You Have To Hit The Toms Hard (Enough....sometimes :) )

specgrade

Senior Member
They say Bonham was a hard hitter. Those that knew said he played off the heads, letting the stick bounce and the drums would sing!
 

moxman

Silver Member
It's all about dynamic range and getting enough snap and expression when you hit the drums to get the sound you are after. So whether it's ghost notes on the snare to rim shots.. to accented rolls on the toms or just flat cascading drum rolls - you have to make them all sing the song you are trying to play. just hitting them hard is not enough.. unless you're just after a pounding flat sound. But I will say for driving the backbeat and keeping the tempo steady it helps to hit the main accents hard enough and with enough snap to keep the momentum going.. it also sounds more confident. Laying back and lightly tapping the drums just doesn't cut it when you are driving a loud band (unless it's a quiet lounge-dinner act.. which at low volume requires a fine touch and finger control). Hard to explain.. Lol.. how about - just use the right volume tool for the job!
 

rocker261

Junior Member
you have to reduce the mic's gain quite a few dB, which results in a much smaller amount of the drum's tone making it into the recording.
That's 100% inaccurate, and how console gain functions. Gain is purely a control of how much level you're initially allowing into the circuitry of the channel. It does not reduce tone in any way by decreasing it if you have a strong signal.
 

rocker261

Junior Member
you need to hit toms with a certain minimum dynamic to “excite” the instrument.
This is exactly correct. If you just tap a drum, you're hearing largely the sound of mostly the drum head. The wood grains aren't vibrating much during a light tap ad they are during hitting hard. There's too much substance in a wood drum shell to vibrate if you just tap a head lightly.
 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
This is exactly correct. If you just tap a drum, you're hearing largely the sound of mostly the drum head. The wood grains aren't vibrating much during a light tap ad they are during hitting hard. There's too much substance in a wood drum shell to vibrate if you just tap a head lightly.
Right, but you can still excite a drum and play quietly when needed. It's not such a dire situation that you can't play quietly.
 

ricky

Senior Member
I sort of regret posting this thread because it really just applied to what I was doing at the time.

I agree that there are too many variables and it all depends etc etc etc etc!
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Don't you think? The same is sort of true for snares and kicks, but not nearly as it is for toms.
Unless maybe you have them tuned tightly for jazz or something. But otherwise, you kind of have to hit them hard for them to sound good, especially recording.

Just something that occurred to me, as sometimes I play at night and sort of have to play quietly, and then feel the toms sound kind of shitty.

EDIT: I sort of regret posting this thread because it really just applied to what I was doing at the time.

I agree that there are too many variables and it all depends etc etc etc etc!

Well, I'd have to say that playing big drums quietly is a REAL drag. Believe me; I know. I played drums in church for over 20 years in different churches, and playing a smaller kit was better suited because you didn't have to hit a small drum or snare to get the heads to actually activate and move some air. Bigger drums need to be hit harder to get that air to move to get the best sound out of them. I play a pretty big Ludwig kit (24, 13, 16, 18, with a 14x8 BB), and when I play with 5A's instead of 7A's, it's like the notes just fall out of the drums. There's no fighting the kit at all.
 

notvinnie

Senior Member
That's 100% inaccurate, and how console gain functions. Gain is purely a control of how much level you're initially allowing into the circuitry of the channel. It does not reduce tone in any way by decreasing it if you have a strong signal.
You clearly misunderstood what I was implying. When you strike a drum forcefully, you are producing a louder sound which means that the mic's gain will have to be lower to handle the transient attack. If you strike the drum less forcefully, the gain is a bit higher, and the more of the drum's "sustain" will be captured by the microphone, as the difference in level between the transient and the decay will be smaller.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
Obviously dynamics is crucial, but I agree my favorite tom sound is when they're hit hard. Ironically too many hard hits sounds lame.
 

rocker261

Junior Member
You clearly misunderstood what I was implying. When you strike a drum forcefully, you are producing a louder sound which means that the mic's gain will have to be lower to handle the transient attack. If you strike the drum less forcefully, the gain is a bit higher, and the more of the drum's "sustain" will be captured by the microphone, as the difference in level between the transient and the decay will be smaller.
Since wood has much more mass than a drum head, it takes a lot more energy to excited the wood than something with little mass like a drum head. When you very lightly tap a drum, the head vibrates much more easily than a solid wood shell with hundreds of time more mass. Thus, at a vert light tapping, you're hearing almost exclusively the sound of drum head and very little of the shell.
 
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ricky

Senior Member
James Gadson absolutely tickles his drums:

Joey Waronker is notoriously a super light player:

I love Bill Withers and Gadson...and the other would be good if one wanted that sort of thing.

My bad on this thread, it was simply specific to what I was doing and wanting.

Maybe the idea is, by simply changing the velocity of how hard you hit the drums, you can really change the sound, it may be exactly what you're looking for, or something along those lines. In my case, by simply thwacking them a bit harder, it made the difference I was looking for.

It's sort of like with other instruments, like bass, for example, you can really change the tone a lot simply by using your fingers instead of a pick, or plucking harder or softer or closer to the bridge, etc. You don't have to change the strings or change settings on the amp, or in your mix or whatever.

That's just what I was sort of getting at. For me and what I was going for, tuned the way I have them, it was simply hit the toms a bit harder...boom...there's the sound.

This is all sort of obvious, but I felt compelled at the time to post. :rolleyes:
 

Johnny2u2

Active Member
Don't you think? The same is sort of true for snares and kicks, but not nearly as it is for toms.
Unless maybe you have them tuned tightly for jazz or something. But otherwise, you kind of have to hit them hard for them to sound good, especially recording.

Just something that occurred to me, as sometimes I play at night and sort of have to play quietly, and then feel the toms sound kind of shitty.

EDIT: I sort of regret posting this thread because it really just applied to what I was doing at the time.

I agree that there are too many variables and it all depends etc etc etc etc!
For me, I discovered thanks to the general community, that my snare hand wasn’t holding my stick correctly. Something so basic and it worked! I didn’t drop a stick during my practice
 

Johnny2u2

Active Member
I love Bill Withers and Gadson...and the other would be good if one wanted that sort of thing.

My bad on this thread, it was simply specific to what I was doing and wanting.

Maybe the idea is, by simply changing the velocity of how hard you hit the drums, you can really change the sound, it may be exactly what you're looking for, or something along those lines. In my case, by simply thwacking them a bit harder, it made the difference I was looking for.

It's sort of like with other instruments, like bass, for example, you can really change the tone a lot simply by using your fingers instead of a pick, or plucking harder or softer or closer to the bridge, etc. You don't have to change the strings or change settings on the amp, or in your mix or whatever.

That's just what I was sort of getting at. For me and what I was going for, tuned the way I have them, it was simply hit the toms a bit harder...boom...there's the sound.

This is all sort of obvious, but I felt compelled at the time to post. :rolleyes:
Yes! I corrected my grip on the sticks and noticed the drum strikes were noticeably quicker and also changed the sound and didn’t drop a stick
 
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