Too Much Overtones?
Drums can get pretty loud and have unwanted overtones. Learning how to dampen drums is your best option in controlling the amount of sustain and unlocking your best sound.
Dampening Drums Is Easy
Drum dampening is a critical aspect of drumming that every drummer should master. Dampening refers to the process of reducing or controlling the overtones and sustain of a drum.
It’s essential because it gives your drums a more focused, controlled sound while minimizing unwanted ringing and other undesirable effects.
There are several different ways to dampen your drums effectively. One popular method is using drum damping pads, which are simple foam or rubber pieces you can place on top of your drums’ heads.
You can also use Moongel, an adhesive gel pad designed specifically for this purpose that sticks to the head and reduces overtones by absorbing vibrations.
Another effective way to achieve a dampening effect is by using pillows or blankets inside the bass drum. This technique helps reduce unwanted resonances in the bass frequencies, creating a tighter sound overall.
All the choices above are a great option for dampening your drum set, but let’s dive into each drum (and type of drum) and talk about the best way on how to dampen drums.
Each drum has a different sound with varying overtones and dampening can differ. I recommend also checking out my article about the best drum dampeners by clicking here.
How To Dampen Drums: Drum By Drum!
Drummers tend to focus on the batter head (top head) with snare drum dampening. Although, you can dampen the resonant head (bottom head).
There are several ways we can go about dampening a snare and most of them are pretty simple. You could put a strip of tape over a paper towel or cotton balls on the top of the drum head.
This option is free and won’t offer as much customization (but you can’t beat free). You could also use any Big Fat Snare Drum product, especially if you want a specific vintage sound.
Moon gels are what I have used for several years, but I have been using a Snareweight as of late. I’ve noticed it has given my snare a nice punchy sound, while not deadening the drum. Gaffer tape is another solid option for controlling overtones on your snare.
For your resonant head, it’s usually not recommended to tune it higher than your batter head. You’ll also want to make sure you don’t over tighten your snare wires as it can lead to more unwanted buzzing from your snare.
These tips are a good way to ensure your snare drum always sound pristine. You’re learning how to dampen drums as you’re finding your sound. You’ll basically dampen what sounds good to your ear.
These seem to be a lot more annoying with acoustic drums because it has been and always will be a long time hassle for a lot of drummers.
You can find a slew of forum discussions where drummers are asking about the best methods to killing the overtones in their toms.
There are different options available though and plenty of them. You can use any of the methods mentioned with snare drums for toms.
You’re trying to get rid of just the right amount of resonance and all these methods have worked successfully for thousands of drummers.
You can products like evans e-rings or any sort of plastic rings. The control rings can help to rid of just the right amount of overtones on toms.
If you have old drum heads, you can also cut a ring from the outer edge of those and it’s the same concept as any drum ring. I have always used Remo rings on my toms and here more recently, I’ve been using solely moon gel on my floor tom. You can also use rings on snare drums as well.
To reduce the excessive ringing of the bass drum, you can use a bass drum pillow or blanket. This is a soft material that can be placed inside the drum to reduce the resonance and achieve a more focused sound.
If you’re looking for a free route, it’s the way to go. I still use the free route and my kick drum sounds better than it ever has in my opinion.
There are also drumheads with resonance control built in, as well as foam mechanisms that mount right under the head.
Evans eq pad is another product you can use, which is a pillow that sits inside against your batter bass drum head.
You’d be surprised how much a pillow can change the sound of a drum. All of those ways focus on getting rid of the excessive ‘boomy’ kick drum sound.
There are other options like adhesive tone modifiers that can help focus attack and deepen bass drum tone. You just slap on right on the beater head and BAM!
Having a porthole on your resonant kick drum head can also add more pronounced attack and punchiness to your kick sound, while taking away some of the drum’s natural resonance.
Check out one of previous articles about all the benefits of having a porthole vs. not having one by clicking here!
All of these options can be use together or how you’d like. When figuring out how to dampen drums, bass drum muffling tends to be a more clear cut process.
Cymbals can be dampened as well. A great solution for getting rid of too much cymbal ring is any sort of tape. You could use gaffer tape here or a strip of duct tape. Just keep adding a little bit until you hear what works for you. This is great for when you need to take down the inevitable noise complaints.
Drum Mutes and Beyond:
to completely dampen overtones and volume, you’d use drum mutes. This will pretty much suck the tone right out of your drums. I wouldn’t consider this option for how to dampen drums. Although, this is good for when you need to just practice. A practice pad kit is another great option!
Sorry, but electronic drums can only be turned down volume-wise! The thud is still evident, especially to my previous neighbors who complained. Sorry, but I gotta.
You can find most of these products I mentioned from a local music store, or an online store like Musician’s Friend.
Another important aspect of drum dampening is controlling the acoustics of the practice room where you are playing. You can achieve this by using sound-absorbing materials such as foam or carpeting to reduce the reflections and absorb the sound.
In conclusion, dampening drums is a crucial technique for achieving a better sound quality and eliminating unwanted overtones. By using various materials and techniques, you can control the resonance and achieve a more focused sound for your drums.
Next time someone asks how to dampen drums, you’ll be able to help them out. All of these ways are perfect for controlling that extra ring in your drums, bringing out more attack, warmth, and whatever other tones are lurking within your drums.
Your drums can sound good and it’s all about experimentation. Try out any of these ways and tweak anything that makes sense for you.
Drum dampening is going to be different for all drummers, depending on what sound you’re going after.
What are your thoughts on drum dampening? Are there other methods you use that we didn’t mention?
Most methods are pretty similar, but I’d love to hear it! Let me know in the comments below. Feel free to ask any questions as well.
Want to know how I DOUBLED my hand speed by just using a few simple techniques?!
Until next time, stay attuned!