10 essential damping tips for drummers

Damping tips

Damping tips

To damp, or not to damp? © Roy McMahon/Corbis

These days, drummers are all too quick to cover their heads in gaffer tape or slap on the latest gadget. However, the whole idea of a drum is that it's built to resonate and sustain, so, courtesy of Rhythm Magazine, here's how to make sure you're only damping when necessary, and how to do it properly when you do…

10 essential damping tips

1. Damping should be a last resort

Again, the whole idea of a drum is it's built to resonate and sustain.

2. Don't over-damp

If you damp your drums too much, they will sound dead and you'll struggle to make yourself heard over the rest of the band.

3. Be careful when tuning

Getting the same pitch all around the drum, will in any case often remove the need to dampen.

4. Tweak

Alternatively, once the head is in tune, sometimes de-tuning a single lug will take away just the right amount of the ring.

5. Don't choose damping over tuning

Damping should not be a substitute for careful tuning. Nothing is worse than a kit plastered in bits of sticky tape.

Next: less is more, correct taping and tissue paper



6. Less is more

Having said that, now and then a small amount of damping is necessary - especially when being close-mic'ed live, or recording.

7. Tape near the edge

Traditional solutions include a string of tape positioned near the edge of the drum, maybe continuing just over the top metal rim.

8. Try adding tissue paper

To cut out a few more overtones, put a small, folded piece of tissue paper underneath the tape.

9. …and (a little) more tape

For even lighter damping, a loop or two of tape (sticky side outwards) can be dropped on the head in strategic positions.

10. DIY 'O' rings

You can cut your own 'O' rings out of old heads. Try using just a quarter or third of a circle and taping it very lightly at the edge. Or buy somelike Remo RemOs (pictured above).

For the best monthly drumming tips, video lessons and reviews, check out Rhythm Magazine.