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Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Lesson 14 of 29

Choosing a Snare - Black Panther Walnut 14x5.5

Kris Crummett

Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Kris Crummett

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Lesson Info

14. Choosing a Snare - Black Panther Walnut 14x5.5

Lesson Info

Choosing a Snare - Black Panther Walnut 14x5.5

So this last one is a five believes of five by fourteen um may picks here and this is actually walnut so we're kind of getting into smaller snares and different materials um no because this one is really drastically different I'm gonna bring the mike down a little bit you know, we had a little bit of difference in the other ones but it wasn't enough for me to worry about it this is because with standards in the same place but the drum ish more shallow so let's throw in this is the one in tune that you guys heard earlier I was going through a little bit gel on this guy because I didn't earlier so compares that all the other snares that we heard this is the last one that may picks walnut fourteen five this is one third moon gel um and says an emperor on I believe cool go for he's got a weird little ring to it some may be loosened up a little bit in that end there was just something you always want to listen for when you're tracking drums e mean like you're saying before it's like the wor...

st instrument because you buy it to hit it and like bash it so if you like putting you know you're putting where on the head where on everything so you really do have to be cautious of things going out of tune and changing you were yeah drum sounds will change pretty quick. Yeah, especially with new heads. Yep, yeah, exactly. So it's good to always go back and reference the first recording of it and I always take like a sample of each drumm er as I set it up when it when it sounds perfect to me I'll just take a sample so I can always go back to that and no exactly where I was when I started whatthe sound was that I really liked so playback this walnut snare well, what? Hovering? Not the worst thing ever, but has a cool dry sound to it too. And I like how focus that drum is um and you get a lot of the the being a little bit more shallow it gives it more focus and gives it a little more of ah, because a short frequency range is what I would call it a little less highs little love but some of that comes from the wall in that as well. Another thing I wanted to talk about that I think we should use the black beauty to talk about because it's a really good thing is how your snare strainer will affect your snare sound and is something that's um I think just kind of ignored sometimes or just put where drummer is happy with it I could take that for you but it's really important to adjust it to make sure that the snare sounds exactly like what you want and this is a good the snares a good example good test room for that bring my mic back up looks like you have the mike in line with the snares kind of I do yeah, which isn't always an option because of a tom right? But this is a good spot for me right now that's what? You try to go for them? Yeah it's a little uh not necessarily actually I'm um or trying to get an angle that's ah, a little higher on the deeper angle which I'll get into more tomorrow but because the high hats are right here in a little low on the height of the snare I just decided to go right here for now but once that tom's there like when we set up the mikes tomorrow the actual snare mike's they will be angled this way a little more yeah, get more of a direct sound uh, your points down. Yeah, because of the proximity I'll cover all that stuff tomorrow so with this they're, um there's play a real quick just to get a reference. Cool. Now loosen up those those snares a little bit right now we have like a super tight focus sound um um loosen him up a little bit just a little bit longer of a snake you know to the point that you could get a little rattle e so you could really dial it in and you notice it as you back it down you get a little more of that bucket he sound out of it like that a little more tom sound and sometimes it's cool like on any songs to really if you have kind of a slow group in the song to really bring that snare loosen that that snare wire up and get that kind of tommy sound with the sustained going but for a normal rock thing where we had it was good um tighten it up like too much and well let's show him what happens well, when you get way up there you just start to choke the drums. Yes, I sell small and lame it sounds now um it's something to watch out for if you got a drummer and he's playing a snare and you know it's tuned good near like why does this sound so choked? Um go check the strainer and back it off a little bit and for me the perfect stranger setting is backed off to where it rattles and then like a half a turn back up basically to where it just stops rattling on the sustained because anymore and you just have kind of a weird pop corny jokes snare sound so something what yes, exactly. And it's so that you can it's touching you can tell how different the snare sounds just based on the strainer attention so that's really important there's a couple other different types of drums that have control on both sides like all a lot of the modern tom and drums which I really like is why I like a lot of my thomas snares have a strainer control on both sides so you can get the snare perfectly centered on dh you can actually mess around with different tensions of ah of each side and you can get both sides perfect as to where with this drum you're obviously just loosening one side and tightening one side so that's really cool then there's also which they make now that's really cool is a ludwig black beauty with what's called the ludwig supersensitive strainer on it and the super sensitive stranger was something designed. I think in the sixties or the I think in the late sixties, I'm not totally sure I had one of my studio for a long time from the seventies and even though it's an aluminum snare which sounds kind of weak and kind of small, the strainer system on the super sensitive actually lets you drop the height of the snare and not just the tension so you can tighten the snare as much as you want and then you can adjust the height of it down which means that you can get some of those tom type sounds without a loose rattle the sustained and it's a really, really cool stranger system that they now offer on the black beauty in and I just thought that was worth a mention because that's a really neat way to go though it's a lot more expensive and it's a little bit of an overkill but if your, um really trying to get a lot of sounds out of one drum I think that's a cool way to go for sure does the other cool cool strangers on the other thing now that we've got that snare back the other thing I wanted to show you guys about snare sounds in general and this comes to tom's but too but it has a lot to do with the rim shot and um you don't reams shot tom's as much or a lot of guys don't um but stick size really makes a big difference in the sound of a drum on. We might talk about this a little bit earlier, but right now he's been playing seven days which were like kind of on the smaller end of things or not the smallest stick but they're definitely lighter drum sticks great for like fast playing on dh they sound really good they're they're they're great sticks but they sound very different from like a to b or a anything bigger marching stick on? I just want to demonstrate that sound because it's another way to control the sound of the drums in your recording and really get what you want out of the drum and it makes a big difference so go ahead and play that beat let's do rim shots all the way around um I'll record this I'm like a marker black beauty seven a's cool, excellent and then let me grab you a pair of thes air basically just to bees that are a little bit longer um so you have different it could make things go for it. So one thing that happens that you can see is that two bees will make the drum sound a lot louder because you've got more weight it's like hitting the nail with a bigger hammer it's it's a big difference and it's a total difference to and it's not always a difference you want, especially if you're trying to play super fast stuff it's dead weight? Yeah, jazz things like that yeah it's not worth it, but if you're playing rock um to be zehr are pretty cool, so I'll play back the difference here and in between there's for guys who aren't drummers were just engineers there's stick size that there's every stick size between two being a seventy but those air kind of the the standards on both ends of things you very rarely will encounter someone playing a stick bigger than it to be and you'll rarely encounter anyone playing a stick smaller than a seven a but I've seen it on the size of the do doesn't matter actually I thought I did a long time ago but I saw it the reason why a place at seven days because dennis chamber you play seven days and he's a big dude yeah yeah but he was a really well yeah and that's that is true the size of the person can matter it doesn't necessarily matter but I have bigger hands and I actually have a hard time holding seven days and it's not so much a size thing but it's more of a strength thing you know and they have if you have that issue they have things that work out your hands to make him stronger but I just don't have a super strong grip so it's easier for me to play um two b's or bigger sticks because seven days kind of make my hands cramp up justcause they're larger but it doesn't have to be that way usually is something to keep in smaller stick more more notes yeah yeah doesn't want to play yeah and I'm not playing fast up so it's not a big sticks on an issue but if I was I would be playing smaller sticks for sure so I will play the seven days for you and the two bees and they're a little more consistent the other thing about this I'm just going to solo this there seven days and then here's to bees some minister yeah, more consistent and this might be something that is a little hard to hear over there in the studio audience just because you don't have the speakers right by you but I can hear the air that's being pushed by the bigger stick you get a little more of a dump but you don't get as much clarity so it might not sound way different if you're listening on a tv or a laptop or something right now but put on headphones you'll definitely hear the difference and not neither one is better is just ah it's just another option and stuff did you have a question? Yeah when you're recording is there any prozac collins using the larger vented snares um explain what you mean? Um a lot of like the orange county you're castillo pretty like two to three inch kind of yeah, well there there are definite cons to that there I've never heard the pros personally um but that's just my opinion, that doesn't mean they're not I get the sound of their cool but it's not so much a recording thing because I would personally never want to put a microphone inside us in there which I feel like that's kind of what it's for unless it's just for air venting, which is weird to me because air pressure is a big part of the snare sound so when you're letting that air out you're losing a lot of that pressure plus you're losing a good you know, five square inches of yeah, I guess I was just wondering the theory behind that because I feel like it lose a lot of the tone yeah, I had more for live situations it is it's acoustic volume thing usually the larger hole the louder the snare is, but in a recording environment it really doesn't matter that much but with symbols big symbols of otter snare drum is probably better like you're saying yeah, I could see getting if you wanted to get like a super aggressive smack um loud smack out of it or you really want the snare to cut through the room mike's I could see that being useful, but I feel like there's probably alternatives for the studio to get allowed enough snare, but but you're correct I think that is I don't think about life stuff that often but definitely has a live volume thing yeah good for a non mike snare situation or you really have the snare to cut that tension with the air though it's pretty crucial for a stare down yeah, I owned I feel the same way for the fuel and the sound yeah, especially when you have a mike on it. And you're in an environment like a studio that's. Really sterile. I think. Why that could totally work, because, um, you know, you got the crowd. You got your blasted through a p, a there's, all kinds of different variables and it's less under the microscope as to where in the studio under the microscope. It's really important to have a symmetrical drum for one, you're losing the cemetery, and also having that air pressure really makes a big difference.

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.