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The Easiest Junk Bass Drum

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When working with groups, it is very useful to have a wide range of timbres available, that the group might behave somewhat like a band or orchestra. its very helpful to have a 'Mama' drum of some sort, holding down the bottom so the other instruments can float around and experiment.

Enter the lowly laundry tub. We first saw this particular type of tub used in Stomp, and of course it was miked to the hilt, and thunderous, riotously played by a bundle of energy who obviously knew what she was doing... Even unmiked, and played by newbies, it has a good deal of depth and power, although it won't work as well for big & loud circles..it seems that the softness of the plastic, usually a drawback in such cases, adds to the warmth and roundness of the tone. The two thicknesses on the bottom make for two distinct notes, an added boon. The handles come in handy too, no pun intended.. sound samples and sample rhythms are forthcoming.

The plastic's softness does add to the fragility, and you will find if you often play hard that the tub won't last anywhere near as long as, say, a water bottle or coffee can drum. Luckily we have seen these tubs everywhere for under $10, so we think of them as we would a pair of sticks or a plastic head, and replace as necessary. the durability is increased if you don't use a big heavy wrapped wood beater..still we often use one, because we prefer the sound..in a small, quieter living room sized situation, they work well with the hands. This depends on the space acoustics, of course..

Tips when buying - There are many similar versions of this tub, made by different companies, and not all sound equally good. Be careful to note the pattern on the bottom, with a thicker ring on the outside, and a thinner part in the middle. When you get to the store, try several, because they vary in thickness and in sound. Use your hand.

Playing Tips - Use the right beater; we sometimes use a selection of commercially made bass drum mallets, (we splurged, at a clearance sale. If you cannot, don't worry), but we also use dowels, wrapped at one end in in duct, plastic or, best of all when you can find it, rubber tape. For more on beaters see the beaters page.

Keep in mind that the hollow place in the tub is very important to the sound, as is the location to and distance from any walls that may be present. Listen carefully. The handle will tend to keep the opening a little off the ground, which is good, but you may obtain more projection and a different sound by turning the drum up at greater angles, perhaps even playing it sideways, like a dundun..a strap is easy to make: just tie a line from one handle to the other..

So there it is: to us, the quickest and easiest junk solution to a bass drum. Another option is a container drum like the bushel basket drum, perhaps on a trashcan or other larger container..We are always interested in finding more junk bass drum solutions. if you have an idea, please write us with it..

A junk percussion orchestra might have these things

quite a bit of variety is available with this orchestration. More rhythms are upcoming. stay tuned. inthe meantime, see Stu's intro rhythm for water bottles, NUBI


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