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Old 10-15-2013, 11:48 PM   #1
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Question Help me understand the drums?

Hey there.

I was wondering if you kind folks would help me understand the drums a bit better (e.g. what gives a drum it's sound...or something along those lines), because there's this one time where I snagged a drum catalogue and all I saw was dimensions, technical specifications and I didn't know what the f it means at all dsaghsgsfgjhjghj
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Old 10-16-2013, 05:00 AM   #2
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Like, what specifically did you see that you were confused about? The dimensions refer to the diameter and depth typically. So if you see something that says a 14'' snare, then that refers to the diameter of the head. A standard floor tom (the one on the right with the legs) can be 16x16, so 16'' deep and 16'' diameter head.

What gives a drum its sound? I'm not sure what you mean. Just like any instrument, the materials affect the tone and sound. Shells (the part of each drum that is in between the two heads) can be made out of different kinds of wood or even acrylic. Wooden shells will absorb more of the sound while acrylic drums tend to be more "boomy" because the sound doesn't really get absorbed into the drum. The heads (the batter head is the one you hit, the reso head is the one on the bottom of each drum) affect tone, too. In ancient times and with some "traditional" percussion instruments, animal skins were stretched across the drum to make the drum heads. Drum kits today come with plastic heads, but marching bands and such typically use other materials. These can come in single ply, 2 ply and/or coated. The "ply" refers to the layers of plastic in each head. Coated heads are drum heads sprayed and given a textured surface which creates a different sound and allows the drummer to use brushes.

Not really sure what all you want to know though. Any specifics?
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Old 10-16-2013, 05:11 AM   #3
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Actually, you've just explained most (if not all) of my questions.

Does depth and diameter of a drum/cymbal *affect it's sound? If so, how (e.g. deeper drums lets off a...uh, deeper sound, shallow ones would makes it sound "thinner")? And does the explanation for heads apply to kick drums?

Also, thank you very much!

Last edited by stuntman133 : 10-16-2013 at 08:23 AM. Reason: correction
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:01 AM   #4
It was sarcasm...
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It sure does affect the sound! Go hit some drums, and you'll get the idea.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:20 PM   #5
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Depth and Diameter most certainly affect the sound of a drum. Changing diameters changes the pitch with smaller drums, predictably, being higher pitch and larger drums being lower in pitch. As for the depth, i wouldn't say it's a matter of deeper vs. thinner. Shallower drums produce a "quicker," more defined sound. They tend to resonate more in the high end. Deeper drums have more "body" to them, they tend to lack some of the definition of shallower drums, but they produce overtones that are more low end heavy (some companies argue that deeper drums project farther as well, but i couldn't really offer an assessment one way or the other on that). That's the best way I can describe it, hope that makes sense.
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