How to Make Drum Practice Better for Your Neighbors Tuesday April 5 2022, 8:58 AM
How to Make Drum Practice Better for Your Neighbors

Percussion is an essential part of music. As a drummer, you’re a human metronome for your band, helping keep time and providing a structure to your music but, as any drummer knows, you’re never the most popular person in your neighborhood. The nature of the drumkit means that there isn’t much you can do to make it very quiet, and this can be a deterrence to even choosing to learn the instrument. As a drummer, you do have options to make your practice time quieter, however, which means you’ll get more time to play without inciting noise complaints. Let’s take a quick look at a few of your options to make your drumming better for your neighbors.

Dampen Your Acoustic Kit

It’s absolutely false to believe that there is no way to make your drums quieter. They’re inherently a loud instrument and you’re never going to make your acoustic drum kit a quiet experience, but there are ways you can dampen and decrease the noise they make, and it’s not expensive to do. Here are a few ways you can do so.

Switch your drumheads for mesh heads. These mesh heads drastically reduce the sound of your drums and feel and behave almost identically to regular heads. You can even tighten and loosen them to tune your stick bounce just as you would your traditional heads. You’ll lose a lot of the tone of the drums, but if you need to make your kit quieter, mesh heads are the way to go.

Alternatively, for a more versatile option, use drum mutes, which are soft rubber pads that you put on top of your normal drumheads. They’re more convenient to remove if you want to play at full volume as you just lift them off, but they feel very different to normal drumheads and suffer from a lack of rebound and stick bounce.

For your cymbals. You can use low volume cymbals to replace your normal ones . This can, depending on the brand you choose, reduce overall cymbal sounds by about 80%, which is huge. The best part is that low volume cymbals feel and behave like regular cymbals, so you’re not compromising your playing style and feel.

Switch to an Electronic Kit for Home

Of course, an obvious choice for those wanting to get their drumming practice in without the noise is making the switch to an electronic drum kit for your practices. While they still create some noise, depending on the type of drum head the kit uses, they’re much quieter than their acoustic counterpart. Some kits even have more similarity to acoustic kits – like high hats that move. For an authentic drum feel from an electronic kit, you’ll need to spend some money and not opt for a cheap set because these more premium range of electronic kits feel more like the real thing. You’ll even find our old friend the mesh drumhead becoming more and more common in these electronic kits.

Find a Practice Space

Sometimes, no matter what you try, and particularly for those of us living in apartments in the city, you’ll need to simply find a different space to practice. In some apartment buildings, even the sounds made by an electronic drumkit will be too loud and because of this you’d have to look to practice elsewhere. This doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise that involves spending a lot of money or renting dank storage lockers. You can find a professionally kitted-out drumming room that you can hire pretty much anywhere. Making use of a drumming room practice space not only means you can play as loudly and for as long as you want without turning your neighbors into enemies, but you’ll get a professionally appointed and dampened practice space that will sound better than your living room ever could.

Speak to Your Neighbors

As with any hobby or pursuit that is going to generate some noise, the solution might be as simple as just speaking to your neighbors and coming to an agreement about a practice time that suits you all. Don’t wait until after you get noise complaints, because people who are annoyed probably won’t be as easy to compromise with, so proactively speak to your neighbors. You might find that they are out of the house at a certain time each day or week and using that time to get in your practice means that you don’t have to compromise on making your kit quieter.

There you have it. Our list of five ways you can avoid the dirty looks and angry complaints from your neighbors and make your life and the lives of your neighbors easier. Embracing these tips will go a long way to being able to play more often and for longer without disturbing the peace. Don’t let the sheer volume of drum practice put you off choosing and playing this incredibly rewarding instrument.

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