When we talk of drums, what comes into our minds is the drums’ loud sound. Drums are known to be the loudest of all the musical instruments. Therefore, when one talks about silence or quiet, it can be a bit confusing. Professional drummers and a few people might understand what we mean by quiet drums.
Quiet drum sets, also known as practice sets, are drums meant to improve performance quality at home. They are also suitable for music lessons as well as unplugged performances in small rooms. Keeping your acoustic drum at a reasonable volume can be a bit hard. The reason is that the drums are thunderous. Playing drums at home can be quite impossible unless you are living in a sound-proofed house.
Several techniques can be used to silence a drum set. The problem is, muffling a drum reduces the experience and feel of the kit. Drum manufacturers have tried much to deal with this problem. Therefore, we have several product types and techniques that can reduce volume down a drum set accessories. We are going to look at these techniques in this article.
How to make drums quieter
Drummers always need to have the feel of their drum kits. Therefore, one can purchase an electronic drum set that has a manageable sound. Electronic drum sets’ volume can be raised and lowered. Also, a drummer can purchase products like drum practice pads. It is essential for practice but does not give the drummer the feel and experience needed.
Therefore, drum manufacturers have been working day and night to help drummers solve this problem. Thus, they have designed products called low volume cymbals and silent stroke drum heads. These products give the drummer a natural tone at low volume; thus, the rest of the family are not disturbed by high volumes.
Cymbals can be such a challenging and tricky instrument to use quietly. High volumes and very long sustain characterize cymbals. After several years of research and experiments, drum designers noticed that the best way to lower down cymbals’ pitch is to perforate them.
These low volume cymbals reduce noise by about 7o percent to 80 percent; thus, you can practice whenever you want, even late at night. Also, these low volume cymbals do not affect the experience and the feel. You can enjoy your drumming using these low volume cymbals because the tone remains the same way.
Apart from the perforation, some manufacturers muffle cymbals differently. This other way includes covering the drum head with a special coating. However, perforated cymbals have managed to be the best alternative because they keep the original sound, dynamics, and overall tonal characteristics.
There is no change of dimensions, shape, and mounting system of the cymbal. The cymbal remains in its standard form; thus, the authentic feel while playing is maintained. Manufacturers offer other sets of cymbals that include hi-hat, crash, and crash ride cymbals. The products are currently in the market.
The standard types of drum heads, as said earlier, are difficult to play quietly. The use of hot-rods still produces a significant amount of sound. All forms of muffling generally work well, but the problem with most of them is the drum sound’s degradation.
Silent stroke drum heads maintain the tone quality thoroughly. These drum heads are designed with a unique type of plastic mesh drum heads that provides an excellent low-volume sound and overall feel. When it comes to muffling, these drum heads are so silent that they are much less likely to cause nuisance or disturbance to others.
The good thing with these drum heads is that they come in a range of dimensions. Thus, you can use them for all kinds of toms and snares. The giant drum head is about 24 inches in diameter. Hence, muffling a bass drum head won’t be an issue at all.
Remo Silent Stroke Drumheads are among the best options you can get on the market currently. You can get complete kits that include various kinds of heads of different sizes. You can look for each piece separately if you play on some unique set.
Electronic drums have changed over time. The days of low-quality samples and noisy pads have elapsed. The electronic drums can assist you so much to make your practice more effective. Electronic drums preserve the feel and experience in drumming.
Changing your sticks for brushes or hot rods is an excellent place to start. The thinner the stick, the less the force applied thus, translating to a lower drum volume. In particular, Cymbals will be minimized, although it will bring a little tame to your kick drum. Some of the recommended low volume sticks include Steve SmithTala Wand. Rods give a different sound compared to drum sticks and give a better tone.
This is yet another method that you can use to make your drums quieter. The drums are fitted with silencer pads. You attach these rubber pads to your existing acoustic kit, and it will significantly dampen the sound. But this is a temporary solution to your noise problems. You will not reskin your kit each time you want to practice.
This is not a cheap method of making your drumming quieter. You can start by sealing off windows and doors, but the mattress is an easy win. Most professional studios invest in fancy triple glazing and foot thick walls to sound-proof the studio. This is not practical for homes
Drum mutes are the most direct hack to reduce drum volume. These are soft rubber pads that are attached to the drum heads. The good thing with this type of sound reduction method is that you can remove them whenever you want to have full volume.
These soft rubber pads are available for cymbals and can reduce the volume to required levels. The main disadvantage with this drum mutes is that they do not give the same experience and feel like hitting the real cymbals for drums. These drum mutes can help you build speed and strength because you rely on your muscles rather than the stick rebound.
DIY Drum Dampening
The reduction of noise through modification of drum kits is not enough. There are a lot of others that you can use to reduce drum volume;
- Cover your cymbals for drums with thick towels. This towel will act as drum mutes and is highly effective in noise reduction. The thicker the towels, the more effective it will be to reduce drum volume with less rebound.
- Get rid of resonant drumheads, which will assist in reducing drum volume. But to make it long term, it is recommended that you place hoops back on to protect the bearing edges.
- Put acoustic sheets under the drum heads in between the head and the edge. Remember to retrieve the drumheads and cut worn-out sheets, then place it across the drum and place them back.
- Pace the drumheads to face upside down. You can consider placing old drumheads and placing them on your drums upside down. This will significantly reduce the drum volume.
How to muffle drums
There are various techniques used by drummers to reduce sound while practicing. They include:
Bass Drum – Pillow Trick
In this technique, put the pillow or blanket or something the same that can cover the bass drum’s whole drum head. This method muffles sound and significantly makes the drum quieter. The pillow prevents a large amount of air that would usually move through the bass drum and produce a louder noise.
Muffling using a pillow can make your drums sound much better.
O-Rings and Moon Gels
You can use plastic O-rings to manage excessive sounds in snares and toms. But, they do not significantly minimize the noise volume. The rings and moon gels absorb some of the head’s resonance, leading to a reduced sound for sure. Place the gel on toms and snares to mute the drums and get a relatively decent sound.
Moon gels are used for both recording sessions and live performances as well. Professionals can, therefore, apply this technique at their homes.
Cloth Strips and Duct Tape
Drummers can easily use this method. The noisiest component of a drum kit is the snare drum. Cover the drum head with a cloth so that the cloth can take away some sound. But the cloth takes away the feeling of the snare drum.
It’s not simple to make silence your drums, but there are a few techniques that you can use to do practice a little bit easier. It is essential to still practice on a full, loud kit when possible. But hopefully, our solutions to making your practice regime quieter will help you with your ambition of becoming a better drummer without annoying the neighbors.
But practice sometimes requires the incredibly loud sound. Therefore, it is good to sometimes go to practice sites that are far from residential buildings. The feeling of an original drum might be incredible.