How to muffle a drum?
April 17, 2006 10:26 AM   Subscribe

What is the best way to muffle the tone on my drums?

I just bought a used drumset (note: haven't played in years) and nearly all of the drums ring. Now, it's probably in part a result of me not tuning them properly, but I still want to muffle them.

I have seen some people that run a cloth or felt strip under the drum head. I've also seen the foam strips that you can use. Or is there something better yet that I should be using? Note that 99% of my playing will just be in my basement, so it really needs to be deadened/muffled to make it tolerable.
posted by BradNelson to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total)

New skins and getting someone who knows how to tune drums help you to tune them (assuming you aren't a pro at tuning) would make a huge difference.

My drummer uses Moon Gels to cut down on excess resonance.
posted by dobie at 10:55 AM on April 17, 2006

Ringo used to tape a pack of cigarettes on the side of his snare head to dampen. I've seen some people duct tape cloth and other items in the studio to modify the performance of the snare. Just move your finger around the head while striking and see what area sounds best dampened, then go to town.
posted by gallois at 11:00 AM on April 17, 2006

This is what you're looking for. Dirt cheap and sound great. They will cut down on the resonance.

I also use an Aquarian bass drum head with a dampener.

Also, you should play around with the drum key to get the tone you want. There are lots of websites that demonstrate how to tune drums. You don't need to be exact, just keep playing til you get the tone you want, shouldn't take more than an hour.

Keep in mind: No treatment is going to substantially decrease volume, just the resonance. If you are worried about volume and don't want to soundproof, consider playing with brushes or these
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:06 AM on April 17, 2006

If you wish to really kill volume Sound Off drum pads will make your kit silent.

Sorry to make you google search, but I'm on Safari and I see no "link" button.
posted by sourwookie at 11:28 AM on April 17, 2006

Thanks for the suggestions. Also, I'm not concerned about volume, just the resonance.
posted by BradNelson at 11:49 AM on April 17, 2006

I was faced with this problem as a teenager. I removed one of the heads and filled the interior with (not too much) crumbled up brown wrapping paper and then replaced the head. I did this to all the drums and my mother (still to this day) loves me.
More paper for larger drums, less for smaller.
posted by sgobbare at 12:57 PM on April 17, 2006

Some people use plastic rings that work well for deadening the tone. You can make them using old drum heads.
posted by zonkout at 1:09 PM on April 17, 2006

I think your first course of action should be to try and tune the ring out of the drums. Drums shouldn't really ring if tuned correctly. It's just a case of experimenting with smaller turns of the drum key and making sure that the pitch/tone is the same all the way round each head.

if that really doesn't work then I'd go for more subtle damping like Evans' E-MAD system, rather than using rings or filling your drums with various kinds of stuff. I definitely don't recommend taping things to your drums. It won't necessarily get rid of any ringing, it'll simply kill the resonance and tone of the drum.
posted by iamcrispy at 2:16 PM on April 17, 2006

the plastic rings are what you want. my drummer never leaves home without them.
posted by rooftop secrets at 3:57 PM on April 17, 2006

You can get rubber pads which fit each of your drums from musical shops. I had them when I played 7-8 years ago. They're nice to play on, and dampen the sound a lot.
posted by tommorris at 10:11 AM on April 18, 2006

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