You love your drum kit, your neighbors… not so much. You want to play when inspiration strikes, and when you feel like it. We get that; that’s why we’ve created our low volume drum kit, the Wizzdrum kit.
But even if you don’t have a low volume drum kit yet, there are things you can do to enjoy drumming. You know, without annoying your neighbors.
The part that makes the ‘noise’
Well, let’s be honest; drumming is not noise. You know it, we know it, but your neighbors might disagree. So what makes your drum kit loud? And how come that the sounds carry as far as it does? And how does knowing that help you to tackle the sound issue?
When a drum band is approaching, did you ever notice that the first sounds you notice are the ones you can feel in your stomach? This is because the low sound waves carry the farthest. The low sounding parts of the drum kit, like the bass drum and low sounding toms, as well as the snare (with its wide range of frequencies), will be me most noticeable for your neighbors
Luckily there are things you can do about that. A quick and cheap way to fix this is to completely muffle your drums with tons of pillows, blankets, and dishcloths, but then there may not be any sound left. We don’t know about you, but for us, that takes the fun right out of playing. You can also replace the surface with mesh drum heads, but they have a very different sound. You’re effectively creating a practice drum kit.
Another option is to look into drum kits designed to have a low volume like the Wizzdrum kit. Since there is no resonant drum head, the vibrations aren’t bounced back by the second drum head. The ring used in the Wizzdrum kit does act as a small soundbox, so you still have a great sound, but with a much lower volume.
The Wizzdrum kit is also smaller, which produces fewer decibels. And since our drum kits are made out of light materials, there is less mass to carry the sound vibrations. It is an excellent option for apartments and people living in small spaces.
Location, location, location
Picking out the right location for your drum kit will also help minimize your neighbors knocking on the walls asking you to keep it down.
Ideally, the best place in the house would be a room without too many windows or doors. A basement would be perfect. The earth surrounding the cellar helps to lower the volume and acts as natural isolation. Just make sure your basement has enough oxygen flow, you wouldn’t want to be out of breath right in the middle of your favorite drum solo.
If you don’t have a cellar but have an attic without too many windows, that’s also a great place to set up your drum kit. The more windows you’ll have, the more you have to tackle the sound leaks.
Lastly, if you don’t have an attic, basement, or a windowless room, be mindful about the room you’re using to practice. Make sure there is an extra room between you and the neighbors to reduce the volume for them — the more space and ‘air’ you can put between them, the better. If you have neighbors in the apartment below, it’s helpful to place your drum kit onto a platform or podium. It will help minimize the transference of sound through the floor and walls.
Isolate the room and tackle those sound leaks
Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury to have an attic or basement in their house. And if you can’t find the perfect place for your drum kit, you’ll have to make it the ideal place. One thing to keep in mind is to address the sound leaks through the windows and doors. Because if you don’t address the sound leaks, the neighbors can still enjoy your beats.
Try closing the tiny gaps in doors and windows with (foam) strips, or place dense foam mats in front of the windows. You need mass to lower the decibels that are noticeable outside your drumming space. Hence, heavy and dense foam material will do a good job. Light materials will only slightly muffle the sound. So make sure you make it to fit into the windows or make sure it’s large enough to touch the wall. You’ll make the most out of it and make sure the sound can’t escape around the mats.
Don’t have those mats on hand? The least you can do is reducing the vibration by closing some (thick) curtains and using the foam you dó have. In the end, you will want to make something that closely resembles a box in a box to keep in the decibels. The more of an isolated space you can make, the better it will help to keep the sound inside.
It’s all about practicing
Luckily there are also many fun things you can do to improve your skill without making too much sound. You can practice on your ‘bounce,’ let the drum stick do the work. Instead of using force to make a move, let the stick bounce naturally to create a more open and rounded sound. You can still go all in, but you’re probably producing less volume using the bounce.
There are also some great practice pads on the market you can try. Each gives a different sound. It’s not the same, but it can be a great solution if you want to keep practicing, but don’t have the budget to create a more soundproof room.
And lastly, there’s the mesh drum head, and though the sound is nothing compared to the regular drum heads, it’s a much more excellent way to play than the practice pads. You still have the right tone using the mesh drum heads, and playing also feels more natural.
You can also combine the mesh drum heads with a Wizzdrum tom to create the same compactness as a practice pad, but with great tonal sound.
There are many options to make sure your neighbors don’t start knocking on the walls when you start to play. If it’s still an issue, you can always talk to them and explain which times you will be practicing.
But most of all, whatever you choose, have fun playing.
The Wizzdrum kits and the Wizzdrum drum kit accessories are now available at the Keymusic stores in The Netherlands and Belgium.