My 2 cents, I’m a pretty lousy drummer but enjoy playing. My favorite sounds are warm and kind of open and resonant. To that end, I’ve never met a kit that didn’t benefit from fiberskyn heads. They can make even a cheap kit sound good by taming unwanted overtones or something.

Also a friend who is a great drummer once told me he thinks every drum has a frequency that it’s happiest being tuned to. I’ve subscribed to that theory, and really think if you can find that sweet spot even lower-end drums can really sing and sound great.

Cymbal choice is crucial as well.
Growing up while playing heavier music I always had very thick cymbals (with the idea that they would last longer)
Once I veered off into jazz, downtempo, experimental etc and finally bought thinner cymbals and started focusing on dynamics everything clicked.

Older Zildjian A thin (80s era) or K can be had for cheap on Reverb etc. they have a certain font on the label

Currently I use (for jazz/experimental)
14" Zildjian A Paper Thin crash (80s) as top hat
14" Dark K Thin crash (80s) as bottom hat
20" Crash of doom
22" Zildjian A Crash Ride (80s) with 2 rivets

image (font to look for)

Percussion also! I never had more than a tambourine until I saw people around LA like Jay Bellerose and Danny Frankel play with incredible texture and space using all sorts of weird percussion. Frankel had this square of sheet metal that was incredible.


My goto magic overhead

With Rick Chinn’s preamp mod box
(Easy and cheap build!)


Ha! I actually purchased exactly these hats used, prior to seeing this. :slight_smile:

Thanks so much yall. Going to start with just a kick, snare, and hi-hat, and do some serious studying. :pray:


The best. Easy 9 volt mod increases the frequency range too!

jim black truly changed my life as a drummer and percussionist, i had seen drummers use percussion items and some extended techniques before but had never seen anyone do it like jim. it’s fully integrated into his sound.

he completely changed how i think about sound on the drums.

the drums are great because they’re so simple - compared to other instruments, it’s really cheap to change out parts of the kit and really tailor everything to your sound. i use small setups and still end up with multiple brands of everything… feel free to mix and match. i don’t know any drummers in my circles who have brand loyalty.

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Even Dale Crover used a smaller kit to record. And lately, smaller everything live as well.

Been getting really into Simon Barker recently, especially how he applies traditional Korean rhythmic theory to improvisation:


using a djembe as a floor tom of sorts, loving it but still need to figure out how to mic it to capture the body of the sound.

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cool music :slightly_smiling_face:

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What do y´all use for effects?

I do the standard “New York splash-o-snare” and keys on the ride. Also like to flip the snare and use the snare for rools and some DnB one stick techniques. Havent tried those jingle ring things for the hi-hat, but like the sound. Also bottles of glass and metal thingies are nice for bells as well!

also clotchs, lots of cloths between hi-hats/snare/floortam ect.

i use small cymbals on most of the drums - i sometimes use a mid tom and if i stack two splashes on it, i get a nice short hi hat sound. drum contact gets a kind of cool ultra short dead tom sound as well.

putting small cymbals upside down can have cool results as well, i’ll set them up to interfere with each other, or put larger cymbals on my floor tom. lots of sound manipulation possibilities there, you can steady the cymbal with your hand in the middle and bow it to get both drumhead and cymbal sound, i’ve gotten wild pitch bends by smacking just outside the bell with a mallet while applying pressure with the bell.

i have all sorts of shakers and bells i like putting on drums - dried goat claws, dried nut/seed shakers, indian dancing bells. i’ve gotten good results putting little drums on my snare, i have a little tamborim that works especially well. kalimbas can actually resonate through the drum which is super cool.

there’s also just so much to be said for using technique and sticks for different sounds, i have these worn out plastic rutes that are great for brush sounds when i want to use something closer to stock technique. traditional brushes are extremely underrated i think. i’ll use dead strokes to get muted sounds without muting a drum, or choke up or back on the stick and strike different spots on a drum for different sounds.

i like stacking cymbals on cymbals, right side up and upside down. i never use top felts or wing nuts so it’s easy to do this stuff in the moment and keep things modular. i grew to love the sound of cheap beginner model cymbals, when you tape them down you get some interesting sounds, and when they break - which they will - they only sound cooler.

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Oh the tambourine thing is cool, i should try that!

I can also recommend using small pine tree branches either as whiskers or ontop of cymbals. I never tried using bells, but singing bowls with a mallet on a snare also does some cool noisy textures.

In the rehearsal space of my band we have a huge stack of metal where we drill holes in and stack them under cymbals (get that Einstürzende Neubauten going). Its cheaper then buying a lot of cymbals and breaking them. It also has a cool vibe to have some clean and dry Istanbul xist together with huge clapstacks of metal. Really wide dynamics in terms of high sounds😎


I live by the Glenn Kotche one way shaker trick

And I love this Morf Beats Ring made from diamond plate on my snare or floor tom


I don’t have any real experience as a drummer minus two semesters of percussion methods in college but I have had many opportunities to record drum kits. At this point I feel like I have tried all of the possible mic’ing techniques although not at the same time like some of the super big studios. Thought I’d share my biggest take aways.

  1. Stereo overheads aren’t always your friend. Matter of fact IMO they make the sound too wide to get something that really works in most situations.

  2. Mono is cool. At this point I prefer the overheads in mono but I also can’t live without a front of kick mic. Actually for the sound of the kit as a whole I prefer it. Overheads typically sound like cymbals with a thin snare sound which is great if you have the meat elsewhere and that’s why I couple it with front of kit mic. That mono mic set just above the kick aimed at the whole kit from 2-4 feet away is my jam-lots of drum in the sound and a realistic overall balance between drum/cymbal.

  3. Gotta have the dick mic. Okay, that was vulgar but it’s how I first heard it. Literally as the name implies you want to aim this at the drummers crotch - right over the kick drum all up in the kit aimed T snare/crotch. No fancy mic required, sm57 does wonders in this application. You’re left with a great sounding snare with no woof from the kick, just clicky ticky, with some decent cymbal sound. I love compressing the life out of this mic too. It’s got lots of “click” to the sound which help give definition to that primarily mono sound.

  4. If you’re working in a tight space don’t even try to aim your room mics at the kit-it’s going to be a phase-y mess if so. Set up a stereo pair and aim them at a wall, especially if you’ve got a hard reflective surface in the room. Hell, bring a mirror in the room and aim them at that. Like literally close mic the wall. The room mics are supposed to be the sound of the room and we’ve already captured direct and relatively direct sounds so really we just need the reflections. I’d even try this technique in a larger space if I didn’t feel like the phase was working for me. I also do it up in stereo because it’s time to capture some natural width to add to my drum sound.

Beyond that there’s a few other things I do. Always top/bottom mics on snare as well in/out mics on kick if I can afford the extra channel on a session. I also use a short verb to create more width and add the synthetic sizzle, most of the time a little bit always works. Wow, that was a counter intuitive sentence. I’m a big fan of parallel compression to get that compressed feel without squashing transients as well as trying to primarily compress the sound as a whole opposed to individual elements.

Hope this helps add to the conversation. I know most of this thread has been about technique and strategies for performance on drums but if you’re doing all that do you really have time to fool with a bunch of drum mics?! Hope I gave some tools to use if the situation comes up.


I’ve gotten surprisingly good results with an sm57 on kick lately, though admittedly ran through a Pultec clone to boost ~60hz and cut out a lot of the high frequency stuff. but with a little bit of coaxing can sound just as big and fat as one of those expensive specialized kick mics

Most of my creative playings ends up on an augmented snare (pics, blog), but I still do plenty of “regular” drum practice and improvements.

I have more than a few “chargers” from Steve Hubback which are great for putting on drums and using like bells/chimes/etc…:

These days I’m a big fan of a suuper muted/dry snare, by putting a couple crotales on the drum. I always used to lean towards a really sustaining/open sounding snare, but for more detailed/snappy playing, I’ve drifted towards a dryer sound, and the crotales are a decent (if expensive) way to get to that sound.

On a more regular practice note, I’ve been on the hunt for some new stuff to practice/expand on. So curious what kinds of books/vids folks have been into lately.