Rhythmweb Homemade Percussion
The Easiest Junk Bass Drum
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working with groups, it is very useful to have a wide range of timbres
available, that the group might behave somewhat like a band or orchestra.
its very helpful to have a 'Mama' drum of some sort, holding down
the bottom so the other instruments can float around and experiment.
Enter the lowly laundry tub. We first saw this particular
type of tub used in Stomp, and of course it was miked to the hilt,
and thunderous, riotously played by a bundle of energy who obviously
knew what she was doing... Even unmiked, and played by newbies,
it has a good deal of depth and power, although it won't work as
well for big & loud circles..it seems that the softness of the
plastic, usually a drawback in such cases, adds to the warmth and
roundness of the tone. The two thicknesses on the bottom make for
two distinct notes, an added boon. The handles come in handy too,
no pun intended.. sound samples and sample rhythms are forthcoming.
The plastic's softness does add to the fragility,
and you will find if you often play hard that the tub won't last
anywhere near as long as, say, a water bottle or coffee can drum.
Luckily we have seen these tubs everywhere for under $10, so we
think of them as we would a pair of sticks or a plastic head, and
replace as necessary. the durability is increased if you don't use
a big heavy wrapped wood beater..still we often use one, because
we prefer the sound..in a small, quieter living room sized situation,
they work well with the hands. This depends on the space acoustics,
Tips when buying
- There are many similar versions of this tub, made by different
companies, and not all sound equally good. Be careful to note the
pattern on the bottom, with a thicker ring on the outside, and a
thinner part in the middle. When you get to the store, try several,
because they vary in thickness and in sound. Use your hand.
- Use the right beater; we sometimes use a selection of commercially
made bass drum mallets, (we splurged, at a clearance sale. If you
cannot, don't worry), but we also use dowels, wrapped at one end
in in duct, plastic or, best of all when you can find it, rubber
tape. For more on beaters see the beaters
Keep in mind that the hollow place in the tub is very
important to the sound, as is the location to and distance from
any walls that may be present. Listen carefully. The handle will
tend to keep the opening a little off the ground, which is good,
but you may obtain more projection and a different sound by turning
the drum up at greater angles, perhaps even playing it sideways,
like a dundun..a strap is easy to make: just tie a line from one
handle to the other..
there it is: to us, the quickest and easiest junk solution to a
bass drum. Another option is a container drum like the bushel basket
drum, perhaps on a trashcan or other larger container..We are always
interested in finding more junk bass drum solutions. if you have
an idea, please write us with it..