Cutting a hole in the bass drum...How big, methods etc...

Hewitt2

Senior Member
My kicks were always ported, and I always carried ultra short mic stands to accommodate the location of the ports. On one gig, the sound guy, looking extremely perplexed, asked me which kick I used more. I told him I use both equally. He only had one kick mic, so he put it on a stand BETWEEN the two drums.

To stay on topic, I dont like ports unless a mic goes in it. I prefer the look of a solid (preferably coated white) reso head. If I do port, I use a compass with cutting blade.

View attachment 97281

Nice. Just for the sake of argument, what tool could I use to go about creating a customized cut of straight and semi-circular lines.

I’m going to rebuild my Phil Collins tribute era kit but but I spring $50 on the reso I want to understand how I would replicate the unusual shape of the reso head. Thanks!
 

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roncadillac

Member
Nice. Just for the sake of argument, what tool could I use to go about creating a customized cut of straight and semi-circular lines.

I’m going to rebuild my Phil Collins tribute era kit but but I spring $50 on the reso I want to understand how I would replicate the unusual shape of the reso head. Thanks!
I was always curious about this same thing except it was Stewart Copeland's old kick reso that caught my eye:
 

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Iristone

Well-known member
I've a few different reso heads with no port, normal offset port, centre port, and mesh (effectively no reso head, but I still cut a hole in it for miking). I switch between thrm depending on the sound I'm looking for, but mostly it's the offset port, followed by the centre port.
 

ToneT

Well-known member
Piece of cardboard from the box the drumhead came in.
I put the drumhead face-down on the cardboard.
I measure and center an old CD right in the middle of the head.
The small hole in the CD is taped to the middle of the head.
Slowly, and carefully, I trace around the CD a few times with a fresh razor blade rather lightly.
I hold on to the cd while cutting with the other.
I keep the blade straight up and down while cutting.

I get a nice, round hole every time. However, any slightly rough spots along the edge of the head can be sanded slightly and carefully with a small piece of fine sandpaper.
The largest hole I've ever had in the middle was about the size of a 45 record. Remember those?

My method is tedious, but it works.
I gave the Aquarian Regulators a try but I just don't like off-center ports.
The sound of the drum is still full with a sharper attack, and, yes, the front head still vibrates.

Evans black Hydraulic batters tuned to 90hz (TuneBot)
Remo Ebony Ambassadors ported resos tuned to 80hz
Bed pillow touches both heads
2 18x22 Ludwig Maples
 

roncadillac

Member
Piece of cardboard from the box the drumhead came in.
I put the drumhead face-down on the cardboard.
I measure and center an old CD right in the middle of the head.
The small hole in the CD is taped to the middle of the head.
Slowly, and carefully, I trace around the CD a few times with a fresh razor blade rather lightly.
I hold on to the cd while cutting with the other.
I keep the blade straight up and down while cutting.

I get a nice, round hole every time. However, any slightly rough spots along the edge of the head can be sanded slightly and carefully with a small piece of fine sandpaper.
The largest hole I've ever had in the middle was about the size of a 45 record. Remember those?

My method is tedious, but it works.
I gave the Aquarian Regulators a try but I just don't like off-center ports.
The sound of the drum is still full with a sharper attack, and, yes, the front head still vibrates.

Evans black Hydraulic batters tuned to 90hz (TuneBot)
Remo Ebony Ambassadors ported resos tuned to 80hz
Bed pillow touches both heads
2 18x22 Ludwig Maples
On my 16" bass drums I do tend to like the port a little off center to help maintain lower tones but I do agree and really like center ports on 18" and up.

My first ever bass drum was an early 2000s Tama Swingstar 22" with a clear PS3 batter tuned in the medium range and a clear ambassador reso tuned medium high with a 6" center port. For the few years I used that drum I was playing live in small underage music clubs and fire halls (we were teenagers, couldn't really play the bar scene yet) with no drum mics and competing over my friend's half stacks. Right in front of the drum it was a little 'boingy' however from the crowd perspective I was the only one around who ever had a bass drum you could really hear. Fast forward twenty years, my tuning ability has grown immensely and I'm typically mic'ed when playing live BUT I still employ the same general approach.
 

Lefty Phillips

Well-known member
Given the many great mics on the market now, I don't think it's necessary to cut a hole in the kick anymore. I did it on my kit because I like the sound of it. 100% if you prefer not to cut a hole in your resonator head, the soundman or engineer should be able to work around that.
 
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