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To muffle, or not to muffle? Is this really a question? - Drum Solo Artist

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Author Topic: To muffle, or not to muffle? Is this really a question?  (Read 36171 times)
Tomm
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« on: January 27, 2010, 06:08:43 PM »

This is a poll of sort...I'm just curious, really.  How do you muffle your individual drums.  I will chime in after a few responses come in.  Maybe I assume too much and this art that I have mastered is not practiced by others.
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KenSanders
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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2010, 09:04:15 PM »

Tomm, I'm anxious to hear more on this topic.  So, I hope there are several responses to your post.

Me?....well, a big resonant drum sound is part of my M.O. so, I don't do any extreme muffling.  I get the sounds I want with my preferred drum head selections and a drum key.  With that said, here is the extent of the minimal muffling techniques I do use.


Bass DrumsBatter head: I use an Aquarian Super Kick I batter head.   It has a narrow floating felt ring built in.  Resonant heads:  I do the old school thing....a felt strip.   

Snare and Toms  - Nothing.  All of my drums have a big and wide-open sound.

At sound check for "mic'd up" shows, I sometimes use some gaffers tape to resolve ocassional harmonic problems at the microphone spot, but not to muffle down the drums' natural resonance.

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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2010, 01:21:11 PM »

Tomm needs to hear from some other DSA readers on this topic.
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Ken Sanders
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Tomm
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2010, 05:59:22 PM »

I just want to add here...as I stated in the drum (floor tom) tuning thread here, have someone play your kit as you stand in font as a patron of your talents and then determine if you may need to muffle anything or not.  Of course I'm talking acoustics here, not miked.  Hell...miked you can make the things sound like a freakin' harmonica.

It's just that due to the lack of participation on this topic I'm thinking "Is this really a question?" is not such the jest that I had intended.
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KenSanders
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2010, 06:44:41 PM »

I agree with Tomm.  Listening to the sound of your drums from an audience perspective reveals a lot. 

I also agree that you need to achieve a good acoustic sound.  My personal opinion is that I want any sound reinforcement used to accurately capture my sound not change it.

I hope others will join in on sharing the muffling techniques the have found sucessful.  I'd venture to say that bass drum muffling has the most variables to discuss.
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Ken Sanders
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Tomm
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2010, 08:52:00 PM »

Yeah, bass drum-wise. I've worked off of the 6" adjustable felt pad(1960s) to cotton strips across the head, to no front head (what was that all about?) to throwing different sized puffy materials inside the drum.  Now that I use a double beater, they either accent or muffle each other so I let the nature of the beast dictate resonance now. 
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Reno
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2010, 09:56:03 PM »

my original kit had internal adjustable dampers, I actually liked them for controlling the sustain. Today I use rings on the toms and a felt strip on the kick. Funny you mention no front skin on your kick, I lent mine to a friend for a gig once and never replaced it because I liked the 'big room' sound the open shell produced. A mishap after that demolished the bottom skin on my 13" tom, so I used it to make a control ring for the top skin. A few days and a few beer later and all the bottom skins were gone except for the snare obviously..

it sounds really good from the throne. I have no idea how it sounds elsewhere in the room, probably not all that great...
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KenSanders
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2010, 11:14:31 PM »

Tomm, I think I need to clarify my initial bass drum comments.

I use a felt strip on the resonant side of the 18" bass drum that I use for small ensemble jazz performances.  The bass drums are tuned for those musical genres.

For the rock/funk/blues performances I have a mic port cut into the resonant side head with a Kick Port installed.  Obviously, that bass drum sound is different from my jazz bass drum sound.


Anyway, I'd still like to hear more about your muffling tricks.

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Ken Sanders
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Tomm
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2010, 09:41:09 PM »

Okay, I've been working on this concept...and this is cool.  I have taken all the years experience that I have booked in this percussive life and asked "...what have I not tried?  I then discovered the vibration dynamic demention that I had never heard of, or experienced before.  Send me $29.95 to the address below and I will send to you...the results of the "Discovery of a lifetime", by Tomm...the biggest BSer on DSA...seriously (if PASHA has allowed this entry to last this long) Private message me and we can talk about what it is that I have actually worked out in muffleing our toys.
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PASHA
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2010, 11:23:35 PM »

Quote
...if PASHA has allowed this entry to last this long...

Why would I remove it?? Shocked

It is interesting, intriguing and on topic!

Cheers Wink
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KenSanders
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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2010, 08:08:13 AM »

Tomm,

I expect a discount if I purchase four.  Wink
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Ken Sanders
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Tomm
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« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2010, 09:46:16 PM »

The price is already cheap at twice the price, Ken.  Just a buck two ninety four.

Seriously though, I have discovered a way to dampen tom toms that I really like.  I discovered a material that is made of dense, but plyable, 1/4" square self adhesive rubber.  I have applied about a two inch strip of this onto my rider toms and a 3 inch strip to by floor tom and it takes the plastic sound out of the resonance of my accoustic production.  I can't recall where I got it, more than likely my son Jason came up with it...after all he's the certified sound tech in the family.

If you get an opportunity to try this concept out.  It's easily adjustable to your needs and it's gotta be cheap...I mean after all I think mine was free.
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KenSanders
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2010, 09:57:40 PM »

Very cool, Tomm.

Sounds similar to the Moon Gel approach, but you can customize the size needed easier....and the price seems lower.

Is it a product available at Lowes or Home Depot? Maybe can you find out the brand name or product name too.
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Ken Sanders
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Tomm
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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2010, 09:47:34 AM »

I'll get the info together asap and bring it here.
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Reno
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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2010, 06:49:57 PM »

weather stripping. The spongy stuff. Works great. lol

I actually HAVE to use some kind of dampening on my kit, since I have no bottom skins on any of my drums except the snare Vinny Appice style (only in later years did he have resonators on his kit).  One of the advantages of this is, removal of the bottom skin drops the note of the drum fairly drastically allowing the top skin to be tighter when tuned to the original note. This makes for more responsive sticking, the tighter the skin the faster the bounce. The disadvantage is, unless the kit is actually designed for it, removing the bottom skins gives gawd-awful hardware rattle. To combat that on my kit, I simply cut out the centers of the skins leaving an inch all around. That is enough to hold the rim in place which in turn keeps the lug nuts from bouncing around. (the part I cut out was then trimmed again and used as damper rings for the top skins).
Without the resonator (and it's naturally dampening effect) some form of damper is required to keep the sustain from getting out of hand.
(if you think of the resonator skin in the context of speaker cabinet design, the resonator is a form of passive radiator and damper. Inversely, the speakers attached to your stereo are glorified drums which are hit by electromagnets instead of sticks)

[edited to change 'Ian Paice' to 'Vinny Appice'.. brain fart]
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KenSanders
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« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2010, 10:28:34 AM »

Muffling your drums is a personal choice that depends upon the sound you are wanting to create.  Head selection and tunings are the first step, then you can decide if there are overtones you want to reduce.

There are some interesting tips for muffling materials here in this thread.  It is another example of drummers sharing their experiences with other drummers.  I think that is very cool.  Cool

I want to add that another way of dealing with tone modification and resonance is to de-tune a lug.  On second thought......maybe that topic deserves another thread since it is not really muffling, but really a tuning technique.  Wink



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Ken Sanders
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Tomm
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« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2010, 08:01:58 PM »

Ken, I have no brand or name of the material that I am using, but I do have enough that I can send you some to experiment with.  Just PM me with an address to send it to and it will be on the way.
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KenSanders
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« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2010, 07:09:31 PM »

Tomm,

Thanks for sending me a sample of the muffling material (which you discussed above) to me. It works very well...similar to using Moon Gel.....but since the material is very dense, I think it is much more effective than Moon Gel.

At an outside venue this past week-end, I had some weird overtones coming through my floor tom mics and the material you sent fixed that instantly. The sound techs were happy and it sounded great through my monitor too.

You need to find out what this stuff is called and where to buy it. You're onto something that is very effective and, I assume, fairly inexpensive. Afterall, Gaffers tape, which I normaly use, is about $18 a roll!

Thanks for sharing your secret!  Wink
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2010, 08:13:48 PM »

Glad to help out, Ken.  That was my first impression when I first used it..."This stuff is something special" I have a lead on it's origin, and I plan on telling the drum world what I find out...lol.   I will for sure put it in here for all of my fellow DSA Bros & Sisses, because living and learning and teaching is what this is all about.
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JKL1970
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« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2010, 02:07:08 PM »

My first snare was a PDP steel snare that had all sorts of annoying ringing and overtones.  I like a small amount of ring, but this was really overbearing.  In my day job, I actually work in noise and vibration testing, so I ended up looking up tons of research papers to find out the different physical vibration mode shapes of a drumhead, and then added electrical tape in certain areas to muffle the ring.

Intellectually satisfying?  Yes.  Complete and total over-analysis?  Definitely!

Anyway, I had some pretty good results, but really, really didn't like the fact that the tape did interfere with my playing in terms of the actual impact of my drumstick to the drumhead.  I ended up with a second, cheap snare from my nephew that had an internal muffler, which I cannibalized for my snare to great results.  I've also used Evans EC2 heads to control ringing, which has worked to a degree.  Now, if I do use any sort of tape for muffling purposes, I'll put it on the inside surface of the drumhead.

As for Moon-Gel, I think that's an awesome material from an engineering standpoint!  But like the tape on my snare, I find that putting things on the surface of a snare or tom gets in the way of my playing.  However, I use Moon Gel on the batter head of my kick drum to muffle it and I think it works great.  Much better than shoving a pillow in there, in my opinion!
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Johnathan
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« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2010, 10:52:18 PM »

What about the dampaners that clamp on, anyone ever used them?
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KenSanders
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« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2010, 03:28:30 PM »

I have tired the clamp on mufflers over the years.  As a matter of fact, Rogers made some back in the sixities.  There was a clamp on bass drum mufflers in the old catalogs for as long as I can remember.  They were basically "removable" versions of the internal tone controls that drum companies used to install on drums.

I believe the question with these devices.....and actually all muffling devices and techniques...is:  "Do you like the way it makes your drums sound?"

Drum sounds that we hear on modern recordings have evolved as microphones and recording equipment have become able to capture something more that a "cardboard box" sounding drum set.  It is now possible to get a big "live" sound in the studio, and we are getting back to an era where drummers are not trying to sound exactly like everyone else.

I mention this because muffling seems less extreme today.  Live, I'm using no muffling on my snare drums and toms.  On my bass drum I am using a batter head with a felt muffling ring built in, and on the resonant side a head with a mylar muffling ring buit in.  That's it.

I know that's just my way of setting them up, but I seems that with an absolute plethera of modern drum head designs that extreme muffling devices aren't as typical as they one were. A  bit of moon gel, gaffers tape, or a mlyar ring on the snare is the most commonly used today.  On the bass drum....it's still "anything" goes from bedding materials to John Bonham's favorite....nothing at all.   Grin

I believe I have already shared that simply de-tuning a rod on the batter head of a tom can often add the pitch bend characteristic that many drummers like to hear.


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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2010, 03:38:18 PM »

Tomm,

Did you ever find out the brand name of the product you sent to me.  It works much better that Moon Gel and I would like to keep some handy for handling those weird harmonics that sometimes materialize at sound checks for live performances.

I'm suspecting it might be available at the Home Depot if I knew what to inquire about.
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2010, 06:38:25 PM »

Sorry about the delay here Ken, I haven't had the opportunity to come up with a name of the material but am making a concerted effort from this time on to come up with something soon.  However, if you need more yourself I would be glad to send you some more for your personal needs, I have more than I need.
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KenSanders
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« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2010, 10:07:21 AM »

I have some left from the strip you sent to me.  I just wanted to get some more to have on hand for future use.  If I'm playing a festival with rented drums, I've left it on the kit for the other players.

Also, when you do get the brand or product name to ask for.....I am certain the DSA Forum readers want to know that too,

You have discovered a great musical use for that product and it works VERY well.   Grin
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Ken Sanders
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