These days we are all increasingly aware of the importance of protecting our hearing. Take it from me that after 25 years of drumming you begin to realise the fragility of your hearing – when it’s ruined it’s ruined guys!
Yet we still need to practice our instrument, or teach it, and of course play live. Now, I’m not advocating using drum mutes and cymbal mutes on a live gig, but in the practice or teaching room it is definitely a good idea.
Mutes for your drums are basically easy to design – a circle of neoprene type rubbery material cut to the relevant size and placed on the drum – done. The bass drum is more tricky due to the vertical nature of the playing surface (we’ll deal with that another day). Makers of drum mutes are: VicFirth, or Sound off (part of Evans).
Muting cymbals on the other hand, presents a challenge for several reasons:
- They move when you hit them.
- They are set at various angles, and can overlap.
- They come in lots of different sizes.
- The drummer plays the edge, the bell, and the surface of the cymbal.
So any cymbal mute design needs to overcome all of these challenges and bring the volume down as much as possible. In short, the drummer does not want to feel like he or she is playing a different instrument – simply their drums, but quieter.
I have learned from experience that the Cymbal mutes supplied as part of a set of drum mutes are not really up to the job of solving the problems above.
This design is not very effective:
- The mute flaps around allowing the cymbal to ring with its full volume.
- You have to aim for the Pad
- It only fits a cymbal of the correct radius from the securing hole to the bottom of the mute
- The stick feel / rebound is totally unlike a real cymbal when playing.
- VIDEO PROOF HERE
I understand that the manufacture of these must be cost effective, as you just need to cut the same big sheet of the material as you are cutting your circles for the drum mutes. However, there is a better way…
A cymbal mute from CYMBOMUTE.COM is a simple design that mutes the cymbal AND addresses all of the challenges above.
The soundwave created by a Cymbal travels along the surface of the cymbal and off the edge, so the best way to arrest the sound is to arrest the soundwave – simple really. The design from Cymbomute is an elastic ring that “hugs” the entire perimeter of a cymbal, this arrests the soundwave as it is exiting the metal surface of the cymbal. The cymbal can still move when it is struck and absorb energy from the stick – much of this energy is then absorbed by the cymbomute rather that being converted into sound, this way all the requirements above are satisfied.
- The cymbal can still move
- The cymbal can be set at any angle the player wishes
- Any size cymbal can be muted
- The drummer can play the edge, bell or surface of the cymbal
In short – the drummer can play the same way they play without the mutes on.
For more videos showing the effectiveness of this design click here. They still work on Chinese shaped cymbals too, as shown here.
I am of the genuine belief that the design of a cymbal mute offered from cymbomute.com is better.
Thanks for reading and please spread the word to your drummer friends – it’s all about caring for your hearing, so all drummers need to know about this great product.