How To Make Drums Quieter: Easy Ways To Quiet Your Kit!

By Evan C

Are Your Drums Way Too Loud?

If you’re a drummer and someone has complained about the volume of your drums, you’re probably wondering how to make drums quieter.

I can understand that because it seems like anyone and everyone will always complain about drum volume regardless of what you do. Trust me, lots of drummers face it.

Above is a video I did to help with simple drum dampening (lots not covered from this post in that video)
Best drum dampeners

How To Make Drums Quieter, Finally…

Whether you’re practicing at home or drumming away in a live performance, the sound of your drums and cymbals can become overwhelming for both yourself and those around you.

Fortunately, there are several ways to make your drums quieter. One effective solution is to switch out traditional drumheads with mesh heads.

Mesh heads are made of a synthetic material that produces less volume when struck than traditional drumheads.

They also have a softer feel which can help reduce overall noise levels. Another option is to use drum mutes and cymbal mutes, which are rubber pads placed on top of the drums and cymbals to dampen their sound.

These mutes come in various sizes and shapes to fit different types of drums and cymbals. Low volume cymbals are another option to help out with loud cymbals and dynamic control.

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It All Varies On What You Need Done!

​Those are some of the best methods to think on when determining how to make drums quieter. Let’s delve into those a little more and some other options you have that may be more of an effective way to your best solution. 

Cymbal mute on my hi hats
Cymbals mute on my hi hats (lazily lol) – Circa 2018

Different Ways On How To Make Drums Quieter

The best way to determine how to make drums quieter is to figure out firstly how much drum noise you actually need to get rid of.

If you are trying to get a quiet practice in on your acoustic kit and you have a lot of neighbors, it’s probably a good idea to look at the options that will lower the volume of drums down the most.

This would include mesh drum heads, drum mutes, low-volume cymbals, and anything that actually will lessen and change the sound of your acoustic drum set. 

If you are just trying to get your drums a little quieter for performance, we’ll dive into the different ways you can try to keep your overall sound without deadening it. With that being said, let’s dig into your best options here. 

Drum Muffling:

One of the simplest and most common ways to reduce drum volume is by using drum muffling techniques.

Muffling involves adding materials or devices to the drumheads or drum shells to dampen vibrations and decrease resonance.

Options include using drumhead dampening gels, muffling rings, or even taping towels or blankets onto the drumheads.

Snareweight dampener
Snareweight for dampening on my snare drum

Experiment with different muffling techniques to find the balance between reducing volume and maintaining the desired tone.

You can start with the batter head and then experiment and then place dampening on the resonant head after. 

Muffling is the best place to start with any acoustic drum kit. You don’t want to start getting rid of all the tone in your drums yet, unless a lot of people have already complained about your drums being too loud.

How to make drums quieter with blankets and/or pillows is affordable.
Blanket in kick drum – put as much or as little material as you need

Additionally, using bass drum pillows or adjustable dampeners can help control the volume and sustain of the kick drum. 

Cymbal Dampening:

Cymbals can also contribute significantly to the overall volume of a drum kit. Many people may think of cymbals first when determining how to make drums quieter.

To minimize cymbal sound, consider using cymbal mutes or dampening pads. These accessories can be placed on top of the cymbals to reduce their sustain and overall volume.

Additionally, selecting lower-volume cymbals or opting for smaller sizes can help achieve a quieter sound without compromising the cymbals’ musicality.

Moongel on my crash

Lower-volume cymbals are typically lighter and/or have tons of holes in them that take away most of the volume that regular cymbals would have.

However, it is a cheaper option to use dampening devices vs. low volume cymbals to make your cymbals quieter. 

Practice Pads and Silent Stroke Heads:

For practicing at home, invest in practice pads or electronic drum kits with mesh or rubber pads. Practice pads provide a near-silent playing experience, allowing you to maintain your technique and muscle memory without disturbing others.

A practice pad kit may be the best way for how to make drums quieter. You still can build your chops, but in complete quiet.
My practice pad kit – just set up your kick pedal and hi-hats if you want and you can practice quietly

Alternatively, consider using some mesh heads on your acoustic drums. These specialized drumheads are designed to reduce volume significantly while retaining a realistic drum feel.

Mesh heads are on a lot of electronic kits and will go a long way in bringing down the overall volume in the sound of the drums.

These heads are pretty easy to find on any online music store, like Musician’s Friend or Guitar Center.

It may take away a lot of power from your snare drum and kick especially, but you’ll be playing a lot quieter. 

Drum Room Isolation:

If you have a dedicated practice space or recording studio, soundproofing the room can greatly reduce drum volume.

Soundproofing techniques may include adding acoustic panels to walls, installing heavy curtains or soundproofing foam, and sealing any gaps or air leaks.

This drum booth did a great job at quieting the drums!
Me playing drums at my old church in the drum booth. Circa 2013

These methods are great when tackling the issue of how to make drums quieter because that’s what isolation is.

Additionally, consider using drum isolation platforms or risers to decouple the drums from the floor, minimizing vibrations that can transmit sound through the structure of the building.

A lot of drummers will build platforms with plywood sitting on top of tennis balls cut in half. This greatly reduces vibrations as well. 

Soundproofing can be pretty expensive and not be the best thing for everyone. It is a really good way of getting people to stop complaining about your loud drums though.

What a shame we can’t just play wherever and whenever we want, but if you can afford it, this would be a fantastic option.

Moving blankets are a cheaper option that you could use in lieu of soundproof curtains and I’d advise to shop around and not pick the first, most expensive soundproofing solutions out there.

A lot of those companies have pretty hefty prices and I’d recommend sealing off gaps, air leaks and trying for some thick moving blankets first. 

Drum Shields:

Drum shields, also known as drum screens or baffles, are transparent panels placed around the drum set to contain and redirect sound.

They act as a physical barrier between the drums and the surrounding environment, helping to control and reduce the spread of sound waves.

It’s hard to see, but I’m in another drum booth at a different church. Circa 2018 I think

Drum shields are commonly used in live performances and studio recordings to isolate the drum sound and provide better control over the overall mix.

If you’re wondering how to make drums quieter on a more friendly budget, drum shields are way more affordable then trying to soundproof an entire room (or large part of the room). They aren’t the cheapest, but it will help in sound reduction for sure!

Volume Control Accessories:

Explore various volume control accessories that can further reduce drum volume while preserving the playing experience.

For example, low-volume drumsticks, such as brushes or hot rods, produce softer sounds compared to traditional drumsticks.

Stick brushes I picked up several years ago. The brushes rock, but there isn’t really a fulcrum to use the actual drumstick part.

These options are another one that should be considered along with drum dampening, as they will have less affect on your overall tone. 

Electronic Drums:

This is another option if you have the money to spend. I briefly mentioned mesh heads, but electronic drum sets are a great way of reducing the overall volume of your kit.

My electronic kit
Me playing my electric kit Circa 2016. I had to get one because I was in the Air Force and needed m y

Although, if you are living in an apartment or duplex, it still may not be the best option. I lived in a duplex and still got complaints of my electric kit. It was because of the vibrations making their way through the floors/walls. 

My Personal Method:

I use dampening like moon gel, Remo rings, a bass drum pillow, and a Snareweight to bring down the overtones in my drum set.

If I need to bring down volume, I usually use drum muffling pads, as well as cymbal pads. I’m going to be using some soundproofing techniques here in the next few months to determine how to make drums quieter in our new house.

I’ll definitely let you know how it goes, but it’s not going to be anything too crazy or expensive at all. 

Falling Action:

Don’t Compromise Who You Are As A Drummer!

Making drums quieter doesn’t mean compromising on their musicality or your playing experience.

By employing a combination of drum muffling techniques, cymbal dampening, practice pads, soundproofing measures, and volume control accessories, you can achieve a more controlled drum sound suitable for any environment.

Using a blanket and a jacket in my kick drum
My current set up (and resonant head) – I have a blanket and a jacket in my 24″ kick drum and it works!

Experiment with different methods, adapt them to your specific needs, and strike a balance between volume reduction and maintaining the desired tone and feel.

Remember, with the right tools and techniques, you can enjoy playing your drums while also allowing others around you to be happy. 😅

What Are Your Ways To Quiet Drums?

​What are your thoughts on how to make drums quieter? Do you use any of these methods or are there other things you do?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and any questions you have! Please let me know in the comments below. 

Want FREE drum hacks to help your drum chops foundation and get you on the right track?

Get those by clicking here.

Until next time, stay attuned!

-Evan C.

About the author

Hi there, I'm Evan and I love drums.. Also, I love music! I've been playing drums for most of my life and nothing beats the thrill I get from it. I hope to be able to provide you with insightful tips and reviews on things within the drum and music world!

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