Topic: Snare Drum Dampening  (Read 19377 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Steve "Smitty" Smith

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 734
Snare Drum Dampening
« on: March 22, 2011, 06:50 PM »
I notice that most professional drummers I encounter either live or on video have no muffling on their snare drums.  I’m a little baffled by this because I can’t imagine not dampening the overtones on my snare with either a zero ring or, more typically for me lately, moon gel.

My main snare is a beautiful 14 x 5.5 exotic maple DW Edge series.  I use Evans coated G2 for the batter and a hazy for the snare side.  I like to think I tune pretty well.  But with no dampening, the overtones and ring just sound horrible to my ears.  Yet here are all these drummers playing with no dampening on their snares and sounding great.

What am I missing here?

Offline Jon E

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 3594
  • Gaaaah!
    • Things Very Special
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2011, 07:43 PM »
Lots of overtone disappears within the context of playing the whole kit.  And to a listener--who's not sitting right over the drum--a lot of overtone is nevr heard.

It took me along time to get over not muffling my snare.  Now I'm over it.  Drums will be drums.

Offline NY Frank

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 2711
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2011, 07:56 PM »
It took me a while, too, to get over the fact that what I'm hearing is not what they're hearing.

At the same time, I have decided - I want some good tone, too.   :)   So, I still do things to muffle - and quiet - the snare.   

Still waiting for that magic snare that I can lay into without my ears bleeding.
+
Frank
Just play

Bionic Ankle    "... we can rebuild him ..."

Offline Bob Dias

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 510
  • mmmmm...staves
    • Ugly Rumor
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2011, 10:28 PM »
Frank...Ear plugs. They keep the blood dammed up.

I usually use a moongell or 2 not so much for dampening the snare per say, but to attenuate sypathetic vibration.

bob
"It's O.K. if you only know three chords, but for God's sake, play'em in the right order" (H. Hill)

Offline Chris Whitten

  • Honorary VIP
  • Posts: 6445
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2011, 04:52 AM »
I almost always use some damping, even if it's an inch of tape barely touching the edge of the drum. Sometimes it can be a whole lot more tape.
The non-professionals I meet who are unhappy with their snare drums set-ups are similarly trying to emulate the players they've seen on video with no damping.
My motto is, if it sounds good..... it is good. Use your ears and damp (OR NOT!) to taste.

donelk

  • Guest
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2011, 11:11 AM »
Snare drum overtone can also help the drum sound more full when playing softly.

I"m a moon gel fan, because I can take it off or add it as the situation/music demands.  Same with the rolled gaffers tape Chris mentioned.

Offline Bart Elliott

  • Chef de Cuisine
  • Posts: 15092
  • Founder & owner of DrummerCafe.com
    • bartelliott
    • bartelliott
    • w w w . B a r t E l l i o t t . c o m
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2011, 11:55 AM »
I rarely use dampening. It's not my default; I only use it when necessary.

Not to be insulting, please don't take my following statements with that mindset, but proper drum tuning is a key ingredient getting a great drum sound without the need of dampening. I'm not saying that if you use dampening you don't know how to tune a drum.

In most cases, one can tune a drum for the room and remove unwanted overtones, etc. That's not always the best solution, but it is possible 99% of the time.

Using dampening to affect the decay time of the drum is a completely different matter. However, you can alter the decay time or sustain through tuning as well ... especially with respect to the relationship (interval) between the batter and resonant/snare heads.

The type of drumhead used, as well as its age, plays a role in the overall sound, and whether you feel like you need dampening.

Lastly, the way the drum is struck will effect the decay and sustain. If the drumstick/mallet/brush comes off the drumhead quickly, you'll get the most out of the drum. The longer you leave the stick on the head (milliseconds), the more you compress the sound and decrease the decay time and sustain. Practicing and making use of various techniques is key to achieving the control necessary to achieve the desired sound. All of this holds true for playing the Bass/Kick drum with a pedal.

The sustain and overtones is what makes the drum sound and carry over distance. Removing the overtones reduces the projection of the drum, acoustically.

When I use dampening, it's typically because I'm trying to affect the projection of the drum ... not its sound. In the studio, when tuning hasn't resolved an issue, I use dampening. Miking the drums means you are picking up the sound close to the drumhead, not far away like what the ear hears. You may have to dampen the drums simply because the microphone doesn't handle the overtones, resonance or sustain very well.

Like Chris Whitten said, use dampening based on what you think sounds good and meets your needs. As I've already mentioned, there ARE ways to get a great sound from ANY drum without dampening.

It all comes down to having the time and ear to fine tune, the venue (size, dimensions, etc.) you are playing in, miking the drums or not, and the sound you are going for. Those factors will determine what path you need to take for each drum.

Offline Steve "Smitty" Smith

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 734
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2011, 01:21 PM »
No offense taken at all.  This is exactly the discussion and guidance I’m looking for.  I suspected that proper tuning was the answer.  I’m pretty religious about changing my snare head.  I guess I’ve become so accustomed to a muffled snare that the ring from an un-dampened snare (and it is very much an unpleasant ringing sound to my ears) just sounds wrong to me.

Offline Chris Whitten

  • Honorary VIP
  • Posts: 6445
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2011, 06:02 PM »
The type of drumhead used, as well as its age, plays a role in the overall sound, and whether you feel like you need dampening.

Yes, many people use pre-dampened heads, especially for toms and bass drums.
I guess I would probably do that for a tour, when I knew what the drum sound was going to consistently be for the music.
Recording-wise I like to choose very lively, fully sustaining heads, because it's easier to back off the overtones and sustain with tape, then wrestle more liveliness out of a pre-damped head.

Quote
When I use dampening, it's typically because I'm trying to affect the projection of the drum ... not its sound. In the studio, when tuning hasn't resolved an issue, I use dampening. Miking the drums means you are picking up the sound close to the drumhead, not far away like what the ear hears. You may have to dampen the drums simply because the microphone doesn't handle the overtones, resonance or sustain very well.

Exactly, I agree with your last point.  ;)
On your first point I find I'm the opposite.
I tune a snare drum to fit with the needs of the music 100% of the time. This is where I think damping becomes important. If I find the right tonality for the snare drum in a recording situation and the producer says the sound is perfect but there's just a little too much overtone or discordant ring going on, I find a small piece of tape can dampen down the unwanted frequencies while preserving the tone and pitch the producer likes.
Of course the snare drum is often a single entity. If I have two to four toms sounding great, but one has an errant harmonic going on, I'm much more likely to experiment with the tensioning to dial out the harmonic than reach for the tape, as toms should usually sustain for a similar length of time, or at least in relation to their size and pitch.
If one tom is ringing longer than the others, then I often reach for the tape.

Offline NY Frank

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 2711
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2011, 07:26 PM »
...
Lastly, the way the drum is struck will effect the decay and sustain. If the drumstick/mallet/brush comes off the drumhead quickly, you'll get the most out of the drum. The longer you leave the stick on the head (milliseconds), the more you compress the sound and decrease the decay time and sustain.

At recent gigs, I noticed for the first time that, depending on the tune, I was altering tone and decay by digging into the snare and leaving the stick down.     It Sounded decent to my ears, but I was wondering if I was doing something technically very wrong.   

When I was taking lessons as a little guy, my teacher definitely did not get into something like that.    Is it considered technically correct to roll off some decay by laying into the snare and keeping the stick down?
+
Frank
Just play

Bionic Ankle    "... we can rebuild him ..."

Offline Chris Whitten

  • Honorary VIP
  • Posts: 6445
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2011, 08:57 PM »
I don't think anything is incorrect unless it hinders your playing, or holds back your potential, or potentially injures or has a negative health impact.
Of course, 'incorrect technique' often does hold up your potential for improvement, and can cause injury fairly quickly - but sometimes doesn't show up for years.
So caution.
Having said that, employing a certain technique, even unorthadox, for a brief effect will most likely have no negative impact.

Offline Chip Donaho

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 3647
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2011, 07:41 AM »
I don't think anything is incorrect unless it hinders your playing
I agree with Chris. You either like it or someone in the band don't like it. That's what it really comes down to. Does it sound right for the music?
Craviotto-DW-Mapex-Slingerland
Paiste-Zildjian
"When you quit learning you start dying."-My Grandfather

Offline Bob Pettit

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 888
  • Designated Driver
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2011, 08:10 AM »
Does any high-end snare drum have built-in internal mufflers anymore?

My old chrome Superphonic Ludwig has an internal muffer. Do they come like that anymore? Or has the modern fads dictated we all must use Moongel or some such?

Personally that internal muffler was the Holy Grail for a kid like me who started on a beginners snare without one. I had a lead weight I used on my first snare drum and hated it. I still don't like sticking stuff to the top head.

Something that I invented is to rough up a spot on the underside of the batter head and puddle silicon glue/caulking. It dries soft and rubbery and sticks well (if you sandpaper the spot).

,..

Paicey

  • Guest
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2011, 04:20 PM »
I dont think i could get away with zero dampening, not that id prefer that but generally its 1/2 a square of toilet tissue folded twice with a small square of gaffers tape to secure it to the head usually around 1:00. For me this allows the drum to have some resonance without to much out of harmonic ringing. Sometimes if you look real close youll see players using zero rings or may have made one themselves from a clear head to their own specs. I cant say ive ever heard a snare that needed zero muffeling.....(for me) at least some small amount.

Offline NY Frank

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 2711
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2011, 09:00 PM »
I probably shouldn't admit this publicly, but in my current tour of duty, I have a bass drum felt strip underneath my snare batter head.   I know that's a cardinal sin for most, but for me personally, it's the right thing at this point in time.         ducking.
+
Frank
Just play

Bionic Ankle    "... we can rebuild him ..."

Offline Mister Acrolite

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 5936
  • I'm not bald; I'm aerodynamic.
    • k e i t h c r o n i n . c o m
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2011, 10:48 PM »
I think most drummers would remove 90 to 100% of the muffling they use on their snare drums if they went out into the audience and listened to what the drum sounded like out there.

Un-miked I use no muffling. Ever. Miked for live gigs, I use a tiny bit of duct-tape, if needed. And it's not needed very often. In the studio is the only situation where I frequently need to muffle, but even then we're just talking about small pieces of duct tape.

But tuning and muffling are highly personal things. Bottom line, you want to be happy and excited about YOUR sound. If muffling accomplishes that for you, muffle up!   ;D
Hit on 2. Repeat on 4.
(instructions found written on Mr. A's snare drum)

Offline Jon E

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 3594
  • Gaaaah!
    • Things Very Special
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2011, 08:02 AM »
AWAY! AWAY WITH YOU FRANKY! DO NOT DARKEN THE CAFE'S DOORSTEP ANY LONGER!!!  ;)


and on the lack of internal mufflers these days..... was that somehow linked to concert snare drums being pulled into the "rock" drumming world, and then being played louder/harder, and then being mic'd and whatever??  just jumped into my head.  Who do we know with a Ludwig connection that can get us some answers???  Hmmmmm....

Offline NY Frank

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 2711
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2011, 08:27 AM »
 :'(


 ;D
+
Frank
Just play

Bionic Ankle    "... we can rebuild him ..."

Paicey

  • Guest
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2011, 12:33 PM »
Ive read all the responses to see everyones view point. I get the 50 feet away thing opposed to near field. It seems (for me) the deeper the drum and lower the tuning the less muffeling i tend to use....sometimes zero. These is alot to consider here, shell material...tuning....heads used, you know the list. Unmiked which is very rare for me i will jack the toms up a bit for that projection but being a fan of a great R&B cracking snare to much ring can really bug me. The same goes for no resonance at all. Once my drum (snare) has ALL of the ring taken away im just as bothered by that.....generally. I DO love Brufords ring on round about though, talk about character.

Offline Bob Pettit

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 888
  • Designated Driver
Re: Snare Drum Dampening
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2011, 02:26 PM »
I checked on Ludwig internal mufflers and the Superphonic no longer comes with one. Funny, it was standard equipment back when Bonham played them ... don't know if John Henry actually used his, but surely his LM402 had a built in muffler. I seem yto remember reading he did not like it, and also would not play the chrome covered bronze, it had to be an aluminum shell.

I agree with the sentiment above that the damping has to be 'just so'.... not too much, not too little, hence the usefulness of a variable tension built in internal muffer.

..


 

Drummer Cafe RSS Feeds Drummer Cafe on Twitter Drummer Cafe on Facebook Drummer Cafe on YouTube Drummer Cafe on Pinterest Drummer Cafe on Instagram