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Mcfly

Drum wood.....Big difference or small difference?

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Hi everybody. I have been thinking alot about TONE WOOD, apparently many other people have too.

 

On a Acoustic guitar. A spruce top and a Cedar top sound VERY different.Here I believe absolutely wood make's a substantial difference.

Now drum's.

Every manufacturer touts the wood the drums are made of. Like you HAVE to have it! Now I would like to tell you what I think about wood and drum construction. I believe the wood make's a difference, but I believe it is a very SMALL part of the equation, more like TINY. We can probably all agree that drum head's are the biggest factor of all. Some suggest that it is 75%-85% of what we hear. Have you ever seen anyone put a mike NEXT to the shell? No. 

Maybe some of you have listened to DW's comparison of Birch, Maple,Cherry and Oak. All the drums are the same size and are recorded EXACTLY the same way.If you listen very carefully, you may pick up the slightest, and I mean SLIGHTEST difference in sound.But really when you ad a bass, guitar, its all mute.

And when did Oak become a Tone wood? Cherry also for that matter?These are more recent thing's. Their is a clue right their!*

Think of it this way: The shell is like a speaker cabinet, the head's are like speaker's.

Don't yell at me for the next bit, I took it out of Jan 2001 Modern Drummer-

"Ludwig's most revered shell's of the 60's were crudely cobbled together.They would spray the insides white to make them match.One inside ply might be mahogany, the other basswood,maple-whatever.Yet those are the drum's people swear by as the best-sounding drums in the world" -Jim Catalano, Ludwig drum's

That really tell's a story ha? People always want to proudly say- "My super awesome expensive kit has such n such Magic Mojo wood and I can tell the difference!"

 

If you still think drum wood makes a HUGE difference, listen to this....     

Mind blowing ha? But some will never except drum wood is not a HUGE part of the drum's sound. To admit, "I have been bamboozled", is not something people wish to admit.

Hey everyone, I HAVE BEEN BAMBOOZLED! Do you want to know why we have been led to believe in MAGIC WOOD MOJO????? Get ready......here it comes......wait for it.....

*Marketing!  Yep. Think about it. The manufacturer's need things to lure us. Did drum catalog's of the 50's, 60's, state the wood used? They sure did in the 80's and beyond. Marketing

The drum manufacturer's WANT you to believe that Bubinga, Maple, Mahogany, Birch ect ect are what is NEEDED to get great drum tone.Its the MAGIC-MOJO you MUST HAVE!!!

But honestly I just love cool wood. I worked in a carpentry shop long ago. I would rather have an exotic wood outer ply to look at any day. 

The final word? I do think that wood can make a difference.....A TINY difference. ie: Most people can not tell. 

If I made drum's, I would put ply's/thickness/type ect. But not  things like-"The HoginFatty inner ply's dish out the low's, while the Crackleberry knotty Pea-knuckle outer ply's ad a top end sizzle"

Tell me what you think. 

 

 

 

 

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I like your analogy with a speaker cabinet.  I think that's probably the best comparison.  There is a lot that goes into it with smaller details and all, but the speaker/head makes more of a difference for sure.  I've been saying for a while that the diameter, depth, thickness and hardness make more of a difference (that's what she said) than the specific wood type.  The type of wood will dictate how thin you can make the shell, and have a better or worse hardness, sure.  You can use a finish or oil to harden up the inner surface of the shell.  I noticed more of a sound change in basswood/luan/Philippine mahogany drums than with maple after tung oiling, probably because the maple shells were closer to the final hardness of the tung oil finish.  Even with all that, heads are most of the sound.

 

17 hours ago, Mcfly said:

Have you ever seen anyone put a mike NEXT to the shell? No.

I put a Mike next to the shell every time I play.  It just varies in distance from drum to drum.  Dream Theater has put two Mikes next to their drum shells.  I think they use higher quality Mikes than I do.  The get a way better sound.

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SpeedNinja. The speaker/speaker cab I got online. I wish I thought of that. But when I heard it I was like Yeah!

And I would rather be a bit disappointed and learn the truth about something than blindly follow and believe what ever I'm told. 

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On 1/7/2018 at 4:32 PM, Mcfly said:

If I made drum's, I would put ply's/thickness/type ect. But not  things like-"The HoginFatty inner ply's dish out the low's, while the Crackleberry knotty Pea-knuckle outer ply's ad a top end sizzle"

LLLLLLLOOOOOOOOLLLLLLL.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you.

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Hmmm, I don't know how I feel about this. I have a variety of 6.5" snare drums, wood and metals. They all have their own individual character in tone, sustain... flava. I do think that the construction quality, hardness of material, and depth/diameter, as well as edge design has more influence on sound than does the species of the shell. But tap on a piece of wood and there are definitely different tonal characteristics that will come through a quality mic.

I have tested a number of Craviotto snares with a buddy of mine at Maxwell's in NYC. Each were 6.5" but of all sorts of wood types. Many hybrids and some straight up. There were character differences, body, and perceived loudness differences in each one. I have not done A-B testing of toms so I don't know how those compare. Bass drums - if you muffle it, probably doesn't matter all that much as long as the quality is there.

This video is a bit of a challenge because while the tone and pitch seemed close, you could hear different pitch bends and some minor tonal character that did come through, despite the crappy mobile phone video. I'd like to hear all of those toms in a proper studio context before I make my judgment.

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Logogoue, I would also like to hear a load of 12" toms with like head's, tuned perfectly too. I thought the Peavey Radial drums were the next intelligent step, if you want the shell to vibrate freely that is.Peavey should have NEVER put their name on them! [Bad marketing] Like when Toyota wanted a 'upscale' car....Lexus. 

Just for the record, exotic wood is not a bad thing! Just dont try to tell me it is neccessary for good sounding drums.

Here is a test of different wood shell's.Best at the ending.

 

 

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The Kevin Fortunato video has been posted here before.

I think absolutely every drummer would like to hear back to back comparisons between every 12x9" rack tom ever made, with the same heads.  Probably have to use high, medium and low tunings for everyone to get an idea of what they like.  Aside from a studio donating its time, and people flying in to provide toms for recording, I don't see it ever happening.  To organize a collection that large would be a feat in itself.  I'd say NAMM, but you know there wouldn't be any manufacturer support for this, and nothing out of production would be brought along either.  Then there's that pesky problem of hearing the differences after internet compression, or in a live band setting.  Also, each drum would have different hardware and holes drilled in it, so you're not getting a true comparison of the shells.  Man, that idea went to shit real quick.

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I like the guys at Ford. I've known about them for ten or fifteen years now. They really get into details, not to make radically different sounding drums than anyone else because, they know a drum is a drum, as far as sound. They pay attention to details for tuning ease and accuracy, and drum longevity, etc. They make fine instruments.

They got the idea for their 12" tom video from the Sonor booth at NAMM, which had a 12"  tom from every series they make, apparently,  and when struck, they all sounded the same. They brought lots of people to the booth, told them to turn around, struck drums and asked if they could tell any difference. No one could.

Ford has taken a fair amount of heat for their position (tell me about it) but, I am extremely grateful for their honesty and integrity on the matter, given they are a drum company, as far as hype in the industry, which has been my point for over 25 years now. Now that I see the Ford videos I am inspired to finish my own comparison video I've wanted to do since the last foray into this subject here.  But, like  Jay Gaylen says, Some people believe the world is flat and nothing you say or do will convince them otherwise. That said, especially for young, impressionable players, I believe it is important to expose the hype for what it is so kids aren't thinking about spending a ton of money on stuff because a manufacturer makes claims about their drum shells that don't mean a thing to the sound of a drum compared to anyone else.

As far as snare drums, it is mostly the sonic differences created by head tension and the wires that effect how sound waves move around. Even Ford would say the density of a shell  contributes to its tone but, because the heads are generally tensioned about the same (owing to jazzers tightening their heads more) toms reflect the same energy from the heads. Snare drum heads are tensioned all over the map so, sound waves off the heads are moving differently. Add to that more shell density with metal shells and you can get lots of variations. But, even there, if you mess around with different heads and tension you can get one snare drum, metal or wood, to sound relatively close to anything else you compare it to. FEEL changes more with depth and tension and material, and most players want a snare that feels right at the sound they prefer.  Rarely do I see drummers talking about the feel of their toms. 90% of what we do is snare and bass, and for most, bass drums are muffled in some way, shape or form, and you can get a beginner's, entry level kick to sound as good as any high end drum.  Aside from players like Kieth Carlock, not many like wide open bass drums where comparison actually becomes a matter of discussion.  Just change some heads and you change the kick; any kick. You might need to modify the bearing edges on fast, out the door, entry level drums but, hearing what can be done with an entry level kick - from a mic, mic placement, and software - in production,  hyping a bass drum shell is just plain ridiculous.

This becomes a hotly contested subject and as yet, no manufacturer I know of or have seen or heard (aside from Ford's testimony about Sonor) will make a video with all their lines and display obvious sonic differences. I'm told DW has one but, having looked, have not found it. Maybe someone can post a link.  But comparison videos showing things sound basically identical are out there. People comment about microphones, about other tech specs but, it is still all things being equal. Drums with dramatic sound differences should display them to some degree, regardless of mics and tech. If such dramatically different sound character actually exists, can it overcome the sound of full-set play with cymbals, let alone in a band context?

Those like myself are not saying anything negative about anyone's instruments. Everybody makes great instruments. We are saying something observation and experience has shown us about hype in the industry. Everybody knows manufacturers need to sell their products. I believe it's a shame, and a sham, to ultra-hype, if not outright lie, to do so.

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Most modern recordings use digital markers as triggers and sound replace your drums anyway.  If they're not sound replacing, the raw input is modified past the point of recognition compared to the original drum.  I'm not a bass drum muffling person, but a live setting requires it.  You could literally have the drum stuffed full, as long as the mic can pick up a sound.  What you hear is the resonance of the house sound system itself, not the bass drum.  Same is true for the toms to an extent.  This is like an analog trigger system.

Anyway, the actual sound of the drums pretty much only matters to whoever hears it directly.

 

13 hours ago, DiehardDIYer said:

Rarely do I see drummers talking about the feel of their toms.

That's because every other drummer in the room will make fun of you if you say tom feel is important.  Same for cymbals.  It's just best to not talk about it.

 

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4 hours ago, SpeedNinja said:

Most modern recordings use digital markers as triggers and sound replace your drums anyway.  If they're not sound replacing, the raw input is modified past the point of recognition compared to the original drum.  I'm not a bass drum muffling person, but a live setting requires it.  You could literally have the drum stuffed full, as long as the mic can pick up a sound.  What you hear is the resonance of the house sound system itself, not the bass drum.  Same is true for the toms to an extent.  This is like an analog trigger system.

Anyway, the actual sound of the drums pretty much only matters to whoever hears it directly.

When you say modern recordings you are referring to certain genres? If what you say is true across most genres, then the situation of drums being hyped is not just on the part of the manufacturers but, maybe more so, the endorsers who make their claims for recordings and sessions. Digitizing everything and sound replacement would render truth in the industry to a small segment of edrum users. At least you know what they use are samples and patches outright.

Then the whole nature of transient response in the microphone industry becomes an issue, as well.

I know Tom uses various filters and EQ to get a final sound for the drums on our recordings but, they still sound like the drums I'm using. The filters and software change the personality of the drums some but, the nature and character remain pretty accurate.

I know Kieth Carlock uses a wide open bass whenever he is allowed to. Some artists just prefer some muffing and more definition but, if he can, he unloads some great stuff on his wide open Gretsch kicks.

As far as "feel" in relation to cymbals, players talk about the feel of their hats and rides all the time. You can listen to cymbal auditions from the Memphis Drum Shop (My Cymbal.com) and they mention the feel of hats and rides pretty consistently in the ones I've heard. Why would anyone laugh at someone who mentions feel for cymbals? Or toms, for that matter? Rebound is a necessary component of playing drums.

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I was thinking about a snare I want to buy for my cheap kit last night and this thread popped in my head.  We can't tell the difference between different woods, but there does seem to be a discernible difference between wood and certain metals.  Maybe it's just a snare thing.  I've never heard carbon fiber drums.  I've heard fiberglass, acrylic and Trick aluminum shells for toms and bass.  Without knowing, I wouldn't have thought they were anything other than wood.  Maybe because we tend to push snares harder with tuning and utilize more of the head surface and rim that the shell characteristics come out.

 

15 hours ago, DiehardDIYer said:

When you say modern recordings you are referring to certain genres? If what you say is true across most genres, then the situation of drums being hyped is not just on the part of the manufacturers but, maybe more so, the endorsers who make their claims for recordings and sessions. Digitizing everything and sound replacement would render truth in the industry to a small segment of edrum users. At least you know what they use are samples and patches outright.

It would depend on the engineer/studio, not the music genres.  The local university seems to at least mention that stuff, or different methods.  They have no idea what the kids will go record in particular, if they even stick to a specific range of music.  It really depends on the equipment and software available.  I recently recorded with a guy who noticed I don't stay on time while playing cross stick on the rim of the snare, otherwise I was pretty much dead on.  (That was good news to me since I've not been as good as I like in the past.)  He had me just hit the rim as if I was playing the snare normally and he would use a digital trigger if the final mix didn't sound right.  I don't know what he ended up doing and haven't heard the final mix yet.  I thought the drums sounded good in person and in the rough play back, even though they didn't sound the same as each other.  He loved the drums as they were, so the snare on that song would've been the only thing he replaced, if he did.

 

15 hours ago, DiehardDIYer said:

As far as "feel" in relation to cymbals, players talk about the feel of their hats and rides all the time. You can listen to cymbal auditions from the Memphis Drum Shop (My Cymbal.com) and they mention the feel of hats and rides pretty consistently in the ones I've heard. Why would anyone laugh at someone who mentions feel for cymbals? Or toms, for that matter? Rebound is a necessary component of playing drums.

I've had drummers complain about my 20" crash in particular and ask why I would play it because I don't need anything that large.  I tell them it felt right with a particular band I was in.  It would always settle itself and be back in position when I needed it.  Nobody seems to like that answer.  Maybe they're just determined to hate a crash that large.  I don't know.  It just seems to bother a lot of people I talk to.

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4 hours ago, SpeedNinja said:

I've had drummers complain about my 20" crash in particular and ask why I would play it because I don't need anything that large. 

Well, considering cymbal companies are now making 22" crashes and I have some, I'd say those drummers are somewhat narrow-minded.  If it feels right for you, that settles it. Done. Unless the band says it's too loud, which is rather ridiculous considering the volumes guitarists play at (unless it's jazz, and if it was, yeah, a 20" crash is pretty overkill, although, a 20" crash ride can be even more loud, and who are drummers to argue with people like Elvin Jones and others that used/use big cymbals because they like the sound and feel?  Let it roar if the music can handle it.

Two  of my favorite crashes are 20." I like their pitch and wash and volume, and the UFIP just feels right when you ride on the edge.

Sounds like the same people who say Terry Bozzio (and others) has too big a drum set -  "What does he need such a big drum set for?"  I don't know if its ignorance, jealousy,  narcissism, or just total lack of understanding personal creativity.

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