Like many others here, i also play guitar and that is where a large proportion of my money goes, but I also have a passion for the drums and am playing more and more - almost, if not more, than i have been playing guitar recently.

I have a $150 Tempo kit, its old, looks stupid and sounded like shit.

With limited budget (pretty much nothing) iv been on a quest to make my drums sound good and i succeeded somewhat.

Heres what i did:

Because im so cheap i brought cheap unbranded skins that looked awesome because they were black, i never really strived to get decent ones, i just wanted to replace the smashed up old ones that came with it. I actually did this a while ago but whatever.

I got the old skins and cut the middle out and the rim off leaving about an inch wide circle. These act as dampeners and stop the ringing of your toms after you've hit them and a more bassy tone. It gives more of a "metal" sound to your toms.

Taped a rectangle fridge magnet to the snare to cut the ringing and the St Anger like snare sound. Sounds good now.

Cut a hole in the outer bass drum skin. I dont know really what it does, but it sound heaps better and more bass drum like - it was kind of just a bassy clunk before. The hole also means you can try out different amounts of dampner material (pillows, duvets, blankets etc.) easier as you dont have to take the whole skin off to change it.

I also spray painted it matte black. It was a horrible orange colour that used to be red but had faded over time.

I actually really like the sound of my toms now. I also wear ear muff so that muffles the sound a little and cuts any clang higher pitched noises coming from the drums.

My cymabals are f*cked but oh well, maybe ill find some cheap ones somewhere

Anyway, to give this thread somewhat of a "point", Post ways to make shitty drums sound good on a limited budget or something like that.

keep the drum forum alive!
Our drummer is a wizard with beermats and duct tape. I salute him. At a gig I organised recently, the band who were bringing the kit couldn't bring it at short notice, so I had to beg for a kit with a day's notice. We ended up using a gear 4 music starter kit :L Between the amazing soundman, people bringing their own breakables (which sounded good) and our drummer's genius it ended up sounding sort of vaguely ok. Not exactly good, but bearable :P
I have a cheap kit, but all I've managed to make sound good is the bass drum. I over-tightened the snare wire so now it buzzes. My comprimise is hitting cymbals with brushes and hitting the other drums with pads on and a stick.
Well if the drum kit is shitty you can only do so much but given the right heads and proper tuning you can get it sounding alright. I used to use a small piece of duct tape between the rims and heads of each tom and the snare drum. It helps to kill overtone a bit but it's ghetto and make the drums look ugly lol. Getting some evans e rings will fix that problem. To get a nice sound out of the drums tune the batter heads just a pinch lower then the resonant heads. If you are a noob at tuning maybe consider picking up a drum tuner. They don't do all the work for you but make the job a lot easier. For the bass drum if you are too cheap to buy one of those stick on click pads you can take two quarters and make one out of tape. You were smart by cutting a hole in the bass drum head. I have tried using both and noticed my bass drum pounds when i'm not playing on a closed reso skin. Stick a cushion or sheet in that bitch for muffling even though it's a headache because whenever you move the kit around or smash on the bass drum for a while the pillow slides all over the place. Taping it down never worked for me either. I purchased an evans eq pad and it's perfectly made to fit into the bass drum. It sticks right on so you will never have to worry about muffling again. If anybody is interested in this stuff you can check them out here.

e rings

eq pad

I have a shitty Sound Percussion set...which actually isnt too bad imo >.>

anyways, stock heads=thin crappy plastic...replace them ASAP
snares are terrible and rattle like crazy...replace those
got moongel to cut down on ring (mostly for my crappy ride but i use on one my snare too)
Tuning is wicked important...but kinda tough for a beginner, i got a drum dial and i think its good but its not a replacement for using your ear. What sounds best is always the most important
Technique is also really important for sound, make sure you are doing everything the right way instead of the easy way

Thats all i got .-. im about 60% to all the stuff above. Got new batter heads but still have stock resonant. Need to replace my snares but thats cheap (next trip to guitar center shouldnt be far away either). Im planning on buying a new ride which doesnt ring forever (ZBT ride=longest sustain EVER .-.)
To make your bass drum sound good, despite what head you have on the batter side, tune it very loose, but tight enough to have a bounce. I'm sure its much more complicated than that, but a friend of mine is a professional drummer, and he set my cheapo kit up, and it sounds pretty good now.

I mute my snare and toms too, because in the garage where I practice, they ring out like crazy, and it sounds better to my ears.

Cymbals are usually what you pay for; if you get cheap ones, its hard to make them sound much better. Best advice I got, was to get a fairly decent set of cymbals, before upgrading the rest of my kit.

EDIT: Forgot to mention, I always muffle my bass drum with a couple of pillows, or a duvet.
Last edited by Stud_Muffin at May 2, 2011,