Percussion Clinic Adelaide
Tuning and Muffling Drums
written by Harvey Frederick - 19/12/98

Just a note from an old studio and road musician. Most questions I've been asked have to do with tuning and muffling the drums, snare, bass, toms. I'm always asked, how do you get you drums to sound so good? I've read not all but a lot of the tuning and muffling articles that are in print and really none of them tell the beginner how to really tune. I try to explain to them how I tune my own but I don't believe there is a really good drum tuning book on the market. If there is I certainly do not know about it. For instance I use outing flannel on my bass drum to muffle it. Cost is around $3.00 and once you have it in place it never moves and it sounds great. Most tuning articles tell you that both heads on the snare drum should be tight. and that's all they say. Isn't there one exceptional tuning guide out there someplace that is really good? If you have one on you page here I may have missed it. A really great tuning guide would be nice to have available, one that doesn't cut any corners and one that goes into depth so that the beginners as well as the seasoned drummers can appreciate it.

On BASS-DRUM Muffling
I read a lot of articles on tuning and a lot on muffling but none I really liked. You know how they say a bass drum should be muffled, throw a pillow or one or two of these padded bass drum mufflers or a folded blanket inside the bass drum. All I've ever used is a piece of outing flannel which can be purchased at any fabric outlet and cost around $3.00

The new tone control snare drum head by Ludwig is good. I'm not advertising for Ludwig, I'm just stating that particular head is good in my opinion. To muffle the bass drum with outing flannel, remove the front head completely from the shell, cover the top half of front opening with the outing flannel, place the front head back on the bass drum and the hoop, tighten the hoop just tight enough so you can still pull the outing flannel tight against the bass drum head. When flannel is tight go ahead and finish tightening the hoop to your liking. On the beater head of bass drum follow exactly what you did on the front head except cover the entire opening with the outing flannel. For me this eliminated the hassle of always having to adjust pillows or blankets or what ever was being used to muffle the bass drum. I just unpack, setup and play the gig. You will probably have to trim the excess outing flannel from around the hoop. If your bass drum doesn't have a front head just cover the beater head with the outing flannel. Just remember to get the outing flannel as tight as you can against the head. Maybe you already knew this, but you would be surprised of the drummers I've talked with that never heard of this method.

written by Harvey Frederick - 19/12/98

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