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Ken.....what do you think about_________ - Drum Solo Artist

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KenSanders
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KenSanders

IBJAMN in Nashville


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« on: July 12, 2010, 09:01:30 PM »

I am often asked by aspiring young drummers what I think of certain cymbals or drums, sticks, drum heads or sticks. Well, I do have my own criteria for the gear I choose to use.....and I choose all my gear for those specific reasons. However, the actual question any drummer needs to consider is

“what gear works best for YOUR unique musical situation(s)?”

Let’s take cymbals as an example. For some musical genres you might want cymbals that blend and have the sensitivity for subtle nuances when different areas are played. This may be more apparent in jazz stylings.  Some jazz players want darker sounding ride and crash cymbals and want the cymbals to respond to a lighter touch.

In big band, pop, and rock settings, you probably want cymbals with more cut and hence would choose brighter (and often larger sizes) cymbals. Medium to heavy weights are usually more suitable for power and cut, with the sizes dictating how much volume you want. Today’s modern designs also have devoted a lot of research into producing cymbals that have different decay rates…….i.e. a “fast” crash versus a “long sustain”  crash…..and a dry ride versus a ride with a fuller overtone series.

Drums and their unique sounds? Today there are a lot of top quality drums and heads to choose from.  Microphones and live sound reinforcement equipment make it possible to hear pretty much any size you like to use.  So choosing the sizes that produce the tone qualities you want is the real factor to consider.  A 3 ½” x 14” brass snare drum will typically respond best with a higher and crisp tuning.  An 8” x 14” wooden snare drum will prefer a lower and more mellow range.  Although you can tune either one up or down…..there is a tuning that they will like best.

Deeper bass drums (length not diameter) will be more resonant but respond a bit slower.  22” or 24” Bass drums stuffed with muffling material may sound pretty much the same whereas an 18” or 20” bass drum with two solid heads will produce slightly different frequency responses.  Your pedal technique is a very significant factor too.  Basically that’s whether you “sink” the beater into the bass drum batter head or let it bounce off of the head.

The size and weight of your sticks directly affect the sound of your drums and cymbals, as well as the tip design. Playing light cymbals with heavy sticks or visa versa will produce very different results.

Toms seem to have a warmer and more controlled sound with coated heads than clear heads. There are also single ply and two ply heads with different thicknesses that affect the overtones from your drums.

Finally your playing style…ranging from heavy slamming to controlled finesse……and the endless variables in between,  is just as much an element in your sound as the gear you choose.

We are so fortunate today to have all of these choices.  Plus, we don’t all have to sound the same do we?

So my approach is pretty simple.  Choose gear that best produces the kind of sounds that YOU can use.  Choose your drum heads carefully and tune them to sound and feel that inspires you to play your best.  Take care of your drums and cymbals, they are not only carefully crafted musical instruments……they are an investment in your musical success.

So……….although we can always discuss it, it doesn’t matter what I think…………it only matters what you like.
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Ken Sanders
IBJAMN in Nashvile, TN
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