Topic: Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc.

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1.Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Singlestroker
Posted on: Jun 25, 2012 3:26 PM

I have aways wondered to what extent the reality matches the theory with virgin bass drums, isolation mounts and free-floating snare drums.

I’ve more or less made my decision on this, as shown by the fact that I bought a Pearl Free-Floating Maple with a drumkit and sold it straight on. Similarly, I am selling my only kit with iso’ mounts. What’s more, I passed up a couple of opportunities to buy a virgin bass drum for my vintage Beverley B&H kit.

Having said so, this doesn’t mean that I have the answers. I've just decided that my unsophisticated set will do me fine. Anyway, I have had no complaints about it in our small, unamplified brass band.

Is my suspicion anywhere near the truth: that while these measures do affect sound, the difference is negligible for most purposes? After all, Buddy Rich and his predecessors managed nicely with everything bolted onto the shells. Of course, rope-tensioned drums must have achieved pretty well the same objectives, from at least the 14th century, as now sought, and there wasn't mass protest when they, and the single-rod tensioned drums that followed them were superseded.

There are certainly losses to offset against any gains. For example, I rather like the 1960s and earlier practice of mounted a cymbal on the bass drum. I find it highly practical, and neat and pretty to look at as well.

I just wondered what evidence and thoughts other forum members might have on this. For example, does it matter more in different types of music, whether amplified, etc.?

2.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: Singlestroker] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: paul
Posted on: Jun 25, 2012 8:40 PM

Half the guys who are concerned about having a virgin bass drum then install self muffling heads and a pillow, and if you play amplified you'll likely negate the iso tom mounts with Moon Gel or similar.

To me the important question is, "Can I get the sound I want from my drums?" I've played vintage drums with vintage mounts, modern drums with iso mounts, and vintage drums with iso mounts, and have always been able to get the sound I want from them.

I also think that functionality is important, especially for a gigging drummer. It does no good having a beautiful kit if the configuration is unplayable.

I come at these questions from the perspective of a (hopefully) working drummer. I want a set I can work with happily that sounds good to an audience, looks good, and is durable.

3.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: Singlestroker] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: RvJim
Posted on: Jun 25, 2012 10:15 PM

I use a virgin bass drum not so much for the sound but the ease of positioning the toms. The bass drum mounts are too restrictive for me. For me my kick is always mic'd and I aim for an in your chest thump so I tend to use some muffling, which works nicely for mic'd! What sound difference there is I am not sure either if it is that noticable. The only conclusive way to tell would be to try a bass drum virgin, then unvirgin it and so if it made a difference! I too would suspect it would be somewhat negligible.

4.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: Singlestroker] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: OldFart
Posted on: Jun 25, 2012 10:38 PM

Here's photo of my one and only kit (the best view of the Bass and Tom mount) :

http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z9/ferruginoushawk/PICT0180.jpg

In the photo, it's obvious that the "Up" Toms are directly mounted on the Bass Drum; yet it is a Virgin Bass. The mount is a non-penetrating socket-style straddling a trestle which spans the lug casings. I'm sure the manufacturer would tout the mounting method as one that offers the best of both worlds. If I so chose, I could purchase an inexpensive Mapex conversion kit which would eliminate the trestle parts. This would render the Bass visually true to the typical Virgin Bass profile.

I agree that the difference in sound is there. But it IS ever so slight. Paul mentioned that once other instruments are played in shared space that wisp of a difference disappears. I can attest.

Although I like a Virgin Bass, I don't think of it as a necessity. I wouldn't mind a kit with a Tom mount fixed to the bass shell. I bought my current kit at a fair price and this is how the set-up was delivered. Since I have a two Up and two Down, single bass kit, my only lament is having to alter the placement, height and angle of my Ride cymbal. That wouldn't be quite the problem it is were I to convert to a pure Virgin Bass - I'd have greater choice as to a playable kit footprint.

5.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: Singlestroker] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Singlestroker
Posted on: Jun 26, 2012 1:44 AM

Those were all interesting replies. Thank you.

One or two of you mentioned the question of mounting flexibility, to which modern developments have definitely made all the difference. With iso’ mounts on a tomtom, we can even have the badge exactly where we want it. OK, it doesn't affect sound, but appearance does matter to many of us, including me, and they could only dream of that in the '60s and before.

Gone are the days when you were stuck with one configuration. Apparently, Ringo is left-handed but ended up playing right-handed because the mounts on his bass drum were set up for a right-hander!

6.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: Singlestroker] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: pwc
Posted on: Jun 26, 2012 9:24 PM

I am with Paul in that everything is about the sound you like that is projectable to an audience. Recording engineers might have some preferences but gigging is about being comfortable with what you and everyone else are hearing on stage and off. As for free floating snares, those I have played are way too "open" for my taste but then again I tend to tune snares to be as dry as possible and if I owned a free floater I would probably adjust the sound in whatever way I can to please me and that would negate any small audible advantages (if there are any) of such a drum.

7.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: Singlestroker] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: StillKicken
Posted on: Jun 28, 2012 6:23 AM

I agree with ALL of the above. I believe in a lot of cases the difference's would be minimal; as in Paul's response.

In my case however in the mid 90's I purchased a used Ludwig Classic set. All toms were mounted with large heavy duty brick mounts bolted to the shells with a 1" hole for the pipe mounting. This system did not work for the 16 and 18 heavy toms and not really great for the smaller toms. So I put legs on the 16 and 18 and RIMS mounting on the smaller toms.

In my opinion removing that large triangle shape brick made a improvement to the tone, especially for the smaller toms. The 22" bass drum still has the triangle mount installed because I still use it when needed and it has a nice robust tone with or without toms mounted.

I think the smaller the drum the more isolation mounting would be a benefit.

Question: Have you ever notices a change of tone when mounting your snare in a tight or open basket?

sherm

8.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: Singlestroker] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Singlestroker
Posted on: Jun 28, 2012 2:39 PM

What Sherm says reminds me of some vintage Sonor drums I have. The mounts have so much metal in them, you'd think they were designed with a military gun emplacement in mind. I guess those kinds of over-engineered mounts will make a lot more difference.

9.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: Singlestroker] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: OldFart
Posted on: Jun 28, 2012 6:12 PM

Sherm's input hits on a few things I've experienced.

First, I can relate well with respect to the ability to choke a Snare Drum shell in the snare stand basket. My current Snare Drum, although well matched to the same brand snare stand, must be placed in the basket one way, and one way only; else the shell becomes overly dry (for my taste, that is). Looking from directly overhead, an extremely slight horizontal turn of the drum in the basket is all the difference in the world for a thumbs-up or thumbs-down rating on the sound. Also, placing it in the prescribed spot, but cinching the basket up to the hoops a bit too tight and it's curtains for the sound I'm after. I had a Gretsch COB snare drum with their characteristic die-cast hoops - this sort of thing was never an issue. Not a complaint; it's just how that particular cookie crumbles, I guess.

One previous kit had Pipe mount receivers in the Toms. With that kit, I also had a Tom on a snare stand as a companion to a true floor Tom. The difference between the mounted Toms and the single Tom on the snare stand was profound. The mounts choked the mounted Toms. Those Toms had a fairly massive mount fixed to the shell. The other Tom was "virgin" and would project much better - and it wasn't mere perception from the driver's seat.

All this to say that when looking for my current kit I sought out drums with Iso mounts. I know there are limitations with all manner of mounting systems, but thought these inflicted the least coloration.

The shells being more lively do present certain tuning characteristics that must be accommodated. All in all it's quite an improvement over previous drum kits.

10.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: Singlestroker] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: moneyowen
Posted on: Jul 1, 2012 8:21 AM

Suspension mounting absolutely works. It's a matter of degree. They were made by Gary Gauger with hope that all drum companies would buy them=from him. They didn't. A short time after his patent rights expired, everybody made their own variation. Some more blatant than others. RIMS mounts were made with studio guys in mind, and lots of guys used them. When multi track recording grew, so did the need to isolate each drum. I have A/B'd enough drums to see the resonance increase with the addition of a RIMS mount, on some drums more than others.

FWIW I have never liked putting the tom in a snare basket. I know guys who still do this, and Gauger has a RIMS type mount now for this purpose. It has always seemed to me like hitting a wood block, with the tom in a snare stand.

Always thought free floater snare drums was a bunch of bs. Don't know a lot of guys looking for more resonance out of their snare drums. The extra cost involved with the tooling vs. the benefits, well I just don't get it. I did own one, and it was a great drum, particularly if you whacked it really hard. Lots of snares perform this way (and lots of drummers) I was never particularly fond of this drum.

I mount tom or toms on my bass drum for convenience sake. I like the sound too as you get a slight ring from the toms when hitting the bass drum. Again, probably not in a studio setting, but. Don't know about old farts statement of the 'non penetrating' mount, as it seems to me the resonance robbing or whatever would occur due to the weight of the toms on the shell, not because there is a hole drilled in there or not. Hmmm. I confess, I have drilled a few virgins (ha ha) and mounted tom brackets on there because I want to.

Much of this is marketing, as I see a lot of players still who insist on suspension mounts and virgin bass drums, but put tape or moongel on the toms to cut some of it, and the packing blanket or sleeping bag crammed in the bass drum. Fail.

One thing I do use frequently for sound, and is a bear to carry around is my D'Amico bass drum cradle. Especially with smaller (18" or 20") bass drums which I tend to use. Getting the drum off the ground, and the beater position really makes a big difference. The Gretsch 18' will make your nose bleed. Not many guys use these, but I do. It really works

(Click the picture to view the original one)

11.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: Singlestroker] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Singlestroker
Posted on: Jul 1, 2012 1:17 PM

Thanks M.O. What you and Sherm say about the Iso mounts seems to make great sense, and yes, the toms are definitely an area where maximum resonance can be what's sought.

I gig with an 18" BD, and I was about to get one of those cradles until I found that the drum was just fine - for me anyway, in our small, unamplified brass band - with the beater hitting the head off-centre. I'm quite pleased about that, because it's one less thing to cart around, set up and tear down. Obviously, it must be more critical for you in your own situation.

12.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: Singlestroker] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: moneyowen
Posted on: Jul 2, 2012 8:45 AM

Well..it works just fine without also. It does make a difference. And it is not an easy thing to cart around

13.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: Singlestroker] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: moneyowen
Posted on: Jul 2, 2012 10:39 AM

Well..it works just fine without also. It does make a difference. And it is not an easy thing to cart around

14.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: Singlestroker] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Singlestroker
Posted on: Jul 2, 2012 5:05 PM

I know this thread is about sound, but that light blue pearl wrap on MO's drum kit is stunning. These things are always a matter of taste, but that is definitely to mine.

15.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: Singlestroker] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: OldFart
Posted on: Jul 2, 2012 9:18 PM

Singlestroker wrote:
I know this thread is about sound, but that light blue pearl wrap on MO's drum kit is stunning. These things are always a matter of taste, but that is definitely to mine.


That certainly is quite a handsome kit.

16.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: Singlestroker] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: moneyowen
Posted on: Jul 3, 2012 6:59 AM

It's called white oyster pearl. Ringo's famous kit was black oyster pearl. As opposed to marine pearl. That was a special order from Gretsch (I bought it used) I have 8" and 10" toms with offset lugs to match it. Thanks! I like it too

17.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: moneyowen] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: Singlestroker
Posted on: Jul 3, 2012 12:13 PM

moneyowen wrote:
It's called white oyster pearl...


I could have sworn I'd seen it before. Now I've found this:

http://www.drummerman.net/End.jpg

Rather like the old sparkles and glitters, they seemed to have got it pretty well right with most of the finishes all those years back. Nothing that's replaced them since has that appeal - or is it just me? After all, I am over 60 (although, of course I look more like 32 Wink)

18.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: Singlestroker] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: moneyowen
Posted on: Jul 3, 2012 2:15 PM

Cool! That kits shows octagon badges, from the 70s. Plus the tone control knobs. Of course Gretsch will still put those on, and are currently making sets with the Octo badges. So ? I don't know..It was never a standard color on their catalog, I don't think. I have seen some of their 'vineyard' kits in WOP. I almost got a vineuard wop snare but it was too expensive

19.Re:Virgin bass drums, free-floating snare drums, etc. [Re: paul] Copy to clipboard
Posted by: StillKicken
Posted on: Jul 4, 2012 6:37 AM

paul wrote:
Half the guys who are concerned about having a virgin bass drum then install self muffling heads and a pillow, and if you play amplified you'll likely negate the iso tom mounts with Moon Gel or similar.


LOL!! I'm probable one of those guys at some level. I do use Fiberskyn3 drum heads on both sides of my toms and moonjel at times to control volume. My 22" bass drum has a Coated PS3 as batter and Fiberskyn3 PS3 as the reso with a "Floating" hand towel in side. Big Smile

I feel the Fiberskyn heads do control resonance more than a standard Coated Ambassador. The sound is nice and mellow. I play mostly in small venues and I'm liking the use of Fiberskyns on both top and bottom.

BTW: I finally converted my 16 x 18 floor tom to bass. I killed it with Fiberskyn3 PS3 on front and back with a 4" port on the reso. LOL!!! Haven't had much time tuning, the heads are still new and stretchy so we'll see what happens. I'll probably be changing heads soon.

sherm

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