Drums with "growling" tone?

bongomania

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When my bass drum is tuned just right, it has this mean growl (almost like a bass guitar overdrive) on top of the boom sound, I love it. I've seen other people describe various drums as growly. I'd love to get the same characteristic from my toms, but I don't know how, or what to look for.

Do you attribute this sound to tuning, head type, shell material or thickness, anything else, or a combination? If you were starting from scratch, what would you buy? If you had a bog standard set of maple or birch toms, nothing special, what would you do to bring that sound out of them?
 

Seb77

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I got a distoretd sound by accident when I used a single ply head at a low tuning that had been stretched by very high tuning before. The collar/curve wasn't quite there anymore, which created a barking kind of sound.
 

cochlea

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I'm guilty of describing my floor tom as having a "growl" that I find very appealing. It's a 1965 Ludwig 16x16 floor tom. When I got the kit last summer, the first thing I did was invest in new heads. I solicited input from fellow forum members and decided to go with coated Remo Vintage Ambassadors on both the batter and reso side. These are two ply heads with one ply being 7.5 mil and the other 3 mil. I absolutely love the low-level rumble I get from the drum with this head combination. However, although I have the same set-up on my 9x13 tom, I must admit that it's not quite as satisfying (It's a bit too "muddy" for a high tom, IMO).
 

CaptainCrunch

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I tune all drums to finger-tight using a drill bit key, which is pretty much the lowest tuning that produces a tone, then up 1/4 turn once or twice, maybe 1/8 turn tighter on top.

I liked coated Weathermaster Heavy when they were still available for Ludwigs, make do with Ambassador for smaller sizes, Emp for larger (I’ll do 12”/14”/16” toms in Ambs, but if it’s say 13”/16”/18” I’ll use Emps, just tying to keep consistency drum-to-drum). That’s pretty growly. My wife says they’re “chewy”, which also works.

Gretsch might take a few tries, if one lug gets a bit tighter than it’s neighbors it’s easiest to completely detune and start over. But same basic principal - lowest tuning that has any resonance, up 1/4 to 1/2 turn. I have a G bop kit tuned way up for that high & dry bark, and it’s something my ear doesn’t gravitate towards as of this moment.
 

Seb77

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Maybe a sound example would help , otherwise it will be just another "my preferred heads&tuning" thread.
 

bongomania

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Maybe a sound example would help , otherwise it will be just another "my preferred heads&tuning" thread.
Good idea, there is definitely a specific sound quality I’m after, not just “what do y’all like”. I’ll try to get a recording of my bass drum growling.

Anyone else, if you have a track in mind that you believe has a growly drum sound, feel free to post it.
 

BennyK

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If I was starting from scratch, as you say , I'd consider mid 70's Gretsch for a growl . Clear Diplomats on all the resos and Ludwig Coated ' Heavy ' on the top . These were @ the same as Remo Ambassadors , but with a sharper bite . Their counter-hoops and profiles reacted differently to tension at the mouth of the drum . One tuning point just above wrinkling and work that rod tighter and looser till it gives you the growl . With thinshells and cast hoops you can get away with that . Get rid of the internal mufflers .

To soften things up , try coated diplomats instead of the clears on the resos .

I'd try and use shells with older brass Gretsch lugs and cast hoops ... maybe from the 60's . Those lugs were part of ' That Great Gretsch Sound "

I've been using Aquarian SK 1's for so long now, I don't know what else to recommend except a Ludwig Silver Dot on the front, no hole if you're going that route , completely open if you're going single headed - no hoop, no head,claws or T's .
 
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noreastbob

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I think what OP is referring to is a type of head distortion. I've heard the sound. Seb77 may be on to something with a pre stretched head which could conceivably flutter or vibrate against the bearing edge when tensioned just right. Otherwise it may be caused by some other type of "perfect imperfection" allowing a pleasing vibration from somewhere.
Thinking out loud here but maybe it could be due to a specific (unknown to me) relationship between the two heads causing an oscillating wave cancellation that throbs and resembles a growling sound.
 

Seb77

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Otherwise it may be caused by some other type of "perfect imperfection" allowing a pleasing vibration from somewhere.
Thinking out loud here but maybe it could be due to a specific (unknown to me) relationship between the two heads
Top and bottom head tension relation imo doesn't cause severe distortion, just different kind sof resonance; a drum never seems to go out of tune that way. A different case would be the t-rods of one head not being tensioned the same. That might be an experiment, purposely de-tuning on or two t-rods on the batter head. With triple flange hoops, thats generally easier to achieve, plus the sound is more open/twnagy anyway than with die-cats hoops.
 

cozy4ever

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I can't wait til the sound example is posted, cos whatever you show me I'm gonna try. I want some growling kicks! :headbang::headbang::headbang::whax:
 


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