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Taming Drummers

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by The_Robster, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. Hey everyone,
    I have recently started a new band with a really laid back retro but new groovy sound, in which I am very excited about. To hear some rough recordings (jams recorded on my macbook mic) check it at, http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Blox/361562764320
    We have gotten a gig at a new bar/grill. This is a very prime show, and if it works out positively there is even the possibility for making it a regular thing.
    That means that I want to do everything in my power to make it work.
    However I know that this is a very small space...
    My drummer is awesome, but he's a huge guy and he is Loud! On top of that he plays with huge, "Rock" sized sticks, and he goes to town on those like a sawmill...
    We are going to be playing, while people are eating, in a small space, so I am worried that my drummer might be too loud.
    What is the best way to quiet down a loud drummer?
  2. Just explain to him it's a quaint, cozy place and loud playing would be detrimental to any future gigs there. Then hand him a pair of brushes like the jazz guys use.
  3. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Lawl. I'm sure he'll like that.
  4. I use a spray bottle. And the volume knob on my amp. I either just drown him out or turn down so he hits quieter to hear what I'm playing because he doesn't know the songs. Either approach works.
  5. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Electronic drums.
  6. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    Hot Rods (the bundles of dowels) type sticks. They are nice and thick to play with, but don't get loud.

    Put him behind plexiglass shield? (in small bar......not gonna happen but in a bigger place maybe doable).

    Biggest problem there is. The rest of us can turn down....drummers have a harder time. Not to mention behind the kit it's not as loud as in front. Be thankful it's not a trumpet player :).

    Good luck!
  7. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    I second the hot rods. There are a bunch of different sizes for different volumes, and you really don't lose any of the drums' tone using them.
  8. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    A *good* drummer knows *dynamics*. If he can't play to the room, then he isn't a good drummer. Period.
  9. Thanks for all of the input. Those hotrod sticks look like they may just be the right ticket, so I think that I just may have to buy a pair for this show, and hope all goes well!
  10. 49sfine


    Apr 20, 2008
    Austin, Texas
    Sir; I am a drummer. The rods will come in different weights/sizes so you should probably get him the "Hot Rods" or the Thunder Rods", which is the biggest size I do believe. The "Cool Rods" would be too skinny and light in his hands and he would be uncomfortable. I just finished a gig with another band where the other drummer was a heavy hitter. He used the bigger rods for all their tunes. I didn't because I have worked hard at dynamic control and also getting comfortable with much smaller, light sticks. I'm also no basher so that helped too.

    Anyway, the rebound response is different with a rod versus a stick, but it's not so weird that your fellow couldn't adapt if he has the right attitude. Plus, you can get certain sounds and a certain feel with rods that you can't with sticks so they are good to have in your stick line-up anyway. Good luck with that!
  11. ForSix


    Jul 22, 2008
    Give him a chart to read.
  12. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    ooooooo it's been a while since I've bought drumsticks, I didn't know the HotRods came in different weights :). I made a set for my drummer, we'll see how they hold up. If your drummer tends to hit on the edges of the cymbals he'll have to get out of that habit really quickly-it'll chew through the hotrods in no time. I don't hit the edges so I don't fly through sticks when I play (which is why I haven't had to buy any :) ).

    As for dynamics, they can only go so far. In defense of drummers (which I originally am), some kits are just LOUD. Some pedal combos are way louder than others (which is why they make different beater heads). Some heads ring/resonate louder than others.....so it's not always dynamics at play. Some cymbals can be heard in foreign countries.

    Oh, something else to consider-have him turn his snares off. You'd be amazed at what a volume drop you get! Let him fuss, but it'll be better on ears. My drummer keeps them off until the room fills up enough that we can turn up.... and in a lot of songs, I prefer it :).

    Third thing...look at his bass drum pedal, see what the beater head is. Maybe going to a softer beater will tone down the bass drum, bringing the rest of the volume down too :).
  13. Mo'Phat

    Mo'Phat Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Whatever you decide, do not turn the instruments up to match the drum volume. If he's too loud, the manager at the club will tell him and you're off the hook.

    You might consider putting him out of the line of fire; ie: in a corner or facing away from the patrons.

    Brushes and bundles are hard to learn how to play with on the fly. They just don't feel right and a novice drummer will need a practice or two to get used to them.

    The other things to consider are putting felts or some other deadener on the cymbals, and maybe putting a t-shirt or two in each of his toms.
  14. This
  15. Implosion


    Oct 19, 2007
    You need the right equipment.

  16. True, but I would hope you can just tell your drummer the situation, and he finds a way. Most people grow up eventually.
  17. DrayMiles


    Feb 24, 2007
    East Coast
    Put some sheet music in front of him!:)
  18. He needs to quiet the drummer not make him stop playing :)
  19. We used to have a Duracell drummer we sorted him out with lighter sticks and placed cloths over the drum heads, the bass drum can be easily damped with a pillow inside.
  20. Bob C

    Bob C

    Mar 26, 2000
    Duluth, MN
    How long have you known your drummer? Have you played in bands together before? Has his volume ever been a problem in the past? Is he open minded, or set in his ways?

    If you really think keeping or losing this gig hinges on his drumming, you need to present that to him. Maybe you can say it to the whole band, so he doesn't feel picked on. Explain that you're alittle worried about how to pull this thing off with flying colors.

    Don't wait until the last minute. And don't "surprise" him with pillows, mutes and light sticks if you've never used that stuff before.

    If he is a mature pro, he will find a way to make it work. If he can't or won't, then he's the wrong guy for the job. And if he's touchy about being told to turn down, he's not going to embrace the idea of your telling him what sticks to use either.

    One more thing: The club manager isn't going to tell the drummer he's too loud. He's going to tell THE BAND that they're to loud. Then they will have to sort it out.

    Maybe you guys will do everything right, and keep the gig. Maybe you'll do your best, and it's still not good enough. Maybe the crowd and management will love you, and you'll end up hating the gig. Do your best, and encourage your band members to do the same.

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