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LOUNGE => General Board => Topic started by: mid life crisis on February 17, 2007, 08:57 AM

Title: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: mid life crisis on February 17, 2007, 08:57 AM
Hello All,

I'm new to the board & this is my first post. You guys have a great forum here.

So you'll have a bit of background for my question, I'm in mid-life & returned to drumming 18 mos ago, not having played since I was 19.  I have a blue burst Mapex Mars Pro studio kit and also a Gretsch Purewood Walnut Renown kit.

Among other activities, I play on a worship team where we do mostly Hillsong type music using Roland V Drums, which I dislike with great enthusiasm. Our new worship leader is more than willing to try accoustic drums with our team.  We have shields that were used years ago, but it would be great if I could play in a controlled way such that we dont need to use them.  The sactuary seats around three hundred or so.

I am thinking of acquiring a kit specifically for worship.  My research suggests that a birch kit would be a good choice - it has been suggested to me that a birch kit would be a bit easier to play in a controlled fashion in such a setting. Also, thin cymbals have been suggested.  I'm thinking that it would be a challenge to use either of my kits as they are both pretty resonant and "Big" sounding (Boomy in a live room?).

A local drum shop has two of the Gretsch Catalina Birch fusion kits on closeout, as well as some used Zildjian thin Ks that could be had at reasonable prices.  Another option is a set of pristine Pearl Masters Studio birch drums in ocean Blue - it is owned by a friend of mine - 5 toms & the 18x22 Bass.  He wants $1500 for the shells with the opti mounts.  I would probably only use a four to five-piece configuration for church.

While I know my own technique will be the largest success factor (I've been working on that with my teacher) I would be interested in th opinions of this board as to whether I am on the right track in my thinking about this and how much of a difference the drums themselves will make.

Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: Accoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Bart Elliott on February 17, 2007, 09:27 AM
Tuning is the factor when it comes to resonance, so any drum can work. However, since we have to "lay into" larger drums so that they will sound good (more air to move inside the drum, I would recommend that you go with a small kit. By small I mean diameter drums ... the largest Tom being a 14-inch diameter. A 20-inch Kick drum if possible, but nothing bigger than a 22-inch. Some companies make great 18-inch Kick drums that sound very full.

The smaller diameter drums will be easier to control. With the right tuning, you can have a very nice acoustic sound while not playing them hard.

Many churches use plexiglass shields which really only slaps the sound back at the drummer; it doesn't reduce the sound in the room. The shields keep the sound of the drums from spilling over into other mics and over-powering people near by. It can also help the drummer play softer because the "slap back' will let them hear themselves well, and thus play a little softer than they would if they can't hear everything in the kit.

You need sound absorption to reduce overall volume, resonance, etc. Adding mass and sound absorbing materials will make the drums sound quieter and more controlled.

You also may want to consider Birch shells, if possible, as they tend to sound more controlled with a flat frequency response across the harmonic spectrum. The lows won't sound as big as with Maple shells.

If possible, experiment before you buy. If buying locally, talk to the store owner about briinging in several kits to try before you purchase.
Title: Re: Accoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: mid life crisis on February 17, 2007, 09:43 AM
Thanks,Bart.  The Catalina kit has an 18x22 bass & 10, 12 & 14 inch toms.  The Pearl kit has an 18x22 bass &  8, 10, 12 14 & 16 toms.

Obviously, the Gretsch are less expensive at $599 for the shellpack, but the Pearl kit would, I imagine, be higher quality & of course it has more drums.  While I would like to spend less, suitability for the purpose is my main objective.

Would either of these be expected to work any better than the other in the setting I describe?

There is also a mahogany Catalina Club kit with the small bass drum - should I consider that?



Thanks.
Title: Re: Accoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Todd Norris on February 17, 2007, 09:54 AM
Hello All,

A local drum shop has ...  as well as some used Zildjian thin Ks that could be had at reasonable prices. 

While I know my own technique will be the largest success factor (I've been working on that with my teacher) I would be interested in th opinions of this board as to whether I am on the right track in my thinking about this and how much of a difference the drums themselves will make.


Hey Mid Life, welcome aboard.  I can relate to the V-Drums situation.  I had to use them for about 8  years at my church before I brought my drums in to use to show that it would work.  I ended up donating them and bought a new set for home and it's been great ever since.  (And we haven't needed a shield either!) 

Anyway, you mentioned technique and that was the big thing for me.  Keep working on that with your instructor!  Also, I see that you notice that thin cymbals will be easier to get a full sound without having to hit hard.  The only difference is the ride.  I found that with the right "touch" a heavier cymbal works better because the resonance is less prominent than a thinner cymbal. 

Best wishes to you, and please keep us aprised on your progress!
Title: Re: Accoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: mid life crisis on February 17, 2007, 10:05 AM
Thanks!

My ultimate aim is also to donate the kit to the church - my wife says two are plenty at home!
Title: Re: Accoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Bart Elliott on February 17, 2007, 10:12 AM
Thanks,Bart.  The Catalina kit has an 18x22 bass & 10, 12 & 14 inch toms.  The Pearl kit has an 18x22 bass &  8, 10, 12 14 & 16 toms.

Obviously, the Gretsch are less expensive at $599 for the shellpack, but the Pearl kit would, I imagine, be higher quality & of course it has more drums.  While I would like to spend less, suitability for the purpose is my main objective.

Would either of these be expected to work any better than the other in the setting I describe?

There is also a mahogany Catalina Club kit with the small bass drum - should I consider that?

With a sanctuary that size, only seating around 300, I would definitely consider the Catalina Kit with the smaller Kick drum. I wouldn't even mess with the kit that has a 16-inch Floor Tom ... unless you want to convert that into a Kick drum!  :)

Go with the thin cymbals ... and not too big on the diameter. A thin 16-inch cymbal would be the largest I would go with; maybe a 17-inch. Every room is different, so an 18-inch may work, but keep in mind ... the bigger the cymbal or drum, the more it takes to get it to sound or vibrate ... which means you've got to lay into it (aka play harder) in order to get its full sound. I would stay away from Medium Thin Crashes as well. You can try them, but I would expect that they will take too much to get them to sound full. You're going to want your Crash cymbals to sound full, meaning a big full crash, with only a 12-inch stick height (all wrist).

Another tip (secret): When you do get the acoustic drums, play as soft as humanly possible at first. Get everyone (paster, worship leader, congregation) used to the "new" acoustic sound. If you don't play really soft, and they have a negative response to the sound, you are sunk. Once they get used to the sound, you can gradually increase the volume to where you want it ... but takes weeks to bring it to that level. We want their first reaction to be positive ... so keep that in mind. If you can tell you this ... I've been down this path many, many, many times.
Title: Re: Accoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: mid life crisis on February 17, 2007, 10:15 AM
Nothing like the voice of experience!

Thanks.
Title: Re: Accoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Dave Heim on February 17, 2007, 11:38 AM
. . .

Another tip (secret): When you do get the acoustic drums, play as soft as humanly possible at first. Get everyone (paster, worship leader, congregation) used to the "new" acoustic sound. If you don't play really soft, and they have a negative response to the sound, you are sunk. Once they get used to the sound, you can gradually increase the volume to where you want it ... but takes weeks to bring it to that level. We want their first reaction to be positive ... so keep that in mind. If you can't tell, I've been down this path many, many, many times. . .

Good advice there.  You only have one chance to make a good first impression.  Try to play softly enough so they need to ask you to play out (play louder).  Coming on too strong will scare them off.
Title: Re: Accoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Bob Bartley on February 17, 2007, 12:26 PM
Another tip (secret): When you do get the acoustic drums, play as soft as humanly possible at first. Get everyone (paster, worship leader, congregation) used to the "new" acoustic sound. If you don't play really soft, and they have a negative response to the sound, you are sunk. Once they get used to the sound, you can gradually increase the volume to where you want it ... but takes weeks to bring it to that level. We want their first reaction to be positive ... so keep that in mind. If you can tell you this ... I've been down this path many, many, many times.


This is good advise. Let me pass on this story. Our church sanctuary seats 2500 with a stage with high ceilings. We have a yamaha maple custom absolute kit. On a Sunday, after we had done our Christmas program, the drums were set up to the side of the stage with out the shield in front of it. Our Pastor was sitting in the front row right in front of the drums. Now we had one of our quieter drummers on that day. Lets just say that in a couple weeks we had a completely enclosed drum room. Like this... http://www.clearsonic.com/isopac_a.html  Way overkill but you get the point on volume.
Title: Re: Accoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: amoacristo on February 17, 2007, 01:17 PM
Another tip (secret): When you do get the acoustic drums, play as soft as humanly possible at first. Get everyone (paster, worship leader, congregation) used to the "new" acoustic sound. If you don't play really soft, and they have a negative response to the sound, you are sunk. Once they get used to the sound, you can gradually increase the volume to where you want it ... but takes weeks to bring it to that level.

This is definitely the best advice you will receive. I recently started playing at a new church (because of my move) that is even smaller than yours. They have a Remo kit with standard size drums, 12, 13, 16, 22, without a shield. They didn't have a regular drummer before I moved here. I started playing very quiet. They actually asked me to play louder. I was very open with them telling them I needed their help to know what volume to play at. I didn't just go in there and bash away. I made it known I wanted to do what was best and that I could adjust how loud I play. Keep that attitude and you will be fine. I have been amazed at how loud they actually want me to play in such a small room.
Title: Re: Accoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: mid life crisis on February 17, 2007, 02:05 PM
Thanks for the benefit of your experiences!

So....sounds to me like the consensus is that either of the Gretsch kits are appropriate choices and I need to play as softly as I can to begin with.

It will be a few weeks before we actually try this....I'll let you know how it turns out.

Thanks again!
Title: Re: Accoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Todd Norris on February 17, 2007, 02:36 PM

Go with the thin cymbals ... and not too big on the diameter. A thin 16-inch cymbal would be the largest I would go with; maybe a 17-inch. Every room is different, so an 18-inch may work, but keep in mind ... the bigger the cymbal or drum, the more it takes to get it to sound or vibrate ... which means you've got to lay into it (aka play harder) in order to get its full sound. I would stay away from Medium Thin Crashes as well. You can try them, but I would expect that they will take too much to get them to sound full. You're going to want your Crash cymbals to sound full, meaning a big full crash, with only a 12-inch stick height (all wrist).

Absolutely!  I'm using 16" and 17" thin crashes. 


Another tip (secret): When you do get the acoustic drums, play as soft as humanly possible at first. Get everyone (paster, worship leader, congregation) used to the "new" acoustic sound. If you don't play really soft, and they have a negative response to the sound, you are sunk. Once they get used to the sound, you can gradually increase the volume to where you want it ... but takes weeks to bring it to that level. We want their first reaction to be positive ... so keep that in mind. If you can tell you this ... I've been down this path many, many, many times.

THat's exactly what I did.  The first few weeks I was barely touching the things.  Over time, I got a little more bold and eventually, the worship leader was asking for more volume or power at times.  I can't imagine going back to the electronics.  Fortunately those are in the youth room for the youth band...
Title: Re: Accoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: mid life crisis on February 17, 2007, 04:45 PM
One follow up question.....Do you use any sort of alternative sticks, such as hot rods, in your worship drumming?

Title: Re: Accoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Matt Self (Gaddabout) on February 17, 2007, 04:58 PM
One follow up question.....Do you use any sort of alternative sticks, such as hot rods, in your worship drumming?

How big is the stage and how big is the room? Hillsong, like any pop music, requires a backbeat. It's really hard to play those songs the way they were arranged without using sticks, but you make do with the situation you've presented.
Title: Re: Accoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Bart Elliott on February 17, 2007, 06:28 PM
How big is the stage and how big is the room? Hillsong, like any pop music, requires a backbeat. It's really hard to play those songs the way they were arranged without using sticks, but you make do with the situation you've presented.

I don't know Matt, I can play some big backbeats using brushes, multi-rods, etc., as long as I play rimshots. I also play rimshots with sticks but keep the drumsticks low to the drum. It takes a little practice, but the results are wonderful. Planning rimshots in a small room, who would have thought!
Title: Re: Accoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: mid life crisis on February 17, 2007, 06:30 PM
Hmmm....never occurred to me to play a rimshot with the rods...I'll try it when I practice.  Thanks!

Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Riddim on February 17, 2007, 11:09 PM
I've had good results in small churches using small toms -- 8, 10, and 12, tuned slightly below mid range -- and much of the time using Blastix.

It's all  down to one's musicality and control of the instrument.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: David Crigger on February 18, 2007, 01:07 AM
Back in the day, I used to do a lot of those kind of gigs. Small drums, way more than slightly muffled - I wouldn't be looking for full at all, but rather tight and controlled.  Actually back then did most of that work with my Blaemire/Camco kit - 14x20 single head BD with pillow and sandbag, 8/10/12/14" single headed Blaemire toms (I'm sure with a bit of rolled up gaff to tame them a bit) and a 5x14 wood snare (again taped or with a ring - kind of Gadd like) - then still soft as all get out, but I could at least play with a bit of dynamics as the drums themselves weren't "too big" for the room.

Oh and mark me down as one who despises plex shields - help the "mic bleed", but always seem to contribute to the band disconnecting sonically, which always makes acually achieving a blend on stage even harder. Which IMO just contributes to everyone kind of playing in their own little world, which usually means playing louder than if the screens were down and everybody could ear each other.

David
Title: Re: Accoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Matt Self (Gaddabout) on February 18, 2007, 03:15 AM
I don't know Matt, I can play some big backbeats using brushes, multi-rods, etc., as long as I play rimshots. I also play rimshots with sticks but keep the drumsticks low to the drum. It takes a little practice, but the results are wonderful. Planning rimshots in a small room, who would have thought!

Yeah, but I still think it depends on the stage and the room. Our stage is WIIIIIDE, so that's the direction the sound goes. You sit in the third row of our church, and rods on the snare tend to disappear. All the audience gets is the mic'd sound, which is turned way down. They don't get the acoustic reinforcement because it's going sideways and up into the corner dead zones. Just a horribly designed room for sound -- it was designed solely to meet the needs of a quickly growing congregation. I used to think it was just us that had this problem, but if I've been to many churches in strip malls, etc., that have the same problem.

I helped plant this church in 1989 and I've never had to play anything but sticks. Part of it is, I think, because I have a light touch, and part of it is because all of our sound men through the years tend to run our sound back into the monitors at ear damaging level. I've always had to play loud enough to hear myself. What's interesting is we never had a complaint about the volume of the drums until other drummers came in ... then we started getting speeches about using rods/brushes, they put up the sound screen, moved us around (and off!) the stage, and threatened about going electronic (I successfully shut them down on numerous occasions).

So more than anything, it really depends on the drummer.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Mark Counts on February 18, 2007, 01:35 PM
Hi mid life crisis,
First off, welcome to The Drummer Cafe.
Some great advice here.  I am hearing some mixed feelings about the plexy glass and sticks.  My church is a 2000 person church.  We use Roland V Drums which I really don't like much either but for a rare occasion, they have let me bring my equipment.  I play thin - heavy cymbals all sizes and styles in Paiste.  I also play a 6 piece Tama Star classic maple tuned low.  So far everyone has told me that I proved it could be done with taste.  I have to agree with Bart on the Glass stops vocal mics infront of the drum kit from picking it all up. It also keeps the kick drum, and drums and cymbals from beating singers to death in the back. I want to add one more thing that hasn't been metioned unless I just over looked it.
The glass keeps the kick drum from bouncing off the back wall of the church so bad.  This is why Bart was talking about padding and mass to absorb sound.  You will also notice a difference in sound with an empty church while you are rehearsing and a full church.  People are mass and absorb sound. I personally like the Plexy Glass in a church setting.  The biggest Church in Louisville Ky. has 23,000 to 24,000 members and in that church, the drums are completely inclosed.  I think that is a bit much but it seems to work for them. I think that plexy glass is a good option to electric drums.
  As far as sticks go in church on acoustic drums.  I use Hot Rods and Lightning Rods unless the song calls more for a marching band type cadence or Scottish Drum roll, then I use light weight sticks.
  As far as the volume that everyone is talking about.  I have to agree to starting off soft and build slowly after they are sold on the acoustic drums. Oh well, That is my two cents.
                      Nutty





Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: mid life crisis on February 18, 2007, 02:34 PM
Thanks.  We have shields, but I think we want to do without them if we can.  I suppose we can always try them if we need to.

I think we're going with the Catalina Birch kit.....should be getting it later this week.
Title: Re: Accoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Bart Elliott on February 18, 2007, 02:46 PM
Yeah, but I still think it depends on the stage and the room. Our stage is WIIIIIDE, so that's the direction the sound goes. You sit in the third row of our church, and rods on the snare tend to disappear.

LOL ... well, don't use the rods!

I suggested using the multi-rods because he's in a small church of 300 people. If that is how many people it can seat ... its small. Use the rods if you are too loud. If you can play with sticks, play with sticks. If you must use the rods, meaning no sticks ever, and think you can't play rimshots, you would be wrong. That's all I'm saying.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Mark Counts on February 18, 2007, 05:50 PM
Thanks.  We have shields, but I think we want to do without them if we can.  I suppose we can always try them if we need to.

I think we're going with the Catalina Birch kit.....should be getting it later this week.
Are you mic'ing up the kick drum and the snare? Are you going totally acoustic?  If you are mic'ing, the rods will work in a small or large church.
The sticks in your 300 person church will probably be to much IMHO.
If you mic, brushes might even be enough.  We would love to rock the house in our 2000 seat church but we have 70 and 80 year olds just like we have teenagers.  We have to love them and respect them too.  We do a mix of old and new and try not to blow the old folks out of the church and still give the youth what they need to keep coming. It is a very delicate balance and it is very hard to please everyone all the time but we have to try.  Good luck with it and God Bless!
                           Nutty
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: mid life crisis on February 18, 2007, 06:06 PM
We are largely a young church - our only form of worship since its founding has been contemporary, so compared to most churches we are used to louder music than some, I would imagine.  Even the older members are used to it.  I suppose we can mic if we have to, but we didn't plan to initially. 

It's an experiment & I imagine we'll have to make adjustments as we see how it works.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Chris Whitten on February 18, 2007, 06:47 PM
Well I wouldn't.
Micing drums, when volume is already potentially an issue, would be a weird idea.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Mark Counts on February 18, 2007, 07:40 PM
Well I wouldn't.
Micing drums, when volume is already potentially an issue, would be a weird idea.
Hey Chris,
I agree that if sticks are to loud anyway it would be the wrong way to go but if he wanted to use Rods would you mic it for a more even presence in the room and give the sound person more control over what is heard out front? In my church the whole stage is either mic'ed or DI out.  Everything goes through the PA but the stage is big and the church is fairly large too. In this situation with Rods, would you still think that micing is weird?
By the way, this may really blow you away but I am micing my drums in a room that is 400 square ft.  Volume isn't really an issue in my home studio,( lot's of padding) but with the band we use a sound meter to get balance, live recordings sound better if I mic the kick a little bit.  Yesterday I brought up the snare a bit because I am finding out that the Earthtone head is a little softer than what I have been using.
                     Nutty
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Chris Whitten on February 18, 2007, 07:56 PM
I don't know. There is a lot of value in not micing IMO.
When I was young I performed in a large, noisey dance hall.
We churned out Top40 material to a couple of thousand punters a night. I was unmiked.
You talk about balance and clarity, but those can be best achieved by the drummer themself IMO.
Until the early 70's, many touring drummers were unmiked, or maybe a couple of mics around the kit.
John Bonham was recorded with 4 mics around the kit. Not specifically pointed at any drum in particular. It was more an overall 'picture' of the drum set. He played in such a way that the drums were clear and appropriately balanced for the genre of music, hard rock.
If I were playing with rods in a smallish room, I certainly wouldn't mic the snare. You still have a lot of dynamic control by playing the snare louder or softer.
The first thing i would mic on a kit is the bass drum by the way.
But, it seems many of these worship spaces are not designed for music (acoustically). So it's not the musicians fault there are issues.
However, I slightly despair at the widespread use of e-kits, PA systems and perspex screens around the drummer.
Many times, these approaches take the place of a group of musicians ability to play at an appropriate volume (for the space) and blend themselves as a unit (for example, drums not drowning out the bass, backing band not drowning out vocals).
Sorry for my rant.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Mark Counts on February 18, 2007, 08:10 PM
I don't know. There is a lot of value in not micing IMO.
When I was young I performed in a large, noisey dance hall.
We churned out Top40 material to a couple of thousand punters a night. I was unmiked.
You talk about balance and clarity, but those can be best achieved by the drummer themself IMO.
Until the early 70's, many touring drummers were unmiked, or maybe a couple of mics around the kit.
John Bonham was recorded with 4 mics around the kit. Not specifically pointed at any drum in particular. It was more an overall 'picture' of the drum set. He played in such a way that the drums were clear and appropriately balanced for the genre of music, hard rock.
If I were playing with rods in a smallish room, I certainly wouldn't mic the snare. You still have a lot of dynamic control by playing the snare louder or softer.
The first thing i would mic on a kit is the bass drum by the way.
But, it seems many of these worship spaces are not designed for music (acoustically). So it's not the musicians fault there are issues.
However, I slightly despair at the widespread use of e-kits, PA systems and perspex screens around the drummer.
Many times, these approaches take the place of a group of musicians ability to play at an appropriate volume (for the space) and blend themselves as a unit (for example, drums not drowning out the bass, backing band not drowning out vocals).
Sorry for my rant.
No need to say you are sorry for ranting.  I would love to take what you just said verbatum to my Music director.  He is a talented guy and has gone of tour with Jazz singers and played with more names then I will ever get to play music with but you are right about trusting your ears.  The experience in my praise band is unbelievable other than the volenteer sound operators.  When I get to use my equipment in church we only mic the kick drum and snare with two over heads but it is a big church. 
Thank you for your insight in these issues.
                       Nutty
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Chris Whitten on February 18, 2007, 08:34 PM
Thank you for your insight in these issues.

Hey, I'm not saying I'm right. I don't play worship music.
I have played all manner of different sized rooms however.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Mark Counts on February 18, 2007, 09:22 PM
Hey, I'm not saying I'm right. I don't play worship music.
I have played all manner of different sized rooms however.
No, I am saying your right.  It is all about the size of the room and what it is made of and what is going to absorb or bounce your sound.  It is also about your ears and what you do as a player to make it all work.  I think your response was very well said and I can add it to my list of info that I digest on here.  I have heard some great advice on this thread and felt that I said my piece. Threads like this one really teach us all about different obsticals to over come and the best way to go about it.
By getting some real input from people with simular situations. I think
we can all still learn things from each other. I find my self learning things
about my playing from people that don't even play music sometimes.
I think this forum is full of much knowlege...
                         Nutty
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: mid life crisis on February 18, 2007, 09:28 PM
I would echo nutty's statement - there is an incredible amount of knowledge and perspective on this board.  Thanks to everyone who shared their ideas, as I know this info will help me.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Todd Norris on February 18, 2007, 09:42 PM
Without getting too off topic, I wonder why so many Churches just can't deal with acoustic drums?  Why is playing at Church different from playing in any other venue?  If the room is small, you account for it.  If it's big you play to that.  I play in a poorly designed room (acoustically) that holds about 250 - 275 people.  We used e-drums for years assuming that acoustics just wouldn't work in there.  I finally convinced everyone to let me try acoustics for a month and we never went back.  I use sticks, no mics and no shields.  No problem. 

 :)

Back to our regularly scheduled thread...
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Chris Whitten on February 19, 2007, 02:10 AM
You're probably bang on topic.
The original post was about trying to persuade a church to accept acoustic drums over electronic ones.
I prefer acoustic drums myself, but I sometimes feel an old fogey about it.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: David Crigger on February 19, 2007, 02:11 AM
I don't think these rooms are poorly designed acoustically, but rather are not designed with pop music in mind. Most churches (and the lion share of concert halls) are designed for un-reinforced speech and classical music.

And yet in our ever louder world, most clergyman are now using mics in order to be louder in rooms that were clearly not designed for that function. Many of the best concert halls that are used for basically un-miked classical orchestra performance and alternately for pop music concerts make use of very expensive variable acoustic treatments, because no one room every really does both well.

But I'm with Chris (and then some) - putting a drummer behind a screen, in order to play really soft, often times with blasticks as poor stick substitution (I love Blasticks - as Blasticks...not as sticks) in order to then mic him to give the front of house mixer more "control" is sheer folly IMO.  And falls into the sadly too common modern sound engineer fantasy of having the "whole mix" come from the speakers.  The only way to do that is just play a CD with no one on the stage; or turn the front of house mix up so loud that no one can then hear sound coming off the stage. This negates the whole concept of "sound reinforcement" - where you start with faders off...listen to the stage...and add what is missing from the mix (blending them in with the stage sound).

Now there's a rant... :-)

David
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: MVanDoren1 on February 19, 2007, 02:55 AM
Without getting too off topic, I wonder why so many Churches just can't deal with acoustic drums?  Why is playing at Church different from playing in any other venue?  If the room is small, you account for it.  If it's big you play to that.  I play in a poorly designed room (acoustically) that holds about 250 - 275 people.  We used e-drums for years assuming that acoustics just wouldn't work in there.  I finally convinced everyone to let me try acoustics for a month and we never went back.  I use sticks, no mics and no shields.  No problem. 

 :)

Back to our regularly scheduled thread...

My brother-in-law is the GM of a show in Branson Mo.  He used to hold the same position in a different show with a rather large stage/seating area.  Larger than many of the shows in Branson.  They went with edrums simply because the owner THOUGHT that acoustic drums would be too loud.  This is FAR from true especially if you are employing a decent drummer with control in a wide range of volumes and styles.  Playing at a church may not be different as others have stated earlier and in different threads- the musician does not always have the last say in what is played and why.  Hopefully, Mid-life-crisis, you'll have the opportunity to prove that acoustics can be used tastefully and though not always PLEASE every age group- at least be able to successfully support the various styles of music your church uses in its worship services. 
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Matt Self (Gaddabout) on February 19, 2007, 07:39 AM
I don't think these rooms are poorly designed acoustically, but rather are not designed with pop music in mind. Most churches (and the lion share of concert halls) are designed for un-reinforced speech and classical music.

Our church wasn't designed for anything. We didn't put a single acoustic thought into the building. When we had blue prints drawn up, all we wanted to know was if we could maximize space. And we did. A few years later we had an engineer come in and check the room. His suggestion for fixing our sound problems was to build a new church from scratch!
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Louis Russell on February 19, 2007, 08:29 AM
This negates the whole concept of "sound reinforcement"

People not knowing the difference between sound reinforcement and sound amplification have been a pet peeve of mine for years.


Our church wasn't designed for anything. We didn't put a single acoustic thought into the building.

It is the same with our Church.  Our sanctuary has been expanded 3 times with no thought whatsoever in dealing with the acoustics.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: mid life crisis on February 19, 2007, 11:43 AM
I think we'll be ok.  I have buy in on trying this from our pastor and worship leader.  What I didn't mention before now is that we have three praise teams - we each play every third week - we rehearse Thursday and then play Friday night worship and two services on Sunday.  All three of us have some experience playing in different environments and believe we can maintain a focus on dynamics that will make this work.

I was able to use the board's responses yesterday as I spoke with my counterparts to get the point across about our path to success.  You guys have been most helpful & I appreciate it very much.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: amoacristo on February 19, 2007, 12:38 PM
I have a pretty descent amount of experience playing drums and guitar in church. From my experience, the biggest problem is with drummers themselves. A lot of them have little or no concern for their volume control. They want to bash away because it feels better. The reality is they haven't taken the time to learn how to play properly, meaning being able to play at many different volumes besides being able to play beats/fills/etc. The reality, IMO, is that there are a lot of people that "play" drums but there aren't that many drummers. There is a big difference.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Todd Norris on February 19, 2007, 05:27 PM
I don't think these rooms are poorly designed acoustically, but rather are not designed with pop music in mind. Most churches (and the lion share of concert halls) are designed for un-reinforced speech and classical music.

And yet in our ever louder world, most clergyman are now using mics in order to be louder in rooms that were clearly not designed for that function. Many of the best concert halls that are used for basically un-miked classical orchestra performance and alternately for pop music concerts make use of very expensive variable acoustic treatments, because no one room every really does both well.

But I'm with Chris (and then some) - putting a drummer behind a screen, in order to play really soft, often times with blasticks as poor stick substitution (I love Blasticks - as Blasticks...not as sticks) in order to then mic him to give the front of house mixer more "control" is sheer folly IMO.  And falls into the sadly too common modern sound engineer fantasy of having the "whole mix" come from the speakers.  The only way to do that is just play a CD with no one on the stage; or turn the front of house mix up so loud that no one can then hear sound coming off the stage. This negates the whole concept of "sound reinforcement" - where you start with faders off...listen to the stage...and add what is missing from the mix (blending them in with the stage sound).

Now there's a rant... :-)

David

That's bang-on David.  And it's good to hear from you again! 
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: mid life crisis on March 08, 2007, 10:21 PM
We rehearsed tonight using my new chestnut fade catalina birch kit in church for the first time.  Wow!  As I mentioned, I've been working with my teacher on dynamics & technique for playing softly.  Also, we tuned the kit low & I'm using the thin dark K's.

The worship team loved the sound, and no one thinks we need shields. The only thought was to mike the kick to get it into the mains with the Bass. I started out with hot rods & wound up using light sticks.

As suggested, I started out playing as softly as I could & at one point my band mates encouraged me to dial it up a bit!  As we head into the weekend's worship services I am pumped!

Thanks again to everyone for their kind comments & helpful suggestions.  I'm really looking forward to worship this weekend.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Bart Elliott on March 09, 2007, 12:05 AM
God loves acoustic drums ... far more than electronics ... He told me so. (http://www.drummercafe.com/forum/Smileys/emoticons/lovesight.gif)
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: MVanDoren1 on March 09, 2007, 12:07 AM
Mid Life-

This is great news.  Glad things worked out for you with the accoustic kit.  I'll tell you what, having the band mates ask you to dial it up a bit is so nice.  You'll be able to play within a wide range of volumes and use your dynamic control to help the music minister usher in certain "feelings" that may be displayed within the context of the songs.  I think about some of the older hymns we use at times, now I'm not really into that style as in I don't go out and purchase that for my own listening pleasure but the older generations really love this stuff.  I don't try to DO anything to control whats going on but I do love it when I'll be using the hot rods or sticks keeping a straight 1/8 note pattern on the hats, snare on 2 and 4, etc..... When it seems the right thing I'll switch over to a 1/16 note pattern on the snare accenting the "&" of every beat and if anyone WAS just sitting in a stupor- not any more, the hands go a clappin and its great.  This church was brought up through mostly a southern gospel style of worship so getting back to those roots is really pleasing to many of the congregation.

The end all be all for a worship team.....

when the pastor looks over at you all and tells you ALL to dial it up a bit.  Now he may regret that decision after the service when those who think ANYTHING is too loud can get hold of him.  It sure is fun and why can't we sometimes just cut loose and have fun?

Have a great Sunday service ;D
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: MVanDoren1 on March 09, 2007, 12:09 AM
Now I may have this on incorrect authority 8)  but I heard someone say each of the disciples were drummers- but that John, the favorite, was an accoustic drummer.....
now where was it I heard that........
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Matt Self (Gaddabout) on March 09, 2007, 01:22 AM
God loves acoustic drums ... far more than electronics ... He told me so. (http://www.drummercafe.com/forum/Smileys/emoticons/lovesight.gif)

Except the tambourine. If God really loved the tambourine he wouldn't have given it to so many uncoordinated people.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: DFresh on March 09, 2007, 09:40 AM
Gaddabout,

You are cracking me up in the last day or so.  Have you stopped taking your vitamins?  Must be all over that illness that was plaguing you some time back. ;D
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: amoacristo on March 09, 2007, 10:32 AM
Except the tambourine. If God really loved the tambourine he wouldn't have given it to so many uncoordinated people.

I don't remember seeing you at my church before. Next time you come, introduce yourself. I'm the one wearing headphones so I can't hear the tambourine (and a few other things I don't want to hear as well).
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Todd Norris on March 09, 2007, 11:38 PM
God loves acoustic drums ... far more than electronics ... He told me so. (http://www.drummercafe.com/forum/Smileys/emoticons/lovesight.gif)

Me too!
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Mark Counts on March 10, 2007, 05:03 AM
Me too!
ME THREE!
        Nutty
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: mid life crisis on March 10, 2007, 10:21 AM
OK......another question for the board......We played the first worship service last night - we play one on Friday night & two on Sunday.  I asked the drummer from one of the other praise teams to listen & critique.  He said it sounded good & ideally needed a bit more kick & a bit more snare.  He also said the hats were bright & really cut (Zildian New Beats) & while they were fine to be sure not to let them get too much louder.

Our Bass player, who has 30 year of experience in bands, had suggested I lay a thin cloth because we thought the snare (Gretsch Catalina Birch with Evans G1 batter with studio ring and a strip of Drum Gum) was a bit too bright.

So here's my question - is there a batter head that you guys would reccommend that might soften the sound of the snare without killing it's "pop"?  Any other thoughts?

Thanks!
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: amoacristo on March 10, 2007, 10:37 AM
So here's my question - is there a batter head that you guys would reccommend that might soften the sound of the snare without killing it's "pop"?

Why would you want to soften it if you were told you need a bit more snare? Doesn't that mean you have some room to play the snare even louder?
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Matt Self (Gaddabout) on March 10, 2007, 10:40 AM
So here's my question - is there a batter head that you guys would reccommend that might soften the sound of the snare without killing it's "pop"?  Any other thoughts?

Evans makes a heavy coated snare head that should give you a dry sound. Don't know much about birch snares, though. It seems like they'll want to sound however they sound no matter what you do. Depends on how many plys. Another option is to check out the Aquarian New Orleans single-play heads with attached muffling to the sides. Probably less dry than the Evans, but you never know if you've gone too far with the heavy coating until you put it on. It's nice to have a place to fall back to.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Matt Self (Gaddabout) on March 10, 2007, 10:47 AM
Why would you want to soften it if you were told you need a bit more snare? Doesn't that mean you have some room to play the snare even louder?

I think he's referring to the bite of the sound rather than the actual volume of the snare. I have the same problem with some wood snares, especially mahogany, which is when I usually go for more coating on the head. To me, any wood snare should be crisp, minimal overtone ring, and a tight pop on rimshot.

I think his Catalina snare is 8-ply birch, which should offer some range of sound with a change of heads without effecting the projection too much.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: mid life crisis on March 10, 2007, 10:53 AM
Why would you want to soften it if you were told you need a bit more snare? Doesn't that mean you have some room to play the snare even louder?


With the cloth on the drum not only was it not as loud, but it also sounded too muffled, if that makes any sense.  It might help to know that the stage is hardwood and the walls in the stage area are painted sheetrock - a very live accousic environment. I need a bit more volume, but need to soften the sound the snare so it's not quite as sharp sounding.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Mark Counts on March 10, 2007, 11:02 AM

With the cloth on the drum not only was it not as loud, but it also sounded too muffled, if that makes any sense.  It might help to know that the stage is hardwood and the walls in the stage area are painted sheetrock - a very live accousic environment. I need a bit more volume, but need to soften the sound the snare so it's not quite as sharp sounding.
I am trying a Heavy Earthtone drum head right now and I have found it to have great tone but a little softer that conventional drum heads.  It is made from Goat skin.  It is softer and I have use much less muffling than I used to use. The difference is $33 for a 14in. head. I think I have become sold in the head.  Seems to record very well too.
                               Nutty
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: mid life crisis on March 10, 2007, 06:13 PM
My drum teacher suggested putting a folded up blanket on the floor underneath the snare to absorb some of the energy - even though I have a crash pad under the kit, I'm still on a hardwood floor.  Thoughts?
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Matt Self (Gaddabout) on March 10, 2007, 06:31 PM
My drum teacher suggested putting a folded up blanket on the floor underneath the snare to absorb some of the energy - even though I have a crash pad under the kit, I'm still on a hardwood floor.  Thoughts?

Well ... I think the effect of the hardwood floors are being overstated. It might help what YOU hear, and maybe that's the solution you're looking for. But sound is still going to go up, out, and other directions that have nothing to do with the floor.

Best suggestion? Have someone hit the snare while you're out in the audience, because MAYBE what you're hearing up close is not being projected out there. If there's still a problem, I think changing heads is the most direct solution.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Bart Elliott on March 10, 2007, 06:43 PM
Best suggestion? Have someone hit the snare while you're out in the audience, because MAYBE what you're hearing up close is not being projected out there. If there's still a problem, I think changing heads is the most direct solution.

And if you do this, stand behind the individual FIRST, listening to what the Snare sounds like when they hit it. This way you get a perspective of what the Snare sounds like behind the kit when THEY hit it. Then when you go out front, you'll have something to compare it to. Nobody hits the Snare the way I do, so by hearing upclose how someone else plays my kit, I have a better reference when I go out front.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: mid life crisis on March 10, 2007, 09:53 PM
Cool.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: markusmende on March 14, 2007, 06:03 PM
God loves acoustic drums ... far more than electronics ... He told me so. (http://www.drummercafe.com/forum/Smileys/emoticons/lovesight.gif)
He told me that, too... My church was using Vdrums until about a year and a half ago but a new music guy came in and insisted on having real drums. God had finally heard my prayers... :D :D :D :D
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Mark Counts on July 12, 2007, 09:45 AM
I pulled this topic back up because the 4 percussionist at my church want to switch to acoustic drums.  I very much respect my worship leaders opinion and ability to do the right things to make it right. I thought that by sharing this thread with him might open his mind a little bit.  He runs a pro recording studio and has much experience with sound in general. He read all the posts and this was his response. I thought it added some great information to this topic.

Subject: Re: Acoutic drums in church


> Thank you for the info. I know that you would play tastefully at all
> times. You not being the only drummer is one of the considerations when we
> think about transitioning to acoustic drums. At the prison Sunday
> afternoon, in a room 1/4 the size of our sanctuary, the live drum kit was
> all that could be heard, is spite of the pa system and Michael's personal
> amp. Volume is at the discretion of the player, and when the player is
> focused on only his performance and comfort, the rest of the group and
> audience suffers.If everyone was as group- conscious as you are, it would
> never be a problem.
> I appreciated your comments on the advantages of using a plexiglass
> shield. The one thing that was not mentioned was the added "crispness" a
> drum kit has in a plexglass environment. We started using plexigass in
> studios for string sessions in the late 70's and noticed how much brighter
> they sounded, so we began using plexiglass under pianos and in front of
> guitars and eventually even in the drum booth on occasion (when disco
> demanded brighter hi hats and cymbals).
>  I appreciate your dedication to excellence as a musician. I will miss
> playing with you.
> Your friend, J D Miller
>>
Yes, that is right, he has given his notice and is going to another church that is going to let him do more mission work.  I will miss working with him also.  I hope his input brings another educated opinion to this topic?
                                   Nutty

Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Bart Elliott on July 12, 2007, 10:07 AM
Subject: Re: Acoutic drums in church


> Thank you for the info. I know that you would play tastefully at all
> times. You not being the only drummer is one of the considerations when we
> think about transitioning to acoustic drums. At the prison Sunday
> afternoon, in a room 1/4 the size of our sanctuary, the live drum kit was
> all that could be heard, is spite of the pa system and Michael's personal
> amp. Volume is at the discretion of the player, and when the player is
> focused on only his performance and comfort, the rest of the group and
> audience suffers.If everyone was as group- conscious as you are, it would
> never be a problem.
> I appreciated your comments on the advantages of using a plexiglass
> shield. The one thing that was not mentioned was the added "crispness" a
> drum kit has in a plexglass environment. We started using plexigass in
> studios for string sessions in the late 70's and noticed how much brighter
> they sounded, so we began using plexiglass under pianos and in front of
> guitars and eventually even in the drum booth on occasion (when disco
> demanded brighter hi hats and cymbals).
>  I appreciate your dedication to excellence as a musician. I will miss
> playing with you.
> Your friend, J D Miller

Hmmmm ... well, I've played drums at (not in  ;) ) plenty of prisons and I can say that using that environment as part of any kind of equation just isn't realistic. Of course the drums were the loudest thing ... you are surrounded by four concrete walls, plus a floor and ceiling! There's nothing there to absorb the sound except bodies.

The plexiglass comment regarding the reflection and "crispness" of the drums ... well, that's just flat surfaces in general. Perhaps plexiglass has some addition properties to add to the equation, but in general a smooth, flat surface can be used to brighten just about any instrument. If you have carpeting on the floor you can use the plexiglass shields to brighten the sound of any instrument. You can do the same thing by playing on a wood floor, or throwing down some plywood sheets. Every room is different, so there is no hard fast rule. The various materials you can use (ie. assorted woods, plexiglass, stone, etc.) all have slight nuance differences. It's up to the room, your budget and your ears to decide what is need and what works best.

"Crispness" isn't really added ... the flat surfaces help keep or refrain the high-end frequencies, which are more directional than low-end frequencies, are bounced back into the mic, room and/or performers ear. The perception is that it's more crisp, but nothing is actually added (boosted) in the sound ... it's merely kept from being cut or lost as quickly.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Mark Counts on July 12, 2007, 01:03 PM
Hmmmm ... well, I've played drums at (not in  ;) ) plenty of prisons and I can say that using that environment as part of any kind of equation just isn't realistic. Of course the drums were the loudest thing ... you are surrounded by four concrete walls, plus a floor and ceiling! There's nothing there to absorb the sound except bodies.

The plexiglass comment regarding the reflection and "crispness" of the drums ... well, that's just flat surfaces in general. Perhaps plexiglass has some addition properties to add to the equation, but in general a smooth, flat surface can be used to brighten just about any instrument. If you have carpeting on the floor you can use the plexiglass shields to brighten the sound of any instrument. You can do the same thing by playing on a wood floor, or throwing down some plywood sheets. Every room is different, so there is no hard fast rule. The various materials you can use (ie. assorted woods, plexiglass, stone, etc.) all have slight nuance differences. It's up to the room, your budget and your ears to decide what is need and what works best.

"Crispness" isn't really added ... the flat surfaces help keep or refrain the high-end frequencies, which are more directional than low-end frequencies, are bounced back into the mic, room and/or performers ear. The perception is that it's more crisp, but nothing is actually added (boosted) in the sound ... it's merely kept from being cut or lost as quickly.
Well, I agree with much of what both of you said.  I have played the prison too and I started by using my Hot Rods and JD told me after the first song, Go to sticks.  I wasn't loud enough.
I think that he is right about using your ears to blend with the over all balance.  Apparently
the other drummer didn't do that. I honestly don't like Plexy Glass booths.  The only way it works is if you wear head phones or inner ear monitors to hear the over all mix.  To force a drummer into an enclosure is enough to make him/her go deaf. Playing out of a corner does the same thing to your ears. The way we did it when I took my kit was to use it as a barrier in front of me so my kit wouldn't go through the vocal mics in front of me and I didn't saw the singers heads off that were right in front of me. I was OK with that, infact, I have to say that it was my idea.  But we didn't use it for an enclosure. I guess the biggest problem I have with the Electric drums is that our volume is controlled by someone that isn't very good at running sound. I would like to have more control over the volume that I am producing for the over all balance.  If you sit out front and listen to the over all mix, you can mostly hear Key Board and singing.  Not much drums out front at all.  They basically sabotage the drummer so all you get is a visual effect.  No sound school in the world would agree with the balance at our church because there is no balance. It is mostly all keyboard and Vocals.
                                          Nutty
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Matt Self (Gaddabout) on July 12, 2007, 11:11 PM
I played in a church that bought a shield and moved the drums off the stage -- into the corner where a known dead spot in the sound was explained to the church by a sound engineer. I suggested off-stage with a shield (and mic'd) was probably the worst thing they could, but they were convinced it would be necessary because the rest of the band was going deaf.

Well, after a year of dealing with the bass and snare exploding throughout the building and the toms and cymbals disappearing in the mix, they moved the kit back on stage. The dead corner, as I had previously stated, was dead only in terms of the mids and highs reverberating from the sound system. Putting a loud acoustic instrument beneath it with a shield that sent a reverberations upwards into the thick walls just turned the drum kit into a violent ear drum-attacking experience. There were some nasty echoes.

In my experience, drum shields are great to help contain the sound of a good drummer and get a better mix. It does prevent some of the drum sound from bleeding through the mix. It's NOT a solution to a drummer who bashes through everything. But e-kits aren't either, really.

I was at a very large church that seated over 2,000 recently, and they had a drummer behind a Pintech set-up with what I was sure was a TD20 -- cymbals and everything. Great sound (and the TD-20 is the way to go IMO), but the drummer was hitting SO HARD, I could hear the sound of wood sticks against the rubber bouncing off the walls over the mix. I'm not sure, but I was fairly certain the sound was bleeding into the backup singers' mics. If they'd spent less money on a brain and e-kit, I'd be surprised if they didn't experience a lot of cross-talk. The way he was hitting that kit, I doubt those Pintech triggers were going to last much longer.

I still comes down to taste. You can turn a guitarist down all you want, but if he doesn't have the sensitivity, he's not going to play to music, anyway. Same goes for the drummer.

Honestly, I think a lot of church music directors end up going with the e-kit because they're afraid to confront the problem drummer or drummers. This is going on my church. They're more concerned about having enough drummers in the lineup than simply going with the two or three that work and living with the Sunday they don't have anyone. I'd offer to play, but I don't have a lot of confidence in a worship leader that doesn't show much leadership in letting the problem go on for more than a year.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Mark Counts on September 02, 2007, 12:17 PM
My music director at church desided to move on.  Today was the first time I have played a service without him and the New keyboard player/Worship leader came from South East Christian, the Mega Church in Louisville(23,000 members).  I asked him if he still wanted me to bring my equipment for Bikers For Christ Weekend in two weeks and he told me that Biker Weekend is mine as far as me being scheduled to play drums and please bring the Tama's. Then he asked me how I felt about the Roland V drums that we use in the church and I told him that I hate them.  He said that he hates them too. Oh Boy is this getting good. He said the first thing that he is going to change is the drums. He said that we would be getting real drums.  I like this guy already.  Anyway, I thought this was a happy ending to this story so I thought I would share.
                    Nutty
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: NY Frank on September 02, 2007, 01:14 PM
Excellent.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Mark Counts on September 02, 2007, 02:12 PM
Excellent.
Yea, but him coming from a Mega Church where sound escapes, he is a believer in the Plexy Glass Shield.  It is more to control the sound and capture it all I think.  I would still prefer to play acoustic drums and if that is the only down side I can live with it.  I can see using it to shield the drums from the vocal mics in front.
                     Nutty
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: NY Frank on September 02, 2007, 02:19 PM
Be thankful you have such music in your church.    :)
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: VickHick on September 08, 2007, 03:19 PM
Playing in church is a very fulfilling and sometimes trying experience.  I play an old Rogers kit with a 20" bass drum and a 5" powertone snare with an earthtone head on the snare.  I play with blasticks and brushes only.  Over the years i learned u have to use your ears and adjust your volume with the music that your playing.  When u have a full house and everybody is up clapping and singing u can play fairly hard and also play some good fills for the music.  When u are playing for one person singing with just a piano and bass i switch to brushes and keep it simple and smooth.  Because the music and the reason u are playing and singing comes first.  Not u trying to have fun or show what u can do.  True fulfillment comes from using the talent u were given to make music to the one that gave u the talent in the first place! 
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Mark Counts on September 08, 2007, 03:40 PM
Playing in church is a very fulfilling and sometimes trying experience.  I play an old Rogers kit with a 20" bass drum and a 5" powertone snare with an earthtone head on the snare.  I play with blasticks and brushes only.  Over the years i learned u have to use your ears and adjust your volume with the music that your playing.  When u have a full house and everybody is up clapping and singing u can play fairly hard and also play some good fills for the music.  When u are playing for one person singing with just a piano and bass i switch to brushes and keep it simple and smooth.  Because the music and the reason u are playing and singing comes first.  Not u trying to have fun or show what u can do.  True fulfillment comes from using the talent u were given to make music to the one that gave u the talent in the first place! 
I think you are completely right in your intire post.  I don't play brushes much but Hot Rods and Lightning Rods yes. Using your ears and giving the music what it needs and being able to play loud and soft is important in all musical situations, not just church. I can play soft with sticks. By the way, your Earth Tone drum head is probably one of the best head for brushes I have ever played.  I went through two of them on my snare and they do sound fantastic but they don't last long enough for me to spend $33 on one drum head. I invested in a snare drum that already has great tone so I am spending about $15 dollars on a drum head that sounds great and lasts ;).
                              Nutty
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Mark Counts on September 30, 2007, 06:49 AM
My music director at church desided to move on.  Today was the first time I have played a service without him and the New keyboard player/Worship leader came from South East Christian, the Mega Church in Louisville(23,000 members).  I asked him if he still wanted me to bring my equipment for Bikers For Christ Weekend in two weeks and he told me that Biker Weekend is mine as far as me being scheduled to play drums and please bring the Tama's. Then he asked me how I felt about the Roland V drums that we use in the church and I told him that I hate them.  He said that he hates them too. Oh Boy is this getting good. He said the first thing that he is going to change is the drums. He said that we would be getting real drums.  I like this guy already.  Anyway, I thought this was a happy ending to this story so I thought I would share.
                    Nutty
This story just keeps getting better.  After the Bikers for Christ Weekend the worship leader called me since I am the only drummer at my church that owns a drum kit and asked me if I could bring one of my kits to church now so we could go on and make the transition.  I took my Ludwigs up there and they played two or three service with them.  After the first service they told me to put a package together for the church.  They buy a lot of stuff from Musicians friends and I told them that I could do as good with better service from MOMS music in Louisville. I put together a complete package since they really didn't have anything to support Acoustic drums.  I came up with a 5 piece Yamaha Stage Custom kit and I installed Evans EC2's on the toms. 17in and 18in. Paiste Signature series Thin Crash's.  Paiste 14in. Signature Sound Edge Hi Hat and a 22in Signature Power ride.  Tama Iron Cobra Double bass Power Glide Pedal. Pork Pie Bike Drum Thrown and a complete CAD drum mic system with 5 drum mic's and two over heads.
$3294.  The church approved them and I picked them up Friday and they are playing them today ;D. What a great sounding kit. Man I love the sound of those Signatures and the EC2's really made that kit sound great.  We are presently playing without a shield and our goal until they buy one is to prove that we can sound great without it. We, (the three drummers) have to use our ears.  Bart once said, "God Likes Acoustic drums".  It took me almost two years to convince them of this and now we are finally there. What a great Day!!!
(http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd183/drumnut1/100_0587.jpg)
(http://i225.photobucket.com/albums/dd183/drumnut1/100_0586.jpg)
                                                 Nutty
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Todd Norris on September 30, 2007, 02:33 PM
Nice!  It's also nice to have a BUDGET that can accomdate you.  I had to donate my drums to the Church and take the tax write-off.  But hey, we've got acoustic drums in worship!  Woo-hoo!
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Mark Counts on September 30, 2007, 06:14 PM
Nice!  It's also nice to have a BUDGET that can accomdate you.  I had to donate my drums to the Church and take the tax write-off.  But hey, we've got acoustic drums in worship!  Woo-hoo!

It is a big difference out front.  I tried to keep everyone with interest involved.  I don't really think they were trying to accomdate me. We have three drummers and a very good percussionist that has a smile that she can't hide.  We were all ready to move to acoustic.
They did however, trust my judgement to buy equipment that would make us sound good.
I have to feel very humbled that they trusted me with that.  Our New Worship Leader, the Head Minister and the Guy that is in charge of our sound and production pushed for it too.
It was going to happen anyway.  Todd, I think that was very good of you to donate your drums to the church.  Not many would do that.  I have discussed doing the same with my wife but my son wants my Ludwig's. She has basically told me that I am done buying drums.
I really don't need anymore anyway.
 I have to say that the difference is unbelievable between Electric and Acoustic.  The cymbals mostly but they just sound more natural. I could never get what I wanted in the Electric snare.  I will be taking my snare with me now. It will make all the rest of the difference.
                      Nutty
                                     
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Todd Norris on September 30, 2007, 06:54 PM
That's great Mark!  The difference between acoustic and electronic is unbelievable.  I feel much more a part of the music for some reason.  The response of the instrument just makes it so much more satisfying. 

I guess you could say God really was behind the move.  First I managed to convince the Church that acoustic drums would work.  Then I had extra resources available to donate my kit, and buy a few cymbals for that kit and then replace the kit at home.  I obviously didn't get a dollar for dollar return on the tax situation, but it really made the end sum spent very reasonable.  That made it tolerable for my wife.

Anyway, let's have a review after you've used them for awhile!
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Mark Counts on October 01, 2007, 05:18 AM
Anyway, let's have a review after you've used them for awhile!
Will do Todd. They told me yesterday that the shield is coming so I guess that is going to happen any way.
                       Nutty
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Riddim on March 24, 2008, 11:51 PM
I have a pretty descent amount of experience playing drums and guitar in church. From my experience, the biggest problem is with drummers themselves. A lot of them have little or no concern for their volume control. They want to bash away because it feels better. The reality is they haven't taken the time to learn how to play properly, meaning being able to play at many different volumes besides being able to play beats/fills/etc. The reality, IMO, is that there are a lot of people that "play" drums but there aren't that many drummers. There is a big difference.

I would argue that there are tons of folks who play drums,  but far fewer who play them musically.
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: Louis Russell on March 25, 2008, 06:39 PM
I would argue that there are tons of folks who play drums,  but far fewer who play them musically.

This problem is not unique to drums; it happens with many other instruments.  A person can spend a year cruising the internet, learing on his own, maybe a lesson on two thrown in along the way and before long he calls himself a musician.  Playing with a group is more about interacting with the other instruments!  You have to listen to a lot of music and develop a feel for what is needed and hopefully there will be something in your toolbox that will work in that particular situation.  The sad news is that if you are like me, the more you study music the more you find you don't know!
Title: Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
Post by: xdrummer2000 on March 27, 2008, 03:53 AM
I'm with anyone and everyone who suggested getting smaller drums 100%.

My personal experience with acoustic drums in church truly started a while back. At my church, we had one of the top end Roland V Electric Kits with the mesh drumheads and everything in the adult service. Since the drums obviously made no sound on their own, we had to run them through the monitors. The problem with this is that drums are the foundation of the feel of the band, and as such, we needed drums coming out of EVERY monitor so that everybody on stage could stay in the pocket with the me or whoever else is playing up there. This not only brought up the stage volume significantly, but since the volume was louder, it opened up a lot more room for feedback loops. Coupled with this, our Worship Pastor prefers the sound of acoustic drums (as do I) to that of electric or triggered drums.

We started by getting real drums in the room where the adult worship service takes place. Me and the other drummer there had to bring our own kits (as we didn't have an available acoustic kit at the church), and I actually had to end up leaving my drums set up there for 2 or 3 months straight. After the drums were set up, we mic'd them up and put a sound shield in front of them. Since the drums are loud enough to be heard without blaring through the monitors, it helped bring the overall stage volume down.

Eventually, we had to get a kit for the church so I could take my kit home. The worship pastor went to a music store in Modesto, California and picked up a 4-piece Gretsch Catalina Club kit. And I must say, not only does the color of the drums match the color of the walls in the room (;D), but our pastor hit a gold mine with this drum kit. For those who don't know, this kit has a 14" Snare Drum, a 12" Mounted Tom, a 14" Floor Tom, and an 18" Bass Drum. Even though the drums (especially the bass) are much smaller than mine, they still sound big and full of tone out in the house. We still have the microphones on the drums, but we don't even need the shield anymore! All the sound reduction equipment for drums that we have set up are the large absorption pads that come with sound shields (the ones that go behind the drummer), and those are just set behind the drums. Other than that...no shield, no enclosures, no nothing! The downsizing helped THAT much! Since the kick drum was so small (unlike the toms and snare, it had the stock Gretsch head on the batter), it just needed a pillowcase that I brought from my house inside of it and all ugly overtones are gone. I cut a hole that is reinforced by an Aquarian O-ring with an adhesive backing, and it sounds perfect. It KICKS out in the audience. The toms are very tonal and warm, and the snare cracks like the best of snares do. Me and the other drummers do have to play relatively light, but it is worth it...the drums don't have to be taken out of the mix (I HATE it when the drums aren't audible in the mix, especially the Snare and Kick), and everything sounds nice.

The problem with my drumset (as well as the main drummer's kit) wasn't so much the sound quality, but the size. Even behind the sound shield, we had to play light or else the drums would be very difficult for our sound engineers to control. This goes double for the Bass Drum. The main drummer has a DW Maple Kick with a Clear Remo Powerstroke 3 on the batter and the stock DW Ebony Head with a small hole in it on the front, as well as a DW Hourglass Pillow on the inside, and it was WAY louder than the small 18" Bass. Mine has the SKI/Black Regulator w/small offset hole combo on it with nothing inside of it, and it was even louder. Even behind the sound shield, it was still too loud to be given too much volume in the house without it being overwhelming. But the downsized kit helped that, and again, we don't even need the shield (which not only looks way better on stage, but also helps the band communicate with the drummer better)!

If you haven't already, I HIGHLY recommend you at least go to a Guitar Center or some other music store and then ask them if you can tune it and then play on it. I'm sure you'll love it!

Hope this was helpful, and good luck to you! :)


And Bart, I couldn't agree more...God loves acoustic drums WAY more than electric drums. ;D