Purchase Bass Drum Mallets
As you might know I have been active as a playing member and instructor for may years at different marching percussion ensemble, marching bands and drumcorps. Besides writing music, developping methods and providing workshops and clinics for these kind of band and ensembles I thinks it's also important to share my knowledge about how instruments can soud good in a new series of blogs. This first blog is about what to look for when you are going to purchase mallets for marching bass drums.
When purchasing bass drum mallets it’s important that the size and the weight of the mallet generally graduates with the size of the bass drum. The bigger the bass drum, the bigger the size of the felt head. The less air you need to move, the less mass you need to accomplish that. If you are using smaller bass drums (for example 16”, 18”, 20” and 24”) you may not need four different bass drum mallets. Because the sizes are relatively close to each other you would succeed with only three different models. I usually use the following sizes for the different models.
- 14” – 18” Bass Drums Extra Small Bass Drum Mallets (MAB1)
- 18” – 22” Bass Drums Small Bass Drum Mallets (MAB2)
- 22” – 26” Bass Drums Medium Bass Drum Mallets (MAB3)
- 26” – 30” Bass Drums Large Bass Drum Mallets (MAB4)
- 30” – 32” Bass Drums Extra Large Bass Drum Mallets (MAB5)
- If a mallet is too big for a drum the articulation will be lost.
- If a mallets is too small for a drum the drum won't speak with a full sound and pitting of the head will be common.
If your bass drum section is consistently marching backfield or you have a very large band (which is not common in Europe) you might consider using bigger mallets.
The great thing of the bass drum mallets from Salyers Percussion is that they have a thicker handle than other bass drum mallets. This is done on purpose as a kind of counterweight for the felt head. In this way the stick is in optimal balance while playing.
In general you can articulate in three different ways with bass drums.
- Wood (loud volume/very clear articulation) – You can do this by using the back end of the mallet. Because of the thicker handle you have more mass articulate more clearly.
- Felt ( normal volume/clear articulation) – With felt you accomplish the most common characteristic sound for tonal bass drums.
- Puffy (soft volume/little to no articulation)
Keep in mind with choosing bass drum mallets where you are generally performing (indoor or outdoor) and the atmosphere you want to create within the musical arrangement. It’s often decided to purchase only one set of mallets for the bass drum section. Having a set with soft mallets available can make a big difference in atmosphere for example in a ballad.
Do not forget to tape your bass drum mallets as well. Usually snare drum and multi tom sticks are being taped. You can improve the lifespan of your bass drum mallets considerably by taping them, because bass drummers are using rims more and more nowadays this going to be more important.
Bill Bacham wrote a great book about tonal bass drums. If you want to know more about this subject Bass Logic is a must have!
Do you want to try our sticks or mallets on the instruments of your school, band or ensemble, please contact me. I’ll be happy to meet you, because it’s very important to hold stick and mallets in your hands before you buy them. I can visit your band or ensemble within a reasonable distance from the Show & Marching Music headquarter in Zwolle (NL).Back