As a drummer, I’ve purchased all kinds of different dampening products — Moongel, Evans Min-EMAD, O-Rings, Snareweight, Big Fat Snare Drum, and I’ve even used gaffers tape.
In most cases, these types of dampening products work well, but I got sick of buying Moongel.
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Before you start a flame war in the comments, understand that I haven’t attempted washing them to “refresh” them yet.
I haven’t had the muster to do so, and it’s complicated to do on tour.
Besides, I like my DIY dampeners much more than traditional products you can buy in the store.
They’re far more flexible, and I can make them to my liking.
The size and material of the dampener play a significant role in how a given drum will sound.
There are three different variations of drum dampeners that I make, but the possibilities are endless.
Oh, and yes, I’m well aware of those who believe you shouldn’t use dampeners at all. I don’t buy into that nonsense and nor should you.
It’s up to you how you want your drums to sound.
With that out the way, let’s get into how to make your own drum dampeners.
The DIY Snareweight M1b
My DIY replica of the Snareweight M1b is super easy and affordable to make. I spent a total of $2 on materials (and I have enough material to make about 25 of them).
A quick trip down to your local Dollar Store should be the only store you need to visit.
What you’ll need:
- Binder clips
- A welcome mat
When I was perusing the aisles at my local Dollar Tree, I saw a dog-friendly welcome mat.
The material is just thick enough to work correctly as a dampener!
I grabbed one to bring home as well as some binder clips to attach to the hoops of my drums.
While you’re at the store, take a look around. You might see something that could work for other DIY drum ideas.
Cutting The Materials
This goes without saying, but please be careful while cutting the materials.
Below I’ve attached a picture (which you can download and print off if you’d like) of the dimensions and where to cut.
Start off by cutting a rectangle out of the welcome mat that is 3.5 inches by 2 inches.
Next, make a cut from the sides approximately 3/4″ from the bottom. This cut should be on a bit of an angle.
Repeat for the other side.
From the top, cut at a 90-degree angle to eliminate the grey sections as shown in the diagram.
With your dampener cut, fold the top section along the dotted line, as shown. Take one of your binder clips and pinch the fold.
Now, you could stop right here and attach it to a drum, but I suggest adding a dab of super glue on each side of the binder clip.
This ensures it will stay together and not fall apart when taking it off your drum.
So there you have it — a DIY drum dampener. Remember, you can try all sorts of different materials with binder clips to vary the amount of dampening.
DIY Big Fat Snare Drum (Donut)
I love my Big Fat Snare Drum. I use it nearly every time I play. But what did I do before owning one?
Have an old snare drum head laying around? Flip it over and place it on your snare drum!
This technique replicates that big and fat sound lots of drummers seek today.
I am not a massive fan of the entire head dampening the drum, as I own the donut version of the BFSD.
You can use a pencil compass to make a circle on an old head and cut out a section if you’d like to reduce the amount of dampening.
I have a unique tool (a drywall circle cutter) that allows me to cut my drum heads a little easier, but you can still make these with scissors or a box cutter.
I take an old drum head, set the device to the center and near the edge, and cut the metal hoop from the plastic.
Once I have the first cut, I then adjust the tool to cut out the center.
It’s as easy as that. This dampener is a little thin, so my snare doesn’t sound quite as fat as if I had a thicker old head, like a Remo Pinstripe.
Let me know what you think, and if you have any other ideas for dampening hacks, be sure to leave a comment down below.
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Thanks for reading.