A small Tama bass drum and it's huge earthshaking qualities.

A small Tama bass drum and it's huge earthshaking qualities.

Postby Tronque » Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:11 am

So I got the Tama Cocktail Jam and I've been experimenting to get maximum bass. (yeah, good luck with that.. It's truly horrible out of the box)
Though this is a long post I think you're going to find some interesting ideas and results of my experiments.

Here's my ideas. Some are pretty obvious and others I´ve found nothing about on internet. Anyhow I think all cocktailers could find some benefits here even though I specifically reason around the Tama kit. Also I'd be very happy if you'd contribute with any idea to improvement posting below.

1. Isolate the heads' vibration to legs. A cheap, light and compact solution is using Pearl Air suspension feet. '
2. Get a good head preferably one-ply (resonates better if wanted) with a dampening ring like Evans EMAD or Aquarian Superkick. The idea is obviously to tune as low as possible and dampen the overtones with the light built in dampening ring. Thus you hear the bass better.
3. Make sure the beater surface hitting and mass of the beater is matched to the drum diameter.
4. Experiment playing with a mallet on the bass drum head. Where you get the low fundamental tone is where the pedal beater should hit.
5. Choose a really bass biased bass drum mic to amplify the low volume. (I suggest audio d6 - not affiliated)
6. On drums in general you get a lower tone if you cut a lightly used head (with no dents nor stretched in the middle) to the very same diameter and let FLOAT on top. The volume gets lower though. (which might be good in a Cocktail setting!)

On this kit the floor tom is regulated up and down. Personally I chose to hang it aside on one of three holders as it would be if you'd be sitting at a normal kit. Although the original position gives the bass drum a resonating side and bigger sound I avoided this because I didn't want the tom and kick to interfere with each other.
Now on the this particular bass drum design: This is a single headed drum. They are more sensitive to where you hit it and with what mass and size of mallet. (Here I venture into deep waters because there's a lot of physics going on which I have little knowledge of.) I've experienced this from playing a lot of percussion like Brazilian single headed hand drums tamborim and pandeiro where they always sound dead and muted when hit in the center.

The great mystery to this TAMA drum (cheap stock head with remo power stroke type muffler ring tuned low as possible without wrinkles) is that I get a great amount of bass out of it using a hand held Zildjian cymbal mallet (pretty hard wounded yellow yarn) hitting the head dead center. This is in it self a contradiction since you often on single headed drums get more tone and bass hitting it 1/3 from the rim. So when I hit it 1/3 in I also get good bass but a bit "dirtier". With more interfering overtones I suspect and less fundamental tone.
So far so good with a surprising amount of bass from such a little drum (yes, even a miked low tuned 12" pandeiro can sound like a Bonham bass drum in a good PA.)
The thing is that the bass drum totally changes character when I play it (NB. not burying the beater) with my pedal and original beater: The overall sound and bass is just GONE especially hitting in the middle as you normally would. There's little resemblance to anything called a bass drum! No resonance, almost no tone. (I swung the floor tom away, you know) Totally useless!

So with the remarkable experience with the Zildjian mallet I looked for solutions. Questions arose: Is the pedal absorbing vibrations that would go to the head? Is the beater not leaving the head fast enough and thus dampening vibrations? Is the bearing head all messed up? Wichcraft? Hardly none of this.

Ok, so I had to position the pedal to hit it 1/3 from rim to get any bass at all and cope with more overtones. Now, the area of the original beater (reversed Tama HP30 stage master) is bigger than the cymbal mallet so I had to find a smaller beater (felt) ball. That was hard! I looked all over internet and most drum stores in NYC without results. And after talking to retailers and drummers there it seems like trap players are not very aware that a smaller diameter drumhead needs a smaller beater and vice versa. Me also being a ethnic percussionist this is essential and very important to get the optimal sound out of every drum.

I found marching timpani mallets to sound good but it needs some toolshedding to cut a $30 pair of sticks and put a metal rod in it. So I simply took an old felt beater, unscrewed the mallet and put a smaller cymbal felt with original washers and nut. It got a bit of a light feel to it so I added two beater weights from DW and presto! Thanks to a smaller area hitting the head there's now more bass and the feel and rebound is alright. I'd still like more mass to get more volume. The core of the beater head is too light - not dense enough.

Next up is to change head to a better quality as above mentioned. And to put some tension lug lockers since they unscrew themselves being so loosely tuned.

I still have no clue as to why I got a really good bass sound out of it hitting with a cymbal mallet and not with its intended bass pedal. I even wrote Bob Gatzen about it but he never ever answered. Im still looking for a heavier beater with a smaller diameter and preferably with a felt option. Please let me know if you find a way to get around this.

It's pretty obvious Tama weren't too happy with their product since they solved the weak bass sound offering a kit with Roland triggers and brain. To me it sounds like a meager solution.

Good luck trying to get more bass by matching the beater size. It worked for me!
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:55 am

Re: A small Tama bass drum and it's huge earthshaking qualit

Postby Tronque » Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:16 am

My pedal
reversed Tama HP30 stage master w/ cymbal felt beater
1459512846_tmp_IMG_0208_1.jpg (208.19 KiB) Viewed 1026 times
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:55 am

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