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Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Lesson 10 of 29

Choosing a Snare - 1950s WFL 14 x 6.5

Kris Crummett

Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Kris Crummett

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Lesson Info

10. Choosing a Snare - 1950s WFL 14 x 6.5

Lesson Info

Choosing a Snare - 1950s WFL 14 x 6.5

The next snare I want to show you guess ism even mohr on the side of kind of openness and looseness and that's it's ah, late forties early fifties wofl it matches the gold kick we used and this is this one's mahogany ease and I brought this because I wanted you to hear kind of what a vintage drum sounds like and even though that might even be considered vintage at this point it's only like you know, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen years old as to where this drum is like sixty five years old three times is old, so if you're interested in the niche drums and you know they all look cool, but the drums always look cool, but they don't always sound cool older isn't always better, but sometimes they fit the bill on that. So I want to show you this drum is because it can fit the bill. I have an older style head on it it's just an emperor, which is a two ply too thin replies and that keeps it kind of within the vintage of itself. It keeps the character of the drum we'll throw that on there and the...

strangers on that or super small they're about this thick and that's a little hard to adjust because the mechanisms back then didn't use ribbons to connect to they actually just screw right into the strainer so you have to get specific strangers for or build something but this one could vintage I wanted to keep it original throw it's not throw off is an original hits from the seventies fives but that's not what is important so like markers here on again this is a six and a half fourteen by six and a half so I'm kind of going through the same sizes so say we're not really assessing depth right now we're just assessing materials and other things really pointing out how many different snare sounds you can get with the same depth what's your preferred snare size I've always been a fourteen six and a half guy but you know it's I mean six and a half is your is your classic sound with a really nice thud fundamental um I used to only play sopranos and piccolo yeah there's like high speed beats though yeah exactly as you want that clarity it's all about the note value yeah and picked up the ghost was really, really accurately and well um but if you really want to rock out um it's really nice to have the depth meager um and has a as I get older the beats they always slow down yeah, yeah yeah yeah definitely a little less hyperactive yeah, well, you get and stuff so it's cool but and you know, I wish I'd brought a piccolo snare because you'd be the perfect drummer to show why that's actually khun b yeah that'd be excellent bring one tomorrow because that it really is cooler show like if I play the piccolo snare in my band everyone would laugh at me if I brought a piccolo snare too a session of certain records that I work with the drummer would just be like what is wrong with you? But you bring a piccolo snare to the proper session stuff you're working on stuff someone with a lot of detail and their snare work is working on that's like exactly what needs to happen and there's a lot of like strong opinions and bias nous based on the music you love because everyone's passion about the music which shows in instruments you know it's like if you brought a guy playing classic rock like I said earlier frickin eight string guitar people would laugh at you on dh vice versa. You know, if you brought a metal guy a banjo, he'd be like, I don't want to play this at all because there's only four strings and it has nothing to do with what I like so piccolo snare really defines a certain type of playing a certain type of music on dso does a deeper snare, you know, I wouldn't really want to record you doing super fast cool like break meat stuff on a snare like that? Yeah at once it gets to a certain temple least because you would just it would make my job so much harder because he would lose so much definition that that it's not appropriate. So keep that in mind when you're listening to these tests that right now he's just playing quarter notes basically and that's why these drum sound cool but once we get into some of the smaller drums will do some faster stuff and maybe on the last, bigger drum will do a faster beat to teo kind of hit home how even though right now it seems like a big drum is the right thing to do, it might not necessarily be the right thing for certain beats, but let's hear this wofl fourteen by six and a half and just for people with the session, this is early fifties, you kind of know that era it's a very different era of drum building, and when you're talking about sophistication, this is the opposite of it. Yeah is a drum that if you look inside the, uh it doesn't even meet properly, it actually folds over a little bit where the drum is and I can show you guys and that's just how they used to make drums because the tools were pretty archaic and it just wasn't you know, we've had sixty something years of development since then, so it just is what it is it defines an era, has a cool sound, but it is not sophisticated and we still have that moon same amount of moon gel still the fifty seven but we have a reno and can't spell were coded on top same bottom head is a risk you are my tracks meet monitors and play that beat cool and I'll I'll play this back for you. What I like about that drum and why I keep it around is that it has a really focused sound and it has a cool attack it's totally different. It stays out of the way, though, and I like that for a song that's really busy it's a good snare to kind of stay out of the way it will give you that snare sound, but it won't attract your head to the snare too much. It'll fit in with tighter loops and stuff without being too high pitched, and I like that I find it useful just as a real tight sound to it a real focus sound not a lot of tone itself, but that's mahogany it's kind of ah, a little more tony this is not the right word but it's a little softer of a sound in general and which creates kind of a smaller sound, but I like it I think it works good sometimes

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.