Topic: Acoustic Drums For Worship  (Read 9693 times)

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Offline Mark Counts

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #60 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

I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #61 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.

Offline Mark Counts

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #62 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
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

Offline Matt Self (Gaddabout)

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #63 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.
Odd meter isn't broken. It doesn't need to be fixed. - David Crigger

Offline Mark Counts

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #64 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
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

Offline NY Frank

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #65 on: September 02, 2007, 01:14 PM »
Excellent.
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Offline Mark Counts

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #66 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
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

Offline NY Frank

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #67 on: September 02, 2007, 02:19 PM »
Be thankful you have such music in your church.    :)
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Offline VickHick

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #68 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! 

Offline Mark Counts

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #69 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
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

Offline Mark Counts

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #70 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!!!


                                                 Nutty
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

Offline Todd Norris

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #71 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!

Offline Mark Counts

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #72 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
                                     
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

Offline Todd Norris

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #73 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!

Offline Mark Counts

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #74 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
I love The Cafe. "God First". If there is music today, it is a great day".
"Tama Star Classics and Paiste cymbals for ever" !!!

Offline Riddim

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #75 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.
R

Offline Louis Russell

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #76 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!
No one will believe it's the "Blues" if you wear a suit, 'less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it last night!

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Re: Acoustic Drums For Worship
« Reply #77 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

 

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