OT: Bass drum split clarity

I know this is off-topic from the software, but I know the folks who frequent this board are among the most qualified to help!

My bass line is pretty kickin' but I can't get the articulation and clarity out of their multi-note splits like I'd like to.

We're using Evans heads and most drums have a little extra yamaha muffling, so they're pretty dead. And promark standard wooden bass mallets. These are yamaha drums 20,22,24,26,28";. The tuning is pretty high on each drum -- as high as I can get it before it gets expensive.

When we play sixteens per drum we can get it sounding good, but triplet 16's sound pretty muddy (and I don't think we're ready to do any serious 32nd note business - not any in our show either). I'm guessing this has less to do with equipment and more to do with hands than anything else. We talk about opening the notes, playing all of the notes the same volume, etc..., but I'm just not getting the results I want.

They are a very good-natured group and will do anything I ask of them without complaing. I just wonder if I am giving them the wrong information...

Can you shed some light on what the issue might be? If you thought it would help, I'd record an mp3 and post it too.

[quote author=djones link=topic=1386.msg6190#msg6190 date=1160346627]
I've never heard of moving the fulcrum. Is that how most of the drum corps bass lines do it? Can someone go more into detail about how to move the fulcrum from your thumb to your index finger. Im curious now because I think thats the problems with my bass drummers, I just couldnt pinpoint exactly what was wrong. But like a lot of other people on here, I never would have thought of that. Thanks for the good info

One thing that I have used to help the kids understand the concept of ";moving the fulcrum"; is to have the bass guys play while holding their index finger and thumb out like a little kid would when pretending to shoot a gun (think playing ";cops and robbers";.  If you have them play while having the index finger and thumb in this position, the fulcrum will [i]have[/i] to move down to the middle and ring fingers.  If you use this technique with the kids once they have gotten the concept of doubles down, it helps to open up the doubles by using more of the fingers in a correct way for marching bass drum...

Just a thought.  Has anyone else done this?
I do that off and on, especially when working triplet or 16th note rolls.

The most common problems I run into with fulcrum issues occur when the basses are forced to use some chops.  The tendency is to choke down on their thumb and index finger with a lot of tension, causing the elbows to stick out more.  That can cause the mallet to slice and choke, and a less than desired sound when they hit the drum.

Stress that although they are playing on a vertical surface, they should still be using good match grip technique.  A few sessions on a flat surface wouldn't hurt.  Focus on pusing the stroke from the back of the hand and feeling the mallet heads under their hands, especially on rolls and sextuplet/32nd note runs.
Thanks for all of the great suggestions!

An observation that I made this morning that further complicates this issue is that you are dealing with five different sets of hands, tendencies, personalities, etc. I have one student who really tenses up right before his three or four notes and causes the notes to sound like a spasm. Then I have another who never misses and is dead on all the time.

You know you have these problems within a snare or tenor line, but playing split parts sure amplifies the individuality.

Maybe we should have a Bass Summit at PASIC...
[quote author=erath link=topic=1386.msg6215#msg6215 date=1160591581]

Maybe we should have a Bass Summit at PASIC...

Too bad I'm not going to PASIC. I'll talk bass drumming with anyone who will listen.
Login or Signup to post a comment