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  #1  
Old 04-24-2010, 06:19 PM
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Maninblack Maninblack is offline
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Drum Dampening Fascism


It is interesting as a player of 30 years, having taken 15 year break, to see the advice dished out on drum tuning and dampening.

When I started drumming in the early 80s many drums had internal dampers; now I will admit that they were utter crap and served little purpose as they really didn't damp very well but they were the thing in 1980.........apparently they didn't work because you could hear the click as they bounced off the underside of the head as you hit them........utter tripe but it destroyed a product.

Shortly after this, perhaps in the mid 90s, everyone was putting felt or cotton strips under the heads to muffle the sound.....Now this, it seems was also the work of the the devil because it unseated the drum head at the points where is crossed the rim. For the love of God I can tell you that as a material scientist the drum head polymers have more than enough flex and stretch to deal with this but the "experts" tell you that you will burn in hell for this method of damping.

Then there was the old trick of sticking tape or using tape to stick patches of tissue/cloth to the head to dampen the sound. Now, apparently, I will reduce the life of my heads if I use tape and then I will go straight to hell......I have an 8 and 10 inch tom set that I got in 1982 which have been constantly taped and still work very nicely with the original 1982 heads on them......so this is also utter tripe.

Now, having started playing again, youtube and the resident Gurus tell me that I should tune the drums to remove the ring and that is the best way and anything else is heresy. Apparently if I dampen my drums with anything except the power of The Lord and advice from Youtube I will burn in hell again. Seemingly if I can't "tune out" the ring then I am unworthy.

Oddly enough, in my previous life as a touring sound engineer & having had to mike up and tune drum kits and percussion for Bob Dylan's band, The Pogues, Desmond Dekker, Lindisfarne, Fairport Convention, Leningrad Cowboys, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, Gordon Giltrap, Oasis, Saxon, The Skids, The Proclaimers, Plant and Paige, All About Eve, Procul Harum, Richard Thompson, Albion Band, Watersons, Siegue Sigue Sputnick, Killing Joke, Steeleye Span, Fabulous String Band, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and around 500 other bands in 300 cover venues and 30,000 cover festivals I am fundamentally wrong. It sems the current fashion for the "breast feeding" approach to dampening is the true path to nirvana.......by the way, Dave Grohl also dampens his drums but less so because he has a really well made and less ringy set but that is what happens when you can spend $10K on some wooden hoops.

So I say to the youngsters; ignore the no dampening fascists, these are the same people who would leave a baby hungry rather than give it a bottle.

ps.....get a sheet of kitchen roll, fold it down the middle, fold in length wise so that the pad is about 4 inches X 1.5 inches. Duck tape it to the head in an area where you won't hit it in normal play. Keep in mind that this is what Ginger Baker, Ringo Starr, Eric Delaney and all the other old drummers did...it must work.

Anyone care to disagree?
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  #2  
Old 04-24-2010, 10:10 PM
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Der Trommler Der Trommler is offline
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Re: Drum Dampening Fascism


No disagreement here what so ever. There are many many ways to dampen heads to rid your set of overtones and in my opinion none of them are bad if it works.

There is only one thing that you can do that I know of that will shorten the life of your heads as far as tape goes and that is to use colored tape to secure the dampening material to the head. The chemicals used to color tape (that is tape that has a color other than white) do break down your heads as well as leather and synthetic leather to name a few.
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  #3  
Old 04-24-2010, 10:18 PM
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dtxtremeiiispecial dtxtremeiiispecial is offline
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Re: Drum Dampening Fascism


Thanks, Maninblack, great lesson from one who knows!

Also, this thread gets "Best Thread Title" Award.
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  #4  
Old 04-25-2010, 12:25 AM
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Re: Drum Dampening Fascism


great article!

leningrad cowboys is an awesome band name
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  #5  
Old 05-03-2010, 12:26 PM
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deanc54 deanc54 is offline
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Re: Drum Dampening Fascism


Hey Maninblack,

Great! So,..how does one go about tuning so as to eliminate the dampeners? I have heard alot from those 'facisits' who discourage, or poo-poo dampening systems, but they never seem to want to serve up the instructional seminar. It really seems to be a secret, forbidden art form. Can you enlighten us?
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  #6  
Old 05-03-2010, 01:24 PM
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Re: Drum Dampening Fascism


I don't want to speak for maninblack but it seems to me he is of the same feeling I am. Do what ever you need to in order to achieve the sound you want or need.

You are correct Dean, they preach don't do this or that but never offer any suggestion as to how to dampen otherwise.
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  #7  
Old 05-03-2010, 02:39 PM
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deanc54 deanc54 is offline
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Re: Drum Dampening Fascism


Hey Der Trommler!

I really want to know how to tune in order to eliminate the dampeners, so I would really like a tuning guru to step up and describe the process. I use dampening rings and they get the job done just fine, but it really would be great not to have to use them at all. Come on you tuning guru's...let go your little secret and share with your brothers in drums.
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  #8  
Old 05-04-2010, 06:30 PM
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Re: Drum Dampening Fascism


Another thing I consider is how the drums sound in more than just one location. When you are sitting in the throne, the sound hits you different as compared to being on the other side of the kit.

I think a little bit of ring is a good thing, personally. Not the basset hound howl, mind you, but if you take out all the ring, you get dead sounding drums and might as well just play open headed. Less hassle anyhow. :P

Props to the original poster, well spaketh.
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:20 AM
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deanc54 deanc54 is offline
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Re: Drum Dampening Fascism


Hey Paulo!

Nice to meet you! The last time I replaced my heads, I had a freind come out help me do exactly as you have described. It is so hard to determine how your set is really sounding when you are practicing alone. Turns out what sounded good to me was not that good from out front, and took a few more adjustments. I now make sure that before the start of any performance, someone takes a listen for me out in the audience or dance floor area. It really makes a difference in the dynamics, and can make or break the gig. (Still searching for the Tuning Guru who can help me eliminate the dampeners and the dreaded over-ring..where are you!?)
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  #10  
Old 05-15-2010, 12:59 PM
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Maninblack Maninblack is offline
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Re: Drum Dampening Fascism


Quote:
Originally Posted by deanc54 View Post
Hey Maninblack,

Great! So,..how does one go about tuning so as to eliminate the dampeners? I have heard alot from those 'facisits' who discourage, or poo-poo dampening systems, but they never seem to want to serve up the instructional seminar. It really seems to be a secret, forbidden art form. Can you enlighten us?
Frankly, mate, I have only ever seen one kit that wasn't damped and didn't need it. It was a mid priced Mapex. It seemed to have little ring but good resonance. Mind you it was improved by a set of those mylar film rings on the heads so it wasn't perfect.

I think the damping fascists never actually play live and just get the producer and engineer to take out the ring frequencies afterwards.
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