#117: Better Drumming Through Better Sounding Drums

Daily Podcast for Drummers

Can making your drums better (through or mixing/mic’ing) actually make you a better drummer? I think so…


Welcome back for more Drummer Daily.

Man, what a week it’s been for me. I hope it’s been a week for you. It’s a week in all caps. Man, it’s been a WEEK. We’ve talked a little bit about all the things that are going on, and this episode’s coming out on Friday, so hopefully we’re a few days away from the launch of my next big thing. Or, not the launch, but the announcement of my next big thing.

Part of that, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this on the podcast, but part of that announcement on May 1st is that I’ll be … People ask me all the time on Instagram, “Hey, where can I find a copy of that backing track that you used for this video or that video?” Well, what I am announcing on Monday will be a way for you to get almost all of the backing tracks that I’ve used on Instagram, for free. Hopefully you’ll look forward to that, hopefully you’ll jump on that. I’m not planning on limiting it to the number of people, but there’s a chance my bandwidth will run out or something, and I’ll have to limit the number of downloads I can allow. Anyway, we’ll see about that.

Man, it’s been a week, but I want to talk to you today about something that hit me the other day. It was when I was … I do these live Facebook broadcasts. I do like, a live drum clinic kind of thing. As part of that I play the drums. I have a way of mixing all the drums and everything and then putting them through. After I shoot the videos and go live, I always go back and look at the recording, and I try to skip around at least to the parts where I am a little bit, just to make sure everything came across well and there weren’t any hiccups or pops or hisses or anything like that. Also, just in case the drums sound really bad or something, I want to fix that for the next time.

So far, I’ve just been so blown away by how good the drums sound. They sound good to me when I’m in the room playing them, but just to know they come across really well on the Facebook live broadcast, really makes me happy. That’s kind of what I want to talk about today is, I realized the other day when I was playing on this broadcast, I was like, “Man, I’ve done a few of these and I’m pretty sure these drums are sounding great.” I realized that I was playing differently because I knew how good the drums sounded. I was able to put myself mentally in the shoes of the person watching the broadcast, and I’m like, “Man, these drums sound so great.” I was confident in what I was putting across. That’s one way that drums, you know, have made me play better, the sound of the drums has made me play better.

Another thing is just honestly, it is so inspiring to have drums that sound really well, and every sound that you’re putting out being pleasing. You may not think about it at first, but if your drums don’t sound great, it can be really hard to overcome the sonic quality with your playing. Now, I have seen, there are many drummers, and there are some drummers who kind of pride themselves on crappy sounds, they kind of do it on purpose, but they overcome it with their playing. Well, I don’t know if I’m good enough to overcome really bad drums with my playing, but I definitely am in the position where, having drums that sound really great inspires me and it makes me play better. Man oh man, if it isn’t so much fun to play along with drums that sound good.

I just want to point out that I talked earlier this week about the reason why maybe your snare drum doesn’t sound good, and it’s about, you didn’t invest enough time in tuning and we kind of talked about some of that and how we invest our time in tuning our instruments. I did mention this as well that, I’ve never come across a drum that couldn’t be turned into something pretty acceptable just by taking careful time and appropriate attention and putting that towards tuning the drum and getting something, like I said, it’s workable, usable, it’s pretty good. You’re definitely not ruining your day, that’s the kind of sound I’m talking about, is the sound that doesn’t ruin your day.

If you want to get better at playing the drums, this is another one of those quick fixes. Spend some time making your drums sound better. You don’t have to buy new heads. You don’t have to spend any money. Just maybe start from scratch and really invest the time in tuning them. If you don’t know where to start, go to danielhadaway.com and there should be a search bar. If you search for tune or tuning, you’ll find a few other episodes of this podcast where I talk about drum tuning, and hopefully that will at least start you down the right path. I honestly believe that better sounding drums is the difference in a lot of cases between someone who comes across as a professional and someone who comes across as an amateur. If you have any aspirations at all for getting paid gigs or anything like that as well, making your drums sound better in all aspects can help.

What’s really funny is that, one more little side note. In my Instagram videos I have noticed, and this is very subjective, I haven’t measured this or anything, but I’ve noticed that in the drum videos I post to Instagram where I think that my mix is better, where the drums themselves sound better, I get more compliments on the playing. I think it’s people perceive, they like what they hear. A lot of music listeners don’t separate out the quality of playing from the quality of sound. If it’s a good sound played poorly, it’s still a good sound. If it’s a poor sound played well, it’s still played well. People don’t separate the two, and so you can get away with a lot just by having good sounding drums.

At the end of the day, you of course want to be happy with your own playing, but there are a lot of times when we can actually be better … We are better to others than we think. Others think we are better than we are okay with, and there’s a lot of times when maybe our playing doesn’t go according to plan or doesn’t go as well as we hoped for ourselves, but other people still think it’s amazing. Just keep that in mind. Work on making your drums sound better and you might actually find that you start playing better. It’s crazy, but I think it’s true. Thanks for joining me and well talk again soon. Next week, and in fact I believe that next episode of this podcast I will be announcing that crazy, amazing thing that I’ve been teasing for so long, and how you can get all those drumless backing tracks for free. Catch me on the next episode. I promise you, you will enjoy it and you will like what I have to say. All right, bye for now.


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