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Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Lesson 26 of 29

Knowing the Drummer's Playing Style

Kris Crummett

Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Kris Crummett

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Lesson Info

26. Knowing the Drummer's Playing Style

Lesson Info

Knowing the Drummer's Playing Style

The next thing I want to show you guys that justice crucial and anything else we've done today is is is knowing the drummer themselves and making sure that you're getting what you want out of the drummer as far as his performance and the ways hitting the drums to make sure that they sound the way you want because we've got all these drums too in the way we want we have ah all the mike's place the way we want but every drummer is going to make the kit sound completely different and that's just something that you can't get around but I can show you how to make the drummer play more like you want to get the sound you want and to demonstrate the fact on to kind of drive home the fact that the kit consigned completely different with everyone behind it I'm actually going to have a few different people in the room play the kit for me because I know we have a couple drummers here um and of course we have this drummer here but first I'm gonna have you played just for an example real quick becau...

se we've set up the kit around you're playing yeah play something that anyone could recreate just kind of the doomed doomed but do do but on the high hats I think so drummer tests you guys didn't know you're on the spot one sec all right, go ahead all right that's kj and uh who wants to replicate that beat can I get a volunteer all right and uh introduce yourself I'm being all right on give me one second and I will have you play the same beat go ahead cool and as you can see daniel's totally sufficient drumming he's he's obviously a good drummer but the kit totally sounds different anyone else want to take a shot or am I gonna have to do this you want to do this now andrew doesn't want to do this either you guys no no drumming in the blood I don't want to be the one to do this coming all right well I will do this I guess I'm gonna have to record myself I should have been listening to that beat a little closer okay crack got it way have ah mike from the booth who actually wants to come in and play yeah all right mike from the movement that might do it up first name mike last name from the booth guy looking up on facebook crush it all right you know the beat do you know the beet uh yeah sure. No problem. All right, mike from the booth way go cool a little bit different beat but it works on dh shows example no, I'm going to do this just because I'm going to represent the loud obnoxious guy because that's who I always am when I'm the drummer in the studio not from my mouth but from my over type sensibility when it comes to drumming um so I'm going to record myself on this one going to listen to the first one to get the tempo in my head again so now that it's rolling I will be attempting my version of the beat how I play naturally I'm a little bit taller I'm rolling so that's what makes me the loud obnoxious guy and uh I just told that joke a minute ago but you're not going to hear it, which is why I'd like to think that the response was a little less but it's probably just because it wasn't funny in the first place so let me play these back these are the examples of the different players move mine over because I had to you walk over to the kid so here's k j I'm not changing any levels and then here's daniel and here's mike from the booth and mike's is a little bit faster because he was in the booth and time goes faster in the booth and here is mine. My name is chris, which I will replay because I did not group all of the microphones that when I play magically only the overheads work and here's mine and my name's chris and clearly my playing style is quite a bit louder so some of the mike speaking on debts not really a good or bad thing. It's just a different thing, which I just wanted to really illustrate that every everybody plays differently and balances drums differently. So if, say, I was recording daniel, which I have, um, randomly in the past many years ago, um and I'll listen, this track um what I hear is that the drum sound really good the symbol sound good. The kick sounds balance, but the snare doesn't sound big enough or a solid as I want. So daniel, in a single? Yeah, you want to come back up? So what I would do in a situation like this, um where I have a drummer that he's playing great he's totally sufficient to be on the record, it's. You know, we have all the tones dial and everything's. Great, but I want a bigger snare sound then what's coming out of them. So play that beat one more time for me. Let me get my ear protection on just the way you did before just the bomb bomb thump. Now I see that I see that he's he's playing a little interested on the snare and that's totally fine that's a certain type of style, but for this song we're going to say it's like a big rock song and I want a really cracking, sounding snare. So what you want to do is a producer or a drummer playing on a record is no, the song you're working with and don't be afraid to talk to the drummer about altering his style just a little bit to get what you want out of the plane. Um, you know, you don't want it, I want not gonna come in here and be like, daniel, you suck, man, like, why can't you play this right? Like, you're not going to get anywhere if you do stuff like that. So, you know, drummers aren't idiots, you know, drums is one of the most complicated instruments in the average, you know, papa rock bands, so they're not stupid people, and they can work with you. So what you want to do is you just want to come in and you assess the playing like, I already have the snares and exactly how I wanted, and I can see why it's not quite how I wanted, so what I'm gonna do is I'm just going to come up, and I'm just going to be like, daniel sounds awesome. I really like what you're doing if you could just drop your elbow a little bit on your left hand and when you're playing the high hats. Bring angle this stick a little more so you're getting a little more shoulder a little more angle actually, yeah, getting a little more shoulder on it and then lower this one a little bit. So you're stick is hitting the room every time and but bring your race it back a little bit, so you're hitting right in the center so play that beat one more time and there's a little more force in your left hand the rest of your body the same way because it sounds great. Go ahead and now we have a way more rock and snare and it's the way that, you know, we pictured the song in the first place and daniel doesn't have to, like, be a totally different person. It doesn't have to get fired. All you have to do is just say, hey man, you know, maybe make a little alteration here do this or that um and that will make a really big difference in the end and that's the difference between me sound replacing the snare or having to take really drastic measures or just fixing it from the source and getting it right, and then I have really awesome drums and that's basically what I would do and that goes for any any of the drums, anything is not just snares downstairs, just my example

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.