Internal Mufflers : A Bad Rap?

CC Cirillo

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I like them.

Really, my only experience is with Ludwigs. Never had any rattling. I prefer the round dial up mufflers to the older baseball bats because I can get the muffler to gently butterfly kiss the head. This has a moon gel effect.

There have been times at low volume rehearsals or very intimate gigs where I’ve used an internal more aggressively to dampen a snare into 70s sound zone. That, combined with loosening the snares a touch can provide many options.

Sure, when I’m taking care of business and scraping 40 feet of guardrail on a live stage with everyone dropping into bachman-turner overdrive , I don’t want anything pushing up on my drum heads.

I don’t alway use them but I like the option. If you want throttle wide open, just disengage the dang thing. What’s the problem, people? You can’t twist a knob?

I decorate the area where the muffler will be pushing on the head if engaged, so I’m mindful not to hit it, which might create rattling over time.

Use of mufflers and adjusting strainers for different sonic textures, are these becoming lost skills like driving with a clutch?


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Stickclick

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I gave up on internal mufflers years ago. I didn't like the sound. If I need to dampen then I'll use tape. I can adjust tape quickly and easily enough.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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Love mufflers and I have them on most of my snares whether original or I've added them..... it only takes a little dampening from the bottom (and proper tuning) to tame most snares......

But I don't use them on Toms or bass normally aside from vintage Gretsch.
 

cruddola

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They have their place. There were times when I needed just a touch dampening on a tom or maybe a snare. I really liked that it was right there mounted ready to go. I always had them on my vintage kits. If they were missing, I made sure I picked them up used and installed them. Great little wonders. They got more use on my snares than the toms, but most all got some use.
Absolutely! All my re-ringed late '70s and early '80s Imperialstars have them including the 8-inch tom. They got more use on my toms than the snare, especially in live indoor situations. I miss not having them on my current Yamaha Maple Custom Absolutes to handle certain duties. Seeing how my YMCAs are gonna stay with me till I die I'm really thinking hard about installing them. I modified a 14X10 re-ringed Imperialstar tom into a snare using a Trick snare kit. I added an OEM Tama dampener to the bottom head as well. Killer.
 
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cribbon

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I thought Rogers figured out during their Memriloc/Big R-era major hardware rethink that internal mufflers were not the way to go - they fight you because they're pushing up against the downward motion of the stick stroke. An external muffler of whatever sort (mechanical muffler a la the Rogers model, moongel, tape or a zero ring - or even dropping another head on upside down) will work much better, IMO.
 

Pounder

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They were being removed and manufacturers began leaving them off the drums to save manufacturing. Usually from noise they create. If you got 'em, use 'em.
 

owr

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Just took mine out of my 60s Rogers 13" tom. I've had a rattle in there forever, was too lazy/busy to address. I finally dug in a few months back, took off all the lugs and hardware, dawn bath, polished up, packed lug springs up, reinstalled. Turns out it was the dang muffler the whole time... I've thought about buying one of the new replacements, may get to that someday.

On the flip side, I loved the old felt strip muffler in my 50s Gretsch RB bass drum. It muted down coated single ply heads like nothing else Ive had. Just sold the drum, but would have kept the muffler if it was portable.
 

Dave Patrick

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I thought Rogers figured out during their Memriloc/Big R-era major hardware rethink that internal mufflers were not the way to go - they fight you because they're pushing up against the downward motion of the stick stroke. An external muffler of whatever sort (mechanical muffler a la the Rogers model, moongel, tape or a zero ring - or even dropping another head on upside down) will work much better, IMO.
The movement of the top drum head creates the sound column that "bounces" off the reso head.I don't like anything that limits the downward movement of the batter head.Rogers and Tama began to subscribe to this by creating external mufflers/tone controls in the 70's.Muffling from the top lets the head move uninhibited,which seems to make more sense.The rattling,and parts loosening of internal tone controls,and the time consuming access to repair them,create another potential issue,and in the studio,"time is money."External dampening from the top not only lets the head move in the right direction,devices like clip-on tone controls,moon-gel types,studio rings,ect,mean you can change the sound in seconds.( Or in the 60's,a Wallet!)A common mistake is to over dampen to get the sound you want behind the drums,and not hearing how they sound out front.Having said all of that,I've been amazing at the collector/restorer mufflers prices on E-bay,etc!Just some of my thoughts on the subject,and with that,I will leave you with one of my Big Dave mottos/meme/bumper sticker quotes."Three things you can never win an arguement about...Politics,religion,and SOUND!...P.S.Do we really build drums out of the finest materials for maximum tone and resonance,then look for ways to remove it?
 

pgm554

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Never liked them.
No matter how you posistioned your drum ,you would always hit that dead spot eventually.
 

lossforgain

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I'm someone who loves them, but only in certain drums. My Ludwig Supra, Acro, and other phonics all seem to work well and be very helpful/useable. Same on vintage Slingerland I have. But I don't use them on toms really. I restored a Ludwig 3-ply set of orphans a few years back and put the mufflers in them to be "correct" but they rattled something fierce, so I ended up taking them out.
 

Kevinpursuit

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Had internal mufflers on my old Rogers Starlighter kit were great. Very adjustable, unlike the old Ludwig type that used a lever. The Rogers were capable of putting light pressure on the head due to its screw type configuration. Never had them come loose or vibrate.
 

Monday317

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The internal mufflers on my classic Slingerlands worked very well; always doing a good job. At the time, I thought it was insane when drummers followed the Pied Piper, and started removing them. Did they really interfere with shell resonance that much? Today, I noticed that some are going back to the old days and installing them. Yes, I know that the latest batter heads can "do the job", but I have always preferred the internal muffler.
I personally don’t like them but don’t care for sparkle wrap either—meaning it won’t make a difference to any other drummer known to humanity. If you like them (and sparkle wrap, for that matter) play them in good health, knowing you won’t have to worry about me stealing your drums!
 

JohnnyVibesAZ

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Had internal mufflers on my old Rogers Starlighter kit were great. Very adjustable, unlike the old Ludwig type that used a lever. The Rogers were capable of putting light pressure on the head due to its screw type configuration. Never had them come loose or vibrate.
The old Ludwig "Baseball Bat" lever-type strainers always came loose. Not a good invention.
 

Shawn Martin

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I took mine out.

Muffling from below chokes the head - and sometimes things on the mufflers vibrate loose and fall off. If you're recording, that means an immediate drum disassembly, unless having a random part buzz around inside the drum is part of your sound. If you're on a session for someone else, the producer may not let you get away with it - and may not call you back because you showed up with gear not ready to record, slowed the process down and cost him or her money. He or she may also discuss this with others, further reducing your calls.

If I need muffling, Moongel or something similar works fine.
thats always been my opinion. An internal muffler is going against the natural movement of the drumhead. You throw your stick in a downward motion, but anything pushing upward on the head (regardless of how little you may have it engaged) is going to kill the movement of the head.

Muffling above makes much more sense. You can dampen it to whatever extent you want while still letting the head to move completely.
 

GeneZ

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The internal mufflers on my classic Slingerlands worked very well; always doing a good job. At the time, I thought it was insane when drummers followed the Pied Piper, and started removing them. Did they really interfere with shell resonance that much? Today, I noticed that some are going back to the old days and installing them. Yes, I know that the latest batter heads can "do the job", but I have always preferred the internal muffler.
The greatest tone and punch I ever got from a set was a 1960's Ludwigs with the threaded turn knob (not baseball bat) mufflers that allowed for very gradual muffling.

Apparently, too many did not understand how to use them. They cranked them too high and choked the sound not having the right feel for tuning. I got the sweetest deep sound from that set. When I got my next set with the baseball bat muffling, I soon became depressed to see how un-versatile they were.. they choked the sound when used. You could not fine tune them.
 


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