How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby Ben M » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:42 pm

You could try a sheet over the toms and snare. Works great to get that dead 70's sound.
;)
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby Text_Edifice » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:16 pm

Gabriel Roth (bassist for Daptones) wrote a couple of articles a while back on how the Daptone records guys have tried to emulate the sound of old funk 45's if you google for "Shitty is Pretty" you'll find the pdfs.

Roots drummer questlove also has some great interviews on how he tries to get a 'sampled' sound (read coming off a soul 45) from his drums in the studio (have a great article floating round on my hard-drive that I'll try and track down).
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby ChrisW » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:27 pm

It's not all about dead drums, with lots of damping.
I would certainly say white coated ambassador heads are a good start. Also, close micing. Playing medium volume at most, often quieter. More centre hits on snare, fewer rimshots.
Smaller rooms perhaps. Drum booths were common.
The Motown sound was more open with fewer mics. The west coast funk sound, plus mainstream rock and pop (Fleetwood mac, Eagles, Steely Dan) was smaller deader rooms, lower tuned drums, more damping, sometimes bottom heads removed, multi-mic'ed.
The Supraphonic and Acrolite are great, reasonably priced snare drums to get you into this territory.
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby ChrisW » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:07 pm

There's background and chat about The Roots recording methods at Gearslutz, in the Russ Elovado guest moderator forum.
I think both Questlove and the Daptones are going for the more ambient 70's sound, the open one. KInda like the Glyn Johns thing in a way.
At the same time Geoff Emerick was pioneering a close mic technique that he felt required more damping on the drums.
Then in order to enhance isolation, the drum booth came in. You had Eastlake and Westlake studio designs, again carpets and drum booths.
I did my very first sessions in 78/79. My real recording career started around 1981 when methods had changed, but we were still working in those old studios very often.
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby adamcal » Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:53 pm

having a beard or at least mustache is essential, acoustically.
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby Drumstruck » Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:09 pm

Which 70's sound were you after Angus?

I'm a big fan of the multitude of drum sounds from that time and lament that modern drums sound so same-same in comparison .... the open sounds from e.g. Bonham, Palmer, Bruford, Collins, Cobham .... the more bland sounds from the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, ... the dynamic Rototom sounds from the original Hawaii 5-0.... the punk garbage tin sounds.... where did all that variety go? :((
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby waitup » Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:24 pm

ChrisW wrote:I would certainly say white coated ambassador heads are a good start. Playing medium volume at most, often quieter.


Agreed. I think that flat, 'dead' drum sound came a lot from the playing style. If you really whack a snare or toms, the resonance of the drum really comes into play and all the harmonics and overtones ring out. Listen to your snare and toms when you hit them softly... much less ring!
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby Drumstruck » Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:58 pm

In the early 70s coated amabassadors were probably the most common skins, by the mid 70s Remo black dots were pretty popular and by the end of the 70s the Remo pinstripes and Evans Hydraulics were providing that thuddy / less toppy sound as music devolved into the 80s (imo and foggy memories) ....

Sounds like (no pun) you're after the later sound so dampening and lower tuning should be the go - I remember a lot of the bands were using concert toms or removing the bottom skins then and the wealthier bands were sticking 441s up inside the toms #:-s

Hey - and is that Drouyn a Ringo pattern oyster finish? .... I got my stolen car back in 1979 but never found the drums again ....
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby The Tasmanian » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:49 pm

Drum gels on coated ambassadors - they work everytime for me, even sometimes I have to cut one in half, so there is like 1 and 1/2 gels on the skin.
Gaff on the snare chokes the drum too much - gels vibrate with the snare and dont kill the tone. As they vibrate they take away the length of the note.
The trick with tea towels is just have a flap of the towel over the edge of the skin - about 50 - 70mm resting on the skin. You can easily pull the towel edges through the back of the lugs to hold it in place.
Wallets are good for the snare - if they are too much use a bus or train ticket and lay it on the snare.
I remember an interview with James Browns drummer where he would always use his wallet, and if James asked for a better snare sound the drummer would tell JB that he needed more $ notes in his wallet to get the right sound!
One session I saw with Berkfinger - he used the drummers tax bill taped on the snare - man did the drummer whack the snare hard!
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby Drumstruck » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:52 pm

sorry - I should have put a smiley face after that Drouyn thing - it was meant to be a joke (32 years later and I'm still bangin' on about it.....) =))
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby ChrisW » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:47 pm

You should be able to get that sound with G2's, unless they are the clear G2's, which have a smackier less warm sound.
The clear Evans heads are all very contemporary sounding to my ears.
I've done the 70's thing with the coated Evans heads though.
The head time line 'Drumstruck' outlined is right on.
The engineer I regularly work with was right in the thick of it, both in London and LA.
Close mic'ing and very soft playing is the key for him (for the Stevie Wonder type sound).
I sometimes let him tune my drums and he uses a ton of gaffa, and the heads are so loose the drums are barely playable.
It sound bleedin' awful in the room , from behind the kit, but I must say it's magic when you hear it back in context, when played no louder than medium volume.
I recently did an album where the artist/producer insisted on the 70's vibe throughout.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC-eN54YxDE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF_HokOm ... re=related
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby ChrisW » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:58 pm

Even though this is sorta 'live', the drums are heavily screened and the drummer is tickling the kit:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMOYwgQr ... re=related
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby ChrisW » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:17 pm

The clear Evans G2's definitely sound contemporary in an irreversible way. ~x(

The mics on The Beauty Room tracks were U67's for overhead, km56's on toms, D12 on kick, Lawson L47 outside. 57 on snare top. Maybe km84 under snare. U87 out in the room.
The key was a small, dry room. The other key was the vintage EMI TGI desk.
One thing Peter always does is roll gobos right up to the kit, as close as possible, taking into account the mic stands. This drastically reduces the influence of the room, and less room trash leads you to hear more drum warmth.

The Beatles technique with teatowels is to place them right owver the drum, covering the entire head.
This gives you a very fat, but very choked sound. Very 'Come Together'.
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby ChrisW » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:21 pm

BTW - meant to ask - what about stuffing the toms full of soft material to make them dead ?


For the classic dead tom sound ala Ringo, Mick Fleetwood and Don Henley.....
Bottom heads removed. Top head very loose. Lots of gaffa and tissue until the drum sounds like a thud, with just a bit of tom note left in. When we did this for the sample CD's we stuck the tom mics inside the shell.
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby Linear » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:34 am

Being a big fan of Mad Men, I often watch that show and try and work out what it is that makes it look so 60's.

And the short answer is 'everything'.

This specifically includes the sets, the actors attitudes, their clothes, haircuts, the language used, the context, the filming angles and colour saturation, subject matter - in other words, everything.

I've been asked a few times to do a 70's sounding recording, or even just get drum sounds like that. Best way is to get a 70's drum kit, record it with 70's microphones to a 70's recorder and mix it though a 70's desk using 70's outboard with a 70's attitude.

Yes that is kinda the smartass answer, but honestly I think that it is the everything.

My tips if you don't have this array of 70's paraphanalia?

- dead sounding room
- close mic everything
- maybe overdub hats (weird i know)
- don't make it loud
- minimise crash hits or even get your drummer to play straight rhythms without fills
- don't be afraid to get a bit disco with the hats
- stick a teatowel on the snare, make it dead
- dynamics on the overheads (441's work best)
- gate stuff that's long
- stick lots of pillows/towels in the kick drum
- get a B15 and give it lot of midrange and no subs
- get everyone to listen to some 70's classics to get into that sort of zone. bill withers, eagles, fleetwood mac, pink floyd, zeppelin, etc before they do a take.

I really think that out of everything, the actual drum kit would make a smallish difference.

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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby Chris H » Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:35 am

Something worth thinking about is the sound DBX or Dalby noise reduction systems stamped on those 70 's productions......... That syrupy thickening sound. I imagine something like a Gates or Phoenix comp over a stereo drum bus would go towards achieving it.
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby rick » Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:12 am

l.jpg
read up on westlake /hidley rooms

i think they have way more to do with the overall sound of the seventies then anything mentioned here
well aside from linears post about buying a ticket back to the seventies

have a look at the the westlake drum rooms ( corners ) and recording spaces and have a think

every major music city in the world went westlake/hidley each city had a few they were all the rage
what you will find is they were trying to get a maximun isolation for each instrument vibe
with a guarentee that every westlake studio would sound the same !
the rooms are wood and fibreglass batts hidden by thick curtains and as dead as elvis's dog even the stone stuff is really just for looks
outside a few special records made by geniuses
westlake ruined the sound of music for 20 years i reckon
its really hard to get anything BUT a tea towel drum sound in a westlake drum corner

point being deaded the bejesus out of your drum area and you will be half way home
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby Chinagraf » Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:13 pm

Use a really old drummer?
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby jkhuri44 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:59 pm

take lots of drugs.

cant sound like the 70s without shitloads of drugs.

also...

this thread is damn cool...way more interesting than waffling on about hardware and software :P
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby ChrisW » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:26 pm

Next topic....
How to get that 2011 sound?
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby jkhuri44 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:20 pm

ChrisW wrote:Next topic....
How to get that 2011 sound?


Fire up cracked copy of BFD in your 1 bedroom granny flat. process with cracked waves plugins, master through cracked waves L2...and clip the mofo?

* i jest i juest *
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby Text_Edifice » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:37 pm

Chinagraf wrote:Use a really old drummer?


From this SOS interview with Will Holland (http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan07/articles/quantic.htm)

"Take this example: say you're going to sample 'Use Me' by Bill Withers. OK, it's a great drum break, and you can clear the sample with Warner Brothers or whoever, but you can probably find James Gadson in LA. He's still playing, he's still got the same drum kit, why not go and record him? That's what I realised with Spanky: these people are still alive and kicking it, and they're still accessible. We shouldn't see them as two different entities. All music is connected, and I think a lot of people think of 'old music' and 'new music', and it's not like that. That music is the same. Jurassic 5 didn't come from nowhere: there's a whole set of musicians and producers who made that sound, and are responsible for that kind of music. You can't separate the two, they're part of the same family tree. If we can get more people to learn about that, I think we'll start to get back to the music."
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby ChrisW » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:02 pm

jkhuri44 wrote:
ChrisW wrote:Next topic....
How to get that 2011 sound?


Fire up cracked copy of BFD in your 1 bedroom granny flat. process with cracked waves plugins, master through cracked waves L2...


Yeah, sadly I was thinking the same.
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby ChrisW » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:03 pm

Text_Edifice wrote:you can probably find James Gadson in LA. He's still playing, he's still got the same drum kit, why not go and record him?


Yeah, I think Gadson plays on Beck's 'Seachange' or the following album?
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby Chinagraf » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:57 pm

Yeah, funny, I was kinda half joking, but at the same time thinking of this session drummer named Ron Sandilands who was pretty much a standard part of a lot of sessions in Melbourne through the seventies and eighties (even earlier too). He actually played with my mum on some gigs. If you got Ron in now and asked him to make it sound 70's it wouldn't matter what kit he was on, it would sound 70's.
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby Barney Loveland » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:37 pm

Yes and no. Ron is still playing around the traps. I played with him in the rhythm section for the APO orchestra New Years Eve concerts and he sounded great. Not 70's sounding, perfect experienced playing appropriate for the show. But with his experience and knowledge i'm sure he'd do a great job of anything you asked him.
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby Mark Kelson » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:10 pm

I know im in here late, but thanks for the great info guys, coming straight out sound school and being into the 70's thing this really gives me some great ideas for places to start, to bad all my current clients play metal, still a man can dream haha
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby wez » Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:48 pm

I missed this thread too!

anyway - did anyone mention really light, skinny sticks?

also +1 on the dobly NR
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby gregwalker » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:12 am

I always found the teatowels way too heavy - but try some very light gauze, the kind that they use behind curtains (50 cents at the op shop). I throw it over the whole snare and it just quells the resonance of the drum enough. Tune it down a little and bingo there's your deadpan 70's snare sound. :ymparty:
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Re: How to get that 70's sound from a drum kit

Postby The Tasmanian » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:29 am

I do the tea towel thing - with old thin tea towels, but I only lay the towel over the edge of the skin, and pull the remaining ends of the towel through the lugs to hold it in place. Therefore the drum still has some life, and the dampening only takes the ring out a little bit. Sometimes I add a gel or two as well.
The towel over the whole drum kills too much of the tone.
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