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What the hell is a fat sounding drum?

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#1
der Schlagzeuger

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I keep reading that a fat sounding drum is desirable, but what is it!

I keep coming across the term but cannot find its definition anywhere.

Is it a snare drum without any ring? Or maybe a tom with a deep, cavernous thud?

Is there a reference somewhere for all of the terms that are thrown around - fat, dark, overtone, sustain, attack, warmth, etc?

I was at the Guitar Center today and was listening to an employee talk to someone about snare drums and was having a hard time following what he was saying. (Maybe I'm too much of a left-brain thinker.)
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#2
dimag333

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that is because the guy at guitar center could only remember half of what he was repeating
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#3
der Schlagzeuger

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Okay - Here's an example that I copied this from another forum in reference to die-cast hoops.

"Drier sound, because of fewer high overtones.
More focused note, because of the reduced overtones.
Stronger attack.

At least, this has been my experience. I also prefer their tunability.

They're not for everyone, though. If you like a very open sound with maximum sustain and sensitivity, you might not like die-cast."


Could someone translate this?

Edited by der Schlagzeuger, 31 August 2012 - 08:17 PM.

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#4
Hamfist

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It's a very elusive sound. Nearly impossible to describe in words. But as the saying goes, "you know it when you hear it."

If you close your eyes, it looks something like this:


Attached File  blue whale.jpg   141.12KB   16 downloads
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#5
supershifter2

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put remo pin stripe heads on the top and bottom of the toms and front and back of the bass drums and thats a F-A-T sound. Yuck ! i dont like fat sounding drums. makes me want to go on a d-i-e-t !
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#6
der Schlagzeuger

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put remo pin stripe heads on the top and bottom of the toms and front and back of the bass drums and thats a F-A-T sound. Yuck ! i dont like fat sounding drums. makes me want to go on a d-i-e-t !


So F-A-T is not desirable?

Should I be saying P-H-A-T ?
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#7
mlayton

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this is a fat sounding drum. 48-52 wfl 8x15 concert snare drum,calf heads...

its hard to explain the sound of a fat drum. when you play one,you'll know it for sure. its thick,dense and has a rich full sound to it.

mike

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#8
Bunnyman

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Fat snares sound bloody brilliant!!!! When it's fat, you want no part of a bloody diet or slimming pills. You want to grab it and eat it!!! Get some girth on them reeeyibs!!!! Mmmmm hmmmm!!!! Y'all wants a FAT snare sound, baby!!!!!
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#9
baxman

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Google "Drum Tuning Bible". There is a pdf out there that provides a lot of detail for tuning drums and it might give a description of a "fat" sound. Regardless it's very very useful for tuning your drums!
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#10
der Schlagzeuger

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Google "Drum Tuning Bible". There is a pdf out there that provides a lot of detail for tuning drums and it might give a description of a "fat" sound. Regardless it's very very useful for tuning your drums!


Thank you - I wish I had found that earlier - even if "fat" is not in there it looks very useful
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#11
Thud

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The way I understand it, a 'fat' sound would be like John Bonham's snare on tracks like Good Times Bad Times. It has sort a deep tone with some sustain. A tighter but still in my opinion 'fat' sound would be Ringo's snare on the song HELP! It's a tightly tuned drum but still lively.

I feel 'dry' as a snare without a lot of sustain. The SNAP just happens and is sort of dead (no use of the overtones) think RUSH's Digital Man.

There are loads of ways to get a 'dry' sound, some good, but some just kill the sound of the drum and just makes a thud mixed with snare wire buzz. It all helps to know how to tune and play with the various tunings of top and bottom heads as well as what top head you use and if you use any thing to muffle it be it a wallet, moonjel, head rings, internal muffler, or things even more extreme.
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#12
Fun 2 Drum

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I think if you want a "dry" sound you can get it out of just about any snare with an Evans Dry head. I have one on my Slingy copper snare. There are hardly any tones or ring after the initial attack, but the attack itself has a noticeable tone. If you tune it low I think it sounds very "fat".

#13
dimag333

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+1 on the hd dry, for REALLZZ
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#14
SteveB

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Not drier..wetter. Usually a wet splat followed by a distinct wide doom, often with some pitch bend. To me dry would describe a cranked up snare. Fat would be a lot of presence or ability to take up space...duration.
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#15
phfreq

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the term fat came from how the waveform of the hit looks like. Basically if it is "fat" sounding, it occupies more space along the time stretch of a waveform.

Imagine the sound of a 3" deep piccolo and an 8" deep snare (both having the same wood, diameter and heads and tuning) -- based on the sound generated, the waveform of the piccolo is shorter than the waveform of the 8" deep snare -- the wider the waveform, the "fatter" it is -- so in this example, the 8" deep snare is "fatter" than the 3" deep one. But not all piccolo or shallow depth snare are less "fat" than others and not all deep snares are fatter than shallower. It depends on a bunch of things -- heads, tuning, wood, etc.. I normally use the guide of a fatter snare sound occupies a wider space in the waveform.

The drum tuning bible has a bunch of term definitions that would be helpful in understanding.. I know, it's a long read but once the terms are understood and imagined in sound, a lot of things will be easier to understand :-)
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#16
Bongo Congo

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I like the last two interpretations. I'm sure I know what a "fat" drum sound is, but, man, is it hard to describe!

"Fat", to me, is like SteveB describes it, and also "full of frequencies", rich, round, warm. The opposite of high, tinny, and snappy.

That's not much help, is it? :mellow:
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#17
APelletier

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When you think FAT sound - think of Nigel Olsson playing "Someone saved my life tonight" with Elton with drums like these custom Slingerlands... THAT'S THE DEFINITION OF FAT!

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Edited by APelletier, 31 August 2012 - 10:08 PM.

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#18
zildjian@consol

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Thanks,I know less now,but know I'm not alone.
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#19
6topher

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it's just a made up descriptive term I think.

I think of "fat" as more body, less crack maybe, full tone usually associated with a deeper snare and maybe a 2 ply head - but that is just me & someone else may say those are characteristics (or part of the characteristics) of a "dark" sound -

It is what you perceive it to be. I don't believe there is any measurement device or established 5 point profile that definitively defines a drum tone as "fat".

it's also helpful to know how many different snares sound because a lot of those descriptions are relative and probably only useful in comparisons between snares.

But, some of the other terms you asked about are definitive - attack & sustain are both parts of a sound wave & can be measured.

Edited by 6topher, 31 August 2012 - 11:02 PM.

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#20
RIDDIM

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Think of midrange or below tuning, something Hal Blaine made desirable to producers.. Some examples might be Steve Gadd or Omar Hakim's 's sound in the mid to late 70's - mid 80's, which nearly every one was emulating for the next 30 or so years. Ricky Marotta had a killer sound too; he tuned his toms way down there.

Its desirability depends upon the musical context, and whether one is mic'd. Higher pitches seem to project better live when unit mic'd.
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