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Bass Drum Muffling: Quick, On-Off Solutions for the Wide-Open Bass Drum

mzd

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Is the coated EMAD an option? Should be pretty open sounding with no ring and then you can just add one in for the gigs that call for a muffled kick.
 

drummingbulldog

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A simple washcloth or cheap Terry cloth rag folded once. Wrap that with strips of duct tape. Use a few strips to apply to the center of the head and tape to the space below the beater. I did that internally way before all the products were available. Sounds like emad on the cheap. Weather stripping from a hardware store is also an external option.
 

Rock Salad

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Right now I have a port sealed up with an Aquarian dot and it works but looks a bit funky.

20220409_110057.jpg

I've been thinking of drilling two small shoestring holes through the bottom of my bass drum. I'd sew string to my favorite pillow so that I could externally adjust how much, if at all it touches each head. I'll definitely post here if I do that
 

varatrodder

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Do you have a recent one? I’ve got two, and I use them a ton. No rattling, no issues.
I bought it about a year ago. It just doesn't sit right, and it buzzes when it's not engaged. I bent it a little to get it to align a bit better, but it's still not right.
 

High on Stress

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High on Stress -- good solution for a smooth head, but I have texture-coated heads. The gaff tape I've used removes the coating and leaves a mark. Maybe I can experiment with different tape?
You need better quality gaff tape. I use coated heads 90% of the time. Good quality gaffer’s tape won’t mar your coated heads.
 

bpaluzzi

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I bought it about a year ago. It just doesn't sit right, and it buzzes when it's not engaged. I bent it a little to get it to align a bit better, but it's still not right.
Weird! Wonder if it depends on the hoop depth. I've had no issues with mine.
 

varatrodder

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Weird! Wonder if it depends on the hoop depth. I've had no issues with mine.
Maybe. It was a Slingerland bass drum, so 1.5" hoop. Knowing that yours works fine, I may try it again and make some more adjustments.
 

Rich K.

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I'm picking up here where the DFO thread, Stagg External Bass Muffler, left off more than a year ago.

The question is: How to muffle an open, un-dampened bass drum on occasion -- e.g., for one gig?

I keep my bass drum wide open -- no muffling/dampening -- for acoustic, small group jazz playing. But sometimes I play the same bass drum -- an 18" Canopus -- for a rock/soul/R&B/funk gig or an outdoor, big-stage jazz gig and need to muffle (and often tune) just for that afternoon or evening gig. After that, I want my wide-open bass drum back!

I know I can put a towel between the bass drum pedal and the bass drum head; but during the gig, that towel invariable dislodges. A mess.

So it's going to be either an internal bass drum muffler or an external bass drum muffler. Which one, DFO friends?

I'm not adverse to drilling a hole for an internal muffler if DFOers overall think it's a better bet than an external muffler. Which internal muffler might you suggest? Most of the external mufflers are not labelled "bass drum" mufflers; they're like the old vintage tom and snare ones. Can you use these mufflers for a bass drum effectively or is the contact area too small?

What's the best external muffler? The Remo one looks well-built and sounds right in the demo on an 18" bd played by Dave Weckl. Some reviewers of the Stagg muffler say the Stagg is poorly built and rattles. The Danmar muffler is less than half the price of the Remo muffler and is a simpler build (less parts: less chance of rattling/failing), but some users report that the Danmar has a less-than-optimal connection to the bass drum rim (not much contact area; nothing but metal on the rim).

What's your experience with internal and external bass drum mufflers? Your input welcomed as always.
I got the Remo one like your first picture.
I got it for my 18" bass drum. The metal thing where the muffler pad goes comes very close to the pedal. It would have been better if you were able to clock it.
 

Seb77

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I've used two spring clamps on the batter hoop to hold either a standard felt strip across the head, or some thicker/larger piece of cloth. The clamps need to be large enough to be able to push the felt against the head.
At one time I even let the cloth cover the beater impact spot so the beater actually hit the cloth instead of the head. I think I saw Joey Baron use this trick; it emulates a soft beater.

When I started out, I used a 22" drum for all gigs, and for a really short, quiet sound, I used to put my cymbal bag in front of the reso head.
 

Cauldronics

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I have the Stagg and the Remo Sub Muff'l right now and have tried various other options. The Stagg moves and shifts on the hoop to the point of being unusable no matter how I position it or how tight it's clamped to the hoop. The Remo is fine if you want to use all four foam pieces together around the perimeter of the hoop; if not, one piece eventually slips out of the ring and I'm hitting it with my beater soon enough. With all 4 pieces it's too muffled for me...

Another foam gadget I tried was the Sonitus Kicker, which is great if you want a dead sound or something ultra clicky. It muffles too much, but it makes a great holder for mics like the Shure Beta 91.
 

stick2it

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Great responses, and so fast! Thanks to all contributors. Happy to learn more if anyone has more to say.

A summary of the responses, and maybe a way forward ...

The Gary Chaffee Muffler and the Muffbone seem to great products for muffling, if only they weren't discontinued. The readily available Remo, as Rich K. reports, is a bit too long for his (and my) 18" drums. The Stagg gets mixed reviews: works for some, but noisy and troublesome for (numerous) others.

Then there are the DIY solutions: either placing, between the pedal and the head, bound-together shop cloths or a small pillow, or taping some fabric directly to the head. (For between the bass drum pedal and the head, I've been making the mistake of simply rolling-up a small towel I keep in my hardware bag, which oftentimes unravels while I'm playing, due to head vibration and the movement of the pedal.)

For between the bass drum pedal and the head, the Muffbone, small pillow, and tape-bound shop cloth approach reminded me that I have some 2" thick upholstery foam in the basement that might make a great muffler: one mass, no need for binding with tape or taping to the head, and no moving (metal) parts. Plus I can simply use a scissor to cut the foam to fit my particular pedal and my 18" hoop.

So that's what I did. Took about 5 minutes. I cut a profile that works with my single-pedal shaft and the curve of the drum to (I'm hoping) keep the foam in place. You will see I cut some foam away in an arc to allow the head to resonate a little more, for a fuller tone. (I have an ear for my wide-open drum, so I cut a little foam away from the foam block to avoid a dead thud and give a little life to the drum. The benefit of foam is you can keep or cut-away foam to match what you ear wants to hear from the drum.)

I'll give this a go and report back how well it works for me. Hardly rocket science here, but maybe useful to others. Here are the picks:

IMG_6155.jpg
IMG_6156.jpg
IMG_6157.jpg
 

GretschMan61

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Maybe install a Gretsch Pratt muffler. It's a time proven design. It goes from full off to full on (and anywhere in between) with just a few turns of a handy knob. I've never had one rattle. Just another option...and a classic.



I am in agreement with KO - I had Gretsch install a Pratt muffler in the bass drum I recently received . It is great .
 

Elvis

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I'm picking up here where the DFO thread, Stagg External Bass Muffler, left off more than a year ago.

The question is: How to muffle an open, un-dampened bass drum on occasion -- e.g., for one gig?

I keep my bass drum wide open -- no muffling/dampening -- for acoustic, small group jazz playing. But sometimes I play the same bass drum -- an 18" Canopus -- for a rock/soul/R&B/funk gig or an outdoor, big-stage jazz gig and need to muffle (and often tune) just for that afternoon or evening gig. After that, I want my wide-open bass drum back!

I know I can put a towel between the bass drum pedal and the bass drum head; but during the gig, that towel invariable dislodges. A mess.

So it's going to be either an internal bass drum muffler or an external bass drum muffler. Which one, DFO friends?

I'm not adverse to drilling a hole for an internal muffler if DFOers overall think it's a better bet than an external muffler. Which internal muffler might you suggest? Most of the external mufflers are not labelled "bass drum" mufflers; they're like the old vintage tom and snare ones. Can you use these mufflers for a bass drum effectively or is the contact area too small?

What's the best external muffler? The Remo one looks well-built and sounds right in the demo on an 18" bd played by Dave Weckl. Some reviewers of the Stagg muffler say the Stagg is poorly built and rattles. The Danmar muffler is less than half the price of the Remo muffler and is a simpler build (less parts: less chance of rattling/failing), but some users report that the Danmar has a less-than-optimal connection to the bass drum rim (not much contact area; nothing but metal on the rim).

What's your experience with internal and external bass drum mufflers? Your input welcomed as always.
The problem with your typical generic internal muffler is that they're for toms and snare drums.
I took one and held it (gently) against the front head on my Ludwig kit (18x14) and there was still some sustain.
For what you want, you might want to devise something that uses two such pads (kinda like a Gretsch set-up), or build a larger single pad and install it on your BD.
So, modified internal muffler for front head (I never liked the look of a clip on external. The internal creates a cleaner set-up), vented front head and bury the beater.
If you've never tried it, you'd be surprised just how much sustain leaving the beater on the head can quell.
 

stick2it

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Reporting back:
Played a couple of times for an hour+ with my foam muffler (see above post, and the pic below as a reminder). It didn't move -- it stayed in place. The curve I cut in the foam to match the rim's arc also has, it seems, sufficient contact with the rim to keep the foam in-place. The height of the foam extends the full height of the vertical, single post of the pedal, also helping to keep it in-place. An effective, easy solution at little cost.

IMG_6155.jpg
 

simedgoose

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The best 'quick' BD muffler I've seen (and I've used it a few times) is 1 or 2 cowbell posts, at 3 and 9 o'clock on the head, pointing inwards, across the head. Then you just fold and hang a towel over the cowbell post so the towel rest lightly against the head. Very quick to adjust and remove.
 

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Cauldronics

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Reporting back:
Played a couple of times for an hour+ with my foam muffler (see above post, and the pic below as a reminder). It didn't move -- it stayed in place. The curve I cut in the foam to match the rim's arc also has, it seems, sufficient contact with the rim to keep the foam in-place. The height of the foam extends the full height of the vertical, single post of the pedal, also helping to keep it in-place. An effective, easy solution at little cost.

View attachment 573429
Good that the foam stayed in place. Would you consider yourself a head hitter (footer)?
 

stick2it

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simedgoose -- of the various DIY suggestions here, your cowbell post looks like a winner. I'll see if my cut-foam continues to work for me -- it has the advantage of not requiring any hardware, it's supper light, and it's cut to fit my bass drum diameter and pedal and how much dampening I want. But your "cowbell post" approach is where I'll go next if my foam doesn't hold. Thanks!
 

TheBeachBoy

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If my bass drum needs a bit of extra muffling I have a hand towel I fold up in half lengthwise then roll up tight and place between the pedal upright and head, parallel with the hoop. It stays in place without needing anything else.

The cowbell holder idea is great too. Cheap and easy.
 


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