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  • Sabian SR2 Cymbals - ALL The Value

    When it comes to getting the most cymbal for your money, it’s hard to beat Sabian SR2 cymbals. What are Sabian SR2 cymbals? Glad you asked.
  • How to Mic a Snare Drum

    Many factors affect the sound produced from a snare. The positioning of the mic, the distance of the mic from the drum shell, the proximity of the mic to the head, and even the angle of incidence can all affect the sound. 

    Snare Sound 

    There are many ways to mic a snare, so getting a great live sound from your snares can be a daunting task. How you choose to do it, the mics you select, and how you place them can be determined by several factors. 

    The type of snare is a significant factor to consider because different sounds can be produced from each class. For instance, a 14” aluminum drum delivers different sounds from a 12” maple snare. Some produce deep sound while others produce sharp sound.  

    Your mic set up will either mitigate or highlight the sound depending on the genre of music. Jazz, for instance, requires a smooth, laid-back sound. On the other hand, most mainstream music requires powerful beats. 

    Lastly, the sound produced will depend on the drummer. Some will have controlled hits of the snare. Others will attempt to crack the snare with every hit. 

    Here are a few tips you can follow to get the desired sound. 

    1. Type of Mic 

    The snare is a pretty loud instrument. As such, the best mic to use is dynamic. The reason for this is that dynamic mics have better SPL handling capacity. The mics can handle the sound without distortion. 

    Some engineers might argue that mics not sold as snare mics may produce exquisite sounds. However, matching the mic to the snare produces a cleaner sound. Again, fixing mics with EQ or plug-ins may shift the phase.  

    Remember, the snare is an instrument of time, and the phase affects time. Once you add plug-ins to the chain, the phase will change. This will mess with the sound. Additionally, it will make it much trickier to sync the snare to the rest of the drum kit. 

    2. Mic Placement 

    The position of the microphone can be limited by the amount of space available between the drums. Therefore, it is crucial to get the mic in the right place. You can choose to either have only one microphone at the top or have two mics, one for the top and one for the bottom. 

    With the mic placed above the snare and close to the center of the head, it produces a sound that is low, dark, and less snare-like. As you move away from the rim, the sound becomes balanced between the snares and the head. 

    For the right balance, place the dynamic mic 1.5 inches above the head, 2 inches inside the rim of the snare, and at a 25 degrees inclination directed to the center of the head. If you desire a low-end sound, move the mic from the center of the head. 

    3. Use Two Mics 

    Most engineers might be reluctant to have two mics, one over and one under. However, this arrangement produces a brilliant sound. A little of the rattling sound of the wires at the bottom, which gives the drums its name, can add taste to the dominant sound from the top. A frequency of 80/20 for over/under works as a perfect balance. 

    The mic used under can either be balanced or bright. To get better sound, the polarity of the under mic should be reserved relative to the one at the top. The effect of this is that the sound will cause the diaphragms to move in opposite directions. This results in uniform polarity when hitting the snare. Otherwise, the signals will cancel out when combined. 

    4. Mounting the Mic 

    There are different set-ups when it comes to mounting your mics. You can either use a mic-clip or a stand. The set-up you choose depends on the position in which you want to put your microphone. A mic stand allows you to have a little bit of distance because of its separate set of equipment. If you want the microphone closer, you can use a clip and attach it right into the rim of the snare. 

    5. Experiment 

    Experimentation is the key to getting the sound you want. Remember, the sound will vary depending on the type of mic and type of drum. Therefore, there isn't a magic placement.  

    If you’re not happy with the sound produced from the initial position, change the angle and the installation of the mic relative to the head. If different musicians or different genres of music are playing at the same concert, you may have to re-position the mic for different sets. 

    6. Test It Out 

    Due to the pressure levels produced at the snares, you can have your ear in place of the mic and listen to the sound. The best thing to do is to adjust the mic position and listen to the result. This will show you that moving the microphone by the slightest margins will change the result of the sound. 

    If you are recording, get your entire set up ready first, as it is unlikely that you are only using the snares. Set up the instruments first, and then have your mic equipment. Tune the snare and make some sample recordings. Listen to the recordings and make any adjustments that you think are necessary. 

    Bottom Line 

    As earlier stated, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to micing a snare drum. Some people will have a microphone across the top of the snare. Others will have it pointing towards the rim. Still others will have it at the center. Each position and angle will bring out specific frequencies while de-emphasizing others. The placement should depend on what you want to bring out as well as factors such as the style of music and the type of drums. However, mic placement should be at a place where it isn’t likely to receive hits from the drumsticks.

  • Different Ways to Stack Your Cymbals

    The way you stack your cymbals has a great effect on the quality of sound you get. This process requires knowledge of the diameter, thickness, and quality of cymbals when doing the adjustments. Below is a summary of how you can achieve quality sound from your cymbal set. 

    Cymbal Sets 

    The sound from the cymbals is very exciting; perhaps the most impressive from an entire set of drums. Hearing the crash of the cymbals catches the attention of everyone listening. This is why drummers are keen on the quality of sound coming from the cymbals. 

    The crash of the cymbals is often used to mark the transition into a new part of a song. They can also be used to mark a musical passage or a dance number. The crash also accentuates the climax of a song. 

    Stacking up cymbals can open up endless possibilities with the sound that is produced. For instance, adding a smaller cymbal to the top of a bigger one, while keeping the wingnut loose, produces a loud and trashy noise. Having hi hat cymbals produces a washy and lower-pitched sound.

    • High Hat Cymbals 

    High hat cymbals usually sit on your left side. The two cymbals face each other and are attached to the stand that you play with a foot pedal. 

    There are several factors you need to consider when you are stacking up high hats. 

    • The Diameter 

    There are four sizes that are mainly available. This includes the 12, 13, 14, and 15 inches. The difference in sizes requires different playing techniques. The smaller sizes are brighter and generally more responsive to faster hits and are used for trickier rhythms. They need fancy footwork. The larger cymbals produce louder sounds that are washy. They work best when played in the semi-open and especially for rock music. 

    • Thickness 

    More thickness results in a higher pitch, greater volume, and more vibrations. However, thicker cymbals have a slower build-up of overtones. Thinner top hats are convenient for semi-open locations. They produce a subtle “sizzle” sound compared to the unpleasant “clangy” sound produced by the thicker ones. In closed places, however, the thicker high hats produce an articulate sound. 

    With the information above, you can stack up hi hats with a thicker bottom to a thinner top. This is the most common category. Another popular design is when high hats have ripped edges. The edges prevent airlock caused by opening and closing the cymbals with the foot pedal. 

    Main Crash Cymbals 

    When arranging your drum sets, the main crash cymbals should be arranged after the toms. This order will help you see where your sticks will be swinging when you are playing your toms. Once you find this position, try to position the first crash close enough, where it is easy to reach. The main crash should be slightly angled, at a height that you can easily reach. Proximity will make it easier to crash when you are playing a groove. 

    The second crash can be quite tricky to set up. For this reason, it is advisable to invest in a boom cymbal stand, which will allow you to fine-tune your second crash according to your needs. Having the cymbal at the correct height will give your ease of motion, easy accessibility, and will reduce stress as you play. 

    It’s advisable to mount the cymbals slightly inclined downwards to give you an excellent striking technique and promote resonance. Be careful not to put the cymbals too tight on the stand because it can choke the sound that is produced. Additionally, it can break the cymbals. The main crash should be allowed to have a full range of motion. 

    Ride 

    Rides are meant to play steady rhythmic patterns. They are most convenient for playing swing notes for jazz and blue or the 8th notes for rock and pop. Rides are mostly 20-22 inches in diameter. Their thickness is consistent between the taper and the bow. This design results in a “pingy” sound with a delicate wash and a strong attack. 

    The ride should be mounted loosely to encourage full range motion, bringing out more resonance and character from the sound of the rides. A free ride also has an extended life span. Be careful not to tilt the cymbal too much as it will result in an extreme impact with the sticks. 

    Splash and China 

    While the splash and china are not a necessary part of your drum kit, you can use them to add a distinct signature sound to your playing.

    Splash cymbals are quite small, 8- 12 inches, and their size result in a faster build-up and a quicker decay. Often, splash cymbals have no taper, which gives them strength. This also results in a high-frequency sound with little complexity. 

    China cymbals, like the splash cymbals, have no taper. However, they produce an incredibly complex sound because they have upturned edges. They are available in a wide range of sizes, mostly about 18 inches. 

    Stacking Up Several Cymbals 

    To add flavor to your playing, you can take a China and add a small diameter with an inverted crash on top of it. Another arrangement would be to use crash cymbals as high hats. For this, you can use a bigger crash cymbal, about 18 inches. This will produce a sound that is different from your regular high hats. The sound will be great, high-pitched, and washy. These combinations can give a great identity to your play.  

    Bottom Line 

    In the end, all that matters is producing good music and enjoying yourself. You should, however, take caution to avoid injuries. Your drum set is going to change as you add or take away new gear. You should not worry about one specific arrangement. Experiment and try out various arrangements until you get the sound you are seeking. The arrangements above are just suggestions to help you improve your drumming through ergonomics. Have fun and continue playing well.

  • 5 Iconic Moments Drummers Have Broken Drum Sticks in a Show

    Drumming is an art revered by many due to the thrill and musical sound it produces. A key component in producing these rhythmic sounds is the set of drumsticks. 

    Professionals who usually play drums in major concerts and gigs know how important it is to have good quality drumsticks. However, accidents happen even to the most experienced drummers. One of them is drum sticks breaking, so it’s always crucial to have a pair for backup. 

    Drumsticks mostly break at the tip or along the shaft. It can happen when you hit the metallic or even the soft part of the drum. The passion of professional drummers makes them take this art—and their drumsticks—to the limit. Like they say, if you aren’t breaking sticks then you aren’t playing enough! But what can you do when the drum sticks break during a live performance? 

    Here are five instances of drum sticks breaking during a live performance.

    1. Josh Dun Breaks a Drumstick During a Live Performance 

    Josh Dun is known to many for his passion and talent as a percussionist and drummer for Twenty One Pilots. Dun started learning drums from a young age and has developed to become one of the best in the industry. He has been a great part of the musical duo Twenty One Pilots and has enabled the group to produce top-selling albums and win awards. 

    Just like any other drummer, Dun has not been spared the experience of broken drum sticks. During one of his 2016 performances in Meriwether Post Pavilion, his performance was almost cut short when one of the sticks broke into half. So what did Dun do? He threw the broken stick to the crowd! 

    He used the remaining one to sum up his performance before throwing it to the audience. Nothing can stop this performer! This was an unexpected incidence that turned out to be a cool moment for his audience to enjoy. 

    2. RJ Fraser Breaks 2 Drum Sticks in a Row 

    The main aim of a drummer is to keep playing even when things aren't going right. If you are a heavy-hitter, you might need a couple of spare sticks. These can be backup for whenever you are performing to prepare for the unexpected. This can be well demonstrated when looking at RJ Fraser’s performance during a live show with the cover band Bipolar Bear. Fraser did not break just one but two sticks in the span of a few seconds. 

    The most interesting thing about his performance is that he kept going. He simply grabbed a spare drum stick as soon as he could. The recovery was flawless, and the audience didn’t seem to notice it.  

    For the less experienced drummer, breaking two sticks in a row can cause a disruption. However, Fraser’s situation demonstrated how a true artist can cope with such instances. His reaction was a mixture of preparation and experience. 

    3. Dylan Elise Breaks Drumstick During the Pasifika Festival

    Dylan Elise is a Wellington-born drummer. His passion for drumming started at an early age of 6. He has since been performing in public concerts, New Zealand TV programs, and gigs around the world. Dylan has also played and recorded with top New Zealand artists. He has played with the likes of Jeff Lorber, Bo Bice, and Janine among others. 

    During a performance at the Pasifika Festival in Auckland, NZ, Dylan was passionately playing his drums. Suddenly, the tip of one drumstick broke. Dylan seemed to take a glance at the broken drumstick for a few seconds. Then, he threw it away and grabbed another one. The best part was how he kept playing with the remaining stick in his left hand as he observed the nature of the damage on the second stick. That’s how you do it like a pro! 

    For a heavy hitter like Dylan, dealing with a broken drumstick in the middle of your performance is a no-brainer. This is something that’s likely to happen many times during practice or even during live concerts. 

    4. Yoon Do Woon’s Drum Stick Breaks During the North American Tour 

    Dowoon is a young and talented South Korean drummer for the famous musical group Day6. He started his drumming career at the age of 16. Since then, he has become one of South Korea’s young musical icons. 

    During one of Day6’s performance at the John W.H Basset Theatre in Canada, Dowoon faced a drum stick break that was fun to watch. Just like other instances, he looked more exhilarated and excited about the incident. He just laughed it off and grabbed another stick as if nothing had happened. 

    Dowoon has had to deal with multiple drumstick breaks in his career. However, it always seems like a funny thing to him. He will either laugh it off or put on a serious face as if nothing happened. His professionalism as a drummer is exceptional.

    5. Nick Mason’s Broken Stick During a Live Performance at Pompeii

    Nick is one of the most talented and experienced English drummers. His decades of experience have seen him perform in different concerts around the world. One of his most interesting performances was during a music concert at Pompeii when his drum stick broke. Nick was quick to switch to a new drumstick without missing a beat. He used one hand to keep the beat going, which created a flawless performance despite the broken drumstick. 

    Bottom Line 

    Artists dropping and breaking drumsticks is a common occurrence. Although live concerts are more demanding, how an artist reacts to such accidents demonstrates their skills and experience. No matter the quality of the instruments, sometimes the energy or tactic of a drummer pushes it to the limits. Nevertheless, it’s always fun to watch how drummers react to these incidences.

     

  • 11 Tuning Tricks for Your Snare Drum

    Shaping the tone the drum produces is an important tool for every drummer. This can be done through different options like miking, muffling, processing, and more. The most holistic option is tuning. This helps the whole kit sound just right and produce the right sound. This will ultimately help ensure you perform the best and maximize projection. There are a number of tips and tricks when it comes to tuning your snare drum. If you are ever in doubt about how to tune your snare, you can always get help from the Drum Center of Portsmouth.

     

    1. Understand the Drum  

    The first key element behind tuning your snare is understanding your drum. There are several shell types that will play into how you end up tuning the snare. Common snare materials include hardwoods like maple, birch, cherry, oak, walnut and mahogany, as well alternate materials like carbon fiber, fiberglass, and acrylic. Metal snare drums continue to be incredibly popular: you will hear brass, steel, copper, bronze and aluminum on many of your favorite recordings.  Understanding how the material plays into sound production is important for tuning. For example, metal-shelled drums can result in more volume and ring than wood. Different types of metal will also produce different sounds. Steel will be brighter than than copper, and aluminum is drier than brass.  

     

    2. Snare Drum Ring and Buzz - Learn to Love It!  

    Drummers often hyper-focus on eliminating ring when tuning. In some situations, however, some ring is good. Ring works in live situations, even when miked. Removing the ring will give the drum a very pronounced, focused sound with a more limited dynamic range.  The articulation will be enhanced at lower volume however. Keep in mind the ring will end up being absorbed by the band. If you are experiencing a “buzz” sound, this typically is referred to as “sympathetic snare buzz”, which means that the bottom head of one of your toms is tuned to the same pitch as your bottom snare head.  You can reduce this with specialty snare wires, like the Puresound Equalizer wires, but don’t expect them to save the day.  If you let the buzz bug you, you will drive yourself crazy!  Consider this: on Roland V-drums, they have a built in “snare buzz” feature on their bass drum samples.  It’s ok for you to get comfortable with it, people expect to hear it. 

     

    3. Begin with the Resonant Head

    When tuning the drum, start with the resonant head. Keep in mind the resonant, or snare-side, head is often very thin. It might be weaker than other heads but still light enough to seat itself. This should be installed and centered in a way for two-key method and settled in place.  

     

    4. Tune Just Right  

    When you start to tune, start with finger tight. This just means to tighten using your fingers rather than with tools. There should be wrinkles between the lugs on each side of the snare bed. Instead of removing the wrinkles through tight tuning, use two keys on each side with enough tension to remove wrinkles.  We tend to tune our bottom head very tight.  When we say “very tight”, it’s typically tighter than most would expect.  When placing the wires on the bottom, be sure to position them evenly on the drum so when the throw off (switch to turn wires on or off) is engaged, the wires have an even tension across the drum.  A common mistake is for people to make the snare wire tension VERY tight, but this chokes the sound of the drum. Aim for medium tension. 

     

    5. Use Your Ears  

    For a drummer, this might be obvious. However, tuning involves listening throughout the process to make sure you hit the right tone. Take each lug up by quarter-turns until they are at the preferred tightness. The head will start to produce a toppy or tinny sounds with a slight ring. Heads have to be evenly pitched and it takes a little bit more fuss to do this with the snare.  

    Pitch is based on preference, but most of the time the drum works best if the resonant head is fairly tight, no matter the size. Ultimately, use your ears to determine where to stop.  

     

    6. Control Snare Right with Tuning 

     Are you spending a lot of time recording in the studio? There is a way to tune your snare for a fat, dry sound ready for recording without damping. Start by tuning your batter head until you find the stick and body response you want. Next, take the bottom three screws nearest where your stick strikes and detune them. The center screw should be finger tight and the other two about a half-turn tighter. You can play with this based on taste. If you have lost any pitch in this tuning process, compensate using screws furthest from the detuned screws. Now you have tuned your snare for a controlled and cutting sound. It will still have plenty of tension for double strokes.  

     

    7. Move to the Batter Head  

    Now is time to switch focus to the batter head. The method is fairly the same but some say that leaving the head on overnight so the drum forms to the head is optimal.  Your mileage may vary, we aim to get it sounding good out of the gate so we can use it! You will want to keep the batter head tight with the two-key method. You can take the batter head up in half-turns two or three times depending on diameter. The head should be evenly tuned and continue with smaller turns until just right. The focus of the batter head is to have the right feel but find the perfect amount of ring.  

     

    8. Keep the Top Head Tuned Lower  

    A trick to tuning just right is to tune the top head slightly lower than the snare side. This can create a slight pitch difference, as slight as a third or fifth. This approach can be simplified by listening for a harmonious and pleasing pitch difference. You can mute one head and tap the other to make the necessary adjustments.  

     

    9. Leave the Resonant Head Alone  

    A top trick for the snare drum is simply to leave the resonant head alone. At this stage of the tuning process, the adjustments should primarily be on the batter head. The resonant head should be set and left alone. Right now, you are focusing on what is “out front” versus what is facing you.  

     

    10. Self-Assess 

    Hopefully by now the snare is tuned perfectly. If not, self-assess and determine if one of the following things is at play:  

    • Too tight batter head 
    • Inappropriate head for drum and style 
    • Wrong snare for the desired sound 

    If one of these factors is at play, revisit and readjust. You may need to loosen the batter head or you may need a new snare.  

     

    11. Play It Out  

    You have probably been sound-checking while tuning, but now it is time to play. This is a great time for a final assessment to make sure everything is where it needs to be. There might be a few slight adjustments left at this point. If the snare is rattling too much, tighten the adjustment knob by quarter or half-turns. Play between each adjustment until it is perfect. If it is too tight, you will hear the poor tune and choke the drum.  

    From here, get ready to play, record, or just jam out. If you have larger issues than just tuning correctly, come visit the team at the Drum Center of Portsmouth

  • Traditional VS Electric Drum Set - What's Better for Recording?

    If you are a drummer, chances are you have contemplated the differences between a traditional drum set and an electric drum kit. Each has something to offer and presents a different set of choices to the drummer. The traditional, or acoustic, set involves wood shells, metal cymbals, and metal or wood snares. An electric, or electronic, drum kit has pads made of plastic, rubber, or mesh for drum heads. Sound is produced by a sound module and relayed to an amplifier or headset. Both drum kit types can be found at the Drum Center of Portsmouth, as well as expert recommendations on the differences between the two.  

    Both types of kits have their pros and cons of course. Often the choice boils down to playability and practicality. Some drummers often switch between the two types as there is a difference in requirements between playing live and recording. We will be focusing on these recording strengths and weaknesses here. When it comes to recording, both types have a lot to offer.  

     

    Playability  

    An essential element to any drum set is the playability. For acoustic versus electronic, this will be affected by how much money you can spend on your kit. Cheap electronic drums do not play anywhere near as well as cheap acoustic drums. The electric aspects of triggering do not translate well on a cheap kit. Responsiveness will not be as strong. 

    Playability will also depend on the strength of your drumming technique. Recording on a cheap electronic kit tends not to pick up poor playing abilities. A cheap acoustic kit will definitely pick up poor playing techniques on a recording. If you want a playable electric kit, you will have to be willing to spend money and invest for larger pads and better triggers. If you are not willing to invest, you should go with an acoustic kit.  

     

    Recording Space  

    The first factor in choosing between the two types of drum set is the space you are working in. Where do you intend to record? Of course, a studio is the ideal location, but not always a possibility. The space you are in will affect the way the sound carries and records. Is this a home studio? If so, you will have to factor in your surroundings.  

    If you are recording at home, which is quite popular these days, you will need to consider room acoustics. It is quite popular to record at home to playback and critique personal technique. However, if this is done on an acoustic kit with poor room acoustics, the recording might not be helpful. The sound quality has to be controlled with dampening devices and acoustic panels in a home studio. Sound engineering basics also come into play.  

    If you are recording at home, an electronic drum set might be easier. You trigger professional drum samples with a higher standard of production and recording. This is ideal for those looking to produce covers of songs or ones without the cash flow to record in a professional studio. 

    Another factor is just how much noise you will make while recording. Acoustic drums are loud, so not always ideal depending on your space. If you are recording in your apartment building, acoustic drum kits will not be the best choice. If you do want an acoustic set, you might need sound dampening tools to stay on good terms with neighbors.  

    Sound bleed is an important factor when considering your recording locations. Since electronic drums use headset, these kits work well in spaces where you cannot record or play loudly. 

     

    Budget  

    As mentioned, a cheap kit is not the best move. However, what is a good budget for an acoustic or electronic set? The experts at the Drum Center of Portsmouth can help with this. We also have a wide inventory with options for every budget. Essentially, you are looking at around $1000 for an electronic kit.  

    An acoustic kit would be more affordable, but still costs money to have a quality product. If you are recording at home, you will also need to factor in $200 or so to create an acoustic-friendly space. Acoustic sets are typically better for those on a tight budget.  

     

    The Bottom Line  

    There are pros and cons to each type, especially when it comes to recording. Here is the bottom line for both:    

    Electronic drums do not record well if they are cheap. You have to be willing to spend a decent amount of money to have a large enough drum set and cymbal pads. You will also need a drum module and sampling software. Electronic drums are best for

    • Practicing at home when noise levels are a concern 
    • Recording Instagram/YouTube quality drum covers and video 
    • Recording high-quality tracks with the right software

     

    Acoustic drums also have their pros and cons. While you can produce a sufficient product with a cheap acoustic set, you will spend more time worrying about sound bleeds depending on where you are recording. Acoustic sets work best for:   

    • Live performances 
    • Low budget 
    • Beginners just starting to record and learn proper technique  

    It really isn’t a battle between both types. Instead, think of both as tools with different strengths. Many seasoned professionals switch between the two when recording. Just base the decision on your main needs and goals. Which one would be a cost-effective addition and choice? If you are recording regularly, which one will work best for your recording needs and space? If you are not sure how to answer these questions, let the team at the Drum Center of Portsmouth help you! 

  • 6 Awesome Bass Drum Head Covers Throughout Rock History

    A key element to rock history is the theatrics and pageantry of legendary bands. From iconic looks to show-stopping performances, rock music history is not complete without the vision behind the visuals. One often overlooked element to rock bands are the bass drum head covers of iconic drummers.  

    The drum set is often the focal point of the rock band set-up. Snares, cymbals, tom toms, and bass drums are arranged in an intentional format to produce some of the best music. It is essential that the centerpiece of the setup is both eye catching and memorable. Many rock bands have become instantly recognizable based on the bass drum head covers. As rock history aficionados, the team at the Drum Center of Portsmouth dove into this topic to bring you a list of the most awesome bass drum head covers throughout rock history.   

     

    The Beatles  

    There is no denying The Beatles are one of rock’s most iconic bands. Ringo Starr is the standout drummer here. Taking the lead on songs like, “Strawberry Fields Forever,” and “Come Together,” Ringo Starr is the bass beat behind the band. Ringo made his home behind a Ludwig Oyster Black Pearl kit. This kit made an appearance on Thank Your Lucky Stars, a British television show, the same day Starr purchased it.  

    The kit went through a few iterations of the famous drop-T logo. The simple black lettering contrasted nicely to the white backdrop. The over sized drop-T quickly became the brand of the band. No kit for the band was complete without it. The iconic bass drum head cover completes the kit and is now shown in museums around the world, including the Grammy Museum in 2013.   

     

    The Rolling Stones  

    Another unforgettable band and bass drum head cover from rock history comes from The Rolling Stones. Since 1964, the British band has grown to global renown. Talented drummer Charlie Watts often takes to the stage with a Gretsch drum kit. While some drum head covers had a simple band name, the best known one premiered in 1971 as the now-iconic tongue logo.  

    The official title is “Tongue and Lips,” but is often just called, “The Rolling Stones’ tongue.” As a logo, it is a bold move for a band. There is no lettering or indication of band ownership. This did not stop the band from creating a drum head cover that continues to make statements today. It is so iconic it has become a fashion statement and is often featured on clothing, accessories, and other fashion statements. 

     

    Queen  

    Anything covering rock history is not complete without attention being given to Queen. With a career spanning decades, Roger Taylor has a lot to offer to this list. While Freddie Mercury is often the first thought when it comes to Queen, Taylor’s drum set is the centerpiece to every Queen setup. 

    Roger Taylor often opted for a larger set, which allows for a larger drum head cover and a more intricate design. The larger drums matched the big sound Queen often produces. Just like The Rolling Stones, Taylor has some drum head designs that are more simplistic in nature. However, the most memorable covers is the one featuring an intricate royal insignia. The insignia incorporates the zodiac signs of all four members. There are two lions for John Deacon and Roger Taylor, the resident Leos. A crab represents member Brian May as a Cancer. Finally, two fairies signify Virgo Freddie Mercury. All are intertwined around the letter “Q” and a crown.  It closely resembles the United Kingdom’s Coat of Arms.  

     

    Kiss  

    When it comes to visuals, few rock bands match the pageantry of Kiss. From the makeup to the boots, Kiss is hard to forget. The emblazoned band name across the bass drum is also hard to forget. For drummer Peter Criss, the Kiss drum head cover quickly became a staple for the band. It served as a visual focal point on stage in the midst of other visual effects. Peter Criss started playing on Pearl drums in 1975. The company was willing to endorse the band in the early days, thus earning continued loyalty throughout Criss’ career.  

     

    AC/DC  

    Just like The Rolling Stones, the imagery of the bass drum head cover became both a band symbol and fashion statement. For AC/DC, there is a science behind the name and logo design. The band name is an abbreviation for “alternating current/direct current” electricity. For the band, this captured the raw energy and electricity of their performances. This is also why there is a bolt of lightning between the two letters.  

    While the most common design is the red lettering, drummer Phil Rudd had other drum head covers in rotation. One of the standouts is the metallic blue AC/DC against an all-black kit. This sleek design provides an eye-catching focal point for the band. 

     

    Guns N’ Roses  

    For famous rock bands, Guns N’ Roses remains consistent and evolving. With some members rotating throughout the decades, the band’s brand had to be maintained. This was done through several drummers over the years. Each drummer brought a different type of bass drum head while remaining true to the band’s aesthetic. One of the best-known drum head covers is that of drummer Steven Adler. Adler brought an unforgettable design to the kit. It featured a skull in a top hat and the band’s name emblazoned on a banner. Behind the skull were two crossed guns and roses completed the design. While the band’s logo has changed, this skull design has remained rather consistent.  

     

    More to Come  

    While some might say the golden age of rock has past, the Drum Center of Portsmouth knows there is more yet to come. While the drum head covers remain standouts in history, it is exciting to know there is more to come. These legendary bands and designs will always remain iconic – but they will have more company. 

  • Drum Center of Portsmouth Buy Back Program

    Buy with confidence: You can sell it back to us at a better rate.
  • 7 Important Drum Books You Should Read

    You should always be looking for ways to improve your drumming, no matter how long you’ve been playing. One of the best ways to learn how to become a great drummer is reading books. From learning to read music to practicing exercises, you can find all the tools to becoming a great drummer by reading about the craft from industry experts.

    At Drum Center of Portsmouth, we value music education. We believe that spreading the right information can any drummer with their technique. That’s why we’re here to recommend 7 important drum books you should read to become a pro drummer today.

     

    1. Stick Control for the Snare Drummer by George Lawrence Stone

    Originally published in 1935, Stick Control has become known as the bible of drumming. It was written by George Lawrence Stone, an American drummer and educator. His students include influential drummers like Joe Morello and Vic Firth.

    Though the book specifically teaches the snare drum, the book is extremely useful for learning how to play any drum on a set. Stick Control is filled to the brim with drum exercises, which get more difficult as you progress through it. Stone pays special attention to your weaker hand in order for you to keep good control of your grip.

    Stick Control for the Snare Drummer is essential for building technique. Whether you use traditional or match grip, play rock or jazz, this drum book is a must-have. It continues to serve as a guide for percussion books today.

     

    2. Ultimate Realistic Rock by Carmine Appice

    Ultimate Realistic Rock is a book of drum set techniques written by Carmine Appice. Appice is a prolific drummer associated with rock music. He is best-known for playing in Vanilla Fudge, King Kobra, and Blue Murder. His classical and jazz-influenced drumming style inspired other famous drummers like Roger Taylor, Phil Collins, and Eric Singer.

    The book is the updated version of the most popular rock drumming book of all time, Realistic Rock. It teaches the basic rock rhythms, rudiments, and syncopation exercises from the original. Appice has also written 20 new pages of material and included an educational CD with every copy of Ultimate Realistic Rock.

    For the rock music lovers who play the drum set, Ultimate Realistic Rock is the ideal book to help you hit the ground running. We sell this book on the Drum Center of Portsmouth’s online store.

     

    3. Progressive Steps to Syncopation for the Modern Drummer by Ted Reed

    Progressive Steps to Syncopation is dubbed as another one of the essential books for drummers. The book is filled with exercises that specifically address syncopation. ‘Syncopation’ is defined as putting stress or accents on parts of a piece of music where they wouldn’t normally occur.

    Syncopation in drumming is what separates amateur drummers from the drumming greats. Reed’s book is meant to be worked through slowly and with care. It’s meant to help percussionists demonstrate the most control over their sticks.

     

     4. Afro-Cuban Rhythms for Drumset by Frank Malabe and Bob Weiner

    This book strays from the standard American styles of drumming. Afro-Cuban Rhythms is meant for those who want to expand their knowledge of the genre. Afro-Cuban Rhythms explores styles like Congo and Merengue and breaks them down into a digestible way.

    The book also includes historical information about each style. It also lets its readers know what kind of instruments are most used in the Afro-Cuban styles. This book is ideal for expanding your knowledge about rhythm styles.

     

    5. The Commandments of R&B Drumming by Zoro

    For percussionists who want to learn soul, funk, and hip-hop beats, The Commandments of R&B Drumming is a must-read. It’s written by Zoro, a famous percussionist who played with Frankie Valli, Lisa Marie Presley, and Sean Lennon, among many others. Modern Drummer magazine consistently names him the #1 R&B drummer, making him a great authority on the subject.

    The book is broken up into three sections: soul, funk, and R&B. Zoro takes the reader through the evolution of each style, as well as artists and styles every drummer should know. The Commandments serves as a thorough guide to grooving, told through Zoro’s unique lens.

     

    6. The Sound of Brushes by Ed Thigpen

    The Sound of Brushes is perfect for a percussionist who is looking to master playing with brushes. Brushes are an alternative to sticks that are quieter, but require a completely different technique than traditional sticks. Ed Thigpen aims to help intermediate percussionists pick up a unique drumming skill.

    Ed Thigpen’s book provides large diagrams on how to physically play with brushes. Though brushes are mostly used in jazz patterns, Thigpen also covers how to use the brushes in rock, Latin, and R&B genres.

     

    7. Bass Drum Control by Colin Bailey

    Colin Bailey’s best-selling drum book, Bass Drum Control, covers the basic elements of bass playing techniques. Bailey is a jazz drummer with a long career of backing for musicians like Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. He became a faculty member for North Texas State University, where he went on to educate hundreds of musicians.

    Bass Drum Control is used to develop single bass drum skills that can easily be applied to double bass drum playing. Like many other helpful books, this one also features a variety of exercises that should be taken slowly. Making your way through the whole book can drastically improve your foot development over time.

     

    In Conclusion

    There is a huge selection of books out there to teach any drumming technique you want to learn. These 7 books are important because they cover a variety of styles, techniques, and genres within their pages. We know that these books offer everything you need to know to improve, and we recommend you pick up any of these choices! 

  • How to Position Your Drum Throne for Ergonomic Use

    If you’re just starting out on the drums, chances are you’re learning how to set up your kit. It takes time to find the perfect arrangement for your drum set—especially when it comes to the way you sit. Your drum throne should be positioned so that you are getting the most ergonomic use possible. This means that you should be able to reach every drum and cymbal easily from the way you sit on your throne.

    We here at the Drum Center of Portsmouth offer many drum throne options at our store at https://www.drumcenternh.com/. Our drum thrones come in a variety of different shapes and colors, but ultimately, how you sit is up to you. It’s important to learn the healthiest ways to position yourself and your drum throne to keep you in the best physical shape for drumming.

     

    Why should you sit properly?

    Sitting on your drum throne properly is very important for playing and your physical health. People who sit too low on their drum throne most commonly have lower back pain. On the other hand, sitting too high can cause your whole leg to become easily fatigued as well. 

    When you sit in the correct posture on your drum throne, you allow your body to be more relaxed. This helps you play your set easier. You will be able to play for longer amounts of time, and faster as well.

    Sitting properly will also improve the quality of your music. You may observe the following:

    • Better balance—complicated patterns are easier to play
    • More consistent sound—sitting properly limits rocking back and forth. This means you will be able to hit your drums in the same place consistently, for longer periods of time.
    • Varying orchestration—having the correct posture can allow you to access varying patterns and beats on your drum set. 

     

    So how do you sit properly?

    • First, you should always make sure you’re using the correct posture. The best way to have the correct posture is to make sure you’re sitting on your “sit bones.” Sit on your hands—the bones that protrude are your sit bones. Let these bones support you on your drum throne, and you will have a better posture.
    • Let your body relax back on your stool. You shouldn’t sit towards the front of your drum throne’s cushion, because this will put tension in your joints and prevent you from playing freely.
    • Last, you should align your right leg with your bass drum. You shouldn’t sit in the center of the bass drum, but you should give your right leg easy access to the pedal. This will put you in the right position for reaching the rest of the drums in your set.

     

    How do I determine my drum throne height?

    Most of us have varying heights and playing preferences, so one set of rules about a drum throne won’t work for every percussionist out there. But many drummers agree that your drum throne’s height should be set so that your hipbone is slightly above the top of your knee. This allows your leg to move to its natural angle, 145 degrees.

    When your leg is in its natural position, your muscles are much less strained. Some drummers opt to sit higher on their throne so it takes pressure off your back, but this is less ergonomic in terms of playing the drums.

    Another easy way to determine what height to set your drum throne to is to stand next to your stool. Then, adjust the height so it comes just above your knee caps. Many players use this method to adjust and find that the method works great!

    You should also check to see that your throne isn’t too close to your set. This can leave your legs feeling cramped and fatigued while you play. Your snare drum should be positioned so that it is at least one or two inches above your knee, so that no contact between the two occurs.

     

    How can I adjust the height?

    Drum thrones come with different ways to adjust their height. The one to avoid is the nut and bolt lock. These have the most limited height options and are most prone to becoming wobbly and unstable.

    Sliding tube and spindle adjustment thrones are the best bet as your options. Sliding tubes with memory locks use a simple system for easy height adjustment. Spindle adjustment allows you to rotate the seat clockwise or counter-clockwise to make the stool taller or shorter. 

     

    Some extra tips about your drum throne

    • When your throne becomes too wobbly, it is time to get a new one. A wobbly seat will throw off your balance and make it harder to play complicated rhythms.
    • You don’t need a backrest to play your drum set ergonomically. It only limits your range of movement—and it’s not like you’ll be sitting back on it anyway. A comfortable, backless stool adjusted to the right height is better for any drummer.
    • You can choose between seats that rotate and seats that don’t. This is based purely on preference. Some percussionists prefer some rotation while they play, while others like it totally stationary.

     

     In conclusion

    Positioning your drum throne for ergonomic use includes many different elements you must take into account. Making sure that you have the correct posture as well as the correct seat height helps when you are figuring out how to play your drum set correctly.

    You should also take into account the different options of drum thrones that are available. Picking the right seat is important to make sure you are comfortable and healthy while you play your set. An excellent quality drum throne will make you feel more relaxed while you play, and will save you money in the long run so you won’t have to replace it!

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