Bass drum - bury or rebound?

Corbin L Douthitt

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Wondering what folks here think about this, among the techniques I'm paying attention to is my kick. Not my strongest aspect but it can be a lot sometimes and I'm looking at it a lot lately. Softened the tension on my springs and that made a bit of a difference and positioned the height of the batter to where I'm feeling better (a little high and back on a fair angle) but I've seen techniques on playing the rebound or burying it and either way isn't bad I think but I'm wondering.

I played flat footed pretty much all my life and switched to heel up last year and I feel comfortable with it but with not the best control but that's coming along. I notice that I do both, bury it on single beats and play the rebound on multiple.

Wondering what thoughts are on this.

Thanks for your replies.
Everytime I try to ‘bury’ the beater, it rebounds and hits the head again. Ergo bass head is too tight to bury it. Drummers keep talking about resonance- but there ain’t any if you bury the beater/ just a thud.
 

David M Scott

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Depends on both the style and the tuning. If I'm playing swing, Bossa, etc. I'm cranking the head up a little and feathering it heel down. If I'm playing hard rock or metal, I'm tuning way down and pummeling away mercilessly heel up.
And for Jazz especially small combos in a small venue playing quiet Jazz, less volume and less busy.
I was taught that the bass should be understated in those situations. So while comping with the Bassist is important using your kick for accents only is in my mind the best.. less is more.
And I play heel down, generally with a Lambswool beater and bury it more.
Now Be Bop or Modern fast Jazz requires you to "let er rip", ie: runs, fills. Most Country or Rock (Soft that is) has that simple 1,1-2 kick pattern. So what I'm saying is there ain't no one size fits all.
 

michaelocalypse

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I originally started with rebound and eventually learned to play like I meant business and started to bury it. It helps to have the front head ported. If the front head isn't ported, I don't bury it.
 

fusseltier

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Burying the beater actually changes the sound and tone of the bass drum, just that alone is reason enough not to bury it.
But also, when you bury it, it doesn't set you up for the next stroke, that too is reason enough not to bury it.
Then, if you don't bury it, you use less effort to play, and don't have to use as much of your or calf, shin muscles, or your leg, ankle, or foot,
But, in the end, proper techniques don't matter if you don't like using them, or takes away from your enjoyment of playing.
So, you play how you want to because you are the only one that matters how you enjoy playing, and later when it comes to the point that you want or need techniques, you can use the ones you want to. Plus during the entire time you're playing, you can make your muscles stronger for when you're ready for techniques and be able to do more with less effort, which is the reason for using proper techniques anyway.
 

fusseltier

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I originally started with rebound and eventually learned to play like I meant business and started to bury it. It helps to have the front head ported. If the front head isn't ported, I don't bury it.
I mean business when I play and never bury it. Playing too hard or heavy actually limits the range of sounds you can get.
You'll get more sounds and range of tones from cymbals and drums playing lighter since there's a point where you can't get more out of the cymbal or drum no matter how hard it's played. Sound engineers run into this problem from drummers that play too hard and could explain it better than i am.
 

BlackPearl

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Burying the beater actually changes the sound and tone of the bass drum, just that alone is reason enough not to bury it.
I would have thought that was reason enough to have both techniques in your bag of tricks. Not that I'm very good at burying the beater, but there are certainly times when that is the sound I want.
 

jakeo

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I've been using the Lowboy wooden beater with the leather face. Might help for those experiencing beater buzz.
 

cobaltspike

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In all my years of playing I have never buried the beater. It takes away all the tone of the drum and then people cut portholes and put pillows inside so what is the point of the bass drum if your going to do all of that?
 

michaelocalypse

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I mean business when I play and never bury it. Playing too hard or heavy actually limits the range of sounds you can get.
You'll get more sounds and range of tones from cymbals and drums playing lighter since there's a point where you can't get more out of the cymbal or drum no matter how hard it's played. Sound engineers run into this problem from drummers that play too hard and could explain it better than i am.
You're talking about one end of the spectrum, I'm talking about the other.

We're also talking about the bass drum, and there's only one sound I want to get from it. Heck, I have two bass drums and I want the same sound from both of them.
 

Tornado

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I don't get being dogmatic about it. Letting it rebound is a sound. Burying it is a sound. Most of the drummers and records I listen to bury it, and that's the sound I like. You might like another sound. But some of you guys act like you'd tell Steve Jordan, Steve Gadd, Jeff Porcaro, Vinnie, Dennis Chambers, or countless others (probably most well known studio drummers) that bury it that they are doing it wrong. It's got a certain attack and punch that benefits a lot of styles of music. Can't think of a single funk or gospel drummer off the top of my head that doesn't bury it. (Cue 1,000 counter examples. :) )
 

Phantomlimb777

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I very rarely bury the beater, but it’s a distinct sound you can’t really get any other way.
 

Base

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Thanks, I think I got this mixed up: JR often plays heel down, but it looks like even then he buries the beater.
As someone mentioned, it can also be the other way round, you can wind up lifting the heel and still let the beater bounce.

Re: jazz - what semed really strange when I learned about it was that feathering can be done burying the beater. There is a video on Mel Lewis that mentions this. I still can't do it., but it might have merit, you can control the decay of an open drum.
That´s quite strange for me to see since I can definitely remember him saying something along these lines in an (MD?) nterview: "I think what has kept me in buisness for all tose years is my right foot. I play heel up and always let the beater come off the head. That gives me a bigger bassdrum sound than most of the other guys"
Inspired by this I´ve even worked on that concept but rather sooner than later gave up and went back to burrying the beater when I play heel up. But I do make sure, to relief it and all the preassure and tension quite soon after that and between strokes by restiung my foot on flat on the footboard whenever there´s a little bit of time in between strokes. (I´ve worked on that when my feet started shaking because of the ongoing tension that built by playing heel up and pressing down both of them all the time during early Rock concerts of mine)
 

Seb77

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gave up and went back to burying the beater when I play heel up.
When I studie with Keith Copeland, he used that "heel coming down while not burying the beater" technique. As you say, you release the foot pressure immediately upon impact.
I never played really hard, but it can be rather loud that way. To get even more volume, I might use a longer beater throw or apply a beater weight before applying more leg pressure that I can't release.
At the moment I don't use a tight batter head, but I think when I did, it helped my reflexes, the beater just bounces off faster with higher tension, and you just give way to the rebound.
 

fusseltier

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You're talking about one end of the spectrum, I'm talking about the other.

We're also talking about the bass drum, and there's only one sound I want to get from it. Heck, I have two bass drums and I want the same sound from both of them.
Then use the same heafs and cut two pieces of fiberglass insulation the same size for each bass, that's how i got the best sound from my old tama double bass set. I was always taught to use the rebound from the sticks and beaters to set up the next stroke.

Screenshot_2017-10-07-08-10-57-1.png
 

fusseltier

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I would have thought that was reason enough to have both techniques in your bag of tricks. Not that I'm very good at burying the beater, but there are certainly times when that is the sound I want.
I've actually never come across needing that sound and I play over 2,000 songs of many genre. But to each its own.
 

michaelocalypse

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Then use the same heafs and cut two pieces of fiberglass insulation the same size for each bass, that's how i got the best sound from my old tama double bass set. I was always taught to use the rebound from the sticks and beaters to set up the next stroke.

View attachment 489539
Nice set dude!
Depends how fast you're playing on using the rebound. At a certain point, you have to use it, but then you're getting into other things to maintain the definition and volume.
I discovered that the small moving blanket that Harbor Freight puts on sale for like $3.99 on occasion is the perfect size to shove in a 22x18 bass drum. Don't unfold it. Just slide it out of the plastic and straight into the drum. Tuning two bass drums the same is never perfect, but you can get close (especially when the differences get drowned out in a band setting). Helps to have both legs at the same strength.
 


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