A bit of a soundcheck before laying down some drums for the score of “Little Paradise”. Douglas Pipes was the composer, and he was looking for an open, dare I say ‘jazzy’ type drum sound for his music. There were no close mics used, just 2 room microphones and a mono overhead mic.
This is the kind of studio drumming that I enjoy a lot – oragnic, dynmaic, and real sounding tracks. You can hear some of the finished cues that were used in the film in this post.
Hand technique is like anything else. Use it or lose it.
Before jumping into composing or recording, most mornings I’ll run through some sticking exercises, rudimental drumming, coordination patterns, and sight reading to keep in shape.
The above video features improvised flams and flam taps, and few other rudimentary bits. Traditional flams, especially in drum lines, are usually played with a firm military execution. I prefer the Steve Gadd approach where he injects feel into rudimental based grooves and fills.
As part of my gear review of Shure’s Beta Drum Mics, I put together a video to demonstrate the differences that you can hear (and see). SM57s are typically the snare drum mic of choice in the recording studio, but the Betas make for a great alternative, and their sizes are super convenient and easier to use.
Since this review and video, I’ve been using some vintage Shure Unidyne IIIs on snare drum for recording, so I’ll have to do a video on those at some point.
I enjoy hearing what others have to say about drum recording techniques and gear that they use, so please comment below. Now for the video
Brian Eno once said “Every note obscures another”.
I was reminded of this the other day while working on a song with an artist in the recording studio. We were layering some rhythmic beds on a track which were initially sounding great. Then I noticed that the main drum groove suddenly felt lopsided, and something had gone wrong with the snare. Not good.
We realized that some of those new percussive notes were sounding at the same time as the snare drum. The result was that the snare lost all of its punch and was sounding weak.
It was a simple fix, as I simply edited out the notes that were landing on and choking the snare. Viola! The groove was back, and the smiles on our faces returned.
The phrase “Respect The Snare” came to mind, so I wrote it down and preserved it on Instagram:
You may not think about carrying a whole extra snare to a gig, but what if you broke a lug casing on the snare? This happened to me once, and I must have hit the ultimate rim shot or something. Replacing a broken head is one thing (always carry extra heads as well), but if you crack a lug casing, you’re pretty much screwed.
So avoid any further drummer jokes, and make it habit to carry around two snare drums. Consider it insurance. Plus, you can do the Steve Jordan thing and switch snares during a set.