Help tuning a 20" bass drum, would like to reduce "basketball tone" and get the lowest fundamental pitch.

Ptrick

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Don't port the reso head. Don't use any dampening at all. I have a 1965 Ludwig 14 X 20 BD, & I only use a protective "FALAM" patch to protect the batter head at the impact point from the BD beater(hard felt, wood, hard plastic, just depends). No towels, pillows, junk in the drum. Batter head tuned lower than reso, and this old 20 " sounds like a cannon. Heads are regular Ludwig heads. The 20" reminds me of my 16X26 which is an unported, non dampened monster Low boom, plenty of volume or softness, and a lot of people ask me for help in getting their BDs(and other drums) to sound better.
This is a great approach for a great sounding acoustic drum. Unfortunately it does not work in most mic’d situations without a really good engineer and the type of music that can handle a ton of boom.
 

ThomasL

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I used to have an 18x20" Starclassic Performer that had the same issue, but you might not like my solution:

1) Buy vintage kit with 14x20" BD and sell the Starclassics
2) Put coated Ambassadors on both sides
3) Forget about lowest pitch and tune the drum a bit higher
 

Ray Dee Oh King

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Don't port the reso head. Don't use any dampening at all. I have a 1965 Ludwig 14 X 20 BD, & I only use a protective "FALAM" patch to protect the batter head at the impact point from the BD beater(hard felt, wood, hard plastic, just depends). No towels, pillows, junk in the drum. Batter head tuned lower than reso, and this old 20 " sounds like a cannon. Heads are regular Ludwig heads. The 20" reminds me of my 16X26 which is an unported, non dampened monster. Low boom, plenty of volume or softness, and a lot of people ask me for help in getting their BDs (and other drums) to sound better. Let the drum sound like a drum, not a cardboard box. Any engineer can properly position a mic so that the drum sounds great. If she/he can't, use another engineer and/or studio that can properly do the job they were hired to do.
I can guarantee you put a mic in that bass drum, solo out the channel and put a raw recording on here, and it sounds like a basketball bouncing off the gym floor. So what you're saying is basically every sound engineer in all the major studios doesnt know what they're doing? Blasphemy.....
 

hector48

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I used to have an 18x20" Starclassic Performer that had the same issue, but you might not like my solution:

1) Buy vintage kit with 14x20" BD and sell the Starclassics
2) Put coated Ambassadors on both sides
3) Forget about lowest pitch and tune the drum a bit higher
You are right, I didn't like your solution :)
 

jakeo

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Great advice above. On a different note I have a 14 x 20 Yamaha Hybrid Maple with a ported front head. I had it sounding nice but had a Kickpro weighted pillow and wedged it in there just to see. Also using the Dixson lift. Totally surprised - deep - focused - and still pretty loud. I haven't taken it out. For me just what I needed.
 

charlesm

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IMO, there is a lot of mythology to "jaw" tuning. If you're looking for a "deep" sound, that comes from resonant acoustic energy. Tone. At "jaw" tuning, a drumhead is not at an ideal tension for tone. Punch, yes. But not tone. What may sound punchy and deep to you behind the kit will often sound like cardboard from out front.

If we tuned all our toms to jaw, they would have plenty of punchy attack but not a lot of fundamental tone. The same principle applies to a kick drum...and why shouldn't it? It's just another drum.

The fact is that what we're looking for is more often a deep *perceived* tone from the entire drum, not just a low tuning on the head. In order for that to happen, you have to get some acoustic energy going--some "boom"--and that comes from pitching UP a bit, not from jaw tuning.

Once you have that energy happening, then it's just a matter of dampening, however much you like, to have some control and the response you want. It takes some experimentation.

A lot of the "classic rock" kick tones we love came from drums that were, in reality, pitched up a bit in order to have presence in the band mix. The jaw tuning philosophy was more about having a drum that was very punchy and controlled without sounding completely dead, mostly for modern studio and live close-miking. But jaw won't give you maximum acoustic energy.

I would suggest starting out at jaw and then pitch the batter up a half-turn from there and the reso up at least a whole turn, maybe add a small towel inside, and see where it's at.
 

BennyK

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The farther away from the center of the head your beater strikes, the greater the tone and harmonics ( " boing ") .

After I get the wrinkles out , the only T's I mess with are the top three in front of my snare .

Choice of beater head can be decisive too .
 

Seb77

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Re: JAW - imagine a bass guitar player, not to mention double bass/contrabass players, who decides they wanted the "most low-end" and slackened their strings...
 

fusseltier

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i have a 20x18 walnut bass.
it's been a while and I can't remember if I put anything in the bads, can't ser, no port.
but i folded up some paper towels long ways and used duct tape to attach one on each side of the bass pedal for muffling.
works for me. I try not to put anything in the bass if possible.
 

drumnhands

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Check out the Kickpro bass drum pillow. It was designed by a well known LA studio tech who has worked for the who's who of LA session guys. It's weighted, but not too heavy and has a non-skid bottom to keep it in place. You can place it to touch one or both heads, or lay it crosswise in the drum where it's not touching the heads. It's enough weight to drop the pitch of the drum but won't kill the tone. Lots of trial and error went into coming up with the right mix of sand and fleece. Definitely worth checking out. I've used it in my personal drums, as well as display kits at the Hollywood Drum Show, NAMM, and PASIC.
 

Corbin L Douthitt

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So, I just got a 20" Tama Starclassic Walnut/Birch bass drum that I want to use for classic rock.
Front head is an Evans smooth EQ3 reso with a 5 or 6" port.
Batter head is an Evans EMAD2, which is a 2-ply with external muffle ring, and no muffling inside the drum.

I'm trying to tune this head to get maximum low end, while still having reasonable beater rebound.
I have them tuned pretty close to the same, just above wrinkle when I push in the center slightly with one finger.

So, the "feel" is okay, but it would be nice to get a lower pitch, if possible, and I do have this annoying "basketball" tone coming thru my BD mic.
I looked up the "basketball BD tone" and found answers that include using a towel and some weight inside the shell.
I'm fine with the towel, but I really don't want to put a "weight" inside the BD shell.
This drum will be used for live playing, not studio. So, needs to be convenient for packing and travelling.

Anyone else experience this "bouncing basketball type tone"?
How did you remedy it?

And for get the lowest fundamental pitch from a 20" bass drum, should I make the resonant head even looser than the batter head?
have you moved the MIC back away from the head? hte one my band sticks in front of my BD REALLY has tones- until I move it back a couple of inches. Also, consider a little muffling on the front head. felt strip under the head at the top (inside) let it hang against the head..but not held by the opposite side of the hoop, unless that doesn't give enough tone control- again, the strip doesn't have to be snaredrum tight..
 

Ludwig26

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FWIW/IMHO&HO (honest&humble) opinion,
I'd use one of those Remo "Felt tone) heads&tune it " medium",
IF you want a "lower fundamental" pitch change/switch kick drum sizes,
Your asking the drum to change the law of physics: you're expecting a smaller drum to sound like a bigger drum,
It defies the law of drum physics smaller drums will always have a higher fundamental pitch/compared to bigger size drums,
I.e. attempting&trying to make a floor tom sound like a rack tom,
Doesn't make logical/rationale reasonable sense same with kick drums&toms.
You CAN'T make a bigger drum sound like a smaller drum&vice versa,
I'd watch Jeff Ocheltree's dvd&Bob Gatzens,
Lastly DON'T put ANYTHING inside the shell THAT'S NOT specifically designed for a kick drum,
I.e a pillow as it interferes with the fundamental pitch&shape of a kick drum&what it's designed for&to do,
Do you want to sleep inside the kick drum? ! :).
 

tnsquint

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In my rental inventory I have the following 20” kicks:
Premier 14x20
Slingerland 14x20
Yamaha MCA 16x20
C&C Player Date I 12x20
Tama B/B Starclassic 16x20
Ludwig Classic Maple 16x20
DW Collectors 20x20
Jenkins Martin 14x20

All except the Premier and Slingerland are set up specifically to be mic’d in high end situations. I always have to plan on two bass drum mics. For those kits I use a 4” port and an EQ pad on the interior. The pad typically alleviates the “basketball boing” but is also absolutely necessary for placing an interior mic. It’s also very helpful to add or remove some muffling to the resonant/batter heads.

Heads are swapped out depending on the artist preference, however, we always tune the batters just above wrinkle and the resonant head a bit tighter. That always gives us plenty of punch and a particular drummer will not need to do much with it. Typically we see EMAD 1/2, or Remo PS3 as the most common request for a batter. Our stock resonant heads are PS3 unless something is specifically requested. There are always exceptions of course but I could count on one hand the number of times drummers or their techs really dove into modifying one of our kicks over the past several years and I would still have fingers left.

Very important: the genres my kits are used in would be rock, country, roots, contemporary Christian, gospel, funk, etc. and all used with significant audio reinforcement. You have to pay attention to where a particular suggestion comes from. Someone that is playing in a four piece jazz combo will have a very different opinion from someone playing classic rock in an arena. Genre and venues play a big role in what people suggest.

That said, you can certainly get a great, beefy sound from a 20”.
 


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