How to dampen drums

If you don’t like the sound that your drums are producing, you can modify this by dampening them. This can minimize specific sound elements to help the drums create a better sound.

You can try out different techniques to dampen drums until you achieve the desired sound. Some of the popular ways of dampening drums include using built-in dampening systems, choosing ideal drum heads, and using accompanying tools. We will discuss these techniques in detail to help you pick the easiest one. Enjoy!

Using accompanying tools

You can use accompanying tools that don’t form part of the drum kit to dampen the drums. While some people choose external accompanying tools, others prefer internal accompanying tools to dampen drums. Some of the examples include:

Felt strips
Cotton balls


External accompanying tools are often placed on the batter drum head to achieve different effects. You can use such dampening tools when you are drumming from a closed environment such as a studio or your home. Accompanying tools that are utilized externally work by absorbing sound energy. They prevent drum heads from vibrating and therefore reduce the ringing sounds during drumming.

For instance, you can use tape to minimize resonance, overtones or prevent the ringing sounds that are sometimes common during drumming. If you want to dampen drums using tape, start by listening to how resonant the drums are so that you can determine how much you want to dampen them. Place the tape on the edge of the drum head until you achieve the desired resonance. Avoid using the tape that tends to leave behind a sticky residue on the drum head.

If you want to stop drums from ringing out, you should consider using moongel. Putting some of them on the top of cymbals can decrease the sustain and even minimize volume. These can help you control the sound of your drums since they provide extra dampening. Feel free to experiment with the position of the moongels until you find the ideal spot. Instead of placing them near the edge of the drumhead, try moving them closer to the center.

If, for instance, you want to dampen bass drums, you should consider using felt strips. You can add felt strips on the drum head. Place a 3-inch wide felt strip against a 22-inch bass drum. Ensure you play the drums to assess how resonant they are after using the felt strip. If you desire a longer sustain, feel free to loosen the tension.

O-rings are also external accompanying tools that can be used to dampen drums. You can pick this from different variations. These are designed to minimize overtones and help you achieve low sounding drums since they eliminate the higher tones. Use a thin donut O-ring to dampen drums. These are great at stopping drums from ringing out.

On the other hand, internal accompanying tools are used inside the drums to dampen them. These work by minimizing the vibrating that drums create. You can use such tools on the kick drum. Some of them include pillows, foam, cotton balls, and blankets. If, for instance, you choose to use pillows to dampen drums, you should start by listening to the resonance of your drums. Put a pillow in the bass drum carefully to avoid touching the heads. Once you play the drums, you may notice less resonance from the bass drum. If there is no significant difference, try using a blanket or a bigger pillow. Ensure that the pillow touches the top head.

Pick ideal drum heads

If you want to avoid ringing sounds, you should be careful with the drum heads you choose. Triple ply and double-ply drumheads are better than single-ply drum heads since they are already dampened. Since such drum heads are constructed by gluing various drum heads together, they hit against one another create less vibration.

Utilizing built-in systems

Apart from triple-ply and double-ply drumheads, the market also offers drum heads that feature inbuilt dampening systems. For instance, some drum heads come with a large circle at the center or polka dots. These control dots have not only aesthetic value but also contain built in dampening. They give the sound more focus. Those that contain a large dot have a more significant effect compared to those with a small dot.

Drum heads that come with black circles also feature such systems are referred to as inlay rings. These are often used across various drum heads. Inlay rings are mostly found on the metal hoop of a drum head and have a dampening effect.

Another example of built-in dampening systems is control rings. These are known to reduce overtones and minimize the ringing frequencies common during drumming. Choosing control rings can help you enjoy a smooth sound. While some of them feature thicker rings, others have very thin rings. Thicker rings come highly recommended since they offer more dampening to drums. Control rings can also minimize the sustain and create a deeper pitch.

If you don’t want drums that resonate so much, you can choose the ones that come with dampening systems built in them. Though they are great for drummers with studios and those that practice from home, they may not give you enough room to control dampening. Since this kind of dampening comes installed on the drumhead, you cannot remove it.


Dampening drums can help you modify sound depending on your environment. Try experimenting with some of the techniques we have discussed, including using internal or external accompanying tools, getting the right drum heads, or built-dampening systems. You can even find the perfect sound by combining various methods.


Is dampening drums mandatory?

No. This is not a must.  You can use drums without dampening them. If you need a different kind of sound, you should consider dampening drums.

What effect does dampening drums have on the drum volume?

It can minimize the drum volume. If you are playing drums at home, dampening can prevent you from disturbing neighbors.

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