Friday 18th August 2017,

Advice: Drums

Dave November 3, 2014 Tech Tips

Here are some Top Tips by Dave who runs our Drum Department:

Drums never sound the same behind the kit as they do in front of it. In an un-mic’ed situation if you over dampen your toms and bass drum they may not be heard.

In choosing new crash cymbals make sure they are suitable for your playing style. If you are a hard hitter and purchase a thin crash it may crack, the same applies to a lighter player where a heavy crash would not react quick enough.

There are no hard and fast rules with drumming. Some of the world’s greatest drummers have done some unusual things with playing and equipment, so remember if anyone tells you their way is the only way then it’s just their opinion.

The main differences between single and double ply heads are sound and durability. A single ply head has more tone and sensitivity but will not hold up to heavy playing. A double ply head has a fatter, warmer controlled sound and is more durable.

If you break sticks frequently and it’s becoming too expensive you have 3 options: Change to a heavier stick, change to a synthetic stick e.g. graphite or if both these options do not appeal then buy cheaper seconds sticks in bulk.

If you find yourself becoming tired after only a short time playing then try relaxing your muscles. Also try to concentrate on the sound you are producing and not how hard you are playing.

Try not to sit too high or too low, your legs should bend at right angles at the knee and not be straight.

There are now special bass drum heads which produce more volume with less boom. The sound will not project if you put in too much damping and you’re not mic’ed up.

If you play your Hi-Hat cymbals with the shaft of the stick your sticks will chew up quicker. Try lowering the cymbals and if a semi open sound is needed then you can achieve this with different foot pressures on the pedal.

If you strike your crash cymbals directly on the edge when playing them hard, the shock will transfer straight to that area and could produce a crack. However if you use a sideways motion the shock will be dispersed around the circumference. It is important to try and keep your crashes loose on the cymbal stand.

Replacing your felt Hi-Hat clutch washers with rubber ones will produce a bigger sound.

If you find that it is difficult to hear your drums at loud gigs then try not to set up in front of the backline amps. If you can get your guitarist and bass player to bring their amps forward, positioning your drum kit to the side of them then this will improve your sound.

Finally it’s best to always wear earplugs when playing to save your long term hearing, as “Improved Hearing” is about the only thing Modern Music doesn’t sell!

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About The Author

Dave has run the Drum Department at Modern Music since 1985. With over 30 years of Drum knowledge, he is able to help with any Drum or Percussion enquiry.

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