Category Archives: drums

Paiste 505s, The Best Vintage Budget Cymbals

Paiste 505s were a budget line of cymbals made in Switzerland by Paiste in the late 70s and early 80s. However, if you’ve ever heard a 505 you’ll quickly realize just how special these cymbals actually are.

They do not sound like a budget line at all, and in fact, they’re not even made like a budget line. The hammering and lathing on the 505 line is nearly identical to the famous 2002 line. Paiste made them less expensive by making them slightly thinner than the 2002s. This gives them a bit of a darker, lower pitched sound than the 2002s. But they still have that beautiful Paiste spread.

I have a 20″ green label 505 ride. This cymbal sounds absolutely gorgeous to me. There’s a nice stick definition that has that distinct paiste sound, but there’s also a full dark wash that sits underneath, and it also has a beautiful and controlled sounding crash when you lay into it.

Check out my song below of the FB-01 and Drums. I play on the 505 ride throughout the whole song.

Yamaha FB-01 FM Synth Module with Live Drums

This is a new song I created with only the Yamaha FB-01 in 8 part multi-timbral mode and then played lived drums to it. No FX were used on the FB-01. I seqenced the MIDI using the program, Seq24 for linux, then recorded the drums in Harrison Mixbus 4.
Drums used were a 1966 Slingerland Blue Sparkle kit, with an 80s metal Pearl Export 6.5×14 snare drum. Mics used in this recording were:
Kick – CAD KBM412
Snare – PDMIC78
Overheads –

Best High End Drum Micing Kit

One of the most legendary microphones for recording drums is the Sennheiser MD421. But at nearly $400 a piece, just getting 3 tom mics will cost you $1200! Not all of us have that kind of scratch to blow. Plus you’d still need a snare mic, kick mic, and overheads. By the time you get done you’d probably throw down about $3000!

You don’t have to do that though to get a killer high-end mic setup for drums. If you have medium amounts of scratch to blow, the¬†Sennheiser DRUMKIT600 Drum Microphone Package could be the best high quality drum microphone package for $1000 on the market.

You will get a complete setup for a 4 piece drum kit that includes 3 tom/snare mics, a kick drum mic and two condenser overheads. This kit will last you for years to come and is great for both live and studio use. All of the mics come packaged in foam encased, locking aluminum case. This way you can keep studiomates from “borrowing” your mics without permission ūüėČ

Ride Cymbal Terms, What Do They Mean?

In my opinion choosing the right ride cymbal is one of the hardest cymbals to choose for your kit. There are so many sounds and one that doesn’t vibe well with your ears can quite literally ruin your fun playing.

There’s so many different sounds out there, and there’s so many terms used by people to describe them like, washy, pingy, dry, dark, clean, and more, then there’s also the bell sound which can greatly vary from ride to ride. Not to mention there can be a ride that is washy and dark, or a ride that’s dry and dark. However there most likely won’t be a ride that’s washy and pingy, but there can definitely be one that’s clear and pingy. Confused?

Let’s go into a little more detail as to what most people mean by using these terms.

  1. washy Рwashy usually refers to the attack as well as the sustain of the ride. For example when you hit it, the sound has little attack and a long sustain with a strong white noise sound. These types of rides are most similar to crashes. Examples of rides that could be described as washy are the Paiste PST7 Lite Ride or the Zildjian Sweet Ride. This sound is heard most often in 60s rock and some jazz and are usually light in weight. The bell sound can vary on a washy ride from strong to soft.
  2. pingy –¬†pingy can be most easy be understood as the opposite of washy and are usually heavy in weight. When you hit the cymbal there is a strong attack (ping) sound. There’s still a long sustain, but with less white noise than a washy ride. There’s usually a noticeable note to the sustain. However this may not be the case if a ride is pingy, but¬†dry.¬†Some good examples of a pingy ride are a Paiste Alpha Metal Ride, and a¬†Zildjian Megabell Ride
  3. dry –¬†Unlike the first two examples dry almost only refers to the sustain of the cymbal. Dry means short sustain. Unfortunately the company Meinl has been trying to redefine the meaning of this term and produces a lot of cymbals under their “extra dry series”. These cymbals, even though excellent sounding are in actuality not dry at all. A more appropriate way to describe them would be dark and trashy. The term¬†trashy¬†does not mean bad, but refers to the sustain of the cymbal having a lot of dissonant undertones, much like a china cymbal giving them an almost gong-like quality. Zildjian are one of the only manufactures of true dry cymbals, like the¬†K Custom Special Dry,¬†or the Zildjian Earth Ride (which is also very pingy)
  4. dark – dark is quite popular these days. As I mentioned before, Meinl’s “extra dry” line, would be more appropriately described as “extra dark” but I guess from a marketing standpoint, there were already a lot of “extra dark” lines on the market, so they wanted to stand out, and it worked! However, dark usually refers to the pitch. It’s usually lower and trashier. The undertones are more dissonant and complex. This sound is very popular in all forms of music these days, though in the past it was more popular in Jazz. Good examples of dark rides are the Dream Energy Dark Matter Ride¬†or the Meinl Extra Dry Ride

Anyway, I hope this helped you understand what people mean with these terms, and happy music making!

How To Choose a New Snare Drum

The snare drum along with the kick drum are the two most predominant sounds on a drum set. Having that perfect sound for your snare can literally define your drumming and give you your signature sound. But how do you select one?

Well first you should determine if you actually do need a new snare. In all actuality there are very few snares that sound bad, aside from ones that have some design flaws or damaged parts. If you have the right heads and know how to tune, you can make nearly any snare sound good for what it is.

Most people’s problem with snare drum tuning is they try to make the snare they have sound like a different snare. For example one may like a deep snare sound, but have a 14×5″ snare. 5″ is not very deep, and it’s not going to sound deep. Loosening the head to where it’s floppy on the drum is just going to sound bad. If you want a deep sound, get a deep shell. You have a little more options for a tight sound even with a deep shell, because it’s easier to tune up than it is down.

Also, be very careful where you get your tuning advice. There’s one absolutely terrible tutorial on YouTube that has millions of views where a guy is unevenly tuning the lugs on his snare to get rid of overtones. First off, you get bad overtones from improperly tuning. Secondly, if you are constantly banging on a drum with 2 or 3 lugs completely loose and the rest tight, you’re going to warp your rim, and then eventually start tearing through heads.

So rather than trying to make your snare sound like something it’s not, learn how to make it sound as good as it can that is appropriate to it’s size, or if you don’t like that sound….¬†then it’s time to get another snare.¬†

Let’s talk about materials

Quite simply snares can be broken down into 3 types of material.

  1. Wood
  2. Metal
  3. Synthetic

There are many different types of wood, and several types of metal, but only a couple of synthetic drums. Drum manufacturers and guys that spend hours reading drum forums and reddit would like you to believe there’s huge differences in sound between different types of wood. There’s not. It’s a lie. Sorry. I’ve been playing drums for 30 years, and I can honestly tell you the difference in sound between poplar and maple is next to nil. What really changes the sound is shell thickness, treatment of wood (whether it’s finished inside, or raw) bearing edges (this is the part of the drum that touches the head), snare tension, depth and diameter, and of course¬†heads!

There’s a lot of variables in wood manufacturing, and sounds can very from drum to drum, but in general a wood drum will have a warmer, drier sound than a metal one. Metal on the other hand is far more consistent than wood. Most steel shelled snares have the same thickness and edges are bent, not cut. Most of them are bent in the same way too. Metal will generally give you a brighter tone but deep metal snares can have a nice meat to them that seems to lack in wooden snares.

Finally synthetic snares are ones like Vistalites, or Piglite snares, most often made from acrylic, and then some very rare carbon fiber snares. The acrylic drums tend to have a very sharp attack and if you’re looking for a loud drum that can really penetrate, acrylic drums can have a serious bite. However they tend to sound a little thin.

When it all comes down to it, even with all of what I just said. You can have two of the same exact model snare drum, with the same heads, and tuned the same, and they can still sound different. This is because the tiny variations in manufacturing, head seating, room sounds, and the way one plays all can have an effect on the way they sound.

The first thing I would do is experiment with heads. Try different coated or even some clear heads on your snare, and see what you like best.¬†¬†Also, don’t be afraid to change tuning of your bottom head.

Some things to consider if you do want to purchase a snare:

  1. deeper shells = lower pitch
  2. thicker shells = less sustain
  3. smaller in diameter shells = higher pitch
  4. wood = drier, but warmer sound (most of the time)
  5. metal = brighter, but meatier sound (most of the time)
  6. acrylic = sharp attack, thinner sound

Some things to remember with heads:

  1. medium thickness = most sustain
  2. thickest heads = lower pitch, less sustain
  3. thinnest heads = higher pitch less sustain
  4. coated heads = drier tones
  5. clear heads = clearer tones

Finally here’s some snare recommendations:

Steel Pork Pie Lil’ Squealer

Pork Pie’s snare drums are absolutely killer. They’re durable, made with amazing consistence, and sound awesome. I used one of these when I played with a post hardcore band, and it really cut though the mix. Pork Pie also makes great wood and acrylic snares.

Tama Metalworks Limited Edition Steel Snare 14×6.5 in. Satin Bronze

Tama makes some of the highest quality drums on the market today. Their craftsmanship is nearly flawless and you get some very professional features such as diecast hoops and a pro throw off on their Metalworks series.

Yamaha Stage Custom Birch 14×5.5 Snare Drum, Honey Amber

If you’re looking for a wooden snare drum, Yamaha’s Stage Custom series is great deal for the money. Yamaha is one of the most widely trusted names in drums.