18" Bass Drum - Wide Open

marc3k

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Hi there

I finally dared to tune my Broadkaster bop kit higher (Bass drum F, Floor tom C, Rack Tom F, Snare G).
The biggest difference to me is the bass drum - I have a coated ambassdor as batter and a fibreskin ambassador as reso head, unported. The sound has a quite long sustain, but it's definitely more in line with the rest of the kit! I played today with piano and bass and I thought it sounded ok from my perspective - but I'm waiting for the recording.

I was wondering who is actually using a wide open bass drum in an acoustic setting? Have you ever felt that it takes up too much sonic space?

Thanks in advance!
 

dingaling

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Joey Baron typically tunes his bass wide open. You can hear it on his live records.
 

Seb77

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Joey Baron typically tunes his bass wide open. You can hear it on his live records.
He uses (used to use?) very loose tension/low tuning.

As far as high, open tuning goes, it's an acquired taste, but it works if you play it right (see Tony, Elvin, later Bill Stewart etc.). Feathering, if you do it at all, needs to be soft enough; accents can be open, but also consider playing some of them muffled (deadsticking/burying the beater).
 

multijd

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I use 18” and 16” wide open. Although I always carry a couple of micro fiber clothes and a large binder clip so I can clip a cloth to the rim and let it hang down touching the head lightly. That is usually all I need.

Today I spent the day prepping a kit for a couple of upcoming pop/rock/jazz shows. I knew I wanted a more contemporary pop drum sound rather than my usual higher pitched jazz tuning. I decided to use my Sonor Champions. It’s a Rosewood finish 12,13,14,18. I was certain I could get the bd sound I want from these because this Sonor 18 behaves a lot like a 20”. I had used it with the single ply heads that I previously used for a high jazz sound (Evan’s Calftone and Aquarian modern vintage 2) a few weeks ago on a blues gig outdoors with a lot of external muffling and they sounded great. Being Sunday and limited choices I ended up with an Evans Emad. I’m leaving shortly for the gig but I believe I got the tuning right. I’ll make a little video later and post it.
 

Tdipaul

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high tension with a big puffy fleece beater sounds nice and is not loud at all.

can adjust the beater's height in the pedal for more options too
 

jmele2

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Would love to hear the recording of different tunings/muffling of your 18"!
 

TK-421

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Just last night I was at the Baked Potato watching Keith Carlock completely shredding his Gretsch Brooklyn kit with a wide open 18" bass drum. Before the show, Keith played a few notes on his kick, and it sounded VERY open and ringy. But once the whole band started playing, that ringiness transformed into an exceptional bass drum "presence" in the overall mix. It ceased to sound boingy and instead had this open resonance that sounded meaty and great. Not sure how it sounded behind the kit, but from the audience's perspective it totally worked.

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Sinclair

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Haha, looks like TK-421 beat me to the punch here. Here's Keith Carlock's rig from last night at the Baked Potato. 18" bass drum. Not an acoustic trio but still wide open except for the front towel. Long note miced through the p.a. Toms wide open as well. His signature sound. He sounded fantastic! He's so good at mixing all this sound with a great touch and lots of fire. Like no one else really. His solos sound like two guys playing.
 

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Butch1970

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Gretsch Custom 14x18: Earthtone on batter, stock Fiberskyn Ambassador on reso, microfiber towel between pedal and batter. Has worked well on low-volume/low-key gigs.

Sonor SQ2 14x18: Coated Ambassador on batter, stock Fiberskyn PS3 on reso, Swiffer rag between pedal and batter. I bought a Coated Ambassador for the reso side but haven’t tried it yet. Drum came with PS3 on both sides which muffles the drum too much, IMO (unless you’re going for something other than a Jazz sound).
 
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CC Cirillo

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Just last night I was at the Baked Potato watching Keith Carlock completely shredding his Gretsch Brooklyn kit with a wide open 18" bass drum. Before the show, Keith played a few notes on his kick, and it sounded VERY open and ringy. But once the whole band started playing, that ringiness transformed into an exceptional bass drum "presence" in the overall mix. It ceased to sound boingy and instead had this open resonance that sounded meaty and great. Not sure how it sounded behind the kit, but from the audience's perspective it totally worked.

View attachment 515395
This idea— wide open sounds good…only took me a decade or so to figure out.

Since then I’ve gone mostly into The Great Wide Open.

On my 18 I have an Aquarian SK1 batter with a stock Tama resonant. Empty drum. Sounds great. Boomish, not boomy. Good balance of punch and tone.

I don’t play jazz but I believe in the girth of 18s for certain types of soul and funkier singer-oriented music where The One doesn’t have to drop like a bomb.
 

TK-421

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This idea— wide open sounds good…only took me a decade or so to figure out.

Since then I’ve gone mostly into The Great Wide Open.

On my 18 I have an Aquarian SK1 batter with a stock Tama resonant. Empty drum. Sounds great. Boomish, not boomy. Good balance of punch and tone.

I don’t play jazz but I believe in the girth of 18s for certain types of soul and funkier singer-oriented music where The One doesn’t have to drop like a bomb.
My 18” has and Aquarian Force I coated, which is like a coated PS3, except the built-in muffle ring is perforated which allows the head to sing a little more. It also has a coated unported Gretsch reso head and nothing inside the drum. It’s tuned up for jazz and it has an open yet punchy sound with just the right amount of control. I really love the way it sounds.
 

TPC

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Old Tama Superstar 18x16. Coated Emp batter, smooth white Amb reso. Both heads pretty loose. Wide open.

Pretty boomy, but by burying the beater you can get short tones, too.
 

JDA

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18" bass drum wide open two coated ambassadors no towel between pedal uprights and batter head, no towel touching the front, no moleskin patch (you ever see a mole without skin?) on batter, no flam slam of any kind on batter, again nothing on front head



will probably have to wait for that Free Fine Art Jam Poetry Chanting and Pottery Jazz Band I assemble at the extremely old age home.

So after trying it (coated ambassadors both front and back) for (a horribly frightening) near 10 minutes the first month I got my "Tony Williams" 14 X 18 (Gretsch USA 6P BK satinrose wood) bass drum 11 years ago before the factory PS3 coated batter went right back on I'll likely never get around to the 18" bass drum wide open.
Unless it's another set pretty much I'm not going down there to change out that head again
 
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Seb77

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Claiming to play a "wide open" bass drum seems to be a badge of honour ;) ( A bit like a lot of music that wants to be filed under jazz.)
The OP talks about a coated Ambassador. No cloth, towel, sponge, felt, no double ply head, no perimeter ring. Not just an "empty drum", an unimpeded batter head. Ringy.
Mind you, I'm not dogmatic about this, I have been using a 22 with a clear powerstroke, additional muffling and a port lately. I just think we should be clear what we are talking about.

This sound can imo only be evaluated in context. It's very midrangey, cotaining a lot of frequencies that are shared with other instruments. You could call this dirt that is often cleaned up by use of muffling and eq. This sound choice embraces that dirt, much like a dark, trashy ride cymbal that overlaps with other instruments' frequencies, and uses it to enrich the ensemble sound.
 

mtarrani

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Hi there

I finally dared to tune my Broadkaster bop kit higher (Bass drum F, Floor tom C, Rack Tom F, Snare G).
The biggest difference to me is the bass drum - I have a coated ambassdor as batter and a fibreskin ambassador as reso head, unported. The sound has a quite long sustain, but it's definitely more in line with the rest of the kit! I played today with piano and bass and I thought it sounded ok from my perspective - but I'm waiting for the recording.

I was wondering who is actually using a wide open bass drum in an acoustic setting? Have you ever felt that it takes up too much sonic space?

Thanks in advance!
All of my bass drums - 18s and 20s - are wide open (and unported). Always have been; always will be. Want to really take stuff up a notch? Use calf batter and reso heads. But your combo of coated Ambassador/Fiberskyn Ambassador is good. I usually use coated ambassadors front and back, but lately I have been using a coated pinstripe as the batter.
 

Pedal_Pusher

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I am retired and only do acoustic small group jazz jams anymore. My 18" bass drum is a converted Yamaha floor tom and I found a very nice sound using wide open Earthtone heads on both sides. To blend even better with the acoustic bass I found a Marshmallow beater from Creative Percussion. They come in two sizes and I bought the smaller one. The bass players and I have been very happy with the results. I can also recommend mounting the Marshmallow beater head on a Flexbeater shaft. Years ago I started using snare side thin resonant heads on the bottom of all of my toms and that has worked out very well. None of the drums have any muffling at all. I started doing that when Hippies Walked the Earth and I had an old single tension marching snare drum as a mounted tom. I tend to tune the toms a little high so even the floor toms have some good stick rebound. I think this is a great sound for most jazz, Latin, and pit work.
 

JDA

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besides tensioning I don't add anything to the drum that didn't come from the factory
 


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