Topic: internal bass drum muffling  (Read 3300 times)

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James Walker

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Re: internal bass drum muffling
« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2007, 07:26 PM »
There's certainly a purpose for additional muffling, but it's something you probably want to do after you've tried everything else (heads, tuning, etc).

IMO, it's something you "probably want to do" if you want that sound.  Maybe I'm showing my age as a "child of the '70s," but in many situations, that quick, punchy "thud" is exactly what the music calls for.  

Putting a blanket or pillow (or blankets, or pillows, or both) inside the bass drum can be overdone, absolutely.  I in no way advocate filling up a bass drum with a huge blanket, many pillows, etc., as a default method, nor do I condone it as a substitute for learning how to tune a drum.


The sound of a bass drum, muffled judiciously with a blanket, pillow, etc., is different from the sound of a "pre-muffled" drum head (or set of drum heads).  I've got the Aquarian "SuperKick I/Regulator" combo on one of my bass drums, and it sounds great - with no additional muffling.  However, it doesn't sound - to my ears at least - like a bass drum with a small blanket or pillow pressed against the batter head.  Nor does it sound like a bass drum with felt strips employed as a muffling device.  In fact, this is why I've got three different bass drums set up and ready to go - the aforementioned 14x22 Ludwig with the SK/Regulator combo, a 14x20 with an Evans pillow inside, and a 14x18 with felt strips.  Flexibility is good.  Options are good.  If one only needs the sound they get from a given bass drum setup, "good on ya" (and please note, that comment is not directed at any one in particular in this discussion).  That's great.  Me?  I like having some options.  The bass drum sound I want with a steel band isn't necessarily the same bass drum sound I want playing an orchestral "pops" concert.

Dismissing the careful, tasteful use of internal muffling methods (pillow, blanket, etc.), because many drummers overdo it, to me is the same as dismissing the idea of dynamics in music, because many drummers play too loudly.  

(As always, the usual abbreviated disclaimers apply:  IMHO, FWIW, YMMV, etc.)

Matt Self (Gaddabout)

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Re: internal bass drum muffling
« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2007, 09:24 PM »
I disagree.
Recording a bass drum changes dramatically from project to project, from producer to producer, drum to drum, room to room. Therefore it makes sense to be as flexible as possible.
If you turn up with a pre-damped head, what do you do if it sounds too dead in the room? Presumably dismantle the kit somewhat (mics and all) and replace the head with a less damped one (if you were clever enough to bring one with you).
Alternatively, if you find the bass drum is resonating in such a way that it smears the bass guitar sound on the song you are working on, do you just say "tough" to the people you are collaborating with? "That's my bass drum sound, take it or leave it".
The same goes for live gigging IMO.
My experience has taught me to use a semi live head on the bass drum and employ varying degrees of damping until the best sound is achieved. You can start with a freely ringing drum and go all the way to a 3 pillow dull thud. You can position the muffling to touch the front head more, moreover you can add and subtract dryness to the sound until you are all happy.
That's why I mentioned earlier that head choice for yes was largely a red herring.

I'm going to agree with you almost entirely on the basis of your overwhelming amount of experience. I have no grounds to really disagree here, especially since I just finished a discussion with another drummer on how to get that Zigaboo bass drum sound and I think we're coming to the conclusion that lots of muffling will be required. ;)


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Re: internal bass drum muffling
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2007, 07:05 PM »
I'll add another voice to the "muffling can be good" crowd. The majority of my playing is in the studio and I can't remember the last time I played a wide open bass drum. Wide open toms and snares are pretty common but not bass drums. I always use a ported head and a variety of muffling materials including feather (heavy) pillows, Evans EQ pads, thermal (heavy) blankets. I often use an EMAD batter head which allows me to have the wide or thin muffle ring in place or no ring at all. I'd be willing to bet that 99% of the recorded BD sounds that you hear (and dig) have some sort of mufflng in them.

Billy G.


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Re: internal bass drum muffling
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2007, 12:05 PM »
      well----i am sorry that i started such a fuss when i started this subject awhile back but fellow drummers i think i have found the holy grail of bass drum damping. go to the following website : just got one of these and my problems are solved! you can get them from andy keesan at dicenso's drum shop in quincy, mass. their phone number is#617-479-1280. tell him steve morgan sent you!


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Re: internal bass drum muffling
« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2007, 12:07 PM »


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