Drums are one of the loudest musical instruments available. Unlike many electric instruments (like the electric guitar), it cannot be muted with using headphones or playing without amplifiers. Learning how to make a drums quieter is an essential process when playing this instrument in a shared house or apartment complex. There are several methods of doing this, and it varies in expense, effort required, and effectiveness. Use these methods together or individually.
Method 1 of 3: Physically mute the battery
Step 1. Fill the bass drum with a pillow
Remove one of the drum heads and place a soft material inside, be it a pillow or a blanket. The material should lightly touch both heads to achieve a weak sound. After replacing the head you removed, re-tune the drums. The pillow will muffle many of the drum sounds, and the drum will sound quieter and more muffled.
Musical instrument stores sell pillows specially designed to suppress the sound of drum drums. These pillows come in different varieties of size and weight, which allow you to adjust the level of damping of the drum
Step 2. Silence the battery using plastic o-rings
The tom drums and snare drum can be muffled with the use of plastic o-rings. These rings are placed along the top of the drums and help absorb some of the vibrations created when a drum is pitted. As a result, the sound created by these drums will be less, offering a more controllable sound.
- Drum gel can be used in a similar way to O-rings. These are small packets of sticky gel that can be placed on top of the tom and snare drums to silence them.
- Other craft options to mute snare and toms include covering parts of the drum with cloth, either with an old T-shirt, heavy-duty tape (packing tape), or bubble gum!
Step 3. Use mute pads
These are placed on top of the drums (or cymbals) and mute the sound almost completely. This makes them ideal for perfecting hand or rhythm techniques, but not a good choice if you really need to hear what the drum will sound like.
The mute pads also alter the bouncing sound of the drum, making the drums feel different when played
Method 2 of 3: Soundproof Your Room
Step 1. Install sound insulation
Acoustic panels or drywall fillings can prevent the sound produced by drums from seeping through the room as much. However, sound insulation is expensive, often requiring a considerable amount of work and room restructuring.
- Some more accessible options for soundproofing your room are sound absorbing bands that can be placed along the ceiling, the base of the doors and on the walls.
- If you can't afford acoustic foam, hang blankets or bedspreads on your walls. The fabric won't be ideal, but it will help absorb sound.
Step 2. Build a room exclusively for drumming
Sound insulation for a room requires a comprehensive change to the structure of the room, such as removing the plaster from the wall frame. Contact a carpenter (and your landlord) if you plan to make such arrangements.
- Make sure doors and windows are properly sealed to prevent sound from escaping.
- Properly constructed soundproofing rooms are airtight, so ventilation is necessary in these rooms. Make sure you have a ventilation system that does not affect the acoustic insulation.
Step 3. Place glass around your battery
These moons deflect the sound of the drums. You can place plastic sheet hinges to direct the sound exactly where you want it, such as away from your parents' room. Moons are useful for practice, but keep in mind that any sound produced in general will be different from a drum with no obstructions.
- Remember that moons deflect sound, even returning it back to your ears. Invest in some earplugs to protect yourself from sound.
- Try to attach any sound absorbing materials that you placed in your room to the windows. Aim at the moons so that the sound is deflected onto the material.
Method 3 of 3: Accessorize for Lower Volume
Step 1. Buy an electronic drum kit
These drums can easily be fitted with headphones so the drummer can hear the drums while keeping the overall sound to a minimum. This is a good option if you don't mind sacrificing sound quality for convenience.
- Electric drums often come with extras that make them a valuable choice (even if you already have an acoustic drum set), such as the ability to easily record your music.
- Electronic drums also have volume controls that allow you to play them at a low volume even without wearing headphones.
Step 2. Buy a practice battery
A practice drum kit is made of a rubber material and can resemble an original drum kit, even on the kick drum. Unlike electronic drums, practice drums do not have the similar sound of traditional drums. However, the rubberized construction allows the drumsticks to bounce in much the same way as a real drum set.
Drum pads are great if you have little space in your room, but still want to practice hand technique. To practice, place one on a saucer and then buy the complete set when you have extra space
Step 3. Use drum brushes
These brushes are drumsticks with tips made of nylon filaments. They are used to play more smoothly, as with certain techniques. Note that they will have no effect on the volume of your kick.
Drum brushes don't work particularly well on closed hi hats, so plan your future rehearsal session in advance
Step 4. Get some wooden drumsticks
These are similar to drum brushes, but are made of wood or some equally hard material. They produce a louder sound than brushes, but retain the sound and feel of regular drumsticks.