There is a lot of ways to improve the sound of your drum kit, especially when you have been using it for a while. When getting a new drum kit, it is very easy to get the best sounds out of it, but when it is getting old, it tends to lose some of that quality that made it your favourite instrument.
There are some things we can do to salvage this and make it sound as good as when it was still new, and these steps are quite simple and would help improve your drum kit health.
8 Simple Steps to Improve the Sound of your Drum Kit
Changing your drum head
Most times, people continue using their drum heads for a long time without changing it, no matter how many times you tune it or any other thing you do, it will still sound bad. Once you start to play on old bad batter heads, it will always produce bad sounds, one way to avoid this is by changing the drum head.
In case you don’t know which drum head to use, you should check out this article on drum heads reviews. There are so many options to pick from that would fit into your drum shells perfectly and produce better sounds.
Tuning Your Drums Properly
It is one thing to get new drum heads and not tune it properly to sound better. This can be your issue if you don’t tune your drum properly, tuning your drum kit is an art, and it gets better with practice. Check out this article on tuning your drums. Tuning with ears can be quite tricky and time-consuming. It will take some time to get used to, especially when you have little experience in tuning your kit.
You could also check online videos to see people tune the way their drums sound. If you don’t have the patience to learn the art of drum tuning, you can choose the option of using the tuner. The tuner comes in different forms like the popular digital Tunebots, or the traditional analogue drum dial.
They exist with the sole aim to help you tune your drum kit and improve the sound of your drum kit, reducing the overtones your kit produces. Apart from all this, it also helps improve your ear gradually, and in time, you will able to tune the drum set without the use of external tools.
Making Sure Your Drum Head Fits Perfectly With Your Drum Shell
This is for the folks with the older version of the drum kits looking to improve the sound of their drum kits. There could be problems fitting in contemporary drum heads on their old drum shells, this is because of the size of the drum shells, as old drum shells are bigger the drumheads available now.
The drum shells are also covered with heavy plastics, which will also make it thicker than normal.
One way to go about this is to reduce the diametre by trimming the plastic till the drum head fits in and can vibrate easily, also makes sure to nick the bearing edge in the process. Make sure this process is as smooth as possible.
Dampening The Drum Heads
Sometimes, drums produce stubborn overtones that no matter the number of times we tune the drum head, it will keep occurring. This is common in some low-quality drum kit and in some cases with electronic drum kits. Stubborn overtones can be erased by smart dampening. The way dampening works is simply by adding new materials on the drumhead to reduce the amount of unwanted vibration, which is causing the overtones.
With that said, one inexpensive way to go about this is by adding duct tapes to the drum heads, close to the rims of the drum kit. You could this with a piece of paper placing this at the edge of the drum head. It will improve the sound made when the drum head is hit by making the sound drier and more defined with fewer overtones.
The use of duct tape might not sound nice to some drummers that don’t like the look of their drum kit when duct tape is on their drum heads. There are fancier options which adds more beauty and a little more improvement, and that’s the drum gels, there are different types of drum gels available.
They are just small pads made from transparent, adhesive gel materials which stick easily to the drum heads and can be removed completely latter without leaving residues of dried up glue which happens when you use the duct tape, and another good thing is they are more effective than the duct tape and beautifies the drum head.
Always Check The Bearing Edges For Any Flat Spot Or Dip
A lot of drummers don’t check this part of their drums regularly when trying to improve the sound of your drum kit. I didn’t check my bearing edges throughout my first year of playing the drum set. It is worth noting that they can influence the way your drum head will sound.
Any flat dip spots on the bearing edge could have an influence on how good or bad your sounds are – irrespective of how many times you tune it.
One way of solving this is by taking it to an expert to help you cut a new bearing edge.
Another thing you should not forget is to wax your bearing edges to reduce the amount of friction between the drum head and the drum shell. You could make use of the beeswax or paraffin. Don’t melt them; instead, apply them over each bearing head, this will improve the head vibration of the drumheads and improve the sound of the drum.
The snare drum head is the most used drum head on the drum kit, and there is something that plays a huge role in improving your snare drum sound apart from the drum heads, It is the snare drum wire, due to the fact it is under the drums it is mostly overlooked, a good snare wire will surely improve the sound of your snare drum, it will increase the sensitivity of the snare drum and make it sound more soft and warm.
It will reduce the snare drum buzz and won’t harm the resonant head.
Even with good snare wire, there could still be problems due to the misalignment of the snare wire from the centre of the snare resonant head. Try readjusting it and make sure it aligns at the centre of the resonant head. There is also the issue of uneven snare wire in the resonant head of the snare. This could be that some of them are clogging on each other. It will choke the sound from the snare drum reducing the effects of the snare wires.
Working On The Bass Drum
Having a good sounding bass drum is essential for drummers. There are some things to check out for when getting a bad sound from your bass drum. Firstly, check your bass drum pedal, most especially the beater on the pedal, place your drum pedal at a position where the beater is as close as possible to the centre of the bass drum head.
This will improve the sound production, maximising the resonance heard from the drum heads and refining the tone. You also need to achieve a dead-centre hit no matter the bass drum size you are using, either a 22-inch, 20-inch, or 24-inch. It is stipulated that it is easier getting the dead centre with a 22 inch, but no matter the bass drum size, it can be obtained by adjusting the height of the pedal beater, although this might affect the overall responsiveness of the drum pedal.
Another way to improve the sound of your bass drum is by making sure it has a kick port. A kick port is a port on your bass drum resonant head that sits inside the makeshift hole in the resonant head of the bass drum. It acts as a durable soundhole reinforcement for your drum head, increasing the durability, and also improving the overall sound of the bass drum, improving the punchiness of the drum sounds.
Getting a good sounding set of cymbals is a very important decision for drummers, although cymbals get better with time. A good sounding cymbal will always sound good on the first day of purchase, so don’t fall into the trap of getting a bad cymbal with the hope it getting better with time, it doesn’t work that way.
You don’t need to empty your wallet to get good sounding cymbals, some drum brands like Meinl produce great sound cymbals as good as Zildjian, Paiste, and Sabian for a fraction of the price and this top brands also have some good sounding cymbals for lesser price.
There is also a method of reducing the overtone on the ride and crash cymbals, by placings ¾ inch wide duct tape under the cymbal, to improve the sound by dampening the cymbal and increasing the ping sound.
The eight steps in this article will help take your drum sound to the next level. You should also not forget always to clean your drum kit, and oil the metallic parts. Taking care of your drum kit is important as a drummer, so your drums will serve you for a long time producing the best sound it can.