View Full Version : bass drum muffling?
09-17-2005, 03:33 PM
what do you guys put in (or on) your bass drums to get a good muffled sound? I was thinking either a blanket or pillow at the bottom, or maybe one of them foam ring things. Which is better? and if you do a foam ring thing, i assume you put it on the inside of the head? I have a premier 28" drum...
09-17-2005, 04:11 PM
Here this is what I followed woth my 28" permier, seemed to work really well.
Those semi-circular pieces of foam that swish's post links to are popular, seem to work well. I'm pretty sure they come standard on Hoss built drums. Can't really argue with that.
I've also heard good things about Aquarian's Super Kick II heads (but have no personal experience with them). They have a factory installed muffling system. I believe it's a strip of fabric around the edge of the head. If I remember right L.A. Scots are using the Super Kick II now. Forum member Andrew H (among others, I'm sure) could confirm/deny this.
I've always used a strip of foam. Actually right now we're using casket lining, but it's pretty much the same thing. The casket lining just adds a bit of the macabre to the corps and allows me to threaten my line with a "bass drum nap".
It's important to remember that whichever method of dampening you pursue, the muffling is attached to the inside shell of the drum, not to the head itself. I usually leave about 1/8 inch muffling sticking out past the bearing edge of the rim. It's enough to eliminate overtones/rings but still leave some sustain to the drum.
The pillow/blanket approach works well for kit basses, but proabably wouldn't work for the pipe band bass sound. I've never tried it with a pipe band...do me a favor, give it a try. Let me know how it sounds! Ya know, in the name of science! :) :thumb:
09-18-2005, 06:09 AM
Glad the method works for you Swish. I updated the file for the Back to BASSics class and uploaded it this morning...thanks for the reminder :) All I did was describe how to achieve the results Hoss got on his original bass drums. My drum is nine years old and the foam is still intact! :bleh: It's true that these methods are sometimes used in muffling kit bass drums..., for that matter, so is duct (gaffer) tape. Fact is, if you're putting something in your drum that isn't giving you consistent contact...your sound will be inconsistent.
09-18-2005, 09:43 AM
Forum member Andrew H here as noted :thumb:
LA Scots bass drummer Steve Foley discovered the Aquarian Super Kick heads a few years ago and made a special request that they make them in a 28". Previously their largest was 24" for kick-drums. The first set was made for him in early 2002 which many of you may remember had the Virgin Atlantic Airlines logos on them. Here we are closing the 2005 season and ready to dismount pair 3 of the SK1 heads. They are rock-solid dependable heads and you'll find that most SoCal bands, many WUSPBA bands, and lately a few savvy MWPBA bands are making the switch.
For the Scots' tenors we also have a modified Super Kick 1 head setup. Aquarian agreed to customize the heads with a tom-tom stype flesh hoop so that they would fit under a metal hoop comfortably allowing for smooth and consistent tenioning. We play the modded SK1 on the top of our tenors and Aquarian Performance II on the bottom (which is basically the same head without the dampening). Got best mids at Pleasanton with that setup so we're pretty pleased with it :thumb:
For more on the SK series -
This year SFU switched their bands over to Aquarian Articulator heads which are much the same as the SuperKick setup with a slightly different film. I'm not sure what they're using on the tenors (maybe one of them lurking on here somewhere could answer) but I think they're using a cutout bottom head [vintage approach]. Would be interested to hear more about that.
Articular heads link:
My biggest support for the factory-muffled heads is that it takes out the arts and crafts game of foam, weatherstripping, glue, tape, velcro or whatever other combination of choice. Don't get me wrong ... the results are amazing for the Hoss setup [have had the pleasure of played with Mike Cole for "a few" years with NO complaints!]. I personally don't exactly enjoy taking the time tuning drums in the first place so anything at all that makes that effort faster and/or easier and to still get a champion sound is way OK by me :)
09-18-2005, 05:13 PM
Originally posted by CBW:
It's important to remember that whichever method of dampening you pursue, the muffling is attached to the inside shell of the drum, not to the head itself.This is just one person's opinion. I use the REMO Muff'l Strips and I DO place them directly on the head of the drum. About 3 inches from the edge of the head. I know of many Grade 2 bands that do this, and I know that SFU has done it in the past (though they did switch heads this year, as has been noted).
I am quite happy with the tone, and always gets good comments from the judges. I brought it to the Back to BASSic's class, and it was also complimented there as well.
09-18-2005, 07:15 PM
Right Andrew. You did have a good sounding drum! The Remo strips work for you. :thumb:
I would only add that once you install the dampening on the shell..."Bob's yer uncle". You don't have to do it again.
Big Johnny Rowe
09-19-2005, 05:59 AM
Interesting thread -
Personally, I like the challenge of taking my drum apart a lot to make sure everything is running just fine. I do it several times year just to make sure muffling is still working o.k. and also to clean my bearing edges, etc., not to mention change heads and stuff.
I'm using REMO clear Emperors (artwork done myself) and the 'Hoss' muffling technique.....ABSOLUTELY NO COMLAINTS and it's what works for me.
Like Mike said, I guess that's the key - find what works for you and stick with it. It's cool to know people are experimenting and not being afraid to find what makes their intrument work the best.
09-19-2005, 07:09 AM
I use various lengths of 1" square air conditioner insulation, placed at strategic points. The City drum only needs 4 pieces of foam , about 4" each, per head, spaced out equally. And it projects pretty well, I think. The 12" wide older Pearl drum that my grade 4 has takes a little more foam, but the same principal applies. Just before you do it, make sure you lightly sand the parts you are glueing to. The factory finish is pretty slick, and glue tends to pop off pretty quick if you don't.
09-19-2005, 07:18 AM
The Hosbilt foam dampers are available from Hosbilt direct.
They are $2.00 ea.
Let me know if you need some.
09-20-2005, 09:39 AM
I've got a gig coming up and needed to get it setup fairly quickly, so i just got window insulation foam 2" sq. and spray adhesived it to the inside of the head. Sounds much better. We plan to get new heads eventually anyways with our logo painted on it, so i'm curious about this hoss system--can't figure out exactly what 2 dollars each gets me? Small pieces of foam? I read the articles and looked at the site, can't seem to figure out what it exactly is...
09-21-2005, 04:23 AM
$2.00 gets you a semi-circle of foam 4" diameter with a 2" thickness.
Cut your own if you like it's just easier to mount the pre-cut ones.
09-21-2005, 09:34 AM
I'm not trying to take any business away from Hoss, but if you need these immediately, go to a local store that sells upholstery supplies. They should have 4" foam cylinders that are used to make bolsters. Cut them in 2" thick circles, then cut each circle in half. The best thing I've found for cutting is a regular kitchen electric knife with a serrated blade.
But then if you can wait...it's probably easier to get them from Hoss!
09-23-2005, 12:57 PM
The insulation style foam often comes with adhesive that will not stand up to the effects of playing the bass or tenor. I've worked on a few drums that have a wad of insulation inside the drum in a ball from falling off. The adhesive used by REMO is about the best for staying on the drum.
SFU used Super Kick heads on their tenors this season and a set of Articulator bass heads. These heads are all self dampened.
The best sound to me other than the Super Kick for dampening has been using the REMO strips attached to the shell, coming in light contact with the bottom of the bass head and running aroud the full circle of the head instead of spot dampening.
We sell the REMO dampening strips for $16.99 and you get two 9' strips to work with, and they do not fall off.
09-23-2005, 02:01 PM
I do not like to stick anything to the actual drum head with adhesive. I don't think the head will resonate as well. So what I do is take air conditioning foam (it's the really porous stuff) at least 2 1/2 inches square and mount it on the inside of the drum shell so it sticks out past the shell about 1/8th of an inch. Then it isn't the adhesive that provides the damping, but rather the foam itself.
Big Johnny Rowe
09-24-2005, 12:54 PM
....not to flog a dead horse, but HOSS definitely knows what he's saying. His system works and it's super imortant for the head(s) to RESONATE!! I agree with Chops' comment that putting any dampening or muffling directly on the head will kill drastically the amount of resonance. If there's any drum kit players out there, you'll know what I mean.
Personally, I wouldn't want to be putting any heads on my drum that are 'pre muffled', like these Articulator heads, or like a Remo Powerstroke 2 or 3 head.... great for a killer kick drum sound on a drum kit, but for a Pipe Band bass drum..... I dunno.
This being said, I didn't have the benifit of hearing SFU this year. And, I'm sure they know what they're doing and if it works for them...cool :) !!! BUT - it's not my method of choice, and not to sound like a dick or anything - the last time I checked, my drum sounded pretty sweet following the Hosbilt muffling method.
09-24-2005, 03:35 PM
Check out Mike Cole's great tuning tips.
The dampening is only one facet of the bass set up. If one doesn't tune a drum well, then one might be chasing the muffling thing- thinking that more is needed. It has to go hand in hand- starting with the tuning. A poorly tuned drum will create unwanted overtones, which might mistakenly lead one to put in more dampening. It's a slippery slope.
I've learned a lot over the years by listening to advice from players like Hoss, Duncan Gibson, Mike, Tyler, and many more. Some sage advice on this forum.
09-25-2005, 03:24 PM
Hey There: I have installed the ICG dampening system. It"s simple and it is adjustable. If you are interested contact Ian Gibson. He is the moderator here.
Drumming is not for all
Just the few.
09-25-2005, 07:32 PM
I had to use the Remo muff'l ring with the plastic tray that fits over the shell and holds the strip in place on my Premier tenor. I was told not to use the Hoss set by the DS (not sure the reason). I don't see any down side to putting the dampening on the shell, is there? My drum is using the Fibrskin heads top and bottom but could use new ones. My drum has a huge amount of overtoning if I don't dampen it.
What suggested size of foam is needed to use Mike and Hoss's system on a tenor. Also any suggestions for heads for my Premier. The other tenors have Andante tenors with the clear heads that were supplied on the drums.
And Pipers think drumming is easy :wow:
09-26-2005, 05:02 AM
Ian and Duncan Gibson have developed a unique adjustable muffling system for bass and tenors. It really makes sense for tricky drums especially. Contact me with questions.
Tom Foote (http://www.tomfoote.com)
09-26-2005, 06:21 AM
The REMO tray system has you putting a plastic tray between the head and the bezel of the shell. That's going to remove the chance for the drum to have the sound intended. The tone of a tenor or bass in a pipe band, kit or orchestra setting deserves better than a quality head stretched over plastic. This system is attractive for making dampening fool-proof, but at what cost to sound?
Speaking about dampening systems incorporated on the head, I was very skeptical until actually "trying" the Super Kick and taking the time to understand the design. After hearing it on our bass and tenors and seeing the comments on the score sheets, it's a keeper.
09-26-2005, 06:49 AM
Just an added note, we're using Super Kick I and II heads between the tenors. The Super Kick II design is giving us better sustain and projection range on the bass than the single ply version.
09-26-2005, 06:34 PM
Originally posted by tdwsp:
I don't see any down side to putting the dampening on the shell, is there?No. But I would be very careful what you use to mount it with. Also, if the damping isn't deep enough so that it mounts a good 2 1/2 to 3 inches into the shell the foam will not lie flat against the head.
09-26-2005, 07:46 PM
Could we get a few more commercials in this thread please? I'm still not sure whose product to use.
09-27-2005, 07:27 AM
I think the information provided in this thread alone has been very worthwhile, and although I'm sure the companies that have had their names mentioned a few times would be pleased, it's pointless talking about a product if you don't mention its name. Finding a local distributor of these products, however, might prove more difficult.
It's probably a good idea to see the set up successful corps are using in your area--for example, our major problem in Brisbane is heat and the sun. The Hoss-based approach applied to my corps bass and tenors has out performed my expectations this year. A go around with the DrumDial, a quick tune with the tuner and everything's set.
It was mentioned above that the heads have to resonate, and I can only but reiterate this point. Although there are many factors involved, bad timbre is usually due to poorly-tuned bass and tenor drums. The right amout of dampening can really make these drums sing, and as many people have tried and tested several alternative methods, having a look around and deciding what's best for your corps could save time and effort in the future.