???Getting that Bonham sound from a smaller bass drum???

pontiacrich

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Hi all,

It's been a long time since I've posted anything new but I've been around.

I have a 24"x14" Vistalite bass and I am trying to get that big Bonham thomp from it...rather unsuccessfully, so now I ask this esteemed collection of drummers.

How can I get that signature big 26" diameter sound from a 24" drum? What combination of heads and tuning will get me there? Does the reso head have to be solid (i.e. no sound holes)? Pillow, or nothing? How do you tune the heads to get that solid, boom? Do bass mounted rack toms choke the boom?

I've been listening to different recordings of Zep - both live and studio and I just can't get my bass to sound like that. Help please!!!!!!!!!!!
 

dimag333

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smaller room makes my 20" kick sound like a 26 if tuned right
 
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skinsman

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Try a superkick 2 on batter with a singleply on reso with a kickport installed. It will give you the boom AND the beater bounce for the ghosties you need for Bonzo work
 

RIDDIM

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Try nothing inside and both heads somewhat cranked.

If you haven't already, check out what Jeff Ocheltree has to say on the subject. Go to 1:38:

I've been experimenting with wide open bass drums a bit lately.

- I'm having nice results on a 22" stainless steel drum with 2 EQ4s, wide open and unported:
. This cut has Trick flat plastic beaters.

- I've also had good luck with coated ambassdors, cranked, on an 18" wide open and unported Canopus RMV maple:
. This has a conventional felt beater.

My kits were not mic'd.

I hope this helps.
 
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drawtheline55

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Rich, try the exact head, felt strip, tuning combo in the Jeff O. video good starting point, Ben
 

SteveB

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Consider that John used a 22 on that first album. Its just a two headed drum with some scant muffling behind the heads and nothing inside the shell...felt beater from what I can tell. Emperor rear and Ambassador front with a decent amount of tension...not real loose, more like a big band sound. The rest of it was how it was mic'd and effected by the room.
 

Peter56

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On the vistas, i think he used a clear cs dot batter with a felt strip down low so it wasn`t notceable, and a clear single ply ludwig reso with a homemade muffling ring like a ps3. i`ve seen a photo where you can see the felt strip and the ring clearly.
 

davezedlee

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I'm of the "no 26, no JB" opinion

Never heard it from a 24, but ALWAYS hear it from a 26
 

RedMist

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RIDDIM said:
Try nothing inside and both heads somewhat cranked.

If you haven't already, check out what Jeff Ocheltree has to say on the subject. Go to 1:38:

I've been experimenting with wide open bass drums a bit lately.

- I'm having nice results on a 22" stainless steel drum with 2 EQ4s, wide open and unported:
. This cut has Trick flat plastic beaters.

- I've also had good luck with coated ambassdors, cranked, on an 18" wide open and unported Canopus RMV maple:
. This has a conventional felt beater.

My kits were not mic'd.

I hope this helps.
Thanks for posting. I'm going to watch all the Jeff Ocheltree vids now.
 
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AaronLatos

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My take on the Bonham tom and kick sound is that they sound MASSIVE, and people remember that, and think that they need to go low and dry and cut out the highs, when that's not what I hear at all... what makes it all so big to me is that EVERYTHING is there, lows, mids, highs, all bouncing around the room. Heck, I read an interview with the guy remixing the recent Zep reissues, and he said that until recently, all of the Zep mixes actually had Bonham's tracks high-passed (meaning the lowest lows were eliminated) to keep record needles from skipping, and now, in the digital age. So it's not about maximum low end to me... the "fullness" of all frequencies is what makes it big and huge and killin.

A Superkick/Emad/Kickport type setup is going to get you tons of fantastic low-end, but it won't sound like Bonham's drums at all, at least to me.

I've got a 14x26" Slingerland 3-ply that I'm running coated ambassador front and back, felt strip front, small piece of felt taped to the batter. Sometimes I have a piece of foam inside to cut down on interior reflections when I'm concerned about it feeding back on itself through a PA (a real concern when playing clubs with huge subs below the stage, a standard thing in all rooms 200+ cap and larger that ever have DJs or electronic music these days). It sounds great, but I'd have to tune it up higher than I have it and take some of that muffling off to get the sound we're talking about.

If I was trying to make a 22" work for a Zep type sound... I'd first get a 3 ply kick drum with a fat bearing edge and rerings (it's real hard to use unmuffled heads on a kick with a thin shell and sharp bearing edge, I've found), put an Emperor on the batter, an Ambassador on the resonant. I'd have a felt strip on at least one of the heads, but just enough to take the edge off... you want it to be kinda open, kinda airy and even a bit nasty sounding behind the kit. Ocheltree said it all. For a 22", you can get away with less felt than he's showing in that video, maybe even skip one head, depending on the drum.

Have someone else sit in for a tune and hear it out front and it'll make sense. The "wildness" of a really wide open drum just gets eaten up by the first electric instrument that plugs in and pure acoustic cancellation, and you're left with a really full, fat tone. Not proselyting for this as the be-all drum sound above all else (some of my main drums are DEAD thudders), but it's an awesome sound and so much fun to play!
 

Sonorholic

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Can only add to what's already been said. Two full regular heads with just a little muffling, tuned higher than you might think. it might actually take a while to get used to playing a drum set up like this. Don't bury the beater and let it ring a bit.
 

Monty

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What's also missing is a crucial factor, and that's Bonham himself. We are always talking on here how gear, etc. is great and blah blah blah while always mentioning that ultimate it's the player themselves. So one can spend endless time, money and resources attempting to get the so-called Bonham sound (And let's be honest; Most contemporary bands aren't doing that sound), we must remember that a lot of his sound came from how he approached the instrument. I'm not even getting into Pages recording techniques, mixing, etc. That's a whole 'nother thang all together.
So one can have the exact same drums, heads, tuning and whatnot that Bonham had, but will you achieve that sound 100% without the player himself? If the answer is yes, then let me grab a vintage 4-piece Round Badge Gretsch set and hopefully I'll sound just like Williams/Jones/Blakey/Roach etc....
 

Treviso1

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FOR VISTALITE BASS DRUM:

1. Clear Reso/front head...NO HOLE... tuned up high/tight, higher pitched than batter head, free from wrinkles. Think tympani pitch with that kind of resonance.
2. Clear Black Dot (CS) with felt strip on batter side running along bottom 1/3 of drum, parallel to floor, tuned up pretty high, but lower pitched than reso/front head. Pull the beater off/out of the head when playing it. In other words, DON'T bury the beater into the head...play off the head.

This combo will get you as close to that 26" vibe as you can get with a 24" drum. It will be pretty darn close. Enjoy:)
 

pontiacrich

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Thanks for all the info folks.

I don't want to put coated heads on my Vista's, so I'll be trying the clears.
 

Vipercussionist

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I agree.
Of course some will argue NAY, however, I tried it, and dealt with a 24 for a long time waiting for the 26 that I could afford to show up.
Alas, one never did and I sold off the kit.

Until you actually PLAY the 26, you won't realize the difference. 24s sound GREAT, but it's NOT the same as what a 26 sounds like.
It obviously get's more pronounced the farther away from a 26in you go

Again, the smaller sizes sound GREAT, but it's NOT the same thing.

DISCLAIMER:
Of course, all of the above statement is my OPINION, and your milage may vary.


davezedlee said:
I'm of the "no 26, no JB" opinion

Never heard it from a 24, but ALWAYS hear it from a 26
 

davezedlee

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oops... originally posted these in the wrong thread




 
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davezedlee

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last one is not really Bonham-ish, because of the ports, but kind of showcases the differences of the different diameters
 

TheArchitect

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I have to admit, while I love Bonham's playing, there is a lot about his sound I don't care for. I find that it sounds "big" in isolation. That's OK because Zep's arrangements and instrumentation were very sparse which allowed him to get away with that sound because it does work in that situation.

With that said, with a 24" drum I would follow that same principles he did in terms of tuning, muffling and head selection. It won't be exact but I think you will get close enough to get by acoustically. The real trick to his sound is in the micing which is damn near impossible in a live setting. He used no tom mics and had the others much further from the drums than was typical even back then in many cases
 


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