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Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Lesson 13 of 29

Choosing a Snare - Pearl Jimmy Degrasso 14x5.5

Kris Crummett

Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Kris Crummett

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Lesson Info

13. Choosing a Snare - Pearl Jimmy Degrasso 14x5.5

Lesson Info

Choosing a Snare - Pearl Jimmy Degrasso 14x5.5

So stick with metal we'll go with this uh five and a half by fourteen so we'll lose a half inch from the last one and this is actually hammered brass so this is kind of in between the black beauty and its own thing it's not coded brasses just brass so you're just hearing the brass sound but they call it hammered because you can see the finish clearly it's been amour and doesn't haven't even finish which means the reflections inside get broken up more and there's less of a ring to it has it can have a really cool dry sound and you pull the ring out of the head so because of that we actually have the thinnest head we have here today which is ah remo ambassador that's just a single ply coded head that's fairly thin um but it works well with a dry drum like this and I really like the sound of ambassadors um they have a really classic sound uh but something you have to be careful of is how hard the drummer hits ah some metal guys and rock guys that hit really hard will tear through ahead th...

at thin uh really fast so don't even bother if you if you're working with a guy who's playing thick sticks and swinging behind his head I wouldn't even use an ambassador but you know it's great for guys that have ah a little more control and their dynamics it is a pearl, the grass of snare, and I would put this more on the I would use this for, like, a more aggressive song that I wanted, like a lot of snap and ring, or don't even have moon jail on that one right now, so we'll hear that without a moon gel, and then here it was some dampening, but, ah, I would use this for like, funk or or like a cool if if there's a cool beat that needed some ring to it, kind of a break beat type thing or something really aggressive and like punk or I wanted, like, a lot of snap and simmering and like a just kind of an aggressive tone that's the feeling this snare gives me so I'm gonna make note that there's no moon gel on this, the moon gel is the blue dampening, um, stuff that we're using to control the ring, but this one I like without no mondo cool, give us a b and I like the ring on that sneer cause uh, if there's, just something about it that, like it doesn't get overbearing, has kind of a nice musical this to it. When you're playing that beat, it reminds me of, like, a more modern tom petty song or, like wallflowers, something in that in that kind of range and that's, what that's near is pretty cool for and that's part of the reason I left the moon gel off, um, I'll play it back for you guys, so you can hear what it sounds like recorded, and you could kind of imagine that in, like, a super aggressive, like rock song to, like something that's, uptempo where you know, you don't, you know, come more of a punk rock, aggressive type, hard core thing, not a modern bellcore thing, but like a really, um, natural sounding thing where you want still want a consistent and big sounding snare, but with some ring and some aggression because to me that the snare really controls the mood and and that's a good snare for that ringing type of mood. But it also sounds cool dampening which I'm going talk a little more about dampening, but I'll just say, going into this right now because I left that off so you can buy these little moon gels. They're a little rubber plastic, you guys, that air sticky, they're a lot like that thing you get when you're a kid and you like a little hand and you throw it against stuff and steal papers from your sister's something, um basically the same thing and some drummers somewhere figured out that you could use these to dampen drums really? Well, you probably had like little hands or dinosaurs or something on his drums at that point, but uh we'll just use one and they come in pretty big pieces, which is for me is way too big, but I find that a third is perfect and I'll put it about where the logo is usually normally be about there and we'll see the difference real quick and you can hear what such a small amount does because it's kind of heavy um it does a lot completely transformed this there so it's the same thing and then I'm just going to copy the notes this is third lune jill cool and as you can tell, obviously dampened but it's still pretty musical on that's why I like moon gels as you can control the amount of dampening on really dial in the sustained you want out of the drum you can do even less you can also let's play this back and I'll show you a couple other things so you still hear a little bit of that ring which is cool that's the moon gel here's no mon gel which is also cool but it's not always what you want so you can really change things and right now I'll show you guys what you can do even just with that one piece of moon gel really dial in the amount of rain you want and I'm playing this through my feet so they'll show you guys what I'm hearing now, but I'm not going to record it because, well, it's not really the kind of thing that you need to listen back to, but will you just play like mezzo kind of medium and you can see that by moving it around, you can really control the amount of ringing the sustained and then I'll show you so you why I cut these up? Because and I've been in situations where I've used whole ones or multiple whole ones he's coming little like four, five packs, super cheap few bucks, they usually last a few sessions and they end up getting hair and joke and sticks the fell over, but we'll show you play again and I'll slowly adding, ah ah, hole one and then multiple ones going here, how dampened it can really get to the point that it almost just sounds like a wood block or something like it's, which could be cool. You can use that for really cool sounds, but that's why I like to use just a little section because you could hear even that first one was a little overboard for a standard snare sound and then real quick I'll show you guys, why is the moon jail in the first place if you're wondering why I'm cutting it up because it's too much is what I'm using too much to me, it's not I feel like it's the perfect amount or I'll cut it into a quarter, but we've been using thirds we'll show you what taped as a lot of people used tape to dampen a snare drum, and I'll show you kind of the standard way to do that. Um can use gaffer duct tape? I'm not a huge fan of tape, I feel like it sounds less musical, but you can judge for yourself and I'll let you guys do that. Obviously some scenarios it's totally perfect it's, excellent for bottom, had dampening most of the time I try to avoid bottom had dampening because that's usually a tuning issue, but sometimes it's needed some floor tom's, you know, are just you can get the perfect sound, but the ring is just way too long and there's multiple ways to deal with that, but but but tape can work for bottom heads because obviously a moon jill will fall off. Sometimes I'll take the moon jill on them and use both, but I'll just show you guys real quick if you want to play that beat again. Hero it does sound good and it kills the ring but I feel like it kills the low end a little bit too is the way the moon joe retains the lower and on almost amplifies it in a way but what I've done at a little weight to the tape so it's not just a flat piece of tape which to me doesn't do a whole lot um is you just folded in half like that and that way you're adding some weight to the tape and it's also really the way to get it back off and breaks up the frequency more uh tape yeah moon jell it's still vibrates yeah that's what it's for that base? Yeah exactly which this khun like I said, this could be useful, but a lot of times I'll reach for the moon gel first because I feel like it's more musical there's other dampening methods as well I'll tape aa lot of jobs if I just can't get the sound right virtually tomtom's sometimes they can be a real struggle teo teo just make sound good at any pitch and I'm like ok let's let's put some tape on it and then that's when it really starts toe uh sounds like at least somewhat recordable yeah, yeah that's tape can be useful and I definitely definitely agree on tom because you have a lot more frequency going on a lot bigger sound. And sometimes the perfect sound is almost too big. So you have to back it off. Yeah, and tape can do that really well. Sometimes tape and moon gel a combination, but they definitely do sound different. And it is because it affects the residents in the amount of weight versus the footprint that you're covering. Um, yeah, on the drum.

Class Description

Drums are one of the hardest instruments to record, because in reality, a drum kit can be upwards of 20 or 30 instruments being played by a performer at one consistent time. Each drum head plays a huge role in determining the overall tone. The range of frequencies is broader than any other recorded instrument, with sub-kicks extending down below 60 Hz and hihats and cymbals with presence and ring above 16kHz. The dynamic range can include subtle ghost hits and flutters to pounding snares that fill a room, and yet somehow all of this is supposed to fit inside a mix without getting lost in a sea of guitars.

Kris Crummett has over a decade and a half of experience recording bands like Sleeping with Sirens, Issues, Alesana, Further Seems Forever and Emarosa. Kris will walk you through every step of the process to capturing killer drum sounds.

Which Drums to Use?

  • The size and type of the kick drum is a good place to start, and will largely dictate what kind of tone you end up with when you get the final mix. Do you want a modern sounding kit with a big low end and a bright punch or a more vintage tone with a rounder, softer low end punch?
  • Snare sounds can often define the tone of an entire record with a range of sizes, head choices and tuning options. How much ring is left in the resonant head can be deceiving when listening to an drum kit on its own, but can often be lost when blended in with the rest of the band. From maple and birch full bodied and nuanced tones to aluminum or even brass bodies, the snare drum can have one of the biggest impacts on your final track.
  • Drum heads can also have a huge impact on the transients that you capture when recording. Coated heads can offer a punchier, thicker sound while clear heads are a bit brighter. Tuning the top head and the bottom head to resonant together is an essential art that takes practice and expertise.

Which mics to Use?

  • There’s no right or wrong way to mic a drum kit, from the famous ‘When the Levee Breaks” 2 microphone room tone to modern metal drum production with 30+ mics in place.
  • Deciding when to use a condenser and when to use a dynamic mic is dependent upon the style, the drummer’s playing style and even the room in which you’re tracking. What sort of room mic techniques can give you that big open kit sound? What about a tight, small room trap kit sound?
  • Kris is prepared to walk you through all of these choices, with examples from his storied career and tips and tricks that only years in the studio can earn you. With legendary guest drummer KJ Sawka, you’ll have an experienced team to guide you through how to overcome the biggest challenge for a home studio engineer, the drum kit.


Kevin Howard

Kris is methodical and goes over everything related to drum recording in great detail. He covers heads and even how much moon gel he uses for damping the heads, Mic placement, shell choice( size, wood etc ). Listen to Dance Gavin Dance to hear some of his work. I found this class to be super informative and very practical in it's approach. Thank you Kris !


this is a great class! i play drums personally, and i love percussion! he also teaches well


This is an amazing class! Kris is a very scientific instructor. This really opened my eyes to the drum recording process. Take Notes!!!! There are about a thousand unique facts and techniques that you should know. This will help you to record drums correctly at the source so that you can minimize the amount of digital destruction you will do later and thus get a "Professional" sound.