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cgarges
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Tom Petty Drums

Post by cgarges » Tue May 18, 2010 8:40 pm

The Pink Floyd thread got me thinking. I've actually got a session on Thursday where I've been charged with getting something akin to a "Tom Petty" drum sound. I'm thinking Stan Lynch-era. The drummer is a great, totally competent, solid drummer, so I'm not worried about technique or performance and I have some ideas about what I'm likely to do, but I'm curious how you guys would go about it.

Here's what I've got available that's relevant:

Noble & Cooley CD Maple kit (20, 10, 12, 14)
Yamaha Recording Custom kit (22, 8, 10, 12, 14)
Gretsch Catalina Birch kit (20, 8, 10, 12, ,14)
Fibes maple kit (22, 10, 12, 14)
1966 Gretsch kit (20, 12, 16)

A handful of snares. Just about anything normal is available. Same with cymbals, shy of anything too giant.

Recording to RADAR (digital). The mics and outboard gear avaialble are solid as well, so feel free to suggest anything you think might work based on your experience.

The rest of this record was done with kind of thick and somewhat trashy drum sounds (think Charlie Watts, but with a beefier snare sound), mono overhead (Coles), stereo room mics, except for the remake of "Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald," where we went for and pretty much just about nailed the sound of the original.

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Post by losthighway » Tue May 18, 2010 8:50 pm

I'm trying to think what would be the popular canned reverb in the late 70's that engineers would throw at a snare drum. I'm thinking of a tune like "American Girl" where there's that canon echo in the distance every time the drummer pounds the snare.

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Post by cgarges » Tue May 18, 2010 8:52 pm

Oh yeah, the tempo on this thing is right around 100 BPM. Not too fast.

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Post by JGriffin » Tue May 18, 2010 9:25 pm

When I think of Stan Lynch drums, I don't think about more than one or two rack toms. And the ride bell on "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," if that was the Heartbreakers on that track.

Beyond that, I no can defense.
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Jitters
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Post by Jitters » Wed May 19, 2010 12:20 am

A Tom Petty Drum sound? That's pretty vauge, no? I mean, something like a dozen records over some 35 years? I can see asking a drummer to play a Tom Petty drum part, but a Tom Petty drum sound? Gee, I guess running them through a big muff is out...
Last edited by Jitters on Wed May 19, 2010 12:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by cgarges » Wed May 19, 2010 12:26 am

IN GENERAL.

It's not like the drum sounds on any of those records with Stan Lynch swing wildly in terms of tone. And he hasn't played with the Heartbreakers for like 16 years.

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Post by Jitters » Wed May 19, 2010 12:43 am

Narrowing it down to the Lynch-era was your idea though, right? And there was no mention of the Heartbreakers. Just saying...

I don't mean to derail.

No doubt you'll come up with something sweet that makes everyone happy!

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Post by cgarges » Wed May 19, 2010 1:06 am

Jitters wrote:Narrowing it down to the Lynch-era was your idea though, right? And there was no mention of the Heartbreakers. Just saying...
Well, I've heard the song (as an acoustic demo) and based on that, that's what I think would work. The songwriter didn't get any more specific than "Tom Petty," but the Stan Lynch-era Petty drum sound is something that I think would probably work for this tune. I'm not much of a Steve Ferrone fan, anyway.

I'm not asking what to do. I'm asking how any of you guys would go about it. Just throwing it out there for fun.

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Post by lysander » Wed May 19, 2010 4:21 am

I know a lot less than you do, Chris, but I would go for a 7" snare and mic both sides for starters. I remember seeing pics of Lynch playing live in the 80s and he would use an RE20 in the kick and 421s on toms -- whether he did the same thing in the studio is of course a question.

It was the 80s, so gates were pretty popular on drums.

If you can get ahold of the documentary "Runnin' Down A Dream" you might catch some studio footage that could be useful.

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Post by roscoenyc » Wed May 19, 2010 4:30 am

I know you are a drummer and probably already
thought of this Mr Carges but this is what I'd do.......

I'd sit the drummer down with the Tom Petty song that they wanted to emulate.
Give him a pad and paper and have him make a hash mark
everytime the drummer hit a crash cymbal.

Most likely the ammount of hash marks will be much less than the drummer thought
there would be.

Less cymbal crashes helps my drum sound more than any gear in the world.

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Post by Chris_Meck » Wed May 19, 2010 5:04 am

heh. That's awesome. So true.


Meck
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Post by Nick Sevilla » Wed May 19, 2010 8:25 am

You could chase down the engineer you know...

But, if I were you, and not going to chase the original engineer, I would narrow the "Tom Petty" quote from the artist first.

As in what specific song, or at least the album.

Then, make them get you a copy of said album. Then you can duplicate the sound a lot easier.

Remember the album has been mastered, your drums will not be exactly the same. Try to have more transients and dynamics, for when your artist's album gets mastered, it will benefit from all that squashing and squeezing that will happen.

I normally go for a full dynamic mix, and not worry about how loud it is, as that is the mastering engineers' job. Usually very good results occur in the final stage because I do give them a mix the ME can work with, as opposed to an already squashed mix.

As far as 70's drums recording are concerned, I would venture to state that you should use mics that were NEW in the 70's, and also ones that were popular then.

RE20s, Sennheiser MD421s (with the different settings M and S for Music and Speech), Neumann LDCs for overheads, such as U67s or U87s, Two mics for the kick and the snare, such as an RE20 and a brighter dynamic, and on the snare a shure SM57 on top, and a Shure SM81 on the bottom. For the Toms, use the MD421s, one per tom. Use only two rack toms, and one floor tom.

The TUNING of the kit is also crucial. Usually back in those days there was more of a "go as low as you can" approach to the drum tunings. And tune the kit in perfect 4th intervals. Usually get as low a note on the kick as you can, preferably an A, G, E or C, and then tune the rest of the kit going from the floor tom and up.

Say you get a low D1 on the kick, then the floor tom would be G#1, then the big rack tom C2, then the high tom F.
After that you need to pick the proper cymbals. A 22" ride with good ride ping is essential, as well as some smaller splashes such as a 14" splash, and a 10" splash too.

And do not forget the COWBELL!!! Get a black metal one, that has more of a wooden clang to it that a metallic one. I have a large one, and you should find as large a cowbell as possible. I find the best place for it is between the snare and the kick, so the clang hits are pretty much in the center image of the whole drumkit, like the snare, or a little right of it, if facing from an audience perspective.

Cheers
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Wed May 19, 2010 9:06 am

cgarges wrote: I'm not much of a Steve Ferrone fan, anyway.
really? i like his playing sooooo much better than stan lynch's.

anywhat, if a client asked for a 'tom petty' drum sound, i would assume they meant 'damn the torpedoes'. then i would call you and ask what to do.

if i had to guess, i'd say big drums, tuned low, no ring on the snare, no rimshots, close mics, no room, pillow in the kick and no front head, plate or something on the snare?

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Post by Jitters » Wed May 19, 2010 9:14 am

Chris, 421s have come up a couple times in this thread, and I can't help notice that they aren't listed as part of your mic locker. Given that you obviously have a penchant for drums sounds I have to ask why. Is it the spill?

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Post by cgarges » Wed May 19, 2010 10:05 am

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:really? i like his playing sooooo much better than stan lynch's.
You need to lay off the herb. Or smoke more of it.
Jitters wrote:Chris, 421s have come up a couple times in this thread, and I can't help notice that they aren't listed as part of your mic locker. Given that you obviously have a penchant for drums sounds I have to ask why. Is it the spill?
I don't own any, but the studio where I'm doing this has four of them available. I don't usually use them on toms, but it's probably the thing to do for this.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC

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