18" Bass Drum - Wide Open

stick2it

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Here's a photo.

I run the felt horizontally along the very bottom of the drum closest to the floor on both batter and reso heads. The felt strips are not as thick as they used to be, but that's a plus in my application, given that I want an open sound (I think I got the Gibraltar 2 pack for under $5).

I hold the felt to the drum with blue painter's tape while mounting and tuning the head; the tape keeps the strip from slipping (and is removed after the head is tuned). I don't stretch the felt very taught -- I pull it just so it sits flat, then I tape it, mount the head, and tune.

For my ear, this amount of muffling works with my 18" Sonor AQ2 and Canopus Yaiba bass drums, both maple. The sound is very open, with just the slightest overtone dampened. It does not work well with my 18" Yamaha Stage Custom (birch) that I have in a rehearsal space, even though the Stage Custom, like my Sonor and Canopus, has single-ply texture coated heads and is tuned similarly. The Stage Custom is acceptable for practice, but I haven't been able to get that pleasing, resonant, open sound from it that I have with my Sonor and Canopus 18s. Maybe due to birch, not maple? Maybe it's just a pretty cheap drum, a great buy for entry level and general playing but not really a jazz drum? The Canopus is most open and musical sounding -- wonderful -- but the AQ2 is close and, in a white marine pearl wrap, I've been comfortable gigging the AQ2 outdoors these recent months recognizing that weather can be unpredictable.

Hope this is helpful to you. Everyone has their own ear and music. Try different muffling and tuning strategies until you have what you want, granted you have a decent 18" bass drum to work with.


Canopus bd w felt strip.jpg
 

Seb77

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he felt strips are not as thick as they used to be, but that's a plus in my application, given that I want an open sound (I think I got the Gibraltar 2 pack for under $5).
Good point, they might be good for smaller drums and/or less muffling.When I got a set of Gibraltars for a bigger drum, I was disappointed about the thin synthetic felt. Have used them with two clamps on top of a snare lately.
 

5stroke

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it gets a bit easier with a moleskin patch, or a soft beater.
I use a cut-out square of Walmart's Equate Super Moleskin Padding as an impact pad on my practice kit bass drum as it softens the attack and volume a bit. At around $1.47 for 3 large sheets the price is right...
 

marc3k

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Here's a photo.

I run the felt horizontally along the very bottom of the drum closest to the floor on both batter and reso heads. The felt strips are not as thick as they used to be, but that's a plus in my application, given that I want an open sound (I think I got the Gibraltar 2 pack for under $5).

I hold the felt to the drum with blue painter's tape while mounting and tuning the head; the tape keeps the strip from slipping (and is removed after the head is tuned). I don't stretch the felt very taught -- I pull it just so it sits flat, then I tape it, mount the head, and tune.

For my ear, this amount of muffling works with my 18" Sonor AQ2 and Canopus Yaiba bass drums, both maple. The sound is very open, with just the slightest overtone dampened. It does not work well with my 18" Yamaha Stage Custom (birch) that I have in a rehearsal space, even though the Stage Custom, like my Sonor and Canopus, has single-ply texture coated heads and is tuned similarly. The Stage Custom is acceptable for practice, but I haven't been able to get that pleasing, resonant, open sound from it that I have with my Sonor and Canopus 18s. Maybe due to birch, not maple? Maybe it's just a pretty cheap drum, a great buy for entry level and general playing but not really a jazz drum? The Canopus is most open and musical sounding -- wonderful -- but the AQ2 is close and, in a white marine pearl wrap, I've been comfortable gigging the AQ2 outdoors these recent months recognizing that weather can be unpredictable.

Hope this is helpful to you. Everyone has their own ear and music. Try different muffling and tuning strategies until you have what you want, granted you have a decent 18" bass drum to work with.


View attachment 516011
Awesome, thanks! I have used the Sonor felt strips which apparently are thicker than the Gibraltars. I may get some of those.
I have a Gretsch Broadkaster bass drum which is quite decent I guess, I'm just not used (yet) to the higher tuning.

I use a cut-out square of Walmart's Equate Super Moleskin Padding as an impact pad on my practice kit bass drum as it softens the attack and volume a bit. At around $1.47 for 3 large sheets the price is right...
I used to do this as well - but I thought I will try without one at first.
 

Seb77

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I use a cut-out square of Walmart's Equate Super Moleskin Padding as an impact pad on my practice kit bass drum as it softens the attack and volume a bit. At around $1.47 for 3 large sheets the price is right...
I was going to mention this: if you use a large piece of moleskin, it not only softens the attack, it also muffles the head. I first thought I should cut it down to the size of the beater impact, but then I saw a pic of TW with Miles from backstage with a large piece on the batter head and it made sense. Now, that Pratt muffler used to be on the batter side, he might have had it engaged a bit, too. (Not sure why they put it one the reso side with the new Broadkasters - can you custom order it the other way?)
 

dcrigger

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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.
So then.... not wide open.

Not to pick nits - but it seems to me, that is often just a kiss of muffling is enough to turn "out of control" to "Ooo, just right".

Be it a small touch of a towel like Keith's, or small cloth or towel wedge into the beater posts, or a couple of reverse loops of gaff hanging off the head (only touching a square inch or so).

I only point this out - because I rarely can get truly 100% wide open to work, except in pretty raucous settings, where it can get lost in the din (and maybe not so constructively add to that din) :)

Anyway I'm only pointing this out, so that folks don't get confused about "wide open" so often not meaning really "wide open", but more sort of "pretty wide open".
 

Sinclair

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Absolutely Dave. Good point. Especially with single ply heads a little dampening helps. If you're using heads with built in dampening then maybe you can actually play them wide open. Haven't experimented on that front as I prefer single ply for that boom.
 

marc3k

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Ok, so after listening to the recordings I think that no muffling at all is a bit too much - so I went back to using a towel wedged between the pedal post and the batter head, very close to the hoop. This still results in a nice tone and quite a bit of sustain. I think it blends better with the other instruments in this way, having a shorter note.

I think my initial issue was that the reso head tone control was sort of engaged, and together with the towel on the batter head it took away too much of the tone.

I may experiment with the thinner felt strips, once I receive them.

IMG_4021_crop.jpeg
IMG_4024_crop.jpeg
 

CherryClassic

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I'd say do what works best for you. My 18 is a converted 16x18 floor tom, maple/poplar/maple late 80's style. The heads that work best for me is the REMO anything PS3, with a 4" port on the reso side. The drum has more resonance that I need and most of the time I'll use a small hand towel just touching the batter head inside. I really like 18" bass drums but not outside without mic's. I like the idea of using towels, the resonance is not fixed I can add or delete resonance as needed for multiple venues.

sherm
 

stick2it

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Follow-up on what to do with specifically my 18x15 Yamaha Stage Custom (birch) bass drum....

I experimented some more with felt strips: felt strip on both heads, reso head only, batter head only. (Felt strip is a very thin one from Gibraltar running on the very bottom of drum as per my pic of the Canopus above.) I found that a felt strip only on the reso head resulted in a pleasing tone and sustain more similar to my (maple) 18x14 Canopus and Sonor drums. But the Yamaha bass drum remains pitchier (too single-pitched) and louder than the maple drums.

(My go-to beater is Precision Percussion’s yarn wrapped one that sits between a typical felt beater and a fluffy lambs wool one; it’s great for feathering while still offering articulation.)

Every ear is different, but single-ply heads with no muffling rings (and no port) are the way to go for open sounding drums. Better to start with such a head and, if you need it, muffle a little bit. The “towel between batter head and pedal” technique (of, e.g., Steve Maxwell) is a good start and may suffice. But I prefer a thin felt strip at the very bottom of the head (as a kind of “permanent towel”), as my rolled towel often dislodges during play.
 
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Elvis

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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!
I haven't played with anyone in years, but I do play both of my 18's wide open.
I've tried it with a couple of 22's over the years and the note just seems to go on and on with that size. Plus the sound was so large. It just seemed to step all over the rest of the kit, no matter how soft I played.
It seems, to my ears anyway, that once you hit 18" diameter, the bass drum takes on a noticeable amount of "natural gating" and the drum is easier to live with.
You still get that "wide open" sound, but it doesn't seem to interfere quite so much with the rest of the drums.
Everyone gets some space to speak, if you will.
...btw, if you're ever in the mood to getting a different sound out of your 18, try flipping that head combo around.
I've played FS3's as the batter on my 18's for some time now and really like it. It cushions the attack a little and gives the overall sound a darker and mellower characteristic.
I don't think I'd notice that quite so much, if I only used it on the front.

Elvis
 

Ron_M

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It's all about preferences, isn't it? I also have a 15x18 stage custom (~month or two old) set up with an Emperor coated batter, wide open, and an Ambassador reso, also wide open. I have a small port (3" max) in the reso. For me, the port helps with response, and tones down the resonance a bit, so it's just right, no muffling needed.
 


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