Here are three tips that are really going to help your drumset sound better. Whether you have a cheap drum-set or even a high end drum-set these tips are going to be very applicable to you.
Tip #1 : Tuning
The most important thing is just getting the head in tune with itself – you can get away with a lot if the tuning is good.
First remove the snare wires. Then go round the top and pitch match the lugs. To do so you will need to have a good starting point so just choose a lug and tap beside it. That’s going to be your starting point. You will then go round each lug in turn and match everything to that pitch and then you can decide if you want to go higher or lower.
Put the snare wires back on and try the drum to see the improvement. Then turn over the snare to tune the bottom head on the snare – usually this would be tuned a lot tighter than the top head. (side tip) slide a stick under the snare wires so you can tune without them rattling or having to remove them. Use the same method as before to tune the bottom head with itself.
This is the quick path to getting the head in tune with itself. To start completely fresh with the Toms. Loosen everything off completely. Tighten them as tight as they can go with just with your fingers. Then go around with the key once and do a quarter turn on each lug. Then go around each lug (as before) and actually tension it. Tuning toms is down to personal preference but in our case we would tune the bottom head a little bit higher than the top head.
Lay a pillow inside the bass drum. Get a part of it to touch the resonant head, and a part of it to touch the batter head.
For tension on the resonant head of the bass drum, first finger tighten, and then tighten until you get rid of all the ripples. It’s not very tight, not nearly like a Tom or a snare drum. On the batter side do a similar thing, loosen off the tension, then finger tighten, tighten again to get rid of the ripples. Aim for a similar tension to the reso head and tap around the edge to listen to and then tighten each lug individually to improve the bass drums tuning with itself.
Tip #2 : Remove the overtones
A cheap way to reduce overtones is to use toilet paper or tape but if you can get drum gum or moongel – or just decent heads and tune them right then that would obviously be better but here is a basic household items solution to getting rid of some of the overtones:
Get a piece of tape and fold it into a little square and place it on the side of snare drum in the middle and then put another piece of tape over it to keep it in place.
Also put a square of tape on the top middle of the toms (if they have overtones). If a square of tape doesn’t absorb the overtones enough do the exact same thing with some toilet paper folded into a small square which should absorb more of the virbrations.
Tip #3 : It’s Also How You Play It
Hit the drums in the center of the drum. Consistency in where you are hitting the drums is huge in getting a good sound.
The next important thing is confidence : play with conviction and consistency. You need to be in command of the drum-set.
Also think about the volume in which you are hitting different pieces of the kit. A lot of new drummers hit the high hats way too hard, the bass drum way too quiet and the snare drum too quiet so you get this kind of non-levelled sound and it’s not a sound people are used to hearing so naturally it doesn’t sound good to anyone.