Unit 8:Research

Inspirational Musicians

As my role during unit 8 has mainly been recording drums for a variety of different people, i have been watching different videos or reading interviews of some of my favorite drummers. Even though the genre didn’t really have anything to do with what i had to record. At the beginning of the unit i was really into the band ‘Machine Head’, one of the main drummers i have been looking at is ‘Dave Mcclain’. I watched the ‘Making of Unto The Locust’ (album), in the DVD  it shows Dave recording drums for the album, what drums he used, what type of tonality he was going for (The link for the 20 minutes documentary is down below).I also read an old ‘Rhythm Magazine’ i had found, which has an interview with Dave, where he talks about certain Microphones he uses and different factors that contribute to a good drum recording.


One of my favorite artists period is ‘Kendrick Lamar’. As well as doing computer based music, he also uses a lot of live instruments in his recordings and performance, he is very Jazz based in a lot of his music. As i am a huge fan of his music, I’ve researched a bit into his drummer ‘Tony ‘Rico’ Nichols’ by watching videos of his playing and talking about his set up and what cymbals he uses.In the videos Rico doesn’t actually play any Kendrick’s songs. 


Even though there are a lot of Hip Hop artists that use live instruments. I appreciate the fact that Kendrick has brought Jazz music more into the mainstream world. Jazz has always played it’s influence in the genre, however, i feel like with the new age of technology and modern equipment that can be used to create thousands of different sounds, Hip Hop has taken into that direction. However, even though Kendrick isn’t the only artist who does it, but he is the most well known to do it. He has used the key elements of jazz to create his music. In some songs you can even say he is rapping over Jazz music. This is key in songs like ‘How Much A Dollar Cost’. If you listen to his album ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, you will hear the Jazz elements alongside the modern day hip-hop and it works really well.

 Improvements compared to previous unit

During unit 5 when i recorded there were certain aspects that i wanted to improve. For example, when i recorded for Jacob, we didn’t record drums for the whole song. We’d copy certain parts such as the verse or chorus, instead of just recording a different take. We only did this to save time as we had more things to do, with only a short amount of time left. Jacob and me both agreed that this was a lazy way to do things and either though it does work, it is better to either do another take or just record the song in one.

In all the recordings that we did before Unit 8, we could never seem to get a great bass drum quality during recording. It always seemed too come out quite flat. Therefore this time instead of just using an AKG D112, we put a Shure SM57 inside of the bass drum. This worked out really well. We got much more of the sound and it gave the bass drum much more of a punch at the end of the recording. Also instead of sending the inputs through the pre-amps and then straight into the desk. We decided too run the bass drum and the snare through the pre-amps and then through the compressor. The compressor helps tain the recording, in other words meant that the it kept the levels fairly equal.

Drum Tuning

The Pearl drum kit in the studio isn’t tuned very well and tuning drums is not as easy as tuning a guitar. I haven’t done as much research as i should have for tuning. However, after i had recorded most of my drums i found a page on drum tuning by Pearl (link below)


For the future i am definitely going to make sure i spend more time on tuning drums. During recording throughout the year, i realized how important it is to make sure the drums a tuned. It always depends on what type of drum sound you are looking for. However, if the drum skin is too loose it is going to make the drum sound very flat, and if it is too tight it can be quite off key in compared to the other instruments, Or it may just not sound nice in the mix. The main drums i seem to have problems with tuning is the high and mid toms, they seem to be the ones which sound off tune compared to the rest of the kit.

Instead of excepting how the drums sound, next time i am going make sure i can get a very tight and clean sounding recording.

Drum sounds/equipment

With choosing drum equipment, it always down to preferences for every different drummer. I’ve used both Zildjian and Sabian cymbals, I enjoy using either one of them. Personally, I’ve enjoyed and got a better sound from using Sabian, however, this is a bit of a biased opinion as i have used much more Sabian then Zildjian. But judging on the Zildjian cymbals i used (can’t remember which series), i didn’t like the sound i got from them as much.


In the studios their are two kits that are set up, which are, The Pearl Export studio kit and then the Yamaha in the performance hut. I enjoying playing the Yamaha kit more then the Pearl, because of it having a much more of a live and punchy sound. Where as the Pearl kit sounds quite flat overall, meaning we have to mic it and produce it quite a lot to get a decent enough recording to use. I’d rather prefer getting the most natural sound of the drum kit for recording, this also beneficial for playing live, as it would sound more similar to the recording. However, this is again down to preference on what you prefer as a drummer. I have not yet recorded with Yamaha kit, as i haven’t had the chance, due to not having enough time and it being used by other students.



In the future i am definitely looking forward to record with Yamaha kit and see how great of a recording i can get.

Drum technique/ Rudiments

Drum technique is something that i find very important for playing. Personally, i think each drummer has their own technique and they should focus on improving their own technique and be influenced by various different musicians, rather then imitating other drummers. This is what defies the difference between a good drummer and a not so good drummer. For myself i think it is important to play as tight as possible and play clean, meaning not sounding messy and sloppy.  For every drummer i think that knowing your rudiments is important, as it is a basic technique that is very diverse for playing. You can use rudiments in almost anything you play and all i takes is practice. Rudiments are mainly what i base most of my playing off, you can use it both hand and also mix it up with foot technique.

There are so many different rudiments out there. The main ones being Paradiddles, flams and single and double stroke rolls. Their are different variations of each of these rudiments. Simple-Rudiments