A big question, especially if we consider that the first question to ask is: What is a good bass drum sound? The debate can last for hours, and finally, nobody will agree. Unless the beers are cold, and then again... Because it's all a matter of taste, of sensitivity, of point of view and nobody is really wrong and everybody is right.
Everyone has their own respectable opinion on the matter, period. Now, once we've said that, we can dig a little deeper... What will influence the sound of the bass drum? Which bass drum sound do we want to go for? And to play what: Jazz? Metal? Funk? Rock ?... It all depends, there again there are no real rules... It's up to the ear, to the feeling and... to the beliefs of each one! Nevertheless, we can list the elements that will have a direct influence on the sound of the bass drum.
1.the drummer !
It may be silly to say, but to have a good bass drum sound, you must first have a good drummer, hehe... The feeling, the touch, the dexterity, the power, the velocity, in short the good sound of the bass drum, it is first the drummer who makes it (or not...)
2. the bat
Wide, narrow, soft, hard, big, dense, made of felt, leather, wood, plastic... Of all the materials, it is the bat that is preferred to create the sound of the bass drum! There are many kinds, from the most standard to the most improbable... We have even seen bats made of skateboard wheels, after all, why not?
One ply or 2 ply? In striking? In resonance? With or without muffle? Pierced or not pierced? With or without a muffler cushion (or any other old plaid recycled for the occasion...) In the skin of a bass drum, everything is a matter of sensitivity, brand, preference, touch... The skin!
4. the shells
Depending on the dimensions of the drums (depth and diameter), their thickness, the chamfers and the material used (metal, carbon, acrylic, fiberglass, wood...), the bass drum will not sound the same at all, necessarily... Here again, it's all a question of taste, of style, of feeling, of desired result. And it's not necessarily because it's deeper that it resonates more. We have created a very compact bass drum (the Simone Studio Pocket bass drum) which, despite its 5.5 inches of depth, diffuses quite impressive infrabasses.
5. The installation of the bass drum
THE subject where we ALL agree: The drumhead of the bass drum must never touch the floor. Otherwise, the bass goes directly into the floor and the sound is totally degraded. Therefore, it is important to check that the feet of the bass drum are sufficiently adjusted in height so that the circle on the drumhead side does not touch the floor. Tip: you should be able to pass a hand flat between the bottom of the circle and the ground to check the correct installation of the bass drum. On the striking side, it is the grip of the pedal on the circle that ensures the slight elevation of the bass drum in relation to the ground.
6. Bass drum resonance head: drilled or not drilled?
Here again, nobody really agrees. The majority of sound engineers and drummers agree on the choice of a drilled drumhead (5, 6 or 7 inches depending on preference). The advantage: the installation and adjustment of the microphone is easier and faster. On ASBA bass drums, whether the drumhead is drilled or not has almost no influence on the sound... The sound is controlled anyway and the drum is very easy to tune.
7. Setting the resonance / striking drumheads
Of course everything depends on the sound you want to obtain. From the fatest setting for big powerful rock to the most singing tuning for a more jazzy playing, it's all a question of setting and of the balance of this setting between the striking drumhead and the resonant drumhead, the 2 settings having a direct incidence on each other. You can practice the 'experimental' method by doing your own experiments (tedious but instructive) or follow the tutorials on the subject offered in abundance on the tube channel... Go to our ASBA DRUMS channel to learn the tips and tricks of our pro drummers!