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LOOPING ACOUSTIC DRUMSET INVENTION
Kevin and I have been having an off list discussion about our love for
electronic sounds by using all acoustic methods and he asked me about a
Drum and Bass kit that I had eluded to in an earlier post.
I sat down tonight (my first night out of bed after five days of one of
worst viral bugs that i've had)
and wrote it out.I thought I'd share for anyone out there who is
in the acoustic kit and it's possibilities in
looping. This kit mics like a dream with a split mic channel with two
Kick mics and on Shure SM 81 or
AKG C1000s overhead.........................mono all the way baby!
D&B/DOWNTEMPO specialty kit
What I set out to create was the equivalent of what the software program
for audio drum tracks.
You can pitch the kit up (jungle, D&B) or down (Trip Hop, Downtempo,
Abstract Electronica, Chill),
slice it up and then rearrange it.
Consequently I wanted to acoustically reproduce the sounds of drum sounds
pitched up or down on a sampler.
(the higher the pitch, the shorter the envelope----the lower teh pitch the
longer the envelope)
Additionally I wanted to use cymbal combinations that sounded more like
artificial synth drums, old analogue drum machine sounds
or even highly processed drum sounds.
What I came up with was
a two side drum kit
LEFT SIDE (jungle, D&B, analogue drum machine----higher pitched)
three custom made snare drums (using old fiberglass Pearl concert tom tom
shells from the 70's)
6", 8", 10" These are on a rotating even plain off of an old Ludwig
tri-tom so that I can rotate which ever one close in to me
They sit to the left of an 8" Marco Mineman Meinl electro hi
hats.............very high pitched, very electronic sounding---just like
normal hats pitched
upwards on a sampler
then the main snare drum---------------whatever I'm into but I"m digging
old 60's piccolo Supraphonic that I"ve had forever tuned, surprisingly,
rather full (not high pitched) Still it sounds like a normal snare
drum---it's got a killer die cast rim on it, though for all that great
electronica rim click stuff (and reggae, african and latin).
The kick drums are bizarre inventions of mine (inspired but the drummer of
Mari Boine's band from Norway)
One is a 12" Purecussion tom tom with thick naugahyde glued to both sides
of the head on an LP footpedal designed for cowbells and woodblocks
the other is the 14" tom tom with hideous amounts of gaffing tape
both sides with the same footpedal assembly
the 12" 'kick' is tuned up like a hi pitched Drum and Bass kick
the 14" sounds incredibly like a massive TR 808 drum machine kick
..........you know the one you hear in rap all the time that has a low but
very clear fundamental tone and a long envelope.
both of these kicks sound like hell from a foot away, but if you put your
ear right next to them they sound like god , so I mike them incredibly
RIGHT SIDE (half speed, trip hop, downtempo, chill)
a big double headed 26" kick drum tuned close to slack and very , very
but without a lot of sustaining tone
a big 10" X 14" Ludwig Coliseum snare drum (also with that awesome Ludwig
die cast rim---the absolute loudest die cast rim made on earth--I know
because I've owned one of all of them at one time or another) tuned
incredibly slack with the snares just rattling.
I really wanted that long, sloppy, detuned vibe of a trip hop beat that
originally at 120 beats a minute
and piece de resistance, two very old 60's Japanese crash cymbals
purchased at the flea market. Because the Japanese make such
drumsets these days, a lot of people forget that they made the world's
drum sets in the 1960's...by far....................bad for world
drummers...................excellent for me.........lol
These things are so cheap that they are very thin and as we know in the
cymbal world, the thinner
the cymbal the lower the pitch (give the same diameter).
I use these two as ersatz downsampled hi hats. I don't even put a clutch
them, nor do I tighten them down.
Just resting on each other they sound like perfectly like detuned samples
normal hi hats
I compliment this all with an array of small specialty cymbals that I have
collected over the ages...........including cymbals that sound curiously
TR 808 ride cymbal sounds------flange cymbals-----mega bells-----jing
cymbals from china-----stacks of small splashes and cut down cymbals that
make really nice white noise crash sounds.
I'm also proud of the finishing touch which is an invention of mine:
One very, very heavy set of six 60's Japanese hi hat cymbals that I put
goggles on and beat the holy living hell out of with a ball peen hammer.
I squashed the bells to flat and then put as many pings into them as
possible. The more pings, the more overtones. this thing makes the
awesome simulation of a synthesizer white noise, clapping sound and they
loud as hell. By using felts and tighening and loosening the wing nut
change the length of the envelope from very tight to very long from song
Then to make things interesting I play these things with a plethora of
different kinds of beaters and sticks to get different timbres out of them:
I have chicken scrapers that make it sound like a very, very quick
digital delay hit on a snare drum..................knitting needles whose
head sounds like electronic hi hats on even a normal pair of
hihats----various kinds of brushes----a bunch of inventions of mine where I
but a strip of the fuzz side of velcro on several different sizes of
mallets and brushes and the I sewed everything from dry Indian jingles
to tambourined jingles to poker chips to seed pod gourds to the stick side
of several strips of velcro and , voila, instant percussion stick.
this is a particularly cool effect if you are doing some kind of a hand
hand accented pattern like a bo diddley beat with a velcro stick in one
and a normal stick in the other. You hear the accented tom tom lick of
bo diddley beat but you simultaneously hear a funky constant 8th note
pattern on whatever jingle texture you have provided.................it's
like having your own maraca player..................without having to pay
him or her...........Bo Diddley eat your heart out.