Hit your snare harder!!

Targalx

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That wear pattern on his snare batter: all them stick marks in a tight small area,
I interpret that as a sign of good technique and consistency.
I've seen kits on which some drummers hit the batter all over the place
instead of concentrating their stick attack as dead center on the head as possible.
I had an inconsistency issue when I was a teenager tracking an EP in my first studio expereince. The recording engineer came into the tracking room with a red Sharpie, drew an X on the center of my snare, and said, "hit only here." It worked.

From that point on, I developed an extremely consistent snare hit. In fact, a few years ago I had an album remotely mixed by a multi-platinum awarded engineer who's been in the biz for the past 30+ years. He emailed us, saying, "The drummer on this session is hitting his snare incredibly well! Very consistent player!"
 

TonyVazquez

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I had an inconsistency issue when I was a teenager tracking an EP in my first studio expereince. The recording engineer came into the tracking room with a red Sharpie, drew an X on the center of my snare, and said, "hit only here." It worked.

From that point on, I developed an extremely consistent snare hit. In fact, a few years ago I had an album remotely mixed by a multi-platinum awarded engineer who's been in the biz for the past 30+ years. He emailed us, saying, "The drummer on this session is hitting his snare incredibly well! Very consistent player!"
That's what I need to start doing, drawing an X on the center of my drums
(or, draw a faint small circle in the center, and focus my sticks within the circle)
That dead center is where the tone sounds best.
 

Northwoods Dan

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I miss Wolfman Jack.
Ok, totally off-topic but...

For the longest time I have wanted to hear recordings of the Wolfman Jack shows from XERF in Mexico. I've found a few clips on YouTube, but I think the original broadcasts are still copyrighted or licensed for radio stations to broadcast. It's not of my era, but I'm fascinated by Wolfman Jack and what those broadcasts were like. Did you tune into those shows? What music did he "hip" you too and what did you love and remember about those broadcasts?!?
 

Northwoods Dan

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Check out this short video where the 311 drummer explains his snare tuning and playing technique ... he actually tunes a lot lower than I expected and uses a very shallow rimshot for that tone (check out the wear pattern on his snare batter). I suppose that means he can get some different tones and dynamics out of his snare setup than what I associate with that band (having not listened to much of them).

The wear pattern on his batter head is simply because he uses a rim-shot EVERY. SINGLE. TIME...and on virtually every song no less. It drives me crazy. That dude must go through two pairs of sticks per song. lol Did he say he used to use marching band heads?!?

Again, he's a great drummer and that's his sound and style...I just don't like hitting a rim shot on every single backbeat.
 

Targalx

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The wear pattern on his batter head is simply because he uses a rim-shot EVERY. SINGLE. TIME...and on virtually every song no less. It drives me crazy. That dude must go through two pairs of sticks per song. lol Did he say he used to use marching band heads?!?

Again, he's a great drummer and that's his sound and style...I just don't like hitting a rim shot on every single backbeat.
Well, I’ve played heavy rock gigs where the 100 watt Marshalls are all on 9, the 300 watt bass amp is reconfiguring my innards, and the drums are not miked up, so if you don’t hit a rim shot EVERY SINGLE TIME, the audience won’t even know you exist.
 

Drumceet

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Over the years I’ve actually worked at hitting less hard, focusing on ghost notes and playing lightly. I have to say I really like it.
 

bpaluzzi

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All this time I thought Chad Sexton was using a high-pitched piccolo snare
or a popcorn snare. Now I see he's got the tip end of his drum stick toward
the edge for that high-pitched rim shot. He can achieve volume that way
without exerting brute force onto that snare. Nice!

That wear pattern on his snare batter: all them stick marks in a tight small area,
I interpret that as a sign of good technique and consistency.
I've seen kits on which some drummers hit the batter all over the place
instead of concentrating their stick attack as dead center on the head as possible.
I've been trying to practice that for many years; I'm good with it for the first
couple minutes into a song, but then I zone out and hit the head all over
the place during fast punk/garage songs.
I can't help it, at 55 I wanna play like a 30yo! lol
Chad marched snare for the Sky Ryders, a DCI World Class (previously "Div 1" or "Open Class") finalist drum corps. He's definitely got plenty of technique.
 

bpaluzzi

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The wear pattern on his batter head is simply because he uses a rim-shot EVERY. SINGLE. TIME...and on virtually every song no less. It drives me crazy. That dude must go through two pairs of sticks per song. lol Did he say he used to use marching band heads?!?

Again, he's a great drummer and that's his sound and style...I just don't like hitting a rim shot on every single backbeat.
I can't think of many modern rock drummers who don't hit a rim shot with every backbeat.
 

TonyVazquez

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I can't think of many modern rock drummers who don't hit a rim shot with every backbeat.
I love rim shots. I play them for about 90% of the time throughout
my band's music, almost every back-beat.
But unlike Chad Sexton's rim shots, I hit mine with my stick tip all the way
to the center of my snare, while the area close to my fulcrum grip
hits the rim shot.
For cross-sticking, I use the tapered end of my stick; because I have to
switch back to full snare attack immediately when the time comes.
I'm also using a thin strip of double-sided tape for "stick grip" for better
control of my sticks, and to avoid carpal tunnel pain.

The remaining 10% of the time I just hit my snare with my stick elevated
off the rim whenever I want to decrease my snare attack volume during a
"crouch" section (low volume, quiet section) of a song before I build the groove
back up to its final volume climax towards the end of the song.

I tune my snare (batter, and reso heads) to a very high pitch and then I place
a cut round sheet of used drum head (13 3/4 diameter) on top of my
batter head to muffle the "ping" and enhance my stick attack, so I get a crispy
loud "pop" and a sharp "crack" together.

I'm not a fan of rattling snares. I tension my snare wire right up against
the reso head so that it rattles for just an instant during the stick attack
instead of dragging into decay.

I can understand why rim shots can be annoying when you're in
the same room with a drummer who likes to play loud rim shots;
with that excessively resonant "ping" cutting through everything.
You're subjected to that loud "ping" throughout the rehearsal session.
A way to cope with it is to use ear plugs or soft balled up tissue paper
wedged in your ears to help minimize that loud rim shot ping.

At the other end of the spectrum there are drummers who love that
deep marching snare arena rock sound of the 80s hair band era.
Man, that was quite a loud cannon of a snare sound back then!
Guess what: I liked it, lol. And I was happy that it was chosen for
the snare drum instrument on the Yamaha RX5 drum machine
(my all-time favorite drum machine).

My favorite modern-day hard snare sound is that of drummer
Aaron Comess (Spin Doctors, circa early 90s)... their hit songs
"Two Princes" and "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" won me over
with that tight kick and solid snare sound. That was when I wanted
to switch over to smaller drum kits and sizes.
That was also a time when I was infatuated with wooden piccolo
snare drums during the mid 90s.

My second favorite hard snare sound is that of Mitch Harris
(Napalm Death) on the albums Harmony Corruption (1990),
and Fear Emptiness Despair (1994)... that tight snare sound through
the gate and compression on those albums had me pursuing
that snare sound for many years. Mitch is a beast on his kit!
That snare sound inspired me to use old drum head material
on top of my snare drum so that I could play hard AND loud.
 

Targalx

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My favorite modern-day hard snare sound is that of drummer
Aaron Comess (Spin Doctors, circa early 90s)... their hit songs
"Two Princes" and "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" won me over
with that tight kick and solid snare sound. That was when I wanted
to switch over to smaller drum kits and sizes.
That was also a time when I was infatuated with wooden piccolo
snare drums during the mid 90s.
When I think '90s piccolo, I think this (from the band that brought you the Friends TV show theme; Pat Mastelotto on drums):

...or this (though I don't believe it was played with a piccolo—edit: reading online that it's a BRADY 12 x 7 Sheoak Block):
 

TonyVazquez

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When I think '90s piccolo, I think this (from the band that brought you the Friends TV show theme; Pat Mastelotto on drums):

...or this (though I don't believe it was played with a piccolo—edit: reading online that it's a BRADY 12 x 7 Sheoak Block):
Both are good snare sounds for the drum type and the music they're applied to.

If I could only choose one of those I would prefer the Brady 12 x 7 there in
Lisa Loeb's "Stay" song, to my ears that snare sound has a nice crack with a
full body and a subtle warm tone that allows the other instruments in the song
to breathe. The mix doesn't sound overwhelmed by it.
That's a great production quality right there.
Kudos to the studio engineer and the drummer for using the right choice
of a snare sound and instrument for that song. :thumbup:
 

bpaluzzi

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Both are good snare sounds for the drum type and the music they're applied to.

If I could only choose one of those I would prefer the Brady 12 x 7 there in
Lisa Loeb's "Stay" song, to my ears that snare sound has a nice crack with a
full body and a subtle warm tone that allows the other instruments in the song
to breathe. The mix doesn't sound overwhelmed by it.
That's a great production quality right there.
Kudos to the studio engineer and the drummer for using the right choice
of a snare sound and instrument for that song. :thumbup:
the Aaron Comess Spin Doctors snare was also a Brady, although his was a 4.5x14 Jarrah
 

High on Stress

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Playing consistent rimshots on backbeats is appropriate for rock music. I'm talking about mid to faster tempo, driving rock songs not ballads or folksy, indie sounding stuff in general. You don't have to play a slamming rimshot, they are not all or nothing. Like everything else, rimshots have to be deployed with technique and dynamics. You can get different sounds by placing the tip of the stick below or above or right in the center, with different amounts of force on the hoop as well. You can also get a very dry but cutting cracky sound by dead sticking a rimshot. In my opinion, playing rock songs with a soft center hit, or even a firm center hit without using the rim, does not activate the drum fully enough. It's not just a volume thing, although nothing else cuts like a hard rimshot. Using rimshots on all the backbeats in rock actually enhances dynamics because the backbeats are distinguishable from the softer notes in both volume and tonality. Rimshots are not always high-pitched and ringy, unless you want them to be.

TL:dr Play rimshot backbeats if you want it to rock.
 

Corbin L Douthitt

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How hard do you really need to hit your snare if you're playing rock? Is there such thing as hitting too hard for rock?

Gotta love Marshall Crenshaw, and his drummer brother Robert, just pulverizing the snare with all his might — a nice contrast to the clean, not-very-heavy, power-pop of the trio:
hit harder? why? a drum can only be so loud. that's physics. if you are mic'd WHY HIT HARDER? TURN UP THE VOLUME KNOB!!. There is this really arcane and esoteric thing called DYNAMICS. Sometimes you play soft, sometimes louder.. sometimes a rim shot.. not all the time..It's called MUSIC. unless of course you are playing some genre that has no dynamics like grunge- emo.. that's all screaming and banging and same 3 chords.. justsayin'.. I broke 3 sticks since 1958 2 in HS band.. 2 were marching.. the other one a Jazz stick that I had sanded the shoulder a lot to get the splinters off.. finally got too thin and broke. I watched a drummer in Memphis play- he had a pile of busted sticks behind him. a PILE- about a foot high and 2 feet wide.. why? he was mic'd up..?
 

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As I studio engineer I will say that my most successful drum recordings have been when the drummer beats the *$#@ out of the drums and barely touches the cymbals. When the cymbals are too loud we have to reach into our bag of tricks to tame them... but it comes at the expense of tone.

Of course performance dictates everything... if you need to play loud to get the take, so be it... but if you study recording session drummers you can see their habits which get them called back time after time. The recordings can be misleading ...just because the the cymbals sound like they are being crushed, doesn’t mean they are...

and while I’m at it I’ll spill another mixing secret... the reason that Sennheiser 421 sounds so good on toms is that they force the drummer to keep the cymbals over a foot away from the front of the tom mic... yeah, it’s a punchy mic too, but really it’s that separation that helps us do our job!
 

TonyVazquez

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Not all, but Some [young unsigned bands and their] drummers who've had
very little or no studio experience take it for granted and think the engineer will
do the magic and make miracles in an instant. Yes. Maybe. and No...

They're in for a lesson when they go into the studio for the first time
and realize how much work goes into the process of recording songs;
and the first lesson those drummers come to learn is to keep their
egos in check and watch their habits.

The engineer has been doing this for a very long time. Day in Day out.
All that while protecting his/her ears... and Sanity.
When the engineer is offering suggestions, he or she is Not trying
to step on anyone's toes - in particular, the Drummer...
...the engineer is Trying to get your best performance captured
on tape (or digital) in as minimal takes as possible.
Time in the studio is Money. Make it Hot.

I recently recorded 10 songs in under 4 hours, 1 take each.
The 9th song was recorded twice to get 2 different vocal versions.
The engineer wanted me to play hard where this was needed,
and to cut back where that was needed.
This was my 2nd recording session for my band with the same studio,
the same engineer. We already knew what to expect and what to do.
I used the studio's drum kit, it was already set up and I added my snare,
kick pedals, and cymbals... a quick sound-check and we were ready to go.
3-piece band, Live to 2-track stereo, 10 songs, 1 take each song,
in under 4 hours. Done. It was all smooth sailing and good vibes.
The session Exceeded our expectations, because we took Direction.

The studio engineer is also a Coach. Sometimes a Babysitter.
Pay him/her for Those services as well!
If bands want their recordings to sound really good they are gonna
have to learn to take Direction from the recording engineer.
You wanna get what you pay for? Have your act together.
 


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