7 Ways To Make Drums Quieter

Drums can be loud, really loud. In fact, when I first started playing I remember one of my neighbours commenting ‘haven’t you been practising a lot recently’. They lived on the other side of the village, at least a good half-mile away! If you’re anything like me, then you don’t want people hearing your chops until you’ve got them down.

Chris James

Chris James

What will I learn?

  • A few simple drum hacks to make your acoustic drum kit quieter.
  • The best way to practice drums without disturbing the neighbours.
  • The myths of soundproofing for drum practice.

There’s a lot of popular myths about soundproofing and acoustic treatment, and most of them just don’t cut the mustard. So, in the interest of not upsetting your housemates, family or neighbours, here’s our run down of the 7 best ways to make your drums quieter.

  1. Use an Electronic Drum Kit.
  2. Invest in some Low Volume Cymbals.
  3. Fit mesh drum heads on to your acoustic kit.
  4. Replace your sticks with brushes or hotrods.
  5. Dampen or Muffle your bass drum using everyday household objects.
  6. Use a set of practice pads on your acoustic kit.
  7. Avoid the myths of soundproofing.

Electronic drum kits

Electronic kits have come a long way from their humble beginnings. The days of low quality samples and hard, noisy rubber pads are numbered thanks to mesh heads. They feel just like your acoustic kit without all the noise so you can practice all day long without having an ASBO slapped on your back!

Some of the best electronic kits of the market are the Roland TD Series and the long anticipated Alesis Strike kits.

Watch our video on the Roland TD50 Electronic drum kit:

Low volume cymbals

For those who aren’t a fan of rubber cymbals, Zildjian have you covered with their series of low volume cymbals. They’re covered in tiny little holes which reduce the cymbal’s overall mass, so these beauties give the tone and feel of an acoustic cymbal, with up to 80% less volume. Incredible.

Zildjian have also created the Gen16 Electric-Acoustic System. A series of custom pickups which can be fitted to your low volume cymbals so not only can you manipulate or record the cymbals but listen on headphones as you practice.

Watch our video on the Zildjian L80’s and the Gen16 Electric-Acoustic System.

Mesh drum heads

The technology behind the mesh heads on electronic drums can also be used on acoustic kits. Rig your existing acoustic kit with a set of Roland’s Mesh Heads and prepare to be amazed at the reduction in volume. They cost around the same as any other set of batter heads. So this is certainly a cheaper option than replacing your kit! Simply replace the batter head on each drum (that’s the one you hit) and leave the resonant head as it is.

Sticks

If you’re just looking for a way to take the edge off, changing your sticks for brushes or hotrods is a great place to start. Cymbals in particular will be greatly reduced, although it will do little to tame your kick drum.

Dampen or muffle your Bass Drum

To reduce the volume of your bass drum, first remove the resonant head (the one facing away from you when you play). Next stuff the cavity with something to soak up the sound. Old household favourites include towels, pillows, duvets and rugs. The bigger the object, the more you’ll dampen the sound and the more your neighbours will thank me.

Practice pads

Another way to make your drums quieter is with a set of Silencer Pads – check out the Vic Firth and QT packs. Simply attach these rubber pads to your existing acoustic kit and it will truly dampen the sound. This really is ideal if you’re looking for a temporary solution. And won’t need to re-skin your kit every time you have to practice.

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  • Sizes (10",12", 14", 16" & 22")
  • Trying to practice drums at home can be a nightmare. Are your neighbors complaining? Make your drum kit quiet for practicing... Vic Firth Drum and Cymbal mutes. Made of non-slip pure rubber for real action, these mutes make quiet practicing an option on the drum set. These are high density rubber pads for drums and cymbals - simply lay on top of the drums (strap to bass drum) and play. They offer a large level of sound absorption - up to 80% without ruining the feel of your drum kit and when youre free to make noise they just come right offThis is the solution to playing an Acoustic Drum Kit at home. Simply place the pads on your drum kit and hey presto! - you can hit the drums as hard as you like without the entire street hearing.Includes: 10, 12, 14, 16, Tom22 Bass drumHi-Hat2 Cymbal.
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  • Trying to practice drums at home can be a nightmare. Are your neighbors complaining? Make your drum kit quiet for practicing... Vic Firth Drum and Cymbal mutes. Made of non-slip pure rubber for real action, these mutes make quiet practicing an option on the drum set. These are high density rubber pads for drums and cymbals - simply lay on top of the drums (strap to bass drum) and play. They offer a large level of sound absorption - up to 80% without ruining the feel of your drum kit and when youre free to make noise they just come right offThis is the solution to playing an Acoustic Drum Kit at home. Simply place the pads on your drum kit and hey presto! - you can hit the drums as hard as you like without the entire street hearing.Includes22” bass drum pad 12”, 13” & 16” tom pads 14” snare pad 2 x cymbal pads 2 x hi hat pads
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Soundproofing

Finally, you could look at soundproofing, or playing with a drum shield. But to be honest to effectively soundproof your room is not going to be cheap. To reign in the sound a little, you could start by blocking off your windows and doors – a mattress is an easy win. But ultimately this will only get you so far.

There’s a popular myth that lining the inside of your room with egg cartons with sound proof it. Unfortunately, this won’t provide any sound proofing. And you’ll be sick of eggs long before you get yourself enough to cover even the smallest room.

Professional studios invest a lot of money in fancy triple glazing and foot thick walls to sound proof their live rooms. So it just isn’t practical for your bedroom or garage.

Conclusion

It’s not easy to make drums quieter but there are a few steps that you can follow to make practice a little bit easier. It’s important to still practice on a full, loud kit when possible, but hopefully our solutions to making your practice regime quieter, will help you on your quest to becoming a better drummer without annoying the neighbours!

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Chris James
Chris James
Chris is on our Marketing Team and an established blog writer in his own right. He's embarked on building his own acoustic guitar - a 7 String Fanned-Fret; but also has a soft spot for a good ol' Strat plugged into a tube amp. His theme tune is Africa by Toto.

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