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-   Q+A with Butch Vig (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/q-a-with-butch-vig/)
-   -   How did you get Nevermind's drum sound? (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/q-a-with-butch-vig/398321-how-did-you-get-neverminds-drum-sound.html)

ruanddu 16th June 2009 05:54 AM

How did you get Nevermind's drum sound?
 
Hey Butch!

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions.

I have always been enthralled with Nevermind's sound quality, especially the drums. Can you tell us which snare drum was used? I heard rumor it was a 80's Tama Bell Brass.

Also, was there any sampling that you added to the snare or any other drums. If so, can you elaborate on the ratio of sampling to real drum sound?

Lastly, what kind of kit was used and drum heads?

Thanks again,
Josh

ButchVig 17th June 2009 05:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ruanddu (Post 4286585)
Hey Butch!

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions.

I have always been enthralled with Nevermind's sound quality, especially the drums. Can you tell us which snare drum was used? I heard rumor it was a 80's Tama Bell Brass.

Also, was there any sampling that you added to the snare or any other drums. If so, can you elaborate on the ratio of sampling to real drum sound?

Lastly, what kind of kit was used and drum heads?

Thanks again,
Josh

The best way to get the drum sound on Nevermind is....get Dave Grohl to play drums at Sound City!!!

The snare was called "The Terminator"...it was 80's Bell Brass.

His kit was an 80's Tama Grandstar.

Andy Wallace added a bit of his custom samples as ambience, they get a bit of the "gunshot" effect, but the samples were mixed pretty low...



We used a drum tunnel" on the kick, which is basically adding and extra kick drum to extend the low end.

hankdrummer 17th June 2009 08:06 AM

no one sounds like Dave !
here's the perfect example :


ButchVig 17th June 2009 05:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ButchVig (Post 4290118)
The best way to get the drum sound on Nevermind is....get Dave Grohl to play drums at Sound City!!!

The snare was called "The Terminator"...it was 80's Bell Brass.

His kit was an 80's Tama Grandstar.

Andy Wallace added a bit of his custom samples as ambience, they get a bit of the "gunshot" effect, but the samples were mixed pretty low...



We used a drum tunnel" on the kick, which is basically adding and extra kick drum to extend the low end.


There is a fair amount of documentation out there, in several books and articles, that describe the mic placement. I can't remember which ones, if anyone knows maybe you could post it.
Thanx!
BV

Bierce85 18th June 2009 03:06 AM

thank you so much for posting this! I was talking to a fellow engineer the other day about drum sounds and I said "the way to get great drum sound is to have a great drummer playing a well tuned kit in a great room" and my friend started talking about preamps and tape machines. Folks, if you want a great drum sound, put a good drummer in a good room and watch it all fall in to place. Worry about compression/EQ later. Drums are all about the player, the tuning of the set and the room! Mics/preamps/mixing techniques are a distant 3rd (assuming the engineer knows enough about mic placement to not totally screw up the natural great sound that is happening). Thanks butch!

ButchVig 18th June 2009 03:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bierce85 (Post 4293483)
thank you so much for posting this! I was talking to a fellow engineer the other day about drum sounds and I said "the way to get great drum sound is to have a great drummer playing a well tuned kit in a great room" and my friend started talking about preamps and tape machines. Folks, if you want a great drum sound, put a good drummer in a good room and watch it all fall in to place. Worry about compression/EQ later. Drums are all about the player, the tuning of the set and the room! Mics/preamps/mixing techniques are a distant 3rd (assuming the engineer knows enough about mic placement to not totally screw up the natural great sound that is happening). Thanks butch!

Yes! Sometimes we forget the musician is the first part of the chain!!!

Billy Bush 18th June 2009 07:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ButchVig (Post 4294708)
Yes! Sometimes we forget the musician is the first part of the chain!!!

You should tell 'em your story of recording Clyde Stubblefield!

paultools 18th June 2009 07:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hankdrummer (Post 4290470)
no one sounds like Dave !
here's the perfect example :


the cheap mics/compressors in cameras always seem to sound H U G E !

maxpidge 18th June 2009 08:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Billy Bush (Post 4295450)
You should tell 'em your story of recording Clyde Stubblefield!

yea... let's hear it!!!

Drumsound 18th June 2009 09:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Billy Bush (Post 4295450)
You should tell 'em your story of recording Clyde Stubblefield!

Yes Please!!!!!!!

Denus 18th June 2009 10:46 PM

Clyde Story
 
Butch and Billy,

thank you guys so much for this great info you're passing along... as a drummer/engineer I am DYING to hear the Clyde Stubblefield story... please please please! Thanks if you do and thanks if you don't, but DO!

Thanks again,
Denus

PS: as an up-and-comer I have recently been trying to figure out what records I like, sonically speaking. "Nevermind", specifically "... Teen Spirit" is one of the most perfectly glued together pieces of music I've ever heard. It really does sound like a BAND, not 4 instruments playing the same song. Thanks for setting the bar and providing so much inspiration!

Matt Hepworth 19th June 2009 03:51 AM

Like everyone else here - I've been a big fan of your work. Absolutely, for me, Nevermind has been the standard from which I've measured drum sounds for the genre.

Researching and trying to go after that sound a few years ago improved my drum engineering more than anything else ever has.

Thank you so much for doing this!

-----------------------------------------------

Drum setup for Nevermind:

Kick - D12 with a drum tunnel, FET 47 at the end
Snare top - 57
Bottom - 451
Hat - KM84?
Cymbals - KM84's and 414's
Room - U87's

Pres were Neve in the 8028 board (1290 based pres - 1073 or 1084 probably)

Recorded at Sound City (nice big live room there)

As mentioned, nobody but Dave Grohl sounds like Dave Grohl

Also, several years ago Andy Wallace was asked specifically if samples were used on Nevermind. He swears they were not.


Again, thank you for taking the time to let us pick your brain!


Matt

matthewvandenham 19th June 2009 05:18 PM

were these the drums used on nevermind?

YouTube - Kurt cobain play drums!

PlatinumSamples 20th June 2009 06:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Matt Hepworth (Post 4296980)
Pres were Neve in the 8028 board (1290 based pres - 1073 or 1084 probably)

Recorded at Sound City (nice big live room there)

The modules in the Neve in Sound City A are 1085's

Rail

ButchVig 20th June 2009 04:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Matt Hepworth (Post 4296980)
Like everyone else here - I've been a big fan of your work. Absolutely, for me, Nevermind has been the standard from which I've measured drum sounds for the genre.

Researching and trying to go after that sound a few years ago improved my drum engineering more than anything else ever has.

Thank you so much for doing this!

-----------------------------------------------

Drum setup for Nevermind:

Kick - D12 with a drum tunnel, FET 47 at the end
Snare top - 57
Bottom - 451
Hat - KM84?
Cymbals - KM84's and 414's
Room - U87's

Pres were Neve in the 8028 board (1290 based pres - 1073 or 1084 probably)

Recorded at Sound City (nice big live room there)

As mentioned, nobody but Dave Grohl sounds like Dave Grohl

Also, several years ago Andy Wallace was asked specifically if samples were used on Nevermind. He swears they were not.


Again, thank you for taking the time to let us pick your brain!


Matt


I think that's pretty close to what the setup was...although I don't remember a bottom mic on the snare. I saw Dave Grohl last week, I mentioned I'm doing a GS forum, and he said he has a picture of me setting up the drums, and if he can find it I'll post it.

Re: samples, I'm pretty sure Andy had a bit of them mixed in the background on kick and snare. He would load them into an AMS, and trigger them from the sync head with a delay. He didn't replace the drums, just used the samples for ambience.
I wanted to steal them, put them on a DAT! But every day when he finished a mix, he would turn the AMS off, then load them back in the next day.

Matt Hepworth 20th June 2009 09:12 PM

Wow, that's very interesting! Thanks for clarifying and the correction.

I'd assumed the snare had a bottom mic because of reading that you'd used a 57 and a 451 on the snare. Were both on the top? Sorry, that's probably a detail that's hard to recall now that it's been about 18 years?!?! Where has the time gone...?

Also, I found a link from Sound on Sound where they were asking you about all the Nirvana setup (and Garbage). Talking Garbage

There seems to be some great info there that covers drums, vocals, bass, and guitars for Nevermind (and may save you a few additional questions).

Thanks!


Matt

Drumsound 1st March 2010 07:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Matt Hepworth (Post 4296980)
Also, several years ago Andy Wallace was asked specifically if samples were used on Nevermind. He swears they were not.

Matt

This I do not believe.

Bluemoa 3rd April 2010 06:23 AM

i heard the stems from Rock Band, the samples are pretty easy to hear on the snare, even if they were only just for the reverb

ButchVig 12th May 2010 03:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bluemoa (Post 5268945)
i heard the stems from Rock Band, the samples are pretty easy to hear on the snare, even if they were only just for the reverb

Any samples Andy added to the mix were triggered with an AMS sampler, and never printed to tape...so if you're hearing samples, someone else added them, and they were not used in the original mix of Nevermind.