your 'own' sound - how distinct can it be?

m

New member
was pondering recently, after seeing some threads/posts about playing other drummer's 'signature' gear;

just how 'original' or different/distinct/personalized can your sound be? I can see where an individual STYLE could really stand out, but what about the actual sound you produce with your specific recipe of gear?

Just wondered what other folks think~
 

trstn

New member
I think my personal sound it the 12" snare I use, gearwise, maybe the icebell. I thought a while about it, the rest is all playing stuff ...
I recentlty have watched Mike Mangini videos on YouTube, his setup does back his sound I think. Long ago I had a 14" piccolo and used a second lower sounding snare right of the hihat for certain parts. I stated that I always change the drum setup for each Band/project I play in, from lots of stuff (like now :D) to kick sn hat 16" and a ride on the other end.
Hmm and isn't that "signature" thing more a marketing thing?

rock
trstn
 

Rob the Drummer

New member
Signature series gear is all about marketing and has nothing to do with a drummer's sound. Your own personal sound has everything to do with how you play!
 

Rockula!

New member
I have arrived at my own personal sound through a series of accidents
Although I have built my drumkit out of parts, those parts have presented themselves to me
Likewise, the heads I use were also accidental
I tried my first Emperor head because it was gathering dust in the warehouse (and it was a 15")

Unfortunately, no one can really have a truly original signature sound
Obviously, I am not claiming to have invented the extremely high tuned snare sound, but I did use it before I heard others doing it in the early 90's
Likewise, I am not the only unmuffled wide open large diameter drum guy in the 2000s

However, it always comes down to the player
One person sitting at the same kit will sound different from the next
 

BillRayDrums

New member
Your playing is as individual as your fingerprint. In our paradigm of music that we are accustomed to, there are only so many finite beats that we can draw from. Each person will play these same beats quite differently. Dynamic balance and timing between the kick/snare/hat are the starting point for variance amongst individuals.

One player will lay into the hats more, another player will be very heavy on the kick and snare.

Then there's fills. Some players will fill every 4 beats, some will fill every 4 bars, some will play a fill every 16 bars, and others will play no fills. Some players will add their own little figures into the body of a drumbeat (ghost notes) and some will influence the beat with an overzealous fervor.

So I suppose it's safe to say that with all the variables of human-ness that we have, the possibilities for the same drum part played by different players will be completely different from player to player. ANd you can classify these players into groups, starting with skill level. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced. From there you can drill down further and funnel them into smaller categories.
 

ChevaDrummer

New member
I think that a drummer has his own personal signature sound when you can hear a song on the radio or on a sterio that you've never heard before & can tell who the drummer is by his drum sound & the style he plays. 2 drummers come to mind when I think of that & they are Alex Van Halen & Joey Jordison. I could always tell when a new Van Halen song was on the radio just by hearing the drums. I was listening to an Otep CD the other day & thought, "This drummer sounds like Joey Jordison". After reading the inside sleave of the CD I found out that Joey did indeed play the drums on that album. (I'm sure there are plenty more drummers that are like that too, but these two guys are the first to come to mind for me.) People tell me that they like my "Style" too, & say that they can tell that my band is playing as they are approaching the club just by hearing the drums. I wouldn't know but that's what they say. Go to www.myspace.com/chevaband & let me know what you think.
 

bonasty666

New member
being a sound engineer, i can tell you, you can have your own sound in many ways. kick drum size and tuning as well as mics and processing are the key. i like a audix d6 with gate-31 band eq- and compressor. snare go top and bottom with the mics shure sm57 on top and sm57 on bottom...out of phase w. top mic. learning to tune is really the key...you can get lost in a sea of bad drum tones otherwise...
 

GB1Kenobi

New member
I read an interesting interview years ago of a drummer who's name I don't remember. In it the interviewee said that back in the late 1960's he was playing in a band in New York and in the space of a few days had some local hotshots sit-in on his drums.

He recounted how it amazed him that his own drums sounded so different with each of these hot shots playing them. The hot shots were Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, and a some other drummer.

A bad-ass drummer will have a "sound" no matter what drums s/he is playing on. Elvin sounded the same whether his drums were tightly-tuned Gretsch's or lower-pitched. And he sounded the same on the Yamahas he played later in life and with different cymbals than he played when he was working with Coltrane's 4tet. Tony always sounded like Tony, even when he played Ludwigs. Roy Haynes has also sounded the same whether playing his 60's Gretsch's, 80's Ludwigs with a billion toms or the Yamahas he now plays.

Joey Baron, Bill Stewart, and "Tain" will sound like themselves no matter what drums they're playing and even if they're tuned differently than what they prefer. Another example is Jack DeJohnette: from his days playing electric music in Miles Davis' band (Zildjians) to his own 70's and 80's stuff (Paiste) to today with his Sabian signature cymbals. He's even changed how he tunes his drums over the years....but it always sounds like Jack DeJohnette.

The "sound" is in your hands...if you have a "sound" in your "Body and Soul".
 

break the prism

New member
a signature sound either comes from your individual playing style, or simply the way your drums sound in recordings.
for instance, i can tell when cozy cole is playing on an old jazz recording because of the way he always mixed snare drum riduments in to his swing patterns.
some drummers will have a certain setting in the studio that they always use whenever they record, so the drums (or some of them) on every song they play on have the same sound. (for example, i can tell when jimmy paxson is playing on any album because of the way he has his drums panned the studio.

my signature surprisingly comes from my lack of formal technique. in order to play certain patterns or rudiments i have to work my way around my weaknesses (ie. not being able to roll very well with my left hand)
visibly, my signature style is my ability to switch from left-handed playing to right-handed playing. i can lead and/or follow with both hands, which makes a lot of the aforementioned techniques slightly easier to achieve.
 

Brother_Bong

New member
Rob the Drummer":307t8v5x said:
Signature series gear is all about marketing and has nothing to do with a drummer's sound. Your own personal sound has everything to do with how you play!
And how you tune, style of heads, amplification, mixing,etc.
 

Mongore

New member
A lot goes into tuning too.

My beater head on my kick is tuned REALLY loose so it's really dead, and the front skin is tuned really tight and I have no hole in the front. I have put a $800 bass mic inside it (With cable coming out of the hole up top)

My tom is tuned really high and my floor tom is tuned dead. My snare is tuned as toight as a toiger too.

Also, cymbal selection. I have gone for rather dark sounding Hats, Crashes and china. Then I have a Ping ride and a bright sounding splash.

Also I use Carbon Fibre sticks rather than wood to really bring out the tone of the cymbals

As for drumming style, I have a double kick, but only use it when I need it. I like to do most simple double kick work on just a single pedal. Probably compare my style of drumming similar to the drummer from Sevendust.

But yeah :)
 

Steven McTowelie

New member
i definitely think drummers can have their own sound. i'd say it's a combination of style, technique, equipment, cymbals, heads and tuning. i think one of the greatest things about drumming is finding your own sound. it took me years to find mine.
 

amontholdDrums

New member
I def think that having your "own" sound comes from the differnt styles of music you listen to.. right now.. i feel i play a very pocket oriented jazz kind of punk.. which is kind of weird but its just pretty much punk with fancy slightly swung ride cymbal patterns.. nothing complex really and i like to hit cues and give them.. not sure if its a great idea in punk.. but im having loads of fun.. i like trying different things in different styles of music..

I play in this kind of '80's guitar solo project and ive twisted a few of the songs around to have a more hip-hop feel in them.. i like the change.. i get bored playing straight 4/4 patterns to the stuff..
 

adamski

New member
I dont know why people havent mentiond him yet
but gadd
you can alwasy tell if a song has steve gadd on it
and this is, i believe, down to a mixture of gear and his actual playing
obviously gadd's grooveand timing are exquisite
but he was also one of the first to utilise a 10" rack tom
something commonplace nowadays
but it bestows his playing with a definite top end, especially compared to other stuff during his formative years
and his snare wire has only 10 strands.
this is definfitely an explanation for his magnificent, dry snare sound
apparently he based his K custom session cymbals on a cracked 18 inch ride that he favoured
and between tiny snares andcracked cymbals
id say we have a personal sound
 

goatatl

New member
I have to agree wholeheartedly with the statement that Signature Gear is all about marketing. Even if I could actually take Joey Jordison's personal snare off his kit and put it on mine, I doubt it make me play or sound much like him.

I'm also not totally sure I would consider choice of gear, or even tuning as part of a person's "style". Certainly, I choose my drums, cymbals, heads, etc... according to what accomodates my playing style, but if I sit on somebody else's kit consisting of entirely different gear, my actual style doesn't change all that much.

























 
It's got as much to do with how you play as it does your gear. I'd like to think the biggest thing that distinguishes my playing is my snare drum sound. I got a Pacific all maple w/ wood rim snare drum at Music-Go-Round for $150, and I discovered that you can crank it pretty high (but not too high), and if you play it with a nice Moeller stroke, it still gets a nice deep punchy sound, and I think that's how people can tell I'm playing. I get just as many "nice snare drum!" comments as "damn, you really lay into that drum!" Other comments I get: "I love these old Zildjians", "I love these new Pastes", "you play really fast on your ride cymbal", "i love the way your kit is tuned", "your bass drum sounds huge", "you bass drum looks stupid", "your kit looks like junk", "your kit sounds awesome", "you're one of my favorite drummers." the last three are my favorites. :)
 

MikeRowland

New member
Interesting thread... There are many drummers who have distinct sounds : Bonham, Copeland, Ginger Baker, etc. Many of these guys didn't have a specific piece of gear that made that sound, but rather an ordinary piece that, coupled with their unique playing style and tuning, resulted in that huge bass drum sound or snare drum tone. I think each drummer adds his own character into each stroke, thereby defining his own sound. An example of this is: I recently bought the Tama Warlord Masai snare drum (bubinga) based on a recording I heard from a good friend of mine, Brett Stowers from Fair To Midland. However, with my personal taste in tuning, coupled with my playing style (I use a lot of rimshots and come from a drumline background, and he buries the stick in the center without using the rim), our drums sound nothing alike. We can also instantly tell when the other is playing, regardless of the band, kit, or tuning. So to me, it is more the player than the tool.
 

break the prism

New member
adamski":1wm34fvo said:
I dont know why people havent mentiond him yet
but gadd
you can alwasy tell if a song has steve gadd on it
and this is, i believe, down to a mixture of gear and his actual playing
obviously gadd's grooveand timing are exquisite
but he was also one of the first to utilise a 10" rack tom
something commonplace nowadays
but it bestows his playing with a definite top end, especially compared to other stuff during his formative years
and his snare wire has only 10 strands.
this is definfitely an explanation for his magnificent, dry snare sound
apparently he based his K custom session cymbals on a cracked 18 inch ride that he favoured
and between tiny snares andcracked cymbals
id say we have a personal sound
definitely. i was listening to Eric Clapton's "Me and Mr. Johnson" the other day and during a few of the softer, brushed songs i thought to myself "hey...this sounds like steve gadd". it was. they guy's got a pretty recognizable style.
 

break the prism

New member
amontholdDrums":25xnnbje said:
I def think that having your "own" sound comes from the differnt styles of music you listen to.. right now.. i feel i play a very pocket oriented jazz kind of punk.. which is kind of weird but its just pretty much punk with fancy slightly swung ride cymbal patterns.. nothing complex really and i like to hit cues and give them.. not sure if its a great idea in punk.. but im having loads of fun.. i like trying different things in different styles of music..

I play in this kind of '80's guitar solo project and ive twisted a few of the songs around to have a more hip-hop feel in them.. i like the change.. i get bored playing straight 4/4 patterns to the stuff..
one time my band played a show and i swung half of the set and did hip-hop beats to the rest. we got some of our best responses that night.
 
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