It isn’t really necessary to muffle your drum – but it certainly does come with its own share of perks.
For starters – it helps you to observe and assess how the instrument resonates. On the basis of this assessment – you can improve your notes and produce a better sound.
Most of the time – people learn drum muffling to limit the sounds produced by the drum. If done the right way – muffling can essentially mute the drum’s sound and avoid unwanted vibrations and overtones. It’s perfect for balancing the overtones and powerful sound created.
That said, what does it take to muffle your drum precisely? We’ll tell you how!
There is certainly a wide variety of drums out there you can muffle – but let’s put our focus on bass and snare drums first.
As mentioned before – drum muffling is used to mute the overpowering sound produced by the drum. Muffling is a lot more complex than just filling up your bass drums with tons of heavy pillows.
Before you start to muffle your bass drums – you need the right tools by your side!
That means it’s time to start hunting for them from either physical or online stores which supply these tools – such as drum rings or pads. As you were taking your drum lessons, your instructor would probably have informed you beforehand. Otherwise, he or she advised you to use a towel, blanket or pillow instead if you were short of cash at that moment.
However, filling your drum completely with blankets and pillows will not do at all; the airflow will only be cut off – resulting in a dead and flat sound.
What you must do is start with a small amount of muffling, then have a blanket or pillow resting at the bottom of the drum. In that way, you will have more control over the airflow and the resonance without destroying the sound.
Just like taking up basic drum lessons to work on grasping the fundamentals – what really matters at the end of the day is your technique – not so much of the tool. While it does play a huge part still, you have to master the art of muffling in order to achieve the desired sound.
The muffling process in the snare drums is somewhat similar to the bass drum muffling.
Similar is not the same as identical, though.
Tools used for muffling snare drums are much different. The traditional way would be to use gaffer’s or duct tape on the top heads of the toms and snare – however, this will only result in leftover gummy residue atop the head once removed.
These days, self-adhesive dampening gels like Moongels are applied on cymbals and drum heads for muffling purposes – no sign of residue will be seen on the heads.
Other common tools that are used include the Drum Gum; a sticky gel used to spread across the snare drum’s surface and control its powerful resonance. As well as drum rings which are excellent for dampening the thump sound snare drums make.
It’s a small tool which fits the batter head of a snare drum perfectly and reduces the sharp sound of the drum.
The best part? It won’t interrupt you while you’re playing the instrument at all. Just fit them around the drum’s surface, and it’s good to go!
These are just a couple of tips to help you get started on muffling your bass or snare drums – they may not necessarily be substantial just yet. Besides, signing up for beginner drum lessons may help you muffle your drum successfully. Try it out and see how different your drum will sound in time to come!