Alternatives to Kick Drums (Hybrid Kits)

Folkcafe

Active member
As my user name might suggest, a lot of what I record is guy or gal with guitar stuff. Something I'd like to start experimenting with is what I'm hearing on a lot of reference tracks as I start to assemble ideas. This falls into the low volume hybrid kit category such as cajon with a muffled instrument and a soft beater on a kick pedal. Was listening to a track recently where it was a basic percussion track of snare rim clicks, shaker replacing hihats and some sort of low toned drum for kick. Really liked how it fit. Got me thinking something like a tunable frame drum or a low tuned cajon maybe. What are some other choices you've tried?

So looking for some ideas and alternatives as I assemble pieces for a hybrid kit.
 

LazerBeakShiek

Well-known member
Andy was the drummer in my band I played. He was a clever dude. He would grab objects from the kitchen or garage and make a kit. Like a suitcase for a bass drum. A hat rack. A book cover. A table top. A bucket..

Man, he could record big sounding drums with a dynamic at the snare and two AKG 414's as overheads. Andy never came back from operation desert storm.
 

Gtoboy

Well-known member
detuned floor tom. walls. yes, walls. acoustic guitar bodies. Between eq's and compressors I can get all kinds of cool sounds
 

Folkcafe

Active member
detuned floor tom. walls. yes, walls. acoustic guitar bodies. Between eq's and compressors I can get all kinds of cool sounds
I've been looking through a variety of videos that included a variety of low volume and limited space kits. Interestingly, one included a floor tom with a special head made for a kick pedal beater. They also make hardware so you can mount the kick pedal and legs along with rack hardware for a small snare and tom along with cymbals. I also like the idea of cutting down a kick drum (pancake kick) and using something like a Vater Vintage Bomber beater and micing a non-cutout resonant head for an old school low boom instead of the usual batter head.

Those are a bit harder to do one piece at a time as I'd be better off just getting a decent acoustic kit and modifying it. Got a couple drummers that come in with their own kit but it often takes quite a bit of work to make them what I am thinking and from their perspective, I'm just messing up their drum sound. I just don't need a full kit. I've got a couple snares I've tuned and upgraded along with a bit of hand percussion. A lot of what I am doing is brushes (nylon & metal), Broomsticks and soft mallets. For what I currently want, I'd only need kick and floor tom or suitable substitutes.

The frame drum interests me as I have a pandeiro that has a nice low boom. Just can't get the boom without the chicka. The frame drum is basically a pandeiro without the cymbals.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Andy was the drummer in my band I played. He was a clever dude. He would grab objects from the kitchen or garage and make a kit. Like a suitcase for a bass drum. A hat rack. A book cover. A table top. A bucket..

Man, he could record big sounding drums with a dynamic at the snare and two AKG 414's as overheads. Andy never came back from operation desert storm.
Sorry for your loss.
 

grimtraveller

If only for a moment.....
This falls into the low volume hybrid kit category........What are some other choices you've tried?

So looking for some ideas and alternatives as I assemble pieces for a hybrid kit.
My mate Mick and I had been playing together since 1982 and recording since 1992 and one of the last few times we recorded together was in 2009 on a song called "In the glare of a blazing sun" {a reference to the moon, but hey}. Another drummer and I had already recorded what I thought was the basic take of the song but I got this idea, now that I could shift parts around, to have an earlier part of the song in a sort of reggae flavoured vein and to replace each drum part with some other percussion or household object. We used things like a bongo, a spring drum, a timbale and a small cymbal that looked like a pot lid. When it came to the bass drum, I used my son's space hopper 1623016445042.png as it has a kind of bass~y sound. It meant close miking it. I don't think my friend really understood the concept of recording every part separately and found it difficult to think in terms of separate parts. But in the end I got a usable "drum track", such as it was. I haven't listened to it in years; it's one of the tunes that just needs one instrument to finish it. I vaguely remember having to touch up bits on the space hopper myself.
Like a suitcase for a bass drum
For quite a few years, I used, as one of my bass drum sounds, a suitcase. It was inspired by a spirited debate that was spearheaded by Moresound somewhere here in the drum archives; from what I recall it was around 2010. It should still be in there somewhere. Anyway, I bought a case and tried it. The first time, it sounded OK but it moved around a bit so I built a holder for it and used the suitcase on many tracks between 2010 and 2013. It really had its own unique sound and picked up well. One wouldn't use it for drums on a heavy rock track but it was good for loads of songs.
I ended up selling the suitcase and the holder in 2018 !
detuned floor tom. walls. yes, walls. acoustic guitar bodies. Between eq's and compressors I can get all kinds of cool sounds
Recently, I recorded the bulk of a song called "Clothes line saga" {it just needs some female backing vocals to complete it} and because it's kind of atmospheric and almost abstract rhythmically, I thought I'd play drums on it. Now, I can't play drums so I did it in 3 parts ~ the toms and cymbals as an overhead stereo pair, the hi-hat with the mics in the same position {I think it's called XY} but my bass drum was something of an innovation ~ it was a headphone ! In fact, the headphone played a dual role because it acted simultaneously as the kick and the mic.
Sometimes, when I need to quickly hum a melody or instrument part on my DAW and I couldn't be bothered to get out the mic, cable and set it up, I'll just grab a headphone and use that. Over the years I've noticed that if you accidentally bang the cup, it makes a certain sound which, in my twisted imagination, could pass for a kick. Just tapping the outer cup did the trick and in parts it sounds like I've got a seriously fast foot ~ I regard a lot of recording as legit cheating !
 

LazerBeakShiek

Well-known member
A suitcase works really well for a dead thump. The flat side can take a double bass pedal.

Yeah, he'd set up a kit from nothing. Grab wind chimes off the gutters. A grill from the oven. The garbage can. ...etc.
 

LazerBeakShiek

Well-known member
I also like the idea of cutting down a kick drum (pancake kick) and using something like a Vater Vintage Bomber beater and micing a non-cutout resonant head for an old school low boom instead of the usual batter head.
How about extending the bass drum out? Like with a tube or empty skinless bass drum. Continuing it out.
 

grimtraveller

If only for a moment.....
A suitcase works really well for a dead thump
Here's a couple of pictures from around 2011 or 12 of my kit with the suitcase as kick.1623791548781.png
Definitely an experiment that worked out well for me.1623791476387.png

An electric kick has also worked well and I still continue to use this.1623780867049.png
 
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Folkcafe

Active member
Just a quick update though not exactly anything alternative. I picked up an older Yamaha drum kit for real cheap. I went through the snare first putting new heads and PureTone snare wires. I'll go through the rest eventually.

For now, I'll rely on others for cymbals though the kit I bought came with full hardware. Can get away with cheaper drums but not cheap cymbals. Picked up a little bit of everything for brushes in metal, nylon and natural bristles. Also an assortment of sticks including 3mm,4mm,5mm & 6mm bamboo to make something similar to Hot Rods.

Watched a bunch of videos on modifying drums. I've already got everything in the shop to cut down shells to make a pancake kick. I'll eventually start looking for a donor shell once I get past this phase of experiments.

Next up, I'll start sampling and working out some ideas. I'm super old school so wrapping my head around Ableton and sampling is taking me a bit of time to figure out. It is all requiring me to think a bit differently.
 
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