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Kick Kick Drum Drum Flamm Flammmmm
Old 17th April 2003
Lives for gear
jho's Avatar

Kick Kick Drum Drum Flamm Flammmmm

One of my clients I'm working an album project for has a drummer that every time I record (I've recorded them at a few different studios) his kick drum flams.

I've tried this thus far:

1. Changing his flat headed beater to a round beater
2. Changing kick drums

Occasionally, he doesn't flam, it seems to be when he has a repetative kick part, the ones in between don't flam but the last one always does.

Thus far I've been finding a few really good ones with no flam then sound replacing the whole track with a good one.

I am certain that it has probably everything to do with his playing style. However, since I can't really change that (tried...), I was looking for some suggestions

thanks slutz!
Old 17th April 2003
Gear Guru

This is certainly a technique problem- probably from trying to 'bury' the beater into the head for a fatter sound instead of letting it bounce off. I know because I was doing this when I first started recording.

some ideas
1- you might try playing with the spring tension of the pedal- depending on the specifics of his techinque problem, a higher or lower tension may get the beater to come out of the head on a single slap.

2- give him more kick in the headphones and maybe he won't feel the need to lean on the pedal so hard.

3- bring him into the control room and force him to listen to the kick drum soloed- it sure worked for me when I was starting out!
Old 17th April 2003
Gear Addict
mitgong's Avatar

What joeq said, plus:

Is it a 2-headed drum? There tends to be more bounce-back from a closed drum. Maybe pull off the front head, if possible. This one is sure hard to fix.
Old 17th April 2003
Lives for gear

That is a technique and setup problem. The two usually go hand in hand. The drummer needs a visit with another drummer who doesn't have that problem to show him how it's done, and to check his setup and show him how to adjust it to suit his newly learned technique. Sorry I don't have a quick fix, but there probably isn't one for this guy, at least not one that will be an example of what he can reliably play.
Old 17th April 2003
Gear Nut
stuntmixer's Avatar

As flams are usually quieter than the first hit sometimes you can gate (fairly drastically and fast) effectively but chances are you'll end up with a weird sounding track and there will be some flams that slip through anyway. Replacement can be a god send if you are DAWing it.

I agree that it is a set up/performance thing and that most drummers are not aware of how much it is happening (kinda like string ssskweakss for guitar players) pointing it out will go a long way though ultimately, the player will have to alter his technique.

I feel your pain.

Old 17th April 2003
Gear Nut
stuntmixer's Avatar

Oh yeah I forgot one trick that worked for me once --- Change the part. At least suggest it, talk about it and try a simpler kik part or two. Chances are he'll want to return to the original part but he will now be paying much more attention to his foot.

Old 17th April 2003
The only time this would occasionally happen to me was when a click pad was used. Do you remember those hard plastic things that were stuck to the striking point?
You're not using one of those are you?
Only other quick fix I can think of is to detune the batter head a bit so the pedal beater doesn't bounce around on it, but actually does bury in to it.
Old 19th April 2003
Gear Guru

Here's something I fooled around with today and it seems to help. Have your drummer try moving his entire foot BACK towards the lower (heel) end of the pedal. Just a few inches. This will allow the beater to naturally rebound more even if he leaves his foot down after the strike.

In my experience, it is the attempted burying of the beater into the head that causes the flam. The beater 'wants' to come out but the foot is still 'planted' down so it goes right back in. Unlike a true flam, the second strike is the quieter one (more an echo than a 'grace note'). I think if you try gating it you will take out the wrong strike.
Old 9th September 2008
Gear Maniac
Ryan Earnhardt's Avatar

There's a lot more than just technique here.

A lot of drummers may see it this way: to bury the beater could give a more stuccato, stiff sound that doesn't resonate. Think of it like a rim shot on snare, but for bass drum. This would give you a strong attack which is most of the time what is desired. to bounce the beater off is kind of a passive stroke, where your not looking to make a statement and play it safe. It blends in more to the mix, and needs more help to be strong.

The problem is when the drummers don't have consistency in the first place..which is the mark of a good studio musician. I would recommend changes in tention of the batter head way down, and a slight about less tention in the spring.

As a drummer, I tend to not bury the beater. However on some other drum kits when I'm playing out, I do bury the beater. It all comes down to how that kick drum and drum pedal is making my foot feel and react. Get in the psyc of the drummer and you will win this battle.
Old 9th September 2008
Gear Addict

yeah, give him a lot of kick in the monitors, and also let him listen to the solo kick, and let him know whats going on.

i guess, if he's happy with it as it is, its his own fault! otherwise, he better start playing right i dont see why you should be forced to sample replace and sequence the whole lot because he actually cant play right.
Old 9th September 2008
Gear Addict

put the whole drum part through a 16th note delay
Old 9th September 2008
Lives for gear
KeithMoonwannabe's Avatar

wow good luck with this one

I would say solo the kick track in the control room and tell him to play it right. Or he will be paying for your time to replace every kick beat in the entire song/album. There won't be a nice/easy way to solve this problem.

He probably just needs to learn to tune his kick drum and pedal to his style of playing. It's probably also a technique issue he is going to need to learn to allow rebound of the beater to achieve better tone from the drum. Again that won't be fast, easy, or something you should be responsible for. Otherwise he is literally choking the drum. Nothing sounds fat that's choked. Choked usually sounds thin. Perhaps having him sit down and watch some good drummers may do the trick. if you can show him some Jojo Mayer stuff, he is a king of the bass drum technique.
Old 9th September 2008
Lives for gear
slaves666's Avatar
You can adjust the tension on the pedal as high as it can go.....that'll keep it from slapping back on the skin. If not, I suggest using drumagog on the kick and call it a day.
Old 9th September 2008
Lives for gear

Also try loosening the tension on the resonant (front) head - the tighter the resonant head on a kick drum, the more likely flamming will happen.
Old 14th September 2008
Gear Nut
Chris Doremus's Avatar

Both heads should be super super loose.

Tell him to hit the drum harder.

Use a second mic to key the gate on the real track. You'll be able to set the threshold so the flam wont come through.

-Chris Doremus
Drummer/ Mix Engineer to the famous people you've never heard of
Old 14th September 2008
Here for the gear

Use two kick drums...alot of flamming comes from the drummer burrying the second beater into the head.
Old 15th September 2008
Gear Nut
LRhodes's Avatar

Heel down - snap that mutha.
I don't play heel up, but I'd whip it if I did with a Moeller leg whip.heh I once played Larrie London's pedal, and man, that thing was cranked up tight.
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