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Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Lesson 7 of 29

Choosing a Kick Drum - WFL 26x16 Clear Remo Powerstroke

Kris Crummett

Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Kris Crummett

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Lesson Info

7. Choosing a Kick Drum - WFL 26x16 Clear Remo Powerstroke

Lesson Info

Choosing a Kick Drum - WFL 26x16 Clear Remo Powerstroke

And now we'll bring in this uh late forties early fifties wofl which was ludwig before it was ludwig um well it's like walter f ludwig or something is what it stands for but this is where you're getting in this's a twenty six by sixteen and this is where you're getting into the realm of the rack tom maybe being too tall because obviously you know you'd be up here at this point but right now we're just focusing on the kick drum and this one's more shallow it's uh it's a sixteen and um it's a little taller so technically it's about the same volume like the space inside is about the same volume is this twenty four we used but you're going to hear that it being tolerant more shallower completely changes the frequency response also this drum is ah I believe mahogany I've never confirmed it because this company at the time just used whatever would was available so they have like gum would kits and mahogany kits and a bunch of different stuff but but but this one sounds cool and so just keep ...

that in mind though when you're listening that it's ah not maple so we're not just hearing the size difference we're also hearing a wood difference but it has a power stroke three which is the same as the green drum and the twenty four and a power stroke resonant which is actually the same as the um red drum I believe the one that had the g med so it's combination of heads but the batter head is similar to the other two we've heard for reference and this one has the whole way up high so I have to change the height of the stand and also because I've been kind of going for forty percent inside the drums scheme because the shallower drum I have toe I'm not going to put it in his far so you wonder why this is further out but that's because there's about two inches less distance that needs to go in to the drum because for forty percent is usually my starting point for the front of the capsule forty percent from the resident head are you gonna use thea pillow in there too? Well, this one actually has a different pillow because of the debt. Ok? Um let's we'll try it with the pillow that's in there. That's a good thing to bring up though, and this is just like a pillow off your grandma's couch. Yeah it's literally like pech quilt alone it's just the one that I found that I liked in this drum but we'll use that and then we can switch it out for the q pillow so you can kind of hear the difference and I'm gonna flip the mic upside now that's not gonna work sounds a little tricky to get senator keep the cable off of the head and check it on this side. It's a bell or I wanted just a little bit left of center. Um, I don't really like the mic right in front of the beater because you get, like, an over abundance of wind and knocking nous, but I also don't want it to be dull and have that weird ringing outside of the head sounds so just having a little bit left or right, depending on what side the whole is, um, I guess left from the drummers perspective, so I'm gonna get rid of this second one that we did because it really wasn't enough difference. I'll make a marker this's the twenty six but twenty the first number I'm referring to the height twenty six by sixteen wofl gold sparkle notes so remote power stroke three on the batter side, ana remo are stroke three resident inside my castillo de one twelve overhead are still became a four's rubber beater and this has grandma's below. No, my monitors. Go on, give me some nice hard hits. Cool. Well wasn't back to that again every kucher it was probably going to need to be a little different, but we'll just see where we're at. Now notice that this has a little bit more resonance it's a little bit more boo me of a sound but it's a cool sound on me and it actually is almost closer to the twenty to the twenty four because of the depth it's ah and the wood type this drum and the tom's that go with it and the snare michelle you later just has a tendency for even though the note it is pitch lower woods like mahogany kind of have a harder, harder sound room that creates more like two, three hundred hertz kind of like the twenty two does naturally because of its sound as to where the twenty four because of its size and the maple it kind of starts to lose some frequencies in that three hundred two hundred one fifty area which this one gets back because of the woods so again if you want to use the twenty four but you wanted more of those low mids you might try like a birch drum or mahogany drum or something with different would so that's twenty six on here's the twenty two that have the same head we'll punch your a little mid ranger but not as big and booming and cool for me I'd say the twenty six is more of a slow song or like a cool vintage type groove drum it's not a drum for like a modern rock song or a metal song or something yeah it's got the most character for sure yeah and that's what it's kind of what I like about shallower drums and older drums is that they do tend to have a little more tonal character it might not be a slick of a sound or cool the sound but it's really fun you know I play in a band that just plays straight up rock one twenty tempos uh you know that we don't I never play sixteen notes it's like all aids and quarters and I play that based room because it's perfect it fills in the space and that's something you really want to think about when you're choosing a kick drum is what did the note values on what kind of space and I trying to fill you wouldn't play a drum like that if you're playing a bunch of sixteen notes on the kick drum because it's just going to turn into a rumble the sustains going to be too long men at the same time if you like I mean if I'm just playing quarter notes or half notes on the kick drum, I don't want a super tight short kick drum sound because I'm not feeling any space it'll just kind of sound abrupt so no no the note values and the space or trying to fill with the drum on that goes for every drum especially tom's but kick falls into that category as well so we've documented that um the last thing I want to get into with kick drums is discussing the different beater types kind of like how we talked about earlier in this one's rubber um um and then we also have off felt one over there and let's just use this drum because I think the attacks pretty clear and we've already got that and we'll just switch out this's almost the same pedal it's just a much, much older thoma enc over think I got this for like my fifteenth birthday or something that's been around the block but it's the same brand of beat her head so the only difference really is the material as you can see actually before you skip that one and we're going to show them these two different ones so here's the rubber one we've been playing um and it's it's a little bit smaller sometimes beaters go all the way around the chef but that one's just the thomas style which I like the sound of you can see it's pretty shallow in the missile ins identical limits just felt as you can see and that's what we're going to listen to now after listening to the rubber one all day and then maybe tomorrow we'll get to listen to a wood one as well so we'll set this aside this will be on the twenty six again so I can copy all of my notes other than peter just apple ceo appleby, I think most people know that key command that in case he didn't it's will save you tons and tons of time knowing your key command is really important as an engineer, I think because you really want to have a smooth workflow and you don't want to waste people's time, and if you're going back and forth across the stream screen going through menus and stuff, you just kind of wasting people's time and that's not really conducive to being creative, so know your key commands, so you're just kind of moving with the flow of the session still got grandma's below in there. Um, so those were muted and give us a nice hard hits with that one cool it's pretty drastic difference it's a softer sound, but it's a little more of a push in the mids, which could be really cool on yeah, useful I think they felt usually works better with older drums, yeah, that's all they had back then that's what they were kind of shaped around. This is the idea of felt it also felt works a lot better with thinner kick drum heads. If you're using like a pretty thin or a coded kick drum head, uh, felt well will kind of open up the head a little more as to where you are it's probably here too much attack on the thin head with a rubber plastic peter yeah that's really the only point or one of the only points with with anything harder than fell is to get more attack exactly so I can play this back this's the felt there's still plenty of attack because it's a vintage drum a lot of vintage drums especially drums uh from the sixties and seventies after this drums rule dark at this period it was like pre actual like you know, british invasion pre rock and roll and once louder guitars came around kick drums got brighter and a little more tacky and you can tell by the all maple drums in the mid sixties ends and all through the seventies and even in the like vista lights which your plastic it really got into being able to hear the drums over the over the loud guitars and stuff and that's that's where maple kind of came in on dh that stuff came in um even into the eighties when things got super loud and you started to see like late seventies and eighties they started making drums that had like horns on the back you know, like tom's that came out to try to, like, amplify the drums it's kind of gimmicky didn't sound that great, but but you could tell that they were really thinking about, um the music styles when designing these drums and they still do I mean that's why I like you like in the room to me like all these new eardrums airway louder and tighter and punch here because music is tighter now recording methods have made things a lot clearer so drums were being made in maybe not necessarily more of a refined way but they're made to sound tighter and punch here so that it's kind of good to know the style you're going for and the era of the drum that fits that style you know, if you were playing jazz stuff you probably want like and you know ah jazz or big band stuff you'd want to kit from the forties fifties maybe the sixties certain brands were doing things that were still pretty mellow and more rounded sounding but those are just things keeping in mind but this class is more around the rock hard hitting side of things that's really important actually yeah it's a good thing to know, but I like that drum because I feel like it kind of spans the um it's kind of a buddy rich style drum sort of bottom ish john bonham from led zeppelin played something similar that was a little bit newer but it kind of bridges the jazz and like rock sort of thing and that's why I brought it and I'll play one more time I'll play the felt and then here's the rubber on the same job. Pretty drastically different socks sounds there's. The felt again, a lot of mids. A lot of like one k sort of snap, which is cool, and then here's the rubber, which has more of a scoop on a little more lows and a little more click. The high end is pushed up quite a bit.

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.