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Help with 20" bass drum tuning.

D. B. Cooper

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Hey everyone.
I'm having trouble finding anything I like with my 20" Slingerland Stageband Bass.
I want some new sounds and am hearing a New Orleansy, slackish, low thump/thwack.
But I'm also open to any other sounds that you might know how to achieve with these head combos on a similar drum.
I really have only ever gotten (what I would call) satisfying sounds out of a 22" and a 24". The 20" has always challenged me.

I currently have 6 heads to choose from. All are Remo and are in excellent/NOS condition.

Powerstroke 3
Fyberskin Ambassador Powerstroke 3
Emperor
Ambassador
CS dot
Pinstripe

I don't have any coated heads, which I usually use on bass drums so I'm feeling out of sync with this 60's sweetheart.

Thanks for any advice!
 

Frank Godiva

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felt strip at least on the batter and maybe on the front

Emperor or CS batter with strip. Heads with built in muffling only rob the smaller drum of power and tone. Imho

Nothing inside. Wide open ambassador front head. A bit tighter then the batter. Felt strip if needed

Kick it and adjust for something around an F.

Mel Lewis said 20s were the best cause the beater hits dead center with fewer overtones

Best of luck
 

Houndog

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Have someone play that drum for you , you will be shocked at how It sounds out front .

I have a Slingerland 20” it has an Aquarian modern vintage batter coated amb batter .
No laundry , no hole ……

Judicious tuning is crucial though …
There seems to be a sweet spot ..
 
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BennyK

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Easier to make a 22 feel like 20 than to make a 20 feel like a 22 .

I have a Milestone 20 that I use when I want that sound . I have an Aquarian SK 1 on the batter and a Remo coated amb . on the reso . I've owned the legendary Rogers 20's , but my Milestone is x 2 .

Try to thicken up the presence and then amplify that with the front head unported .

Good luck , I've been through the same thing where you try to will a drum to be something that it may not be .
 
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cornelius

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Easier to make a 22 feel like 20 than to make a 20 feel like a 22 .
For a 20 to sound full, I use a Powerstroke or coated Pinstripe, un ported reso and wide open. Tensioned up a little higher than "normal" and don't bury the beater.
 

varatrodder

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On 20” bass drums I always use a PS3, Renaissance Powerstroke, or Emperor on the batter, with an Aquarian Vintage medium or Renaissance Powerstroke on the reso side. With the Powerstrokes I don’t use any muffling, but I use a felt strip with the Emperor or Aquarian.

For a boomy sound I pitch the reso side higher than the batter. For a looser swampy sound, I pitch the reso head lower than the batter.

I used to use a Fiberskyn on the front of my bass drums because I liked the look. But then I realized how bad they made my drums sound. There’s just no tone.
 

Danny

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felt strip at least on the batter and maybe on the front

Emperor or CS batter with strip. Heads with built in muffling only rob the smaller drum of power and tone. Imho

Nothing inside. Wide open ambassador front head. A bit tighter then the batter. Felt strip if needed

Kick it and adjust for something around an F.

Mel Lewis said 20s were the best cause the beater hits dead center with fewer overtones

Best of luck
This is it
 

Pat A Flafla

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I put an old bed sheet under the Ambassador batter, tensioned it up, and cut off the excess. It definitely increased the whump factor.
 

Tama CW

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For the most resonance and tone 1 ply heads both sides. Coated ambassadors are fine. For even more vintage tone smooth white ambassadors
will get you there. You can use some light muffling on the batter side (sock or hand towel between pedal and head, a clamp on muffler, or even a felt strip).
But I prefer them w/o felt strips. I seem to get the best results by tightening the reso side more than I think I should. Beater hitting a bit off center for more resonance/tone.
I hear all the pre-muffled heads with dots, rings, and multiple layers and they all sound dead to me. They came from Slingerland in the 60's with single ply heads.

My best sounding Slingerland bass drum was an 18" with the original smooth ambassadors - turned a bit yellowish after 50+ years. That's 100% wide open. No felts or muffling of any kind. Both heads
tuned tighter than I would have expected. The most resonance will come from tuning both sides the same. If that results in too many overtones, then tweak them a bit from there.
 
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JimmyM

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Thx for starting this thread. I have a 20 x 16 Pearl Export that I would like to use when I use a small setup, but it’s so much quieter than my Ludwig Classic 22 x 16. I know part of it is the boogerwood, but with a Super Kick 2 and one of those vented reso heads, I think I’m losing a lot of potential in it. May have to swap out the heads, so this is good to get some ideas.
 

Treviso1

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Try this Simon Phillips bass drum muffling treatment. The key is going to be to not use too heavy or too big of a towel for a 20" bass drum. Roll it up like a crescent roll from corner to corner. Fold in half first, and then roll it up from corner to corner and tape the corners to the main body of the roll. Take it to the batter head as seen below. I have found that it always produces a sound that is just right. The reso front head should be tuned to whatever pitch you prefer. I generally have it just a little over finger tight so that it produces a nice "puff" of air upon striking the bass drum. It will be full, fat, punchy and full of low end OOMPH! I don't dampen the reso head at all, but instead will use a Powerstroke 3 if I need it a little less woofy.
 

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Sequimite

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Easier to make a 22 feel like 20 than to make a 20 feel like a 22 .

I have a Milestone 20 that I use when I want that sound . I have an Aquarian SK 1 on the batter and I have a Remo coated amb . on the reso . I've owned the legendary Rogers 20's , but my Milestone is x 2 .

Try to thicken up the presence and then amplify that with the front head unported .

Good luck , I've been through the same thing where you try to will a drum to be something that it may not be .

I have both Tempus/Milestone and 1966 Slingerland 20" bass drums. Using a Milestone bass drum is just cheating; it naturally sounds like a 22" BD. I've had troubles using the original resonant head on my Slingerland and will try the suggestions in this thread.
 


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