Metal masterclass from Bleeding Through’s Derek Youngsma

Gear, sound and technique tips from the drummer

Read the latest issue of Rhythmcover to cover and picked up all of our tips on metal drumming?

Well, there’s even more for fans of hard and heavy playing as we recently caught up with Bleeding Through’s Derek Youngsma for his dos and don’ts of metal drumming.

Get the right sound


“Tuning is a very important part of drumming that a lot of players neglect. If drums are not properly tuned there can be all kinds of disgusting sounds. If drums are tuned unevenly they will buzz or rattle. If they are too loose they can sound dead, but too tight can sound really bad too! You want to tune each drum to a nice natural tone for that particular drum. Tune the batter head up and down till you find it - each drum has its ‘sweet spot’ where it sounds best. Be sure the tension rods are all tightened the same. Test the tone by playing around the drum near each tension rod so it sounds the same. Now repeat this on the resonant head. You want top and bottom to sound the same.”

Use the right gear


“I really believe you can get great sound out of any type of drums. Some things I can suggest for metal in particular would be hard plastic kick drum beaters and Falam kick pads. I also use a Remo CS controlled sound batter head on the snare. I use a paper-thin hazy head on the bottom with wide snares. You also want to find a stick that's right for you. I recommend a 5B - it's a nice medium size and weight.”



Set up your gear correctly


“This is important. What I recommend is to start with the throne. Just sit at the throne. Adjust the height so your thighs are parallel to the ground and your back is straight. Then kick your feet as if you were playing the kick drums wherever your feet feel comfortable. Now look down at your feet. That is where you put your kick pedals. Now bring on the snare. The height of the snare is important. You want the snare high enough that when you play it your hands are not resting on your thighs. Continue to set up the whole kit, one piece at a time, making sure each piece is in a spot that is comfortable and fluid for you to play with no wasted motion. Avoid putting things at weird angles or too close or far away. You want to be able to sit comfortably and reach your whole kit easily.”

Warm up


“When you're on tour you sit around all day so sometimes it's hard to get motivated. I'd say it's good to start warming up about a half hour before you play. It's good to get the blood flowing and warm before the show. It's a good idea to stretch your whole body, especially your fingers, hands, and arms. You can warm up many ways. Do some push ups, jumping jacks, whatever. You can take a practice pad and play rudiments. What I like to do is just play along to the songs on a practice pad.”

Build up your speed and stamina


“To build speed and stamina you've got to be willing to put in the work. I'd start with snare rudiments. Play these on the hands and on the feet. Also work on them leading with left and right. Get a metronome and start slow, when you get to a speed that challenges you work from there gradually trying it at faster speeds. You will see results from this but you've gotta work at it. You will also be a more confident player and you will surprise yourself when you start pulling off fills and beats you didn't know you had in you.”

For more metal tips pick up the latest issue of Rhythm, which is on sale now.


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