Bonzo's Ludwig

bigbobblack

New member
For the last 9 months I have been the proud owner of a Ludwig Amber Vistalite kit. (The one Jon Bonham played in Led Zep) 26" bass drum, 14, 16 & 18 toms, 402 Supraphonic snare drum. I worked hard to pay for this bad boy but live and studio its a beast!! :twisted:
 

Shalaq

New member
Can you say something more about this drumset? I have a Mapex Saturn Pro 22x18 12x9 16x13 18x16 and I want to achieve a similar sound to Bonzos on my bands EP. Any suggestions?
 

bigbobblack

New member
Shalaq":3a9m8jlj said:
Can you say something more about this drumset? I have a Mapex Saturn Pro 22x18 12x9 16x13 18x16 and I want to achieve a similar sound to Bonzos on my bands EP. Any suggestions?
Well in the studio the kit caused the engineer a few headaches because the the large sized drums resonated so much, especially the bass drum which was very 'boingy'. They initially tried to stuff the bass drum with damping - which was sacralidge. I wanted the kit specifically for the Bonzo sound. So after a bit of research and getting the producer in who'd worked with Bonzos set up in the 70's I found out that to get that sound the mic's were set up at least a foot from the drums and the overhead mics were set really high which gave the room for the drums to ring. Current day studio bods *hate* this way of mic'ing drums for some reason - but insist! Also I would recommend batter heads quite tight in the studio and the resonator heads quite loose as that gives t he big sound and reduces the 'boing'!

If you want to hear some of the results check out the MP3's at www.myspace.com/ageofreason - does this help?
 

Shalaq

New member
All I knew about Bonzo's sound comes from the Jeff Ocheltrees video and an article in MD about miking. I know about The kick miking with 2 mic's- one about 10 inches away form the head and the 2nd one a few feet away. I'll probably use 1 mic, but I'll place it about 10-20 inches away from the head. I have very little muffling, but my kick has plenty of attack and low end, so I hope I'll catch both the attack and the actual tone of the drum.
As for the rest of the kit- I'd love to use 3 or 4 overhead mics- 2 overheads set up in an X fashion- the left one catching the stuff on the right etc (I've figured out that's the most natural way of miking, as my cymbals are angled towards me), one mic for the hihat(placed on the bottom) and one under the ride cymbals.
I will almost certainly use drum mics to capture the attack- I like my drumset to sound as one instrument, so I don't care about the ring of the drums- they blend together and create a good sound.
I will use 2 ply coated heads on my drums and 1 ply clear(or coated- I haven't decided yet) heads on the resos.
When I studiet Mr. Ocheltree's video I realised that the toms are tuned very high for their sizes- the 14 sounds as a 12 inch tom etc. So I guess I'll tune the 18 and 16 floor toms fairly high and use little or no muffling, while the 12 tom will be tuned fairly low, so I'll achieve a "high pitched 14 inch tom" without that huge size(I don't feel comfortable playing a rack tom this big).
Thanks for your info.
 

bigbobblack

New member
Yeah, the bass drum will only need one mic as you said. I have the original Remo back dot which are two ply. As for the hi-hat/snare - we found the best sound came from one mic situated underneth but between the two (so you still move some air). For some reason, the fasion is to have the mics practically touching the drum heads like a trigger, but the whole point of an acoustic drum is to move air - well thats how I like it anyway!
 

Animal

New member
To get that HUGE Bonzo-sound you'll definately going to need 2 mikes, pluss several ambience-mikes. Ambience mikes is the real secret behind the Led Zeppelin drum sound in studio.

 

Dale

New member
Shalaq":uzyzgc37 said:
Can you say something more about this drumset? I have a Mapex Saturn Pro 22x18 12x9 16x13 18x16 and I want to achieve a similar sound to Bonzos on my bands EP. Any suggestions?
Bonzo's sound was generated by who he was and the way he played. I don't think it's possible for you to get a sound close to him unless you sample his playing and use those sounds. Just get the best sound you can get out of yourself and your own equipment.
 

bigbobblack

New member
Dale":3i8tvbn5 said:
Shalaq":3i8tvbn5 said:
Can you say something more about this drumset? I have a Mapex Saturn Pro 22x18 12x9 16x13 18x16 and I want to achieve a similar sound to Bonzos on my bands EP. Any suggestions?
Bonzo's sound was generated by who he was and the way he played. I don't think it's possible for you to get a sound close to him unless you sample his playing and use those sounds. Just get the best sound you can get out of yourself and your own equipment.
I'm not sure I fully agree - thats a bit of a simplistic point. I take the point, but having played the same kit for nearly a year now, live and in the studio, you can definitely hear where *some* of the sound comes from, after all, it was built to his own specification. Owning the same kit doesn't make me *play* like John Bonham and as you rightly point out, that was an amalgum of him and the way he played - and I'm not looking to do that. Some of the sounds he produced ('When the Levee Breaks' for example) the drums sound huge and resonate like madwhich is largely due to the kit and the way it was recorded rather than the way i was played. Thats what I was looking for. I don't wan to replicate him - I want to grab some of that magic sound.
 

Dale

New member
bigbobblack":f1plowie said:
Dale":f1plowie said:
Shalaq":f1plowie said:
Can you say something more about this drumset? I have a Mapex Saturn Pro 22x18 12x9 16x13 18x16 and I want to achieve a similar sound to Bonzos on my bands EP. Any suggestions?
Bonzo's sound was generated by who he was and the way he played. I don't think it's possible for you to get a sound close to him unless you sample his playing and use those sounds. Just get the best sound you can get out of yourself and your own equipment.
I'm not sure I fully agree - thats a bit of a simplistic point. I take the point, but having played the same kit for nearly a year now, live and in the studio, you can definitely hear where *some* of the sound comes from, after all, it was built to his own specification. Owning the same kit doesn't make me *play* like John Bonham and as you rightly point out, that was an amalgum of him and the way he played - and I'm not looking to do that. Some of the sounds he produced ('When the Levee Breaks' for example) the drums sound huge and resonate like madwhich is largely due to the kit and the way it was recorded rather than the way i was played. Thats what I was looking for. I don't wan to replicate him - I want to grab some of that magic sound.
There's a famous story about a drummer who wanted Bonzo's sound. He asked the producer and engineer how to get it. They told him to call Bonzo and get him into the studio to do the session.

You also need to think of the time those recordings were made. Things are rather different now. I honestly believe you should find your own sound. Not someone elses.
 

bigbobblack

New member
To be honest - whats it got to do with you?
I'm really happy, my band is more than happy with my sound which, if you read my posts or heard my stuff *is* my own sound I have just explored what John Bonham did what he did and appreciate the departure from the norm (or the norm at the time). I don't want to sound exactly like him or anybody else per se and even if I did...so what.
Just for the record, I was in the studio in January recording an album - I am well aware of recording techniques thanks and I'm not convinced that *all* of them are for the better. Live miking and recording are making a bit of a resurgence - ask Dave Grohl - But I expect you have an opinion on that too.
 

Dale

New member
bigbobblack":2mbcjzh5 said:
To be honest - whats it got to do with you?
I'm really happy, my band is more than happy with my sound which, if you read my posts or heard my stuff *is* my own sound I have just explored what John Bonham did what he did and appreciate the departure from the norm (or the norm at the time). I don't want to sound exactly like him or anybody else per se and even if I did...so what.
Just for the record, I was in the studio in January recording an album - I am well aware of recording techniques thanks and I'm not convinced that *all* of them are for the better. Live miking and recording are making a bit of a resurgence - ask Dave Grohl - But I expect you have an opinion on that too.
Outside of the fact that you asked, and that I took the time to answer, it has nothing to do with me. You are now, just as you were before, on your own. When you are in the studio and getting sounds, both you and the engineer will have to try to get the best sound you can from each instrument. My point is that it is not the instrument alone that gives the sound. It is a combination of both yourself and the drums that will give the result. I was only trying to help. Just because you don't like the answer to a question you asked, that's no reason to have a go at me.

I hope you have a good session. Good luck to you.
 

bigbobblack

New member
At the risk of carrying this on WAY too long...*I* didn't ask anybody anything *I*was asked a question about my kit. Of course I know that its a kit/drummer combo, and me and the engineer chatted and experimented for a couple of hours with sounds. Its all about personal taste - Not having a go, I was a bit peeved that you jumped in as a bit "I-know-better-than-you' (and still are) in your interjection. To each his own I guess. I'm not arguing with anyone, I am not seeking to impose my views on anyone else and I (we) certainly don't have all the answers. We're just kicking the ideas about with someone who asked. But I do appreciate being told where I'm going wrong ;-)
AND we've livened the thread up! Good talking to you
 

Dale

New member
bigbobblack":1uoesz3a said:
At the risk of carrying this on WAY too long...*I* didn't ask anybody anything *I*was asked a question about my kit. Of course I know that its a kit/drummer combo, and me and the engineer chatted and experimented for a couple of hours with sounds. Its all about personal taste - Not having a go, I was a bit peeved that you jumped in as a bit "I-know-better-than-you' (and still are) in your interjection. To each his own I guess. I'm not arguing with anyone, I am not seeking to impose my views on anyone else and I (we) certainly don't have all the answers. We're just kicking the ideas about with someone who asked. But I do appreciate being told where I'm going wrong ;-)
AND we've livened the thread up! Good talking to you
It's no problem. I simply answered as best I could. I can only drawer from my limitations that I've discovered over three decades of drumming. I am sorry I could not be of more help. I tried, I failed. It's not the first time. :oops:
 
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