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Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp

Lesson 14 of 74

Sticks and Beaters


Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp

Lesson 14 of 74

Sticks and Beaters


Lesson Info

Sticks and Beaters

The other factor that we're looking at sticks and beaters. So, this is a standard, more standard stick size right here. It has a nice small tip but it's not too small. And here is Anoop's stick of choice which, as you can see, is a lot bigger. So, we're looking at two things here that are going to sound on the same exact drums very differently. The general rule is the smaller the tip, the more articulation you're going to have in the drum itself, the more attack. However, if you get too small, you're not gonna activate the body of the drum. The larger the tip, the more body and the more air you're able to push so the drum is gonna sound a little bit fuller but you're going to start to round off the attack on the drum itself. So, that brings us to an interesting way that we're going to have to approach the tuning of this drum because, as you can see, these sticks that Anoop uses are much larger than a normal stick so we're going to have to approach the tuning of this kit a little bit di...

fferently to accommodate this size stick. If you can, most of the times we've asked drummers to switch sticks, if they can, either go larger or go smaller, depending on what type of sound we're getting from them and usually it's go larger, usually-- Nine out of ten times. Yeah, nine out of ten times we go from something like a 5a which is, you know, a very comfortable stick for a drummer to play fast with because it's light, to a 5b which is gonna give us a little bit more body out of the drum and let the drum speak a little bit clearer. A little side note about that is if you're going to ask a drummer to make these types of changes, like go to a different size, especially a heavier size and they play very fast music like in the 250 BPM range, anything like that, faster, you might wanna get ready for this a month or two before the session because just giving them that on the spot, it might not work, they might screw it all up because a lot of these guys that play super fast, they require, they get used to the exact weight of everything, the exact distance from the drum, it's all just a muscle memory, quick twitch kind of thing. So, you're gonna basically be throwing a wrench in the machine if you just present them with heavier sticks. I mean, some guys can do it but I wouldn't assume that they can just do it. I mean, I'm sure Amood could do it. Right. But not everyone's Amood and most likely, most of the people that, you guys watching this are gonna be recording, are not gonna be like an Amood or an Alex Runiger or somebody like that. You guys are probably gonna be starting with guys that are not quite pro and that's not a, no offense or anything, it's just the truth, so you wanna give these people as much time to prepare as possible. So, if you know that they play pencil sized sticks and you want them to move up, give them a couple months and make them practice that way so that when you start recording, they don't totally mess it up. Yeah. Yeah, it's important, I mean, you bring up a good point, you always should meet and watch the band in their rehearsal space or in a space on its own so you can take into account these things, what types of drums are you using, how does it sound when he plays, what type of sticks are you using. Will he need to go bigger or smaller and those type of things. Like, pay attention to, you know, if you can and you have time ahead like, really observe how these guys are doing what they do so that if you have the ability to say change a stick to something bigger or smaller, you can do that because you know that they're not playing with big enough sticks or small enough sticks or what have you. Because yes, playing at these tempos, it's just like if you were to tell a weight lifter who is used to lifting 150 pound weights, "Okay, today we're gonna lift 300 pounds." It doesn't really happen. So, they do need time to prepare to get up to a heavier stick. For sure. Yeah, absolutely, and we'll cover this later too, it's the same with cymbal heights. And some of this I covered yesterday in the pre-pro part and doing your homework but you'll see with cymbal heights, that makes a big difference in how much isolation you're gonna get out of the microphones and a lot of guys who aren't used to recording like, very, very low cymbals and if you ask them to raise them right there on the spot in the studio, if they're not used to that or they're not pro, that could totally mess up their game. Especially these fast guys who are used to an exact distance from here to here. You wanna give them a month or two to prepare practicing with higher cymbals. Raised cymbals. And the last thing that we're addressing would be, in regards to the sticks, would also be the beaters for the bass drum. This also goes down to a weight issue for a lot of drummers, especially ones that are playing fast. They like a little bit less weight on their beater. The problem is if you're using a real bass drum, you might not be activating the drum itself and you might not be getting enough attack or body out of the drums depending on how, what beater they're using and how they're playing it. So, we have a couple different beaters to choose from here but felt is a standard, wood is another option, and then a lot of people, especially in metal, use plastic. Yeah. From our standpoint, plastic is not good because it literally sounds like plastic. I think people use it because it sounds clicky. It does sound clicky. And think it's gonna get them that famous metal sound right then and there but it's the wrong kind of clicky. It is the wrong kind of clicky. The plastic beaters are one of those things that sound good from a drummer's perspective and we'll talk about this later in the tuning side of things. Not everything that sounds good from a drummer's perspective sitting at the kit will sound good in a microphone. And that needs to be, you need to know that and the drummer needs to know that as well. Like, there are certain things that just don't sound good from a drummer's perspective but sound amazing in microphones and plastic beaters are one of those things. If you're looking for that plastic beater type sound, check the type of bass drum head that you're using, make sure that the head is not too thick or change to a wood beater which is gonna give you a little bit more volume, a little bit more click, and a little bit more body than a plastic beater would for sure. And just one more thing about the difference in perspective between how a drummer hears something and how the microphone hears something and it coming out of the speakers, this is why I work with a drum tech. Besides the fact that I always like to work with people that are better than me at the things that I don't think I'm great at, I think it's very, very important for me to hear what's coming out of the speakers, not what's happening in here because it's very, very different. So, if at all you guys get to the point where you can afford somebody you trust who can do this well, your drum productions will skyrocket, they'll go through the roof 'cause you'll be able to just do your job which is in the control room, hearing what comes out of the speakers.

Class Description

Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp will give you access to one of metal’s most in-demand producers and educators. You’ll also get to watch the talented and seasoned performers of Monuments show you how to record flawless takes and how to prepare to enter the studio.

Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp is the definitive guide to recording and producing metal. From soup to nuts, start to finish, A to Z, you will learn everything you need to know about recording and producing a metal song.

Eyal Levi will take you inside the studio with Monuments as they record a song from scratch at Clear Lake Recording in Los Angeles. In this bootcamp, you will learn how to:

  • Prepare for a session in preproduction by choosing tempos and organizing the session
  • Record flawless drums from selection and reheading/tuning to mic choice and placement to editing
  • Record rhythm guitars
  • Record clean and lead guitars
  • Record bass guitar
  • Record, edit and tune lead vocals, harmonies, and screams
  • Mix and master from session setup to final bounce


  1. Intro to Bootcamp
  2. Purpose of Pre-Production
  3. Technical Side of Preproduction
  4. Pre-Production: Setting Up the Tempo Map
  5. Pre-Production: Importing Stems
  6. Pre-Production: Click Track
  7. Creating Tracking Templates
  8. Intro and the Tone Pie
  9. Drums - Lay of the Land
  10. Bearing Edges
  11. Wood Types
  12. Depths and Sizes
  13. Hoops
  14. Sticks and Beaters
  15. Drum Heads
  16. Drum Tuning
  17. Drum Mic Placement Intro
  18. Basic Drum Mic Setup
  19. Cymbal Mic Setup
  20. Touch Up Tuning
  21. Microphone Choice and Placement
  22. Drum Tracking Intro
  23. Getting Tones and Final Placement
  24. Primary Tracking
  25. Punching In and Comping Takes
  26. Guitar Setup and Rhythm Tone Tracking
  27. Amplifiers - Lay of the Land
  28. Amplifiers & Cab Shoot Out
  29. Guitar Cab Mic Choice and Placement
  30. Guitar Tracking and Signal Chain
  31. Finalizing Amplifier Tone
  32. Guitar Mic Shootout Round Robin
  33. Intro to Rhythm Tracking
  34. Setting Up Guitars
  35. Working with a Guitarist
  36. Final Guitar Tone and Recap
  37. Guitar Tracking with John
  38. Guitar Tracking with Ollie
  39. Final Tracking
  40. Tracking Quads
  41. Intro to Bass Tone
  42. Bass Tone Setup
  43. Bass Tone Mic Placement
  44. Bass Tracking
  45. Intro to Clean and Lead Tones
  46. Clean Guitar Tones
  47. Lead Tones
  48. Vocal Setup for Tracking
  49. Vocal Mic Selection and Setup
  50. Vocal Mic Shootout
  51. Lead Vocal Tracking
  52. Writing Harmonies
  53. Harmony Vocal Tracking
  54. Vocal Warm Ups
  55. Scream Vocal Tracking
  56. Vocal Tuning and Editing Introduction
  57. Vocal Tuning and Editing
  58. Routing and Bussing
  59. Color Coding, Labeling and Arranging Channels
  60. Setting Up Parallel Compression
  61. Setting Up Drum Triggers
  62. Gain Staging and Trim
  63. Drum Mixing - Subtractive EQ
  64. Drum Mixing - Snare
  65. Drum Mixing - Kick
  66. Drum Mixing - Toms
  67. Drum Mixing - Cymbals and Rooms
  68. Drum Mixing Recap
  69. Mixing Bass Guitar
  70. Mixing Rhythm Guitars
  71. Basic Vocal Mix
  72. Mixing Clean and Lead Guitars
  73. Mixing - Automation
  74. Mastering - Interview with Joel Wanasek



I'm on lesson 19! Already worth every dollar!!! Priceless insight! I have already incorporated some of the ideas (preproduction common sense stuff that I never thought of, but damn). VERY HAPPY with this course! ALWAYS LEARNING and looking forward to the next 50 (or whatever) lessons!!! Excellent course! GREAT PRODUCER/ENGINEER, GREAT DRUM TECH, and GREAT BAND!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!


I'm just part way though and I'm blown away by the quality approach Eyal takes to getting the best out of the sessions. I love how well everything is explained and Eyals calm manner is just awesome it really makes you want to listen to the gems of wisdom he offers.


Amazing knowledge is being presented here. If you want to start out recording, this should be your first step, it'll save you lots of time and get you awesome results. Highly recommended class.