Playing Quietly

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CROSS OVER POST FROM FACEBOOK PAGE: One of the most common problems experienced by the drummer today is their ability to practice without disturbing those around them. This is inevitable as the very nature of our instrument is to be loud. Drummers try all kinds of things to be quiet from padded walls, to mutes, to drum covers, to mesh cymbals and heads. Some of these approaches work and some are futile. I myself look at this dilemma as an opportunity to work on dynamics. I have a drum room in my house (an unfinished room off my finished basement). It’s got thick insulation and does a pretty good job of muting my sound. I however, still use rubber pads on my drums and cymbals as a courtesy to my neighbors. I also play softer than I would if I were performing on stage or in a recording session. It’s a challenge for sure but also a great exercise that forces me to play with control and diminuendos. I use lighter sticks, my signature 8As, and often I’ll switch to traditional grip which I am weaker at. This forces my volume to go down naturally. Here are some easy and effective ways you can quiet your drums:

  1. Use an electronic drum kit: This one is obvious. If you have the money to invest in an e-kit you’ll be able to play with the same energy you would naturally with low volume settings or headphones.
  2. Fit mesh drum heads on to your acoustic kit: These are a good way to cover your entire kit with soundproofing. Much like an e-Kit you can play with the same power with minimal sound.
  3. Replace your sticks with brushes or hotrods: I use this technique often by switching to hot rods. There are many different kinds available on the market today. They vary in thickness.
  4. Dampen or muffle your drums using everyday household objects: Using a towel on the snare and toms and a blanket in the bass drum dampen the sound greatly. Ringo did it.
  5. Use a set of practice pads on your acoustic kit: I also use this technique. Most of the time I use drum mutes on the toms and a practice pad on the snare. This gives you the same “feel” while minimizing the sound.

By using these techniques you can still shed in the practice room without having the cops called on you.

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