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Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Lesson 12 of 29

Choosing a Snare - Pearl Reference Brass and Tama Bell Brass War

Kris Crummett

Fundamentals of Drum Tuning and Recording

Kris Crummett

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Lesson Info

12. Choosing a Snare - Pearl Reference Brass and Tama Bell Brass War

Lesson Info

Choosing a Snare - Pearl Reference Brass and Tama Bell Brass War

Got a few more stairs I want to show you just to kind of show you the whole aa lot of the different popular snares out there for recording and there's a lot so narrative down eight but still got a few more to show you on dh I'm going to keep going in size um and because I think that's a good way to go now this next drum is also brass like the last one but it's a three mil breath so it's really thick and really heavy um I'll grab it very heavy german somewhat of a backbreaker also fourteen by six and a half inch depth um and this drum is just ah it's tuned down a little bit to show you that the tuning range of a thicker drum like this is a little a little wider theirs this is similar to a bell brass and you'll hear a lot of people call this a bell brass but bell grass by tom a is actually bronze and it's actually cast it's all it's all molded from one piece as door. This is a rolled shell they hide the theme seems you can't really see it, but there is a welded seam so it's just three mi...

l role brass I'm going to show you the sound difference between this and a bell brass which is the same thickness of shell slightly different material and build um this one has the controlled sound head on it but I've purposefully to tune this one low just tio give us a more options and um I feel like this drums cooler when its tune lower than its counterparts when they're tuned higher let me make a little note here this's the pearl reference brass is what it's called fourteen by six point five and same notes it's got a remote controlled sound third of a moon gel on and has some fifty seven monitors here ana you still have the tempo kind of in your brain and you want me to be I'll be back doing ok cool awesome go ahead cool there's little bastard yeah it's all right it's close enough again the metal snares air just a little louder the stairs a little ring in on a little dry in the sound and the head is a little ring it probably could have turned it up a little bit I was trying to hit like the very bottom of the tuning range yeah probably shot a little low that head might loosen the since a tuned it yesterday but but it still gives you an idea of what a drum like that sounds like gives you the characteristics and this snare for me again this one has the die cast hoops as to where the black beauty had a triple flinch on it and they're both brass snares different types of breasts but I kind of equate the black beauty more like with the monarch that we heard and then this drum I kind of equate more with the all maple with the die cast in the where it can have a cool tone, but it varies more in the playing it's, not a steady of a snare, so this is kind of my medal counterpart to that but it's cool it's got a little floppy dry sound to it that works well, but we can move past that one because it's it's a little lower on my list of favorites lately but in a month that could turn it up and it could be the best time I ever heard just things things changed the situational, especially with musical instruments, so when you drop the pitch of ah snare jum you've dropped the pitch of both heads that one I dropped the top more than the bottom but they are both dropped a little bit yeah both dropped a little a little too far in retrospect, yeah, I think I had it right at the bottom last night when I was tuning it and then overnight probably something a little more because those were brand new heads, right? But but that's not being like my favorite snare on earth, I don't want to stress too much about about it, but most of time when I dropped the pitch I'll drop both top in the bottom you know you can drop just the bottom to get a little bit of difference if you want to keep the field do you what do you what's your method normally for dropping the tuning snare and you probably won't play low that was on how far I'm going to go umm if I try to get like one hundred fifty hurt yeah you know then you definitely gotta have ahead looser yeah then like that the perfect pitch of the of the drum but I generally keep the bottom had pretty snug yeah and then you could drop it um the pitch quite a bit with just a little bit from the top yeah keeps a nice and crispy though with the bottom head yes and tight yeah definitely um it's doing the top headfirst can help make a drastic changes but there is a point when in dropping the top head that the field could get really strange so you kind of have to find the right balance and light up in the bottom I've walked into aa a lot of different studios and and they weren't there we're very successful with getting good trump drum tones and I would immediately sit the kids and feel the bottom head and feel that it was squishy I'm like what there's yeah album right there yep so tighten up and most the time they would solve the entire issue yeah, yeah just tightens everything up. Um, makes a crispy and makes us snare just more like a snare as opposed to just like you can get kind of into the tom range pretty easily. If you drop the bottom too much. Yeah. Get kind of overly bouncy blowing a sound or just a dead sound by having the bottom had to loose. So I like to keep the bottom. Had fairly tight. Not his type. Probably as some people really crank it up, like over four hundred hertz. Yeah, I probably keep it around four hundred hertz, um, unjust that head itself. But some some people get into the four, fifty five hundred range with cranking it not to have a little a little bit of leeway. Yeah. Three. Fifty two, four hundred on the bottom. And I and I can always check that with the tune, but or just by year with the tone. So this this snare really even introduced a snare. This is the this is the tom abell brass. This is another one of those classic snares that people talk about a lot it's. Kind of like the black beauty it's like it's, famous for the snare sound on a lot of records, one that, like in my experience comes to mind, is like, as growing up as a drummer everyone talked about dave girl and everyone talked about nirvana never mind and everyone talked about this snare called the terminator and for years I just heard about the terminator being on like different records and stuff and it turns out that that was just like the nickname for the bell brass at the rental studio in hollywood and so that was a six and a half by fourteen inch bell grasses a six by fourteen it's newer it's a warlord but the show is the same thing and there's no seam on it it's just made out of one piece of metal milled down and that's what really makes it unique and it's also even though they call it bell brass is actually bronze which is um was just thomas like catch name for it was was belle brass but this has an emperor x on it which I like a lot on this snare hoping it held tuning and we'll give it a shot we just make a marker this drums also incredibly heavy so is the last one is probably one of the heaviest drums you'll ever feel like you guys hold it it's like a backbreaker that's like twenty twenty five pounds yeah really having it cz like a almost like a guitar head or something yeah very very heavy very thick show thoma fell brass fourteen by six an emperor x which is like the emperor showed you guys earlier but it has ah dot on it toe weight it down to control the sound a little more and that drum can kind of get away from me like ring wise so that's why I like to put the one with the dot on it could help bring the pitch down a little bit too because he lose that half inch of death so we've got the fifty seven again and go ahead and that drum has a much more focused sound and it does have die cast hoops on it. Um, which helps and that sound to me I've always described as like, boxy but beautiful it's like really fat and really punchy but it's not super low or super high, it just has like it's, almost like the sound fits in a box of frequencies really perfectly and it's probably not the best I've ever tuned it. It does have a pretty wide tuning range, but even at that you can hear that it just has a really cool focus sound so if you're looking for something that's a little less high and lows, then the black beauty but you want that metal snare sound. This is a really cool drum yeah it's very focused and you khun thing I like about this drum is you can tune it up pretty tight on the top and make it really sensitive but also get, um still has some low in residence or something about that milled shell that just it retains the low residents no matter what the tuning is, which which I really like, is that I can tell, but playing with that heads not super tight, it's it's, kind of in the middle. Yeah, it's tuned to its tune the same as the, um other to thomas, but just has a little more give for some reason might be because I chose a different head type for it, so that concludes the six and a half inch drums. Oh, so you guys are having this drum is, and then we'll do a couple thinner drums that air tune a little higher. She could get a feel for that. Don't kill yourself, uh, wants the whole thing. Just ease your men on their faces. It's yeah, weigh heavier than you never think. Yep, yeah. If you ever need a snare drum or a shield, thiss will do.

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.