18" Bass Drum - Wide Open

marc3k

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Awesome - great responses!

In the past I used an ambassador fibreskin with moleskin patch as batter and the stock ambassador fibreskin. But I tuned LOW and I always used a towel wedged between the pedal and the batter. It still had a quite big sound. But it seems that when I tune it up and use a towel, it takes away waaay too much of the sound. That's why I'm trying to do without.
I also try to have a more integrated bass drum sound - somewhat similar to toms and snare with similar heads and no muffling. This can definitely be achieved.

However, as multijd and Butch suggested, I need to try a microfiber cloth or smaller towel. Maybe the one I use is just too much.

I don't like the fluffy beaters - I tried one but it seemed like cheating to me.


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.
I agree - I could see that the evaluation without context may lead to muffling too much because it's such an unfamiliar sound.

Re: buring the beater to control the sound - this seems very difficult to me, because with the higher tuning it seems to bounce so easily and probably requires some extra control that I don't have..
 

wflkurt

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I recently heard a cool interview that Rick Beato did with Ron Carter. When Rick was asking about making some of those classic Miles recordings, Ron said that he had to tell Tony to tune his bass drum out of his upright bass range. I guess the notes were clashing. I can see that as being a problem.
 

Seb77

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I recently heard a cool interview that Rick Beato did with Ron Carter. When Rick was asking about making some of those classic Miles recordings, Ron said that he had to tell Tony to tune his bass drum out of his upright bass range. I guess the notes were clashing. I can see that as being a problem.
However...when you tune the 18" up, it emits a strong tone in the higher bass range; a strong f or g is right in the second octave of the bass; this can be a problem too. It's not the easiest sound to mix.
 

Seb77

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Re: buring the beater to control the sound - this seems very difficult to me, because with the higher tuning it seems to bounce so easily and probably requires some extra control that I don't have..
it gets a bit easier with a moleskin patch, or a soft beater.
 

TPC

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However...when you tune the 18" up, it emits a strong tone in the higher bass range; a strong f or g is right in the second octave of the bass; this can be a problem too. It's not the easiest sound to mix.
Agree. That's why I go low-low. Almost sub-audible. A "felt" thud. The last thing I want in a bass drum is a "note". Once I start to hear that note in a mix, the entire drum track, shoot - the entire tune, starts to become just a waiting game until the "boop" bass drum note hits. Extremely distracting.
 

Frank Godiva

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“you ever see a mole without skin?”

Skinless no. Hairless yes, but some guys always try and hide things under the rug

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Seb77

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Agree. That's why I go low-low. Almost sub-audible. A "felt" thud. The last thing I want in a bass drum is a "note". Once I start to hear that note in a mix, the entire drum track, shoot - the entire tune, starts to become just a waiting game until the "boop" bass drum note hits. Extremely distracting.
I think it's a matter of decay time, the sound needs to be short enough not to create too much of a "note" impression. Room acoustics can play trick, too. Unfortunately the driver's seat often isn't the best place to judge how the bass drum projects into the room...
Here is an example of what I mean by difficult to mix; TW's 18" bass drum to my ear clashes with the bass and the lower notes of the Rhodes. Then again, a clean studo "thud" wouldn't create the same "jungle" effect, for lack of a better word, that is just part of that record.

Edit: yt suggested the following: Jack DeJohnette here, on a 16" bass drum I guess. Same thing, plus congas for more "jungle" (About ten yeras later, Weather Report banned congas from their arrangements, for a cleaner sound).
 
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multijd

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There are so many things involved with this not least of which is how you are going to use the drum. Often times (not always) the higher pitched bass drum is serving a melodic component. The entire drum set is one collection of pitches that are played melodically. Melody by its nature is rhythmic pitch. So in that context it makes sense to use a bass drum that is not that much larger than the floor tom. Or at least is tuned melodically with the other drums. But that is an approach that may be in appropriate for certain music.

BTW: The Sonors sounded awesome with a bit of a Purdie/Porcaro vibe. I didn't get a recorded clip but I will soon.
 

multijd

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as multijd and Butch suggested, I need to try a microfiber cloth or smaller towel.
Just clip it to the rim and let it hang down touching the head. You can fold or bunch it to get more on the head.
when you tune the 18" up, it emits a strong tone in the higher bass range
A 16” puts you just that much higher out of the bass range.
I think it's a matter of decay time, the sound needs to be short enough not to create too much of a "note" impression.
This is where natural skin heads come in. They even out the sound, no stray overtones. If you let them “go their own way” they end up getting low and high and make you hear the music differently. They can be a fun adventure.
 

JDA

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multijd

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Idris recorded a 3-album Suite with Ahmad

(highly recommend all three to own and study)



with an Open 18" bass drum; it was more in the Parade Drum NOLA bass drum Style You have to sift thru all three Lps to catch glimpses of it's sound here's a sample here


Idris has that sound in his ear! He hears it and then he plays it!
 

JDA

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he's the most respectful drummer I ever heard in my life ; )
his playing with Ahmad was a marriage made in Heaven
Those three Ahmad cds at the time were all I would and could listen to 2 years straight
He played the "parade" bass drum (sound) a lot.
 

Sequimite

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I usually play my bass drums with no muffling and no holes. My most used combo was a pinstripe batter and a hydraulic resonant head.

For an 18" Sapele stave bass drum I'm finally going to replace the heads it came with with these:

s-l1600 (8).jpg


On the old sets I had with calfskin heads it's the bass drum I really loved them on.
 

marc3k

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with an Open 18" bass drum; it was more in the Parade Drum NOLA bass drum Style You have to sift thru all three Lps to catch glimpses of it's sound here's a sample here


seems to be a very low tuning - but interesting! Matches quite well with the rest in my opinion.
 
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marc3k

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So I noticed that the internal tone control on the resonant head was still sort of engaged (it doesn't work so well - when trying to disengage, the threaded rod sometimes just comes out of that piece which changes the angle of the lever, then the lever with the felt strip will stay in place)

IMG_3943.JPG


I moved it away from the head and now I got a bit more sound, maybe it's also a slightly different tuning. I experimented with a towel between batter head and pedal again and now I seem to get a bit more tone.

However, I still think the completely open sound is cool - I need to experiment a bit and listen to the recordings we did.
 

stick2it

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My 16" bass drum (maple Sonor) is wide open - no muffling. It's too small a drum to muffle -- it would kill it -- and its pitch and overtones sit high enough to not get in the way.

My 18" bass drums (maple Canopus and Sonor) have a thin piece of felt running along the extreme bottom of the batter and reso heads to eliminate the slightest bit of messy overtones, allowing for a little more articulation. Still, the 18"s have a very open "jazz" tone as if they were not muffled at all.

All these drums have single-ply (Aquarian texture coated) heads on them.

I never muffle my snare drums or toms.

But that's only what I do, for my ear; you might find what works for you in these videos in which various tuning/dampening techniques are compared for 16s and 18s:

How to Tune a Bass Drum For Jazz
Tuning a 16 Inch Bass Drum for 3 Different Styles
 
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marc3k

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My 18" bass drums (maple Canopus and Sonor) have a thin piece of felt running along the extreme bottom of the batter and reso heads to eliminate the slightest bit of messy overtones, allowing for a little more articulation. Still, the 18"s have a very open "jazz" tone as if they were not muffled at all.

All these drums have single-ply (Aquarian texture coated) heads on them.
Sounds great - I may give that a try as well. In the past I thought a felt strip on the batter was taking away too much, but I may have placed it such that the effect was too much. Do you have a picture of it by any chance?
 


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