The bass drum is one of the most essential parts of the entire drum set. All drummers have at least one bass drum in their set up, preferably more. It all depends on which genre of music you play. The bass drum is often referred to as the pulse of the song and, in a standard pop or rock song, the bass drum is played on beats 1 and 3, while the snare drum is played on beat 2 and 4.Buy your bass drum on Amazon
The size of a bass drum is typically between 18 “and 24” in diameter. Some drum kits have a 16 ” bass drum and these are mainly used for small concerts, where you have to have a lot of control over the volume. 26 ”drums are rarely seen, but some rock drummers use them to achieve a wide sound with more low end and fullness.
Top 5 Best Bass Drums
The variety of bass drums is huge. Because of this, the vast majority have difficulty deciding which is the best for them. To help you decide, I have selected some drum kits that contain some great bass drums. I have also found some of the market’s best bass drum pedals.
Overall winner: Best bass drum
Best bass drum for beginners
Best bass drum for jazz, folk and pop
Best bass drum for rock and metal
Best bass drum pedal
Best bass drum head
Best bass drum mic
Choosing a bass drum head
Most drummers mount thick heads with internal damping to their bass drums. In most cases, the drummer wants the bass drum to provide a relatively short, more controlled sound with more punch and bottom, and less sustain and resonance. Thick leather has a longer shelf life and can accommodate the bass drum pedal’s beaters, which hit the same spot every time. The internal damping helps the drummer to more easily control the drum’s overtones.
Many drummers make a hole in the resonant head of the drum. The resonant head is the head facing away from the drummer and towards the audience. The reason for this is that the sound becomes more concentrated when the air is forced out of the same place. This hole is also the place you typically put the microphone into the bass drum. It is not abnormal to dampen the bass drum to remove even more overtones. Many drummers put things like pillows or towels into the bass drum, and in some cases this can help the sound, but it can also ruin it. If the bass drum has too many overtones, you can advantageously place a towel so that it just rests up on both heads. If, on the other hand, you put a large pillow into the bass drum, which completely blocks the head from moving, then the sound is smothered. It is important, therefore, that you put proper heads on the bass drum and that you spend time tuning it before you start to dampen it, as the damping cannot hide the sound of a poorly tuned drum head.
Bass drum materials
Bass drums are almost always made of wood. In some situations, they are made of either steel or acrylic. Steel drum kits, however, are very rare, and acrylic drum kits are very expensive and not very common. Below is a list of some of the most common materials for the production of bass drums.
Maple: bass drums made of maple are widely used, as maple enhances the low frequencies and thus the deep tones of the drum. Most drummers want a lot of low end in the bass drum’s sound and maple is, therefore, the obvious choice if you’re going for a large and rich sound.
Birch: bass drums made of birch often have a slightly lighter tone than those of maple but, on the other hand, the high frequencies are amplified, making birch the obvious choice for bass drums in genres where you want to get more “click” in the sound of the bass drum. This type of sound is particularly sought after within the metal genres, as the sound cuts through well but still has the bottom end and fullness.
Mahogany: not so widespread in bass drum manufacturing anymore and many therefore associate the sound with vintage drums. Mahogany bass drums often have a strong impact and lots of low frequencies; the sound is very warm and resonant.
Poplar: bass drums made of poplar typically have a very balanced sound. Poplar is often used for beginner drum sets. All frequencies are clear and poplar drums can, therefore, often produce a satisfactory sound, even I they aren’t tuned perfectly.
Bass Drum Pedal
The bass drum pedal is the mechanism that allows the drummer to play the bass drum with their foot. When you step down on the drum pedal, the pedal rotates and moves the beater to hit the head of the drum. When the foot is raised again, a built-in spring ensures that the beater returns to the starting position. Many bass drum pedals can be adjusted in sensitivity and many other parameters.
In some genres it is very common to use a so-called double pedal. These pedals are made up of two pedals, which use a connecting link. One pedal is mounted on the bass drum.. There are two beaters on this pedal, where the pedal to the right controls the beater on the right and the pedal to the left (typically next to the hi hat) controls the beater on the left. This dual pedal allows the drummer to use both feet to play on the full drum. This gives the drummer many more musical possibilities.
Beater’s influence on sound
The bass drum pedal’s beater can be made of many different materials. However, the most normal are rubber, plastic, wood and felt. Many beaters have one side with felt but can be turned around and are made of plastic on the other side. Felt has a slightly softer sound than the other materials, and, additionally, makes the bass drum head last slightly longer. Plastic and wood are the hardest materials and many drummers in the rock and metal genres prefer these beaters as they provide a harder and more aggressive sound with more “click” and impact.
Choosing a bass drum
The bass drum is included when buying a drum set but some drummers choose to assemble their own set from different parts. When choosing a drum kit and bass drum, it is important to know what sound you are going for. The size of the bass drum is one of the factors that plays the greatest role in the sound of the drum. Small drums are most common for drummers who play genres such as jazz, folk; more quiet music. Big bass drums are more common in genres played at higher volumes; genres such as rock and metal. It is important that the drummer selects a size and material that can produce the sound they want for the type of music they play. Take the time to find out what sound you are looking for. This will benefit you in the end.