Blast From the Past-Contemporary Drummer 4-1-1981

K.O.

DFO Star
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
21,364
Reaction score
4,616
Location
Illinois
Contemporary Drummer Vol 6 No 3 April 1, 1981

Ask a Drum Tech, By Desi Krater

Technical questions about drum equipment submitted to CD are answered by "Drum Tech to the Stars" Desmond "Desi" Krater of Hollywood in his monthly column.

Q: My drums are too ringy. It's almost like my toms produce a clean defined note that just hangs there instead of the quick dull thud I'm looking for. What do you suggest?

A: Well first off please tell me you have all the bottom heads off the toms and the front head off the bass drum. That's standard and needs to be done if you want to have any hope of getting that popular sound. Once you have that done then you may need to fine tune things more. Put pillows in the bass drum for sure. For the toms you can apply ample amounts of duct tape or line the shell interiors with foam. Eventually you can deaden the toms down to a usable sound. Just take your time and add layer upon layer until you have the sort of thud you're looking for. You might be able to sell off the bottom hoops (and even the lugs) to make a little extra cash out of the deal.

Q: I have an old Ludwig drum set that looks terrible. It's kind of like the finish on Ringo's drums (which would be bad enough) but instead of black they are pink swirls (like an oyster). They need a makeover. What are my options?

A: Pink!? what are you? A girl? a pansy jazzer? Yeah you really need to do something about those. Fortunately you have some options. The easiest would be to get some spray paint and just paint them. I'd go with a solid color. I usually just paint the hardware too, It's easier to do and looks cool with everything one color. The next option would be contact paper. It's a bit harder to use because you need to remove the hardware but the results are usually worth it. If you can afford it the best option is to re cover the drums. This is good because you remove the old wrap and don't ever have to worry about it peeking through if the paint gets a chip or the contact paper gets a rip. You're never going to want to see that wrap again so why not remove it? Solid white wrap is very popular right now and also one of the lower cost options. I'd peel that pink and re-do them in white for a set you can proudly play anywhere. The cool thing about these old ugly sparkle and pearl drums is you can buy them cheap and then make them look like they are almost new. I recently picked up three sets for a very cheap price due to the horrendous finish on them (something called Mod Citrus I believe). I stripped them down and redid them all in solid white. Once I get the mounting hardware and spurs upgraded they will be almost good enough to use for any gig. Don't be afraid to buy old drums, you can make them better.

Q: I have an old Radio King snare drum. I'm having a hard time finding the right snares for it. None of the local music stores carry them.

A: Instead of trying to find a hard to get part just modernize the drum to accept new parts. Remove the old snare throw off assembly and replace it with a modern one from Ludwig (part # P85) and then you can use any snares you want. That's the beauty of these old snares, they are worth so little that you can do whatever you want to them to make them useable. A trick I like to do on old wood snares like this is to bore 3" holes between the lugs to open up the sound. No one's going to miss a 30 year old drum so you might as well make it useful. I like the old Ludwig metal snares from the 1920s. You can get them cheap and they are easy to modernize. Put on a new throw off and they can make a pretty decent back up snare. Some of them have old fashioned engraving marks on them but you can remove those with a grinder. Use your imagination, you have nothing to lose.

Q: I've been saving up for a new set of drums...what should I buy?

A: I'm not going to recommend a specific brand but rather give you a pointer on what to buy. Remember: Bigger is better! Buy the heaviest duty hardware you can afford. Get the deepest toms you can get with as many lugs as possible. The weight of this hardware all contributes to killing the ring on these drums meaning you can get away with using less duct tape or foam on the drums. Order concert toms if possible so you don't have to keep track of extra parts like bottom hoops. Sure it makes for a heavy load but if you're any good at all you'll soon have roadies to carry it for you. And if you're not good enough to "make it"... well it's not like you'll still be playing drums in some bar somewhere when you're sixty years old carting all this heavy stuff around by yourself. Just being real here.

Q: I have the bottom heads off all my toms and the front head off my bass drum. They sound great but I don't like the look. People can see inside the drums and can tell I play wood drums. What can I do?

A: Buy yourself a half gallon of flat black latex paint and paint the insides of your drums. It works wonders on the shell interiors and makes them look cool on stage. Get it on thick. It helps to muffle that annoying ring.

Q: I have an old Gretsch set that my Grandfather gave to me. They sound nice but they are a funky green color and it looks like someone painted the hardware gold. I'm really not that concerned about the look since I only use them in the studio but I am disappointed in the spurs and the tom mount which seem kind of weak. What should I do?

A: Never fear, this is an easy one. Find the nearest Pearl Drum dealer and order yourself a new tom holder and new spurs for your set. With just a bit of drilling you can have everything safe and secure. Rock solid! You say you don't care about the look of the drums but you really shouldn't have to settle. I'd strip that green off a.s.a.p. and cover it in something nice...like solid white. See my answer to question number two above for more pointers. Why settle for some weird shade of green paint when you can spruce those old drums up into something attractive to look nice along with that new Pearl hardware. You might even consider replacing that gold hardware with some shiny new chrome, Here again your Pearl dealer can be of assistance.

Q: What are drums made of?

A: Believe it or not most drums are made from some kind of wood. Yes, your drums may have once been a tree. They've been doing it like this for years. Back in the early years they didn't have space age plastics so they used what they had and have continued to do so despite all the great strides science has made. I've been told they are made of "plywood" so I guess it's the wood from a Ply tree. This will probably fall by the wayside as we head into the future, Can you imagine if they are still using wood by the year 2000? I doubt it, by then we'll all be playing Syn drums.

See you next month...Desi
 

rikkrebs

DFO Master
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
5,675
Reaction score
735
Location
Middletown Ohio
Oh my goodness. He told someone to spray paint over Oyster Pink or Citrus Mod......or better yet remove the wrap!!!!!!!!
 

Luddite

Mostly intentional comic relief
Joined
Jul 26, 2007
Messages
9,727
Reaction score
148
Location
The Great Black Swamp
Just enough truth there to make it believable, April Fools or not. I can recall passing on a Champagne Sparkle Ludwig Downbeat kit with Paiste 602 cymbals that I checked out for a friend of mine. I told him that it was too old fashioned and that the finish was horrible. He was thinking about getting some Tama Swingstars and I told him, "go for it.":error:
 

Schmidi

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2021
Messages
18
Reaction score
1
LOL, I bit for a minute, all the while thinking "my god tastes have changed since then"! Well done!
 

Deafmoon

DFO Veteran
Joined
Nov 26, 2014
Messages
2,162
Reaction score
2,098
Funny as this is, there were some wannabee engineers in the studios in the 70’s taking off heads and stuffing foam into the drums. All in all though, funny stuff.
 

K.O.

DFO Star
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
21,364
Reaction score
4,616
Location
Illinois
Funny as this is, there were some wannabee engineers in the studios in the 70’s taking off heads and stuffing foam into the drums. All in all though, funny stuff.
Oh yeah..all this stuff really happened. I was there . And of course the carnage is still evident today.
 

retrosonic

DFO Master
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Messages
3,874
Reaction score
717
Location
NYC
My favorite part was:

"That's the beauty of these old snares, they are worth so little that you can do whatever you want to them to make them useable. A trick I like to do on old wood snares like this is to bore 3" holes between the lugs to open up the sound. No one's going to miss a 30 year old drum so you might as well make it useful. "
 

retrosonic

DFO Master
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Messages
3,874
Reaction score
717
Location
NYC
Oh yeah..all this stuff really happened. I was there . And of course the carnage is still evident today.

Absolutely! I was there also. I was recording in the NYC studios in the 70s and 80s, and all that stuff happened. One studio I recorded in, the drums were all one headed, and taped up to the point of sounding like thumping a phone book. I complained to the engineer, who told me that he "creates the drum sound at the board". I told him that was dumb (I was a wise ass then) because he was killing the creativity of the drummers, and he should learn how to record a live drum set. Didnt make me too popular there, but heck, I still think I was right. Another time, I made a cassette of a Sandy Nelson album where the drums just sounded GLORIUS, wide, open, resonant, full, etc, and told the engineer I wanted the drums to sound like that. He basically said he wouldnt do that.
 

K.O.

DFO Star
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
21,364
Reaction score
4,616
Location
Illinois
I figured the "author's" name would give it away first thing. Desi Krater = desecrater
 

studrum

DFO Master
Joined
Jul 28, 2006
Messages
4,074
Reaction score
1,380
Just the thing for today. Thanks, K.O. I needed a good laugh today.
 


Top