I’ve heard so many variations over the years, and have tried many of them. But for the longest time I’ve just put some hand towels in my bass drum and made sure that they barely touched the batter head whenever I set up. It gives me just the right amount of control so that I have plenty of impact and just a little resonance. How ‘bout you? What do you use?
i am going to get an evans EMAD soon, so i probly wont need any muffling, but for now with my stock crappy heads (Remo UX, which isn’t even on Remo’s website.) I use a pillow barely touching both the batter and reso head.
I use a small foam ‘sheet’ with the ‘egg style’ bumps in it - 2” thick and as wide as the bass-barely touching batter, not touching reso too much with an flexible Evans pad floating on top- (26” bass) One band wants me to port, the other band no port. I mike inside the hole with one band, the other band mikes low on reso head. I prefer no port for more resonance.
For years now, I have used this method of muffling my kick drums: My main gig kit is a 6 piece Yamaha Oak Custom with a 22” x 17 kick and I put an Evans EMAD on the batter head…I use the ebony Yamaha with white lettering and logo with the offset port for my Reso head.
Inside The Kick= I placed a 16” wide by 30” long by 1” thick piece of high density foam and placed it so that it does not touch either head. The foam comes up to almost half way up the inside of the drum. NOTE: Oak Customs are LOUD drums~
I tensioned the batter head to a medium tension and then tuned the reso for a Low pitch. The end result is a very deep Thud with just a perfect amount of sustain and with more than enough volume to allow it to be heard over the rest of the band, if I so desire but most of the time I choose to blend it in so that its heard just over the bass guitar but not overly so.
The nature of the foam is that it does not move around and it does not deteriorate and fall apart. I used this same method on my 1992 Yamaha Power V Special twin kicks that I bought new in 1992 and the foam is still in pristine condition.
The Oak Custom, if you listen to it by itself, has a really distinct sound—call it “oaky.” Do you find the kick still has that signature when you’ve muffled it and are playing a quieter situation where you can hear the wood?
Yeah, its not quite as distinct as it would be unmuted, but it still has that Oak bite along with that deep thud with just a taste of sustain that makes it sound so good. It blends nicely with the bass guitar while still letting you distinguish between the two.
I use 3 different kits depending on the situation. Each with it’s own bass drum size, head selection and muffling preference.
For an old school rock sound I use a 22’X14” Ludwig with an Evans G4 hazy batter head and a ported single ply reso. Live, I do not muffle this drum at all but for recording jobs I have used a folded towel lightly touching the batter head. This drum provides a beautiful low boom that has a ton of presence. Not the best choice for modern rock/pop where you would like to have more of a thump.
Second Bass drum is a 22"x18” That I use for more “modern” sounding gigs. For this drum I use an Aquarian Super Kick with a small memory foam pillow lightly touching the batter head. The reso head is the one that comes with the superkick package and is ported. This head/muffeling combo works extremely well for all modern musical applications…i.e. modern rock, hip hop, R&B, funk and it also records very nicely.
Third bass drum is a 20"x14” that I use for jazz and acoustic gigs. For this drum I use the same Evans G4 hazy batter head I use for My 22x14 but without porting the reso head and I use a felt strip to muffle both the batter and reso heads. This drum is truly the best of both worlds. I find that the felt strips eliminate just enough of the resonance while still allowing the drum to speak.
I recently acquired the Aquarian Response head and slapped on my biggest tub. Mariana’s trench is jealous of my Gretch’s sonic depth now. It has more low end tone than i know what to do with. I don’t care what anyone says, an Aquarian Superkick II batter head coupled with an Aquarian Response reso head is an A1 winning combo all the way around and I’m never buying another head for my bass drum again!
I found the combination an Evans EMAD batter head, an Evans EQ pad with the “hinged” portion of the pad slightly touching the batter
side and an Aquarian Super Kick resonant head with no muffling works very well for my 18” x 22” kick. The EQ pad comes with velcro strips that keep it in place so you don’t have to reposition it every time you move the drum. Slick!