheeses with same heads and tuned to same pitch and the “consensus” is there should be no difference. Now what is the rate-limiting factor to be a taco- the tortilla w/o it it’s just a salad. A quiche w/o the crust is a frittata. And I don’t play drum a”head” kit I play a “drum”kit and w/o the shell it isn’t a drum. So I don’t know about you folks I play a drum kit LOL.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Didn't watch the video, but I'm guessing he says all wood sounds the same.
Birch is not oak, and maple is not beech. Each wood has its own characteristics, hardness, ease of working/forming and other qualities.

One way to tell would be to have one manufacturer make identical drums with different woods.
Everything - heads, edges, lugs, rods, finish, and mounts be would be the same - everything except the wood type.
They sound different enough that Yamaha had a mix and match order series going for a while with the Absolutes.
You could order birch toms and a maple bass drum for example.

Cheese?


 
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GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
So it's just bearing edges and head selection eh? I remember one time I had an issue with a head seating properly and I couldn't tell doodle just looking at it. I got "the brilliant idea" of using plumber's putting on the outside of bearing edge so I could watch it ooze and maybe tell me something. Which I guess it did-never follow your brilliant idea-made a huge mess and that crap got in the pores of the wood bearing edge. I bet it's still there in the edge of that tom whoever has the kit now. Anyways it got me thinking you need a hard surface to draw tension on but does the bearing edge have to be that hard-why can't it be viscoelastic like a mylar membrane so vibrate with it? You'll still have tension drawn across membrane-just the minute surface of bearing edge in most intimate contact would vibrate-hopefully with it-else it will deaden it LOL. What was that I was saying bout not following "brilliant ideas" LOL.
 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
What if I said the sound of the heads is in the drum? after all it only happens when tightened on the shell, or what if the sound of the heads and drum is in the tension screws? Could it be that a drum is the sum of all it's parts, Wow what a revelation..
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
What if I said the sound of the heads is in the drum? after all it only happens when tightened on the shell, or what if the sound of the heads and drum is in the tension screws? Could it be that a drum is the sum of all it's parts, Wow what a revelation..
I have a Slingerland wood snare drum from the late 90's. Made in Taiwan. Kind of dead sounding. I lined the inside with metal flashing from the hardware store. It made the drum sound really lively and much much better. I used the same drum heads, before and after the modification.

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.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
This was a genuinely interesting video.

The set up is that this person has several keller shells made from different woods and combinations that all have the same hardware and the same bearing edges and are tuned the same.

So there's as much base the same as one could hope regarding hardware, heads, and bearing edges.

I was surprised at what I heard - the biggest difference was when he went from maple/walnut/maple to 6 ply maple at around :56 - a lot of those woods sound fairly similar to be honest.



He also does a sequel with different heads on ONE shell:

 

dboomer

Senior Member
This all sounds like a great series for the "sounds like a drum" guys on YouTube. I highly recommend their channel if you've not already seen it.
I like this format much better. Just get to the point and play the drums. The “sounds like a drum” guys “sound like talking” to me. Lotta talk and very little drums. I realize they are trying to make money with their site and they get paid more for longer videos. I have no problem with that but I could get by if they were all shortened about 90%. YMMV 😁
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
I was surprised at what I heard - the biggest difference was when he went from maple/walnut/maple to 6 ply maple at around :56 - a lot of those woods sound fairly similar to be honest.
Yup...it may be that some of you guys have a more discerning ear for this sort of thing than I do, but I would happily tune up and play ANY of those drums with my preferred heads (both batter and reso)...🤔
 

Phil A.

Junior Member
This was a genuinely interesting video.

The set up is that this person has several keller shells made from different woods and combinations that all have the same hardware and the same bearing edges and are tuned the same.

So there's as much base the same as one could hope regarding hardware, heads, and bearing edges.

I was surprised at what I heard - the biggest difference was when he went from maple/walnut/maple to 6 ply maple at around :56 - a lot of those woods sound fairly similar to be honest.



He also does a sequel with different heads on ONE shell:

I thought there was a pretty big difference when he went to the re-ring shell too.
 

Supernoodle

Senior Member
The video is deceptive the way the sound is recorded. There's definitively nuances to different toms, take some iconic kits for example: 80's Yamaha RC vs. Pearl Export

These have such a distinctive sounds, captured on many recordings. I was lucky to have played both, tuned properly (and I think pinstripes on both).

From the player's perspective these really sound distinct, and you could not tune one to sound like the other! To this day, you can't get the sound of 80s RC from any manufacturer...
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Could it be that a drum is the sum of all it's parts.
Bottom line right there. Every addition / subtraction / change makes a difference, it's just a question of magnitude and value in context. Evaluating value of change in isolation, apart from it being some nerdy fun, is never going to offer a conclusion you can action with expectation of result.

If one element of the construction already dominates, you can expect other elements to become irrelevant. For example, fit ultra light hardware to a thin tom shell, and the effect of lack of overall mass is very apparent. Fit the same hardware to a really thick shell, and there's no discernible difference. The only time an instrument starts to exhibit a truly recognisable character set, is when every element of that instrument has been designed towards a defined acoustic goal without compromise. Truth is, most drums on the market are designed for economy / efficiency of production, and to be as versatile as possible. That organically moves everything in the direction of homogenisation, so our reference points are naturally more limited than we'd like to believe.

The mark of a truly stand out instrument design is when the result is greater than the sum of it's parts.
 
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