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Bass Drums

Bass drums come in all shapes and sizes from a huge range of drum-making companies, so finding and testing the right one that will gel with your band's music for your drum kit takes some time. Whether you want something beefy that provides low end in a full band, or something in your kit that provides punch and transients for heavy metal music, you will want a bass drum that will always fit your sound.

What should you look for in a bass drum?

Bass drums, also known as kick drums, differ in many ways, depending on the maker and your playing style as a drummer. Pearl kick drums have very different tonality and kit context than Gretsch or Yamaha bass drums. There are a few things you should consider when you are looking for a new kick.

  • Sound: Do you want percussion that has a lot of drum sustain or a tight bass that does not ring for long? The shape of the drum shell and the drum head will determine how much resonance and ringing out of the sound there is.
  • Durability: Are you planning to tour with this bass drum in your kit? If so, you will need drums that are known for their ability to get tossed around in a touring truck while sustaining minimal damage.
  • Pedal responsiveness: If you are in a metal or mathcore band that plays intricate drum patterns, then you will want a bass drum that has a fast response. If you want a meatier tone for soft rock, jazz, or other genres, you will not need that much responsiveness.
How do you play the bass drum?

It is easy to hit a bass with a stick or with a pedal hammer, but learning proper percussion techniques as a drummer takes practice. There are some simple techniques you can learn that will help you sound great when you are playing the drum in combination with snares or cymbals.

  • Use the front of your foot: Do not stamp down with your entire foot when you are using a pedal in your kit. Instead, use the back of your foot as a fulcrum and press with the front of your foot. This will give you a clean drum sound that is in time with the music's beat.
  • Release right away: If you have a quick release, the hammer will not stay up against the shell of the drum and the percussion sound you just played will be clearly heard. Be mindful of taking your foot off right away and you will get good sound.
  • Drum sensitivity: Unlike electronic kits, a good bass drum will be sensitive to different velocities. You will be able to hit the drum at different speeds to get different tonalities that correspond to other parts of your set, like the snare or cymbals. As a drummer, understanding this subtlety is very important.
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