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alex van halen snare drum sound


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#1 rushguy

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 04:02 AM

hey how did alex van halen get that dry snare drum sound like on the diver down and 1984 albums?  was  it the the drum itself or was it mike/ studio tricks, sounds like he taped the hell out of it.

#2 drummingbulldog

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 03:55 AM

I know in my experience with Supraphonics they tend to be one way or the other. Either really ringy or really dry. I think he used a 6.5x14 chrome supraphonic back then and probably taped the hell out of it. My bass player friend actually went out of his way to tell me once how much he hated Alex's snare sound. I liked it and still do. I think he is one of the more underrated rock drummers. He did a lot of cool stuff in the 70's and 80's when other guys were just playing boring old beats. Thank God for Alex and Stewart Copeland.

In drumming, there is no right or wrong; just right and left. (Sean Jones)

What does your warmup routine consist of?

Buddy Rich: " I take my hands out of my pocket."

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Mapex Saturn 10/12/14/16/22 in teal lacquer finish
Gretsch 50's-60's Round Badge 13/16/22 in Silver Sparkle finish
Gretsch New Classic 8/10/12/14/16/22 in Nitro Glass finish
Gretsch 1960 13/16/22/5x14 snare in Natural Wood finish
Mapex M series 8/10/12/14/16/20/22 in natural wood finish

Yamaha Recording Custom 1987/2005 8/10/12/13/14/16/22 in Cherry Wood finish

Cymbals are Zildjian, Sabian, Istanbul, and Wuhan.


Assorted snare drums by Ludwig, Pearl, Tama, Dunnett, Mapex, CB700, Gretsch, Grover, Slingerland and Yamaha.


#3 machinegunbassdrums

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 10:02 AM

he had a remo CS head on his varying ludwig models and he had three large pieces of tape on the batter head i believe.

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YELLOW_TOAD on 15-01 2009, 08:14:22
Bikinis should be small.....not drum sets.


#4 Kirk Blanchard

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 05:40 PM

...I liked it and still do. I think he is one of the more underrated rock drummers. He did a lot of cool stuff in the 70's and 80's when other guys were just playing boring old beats...


I agree.  His phrasing is incredible.  I always get tripped up when I try to play along because he starts his fills in such interesting places - I love it. 

#5 rushguy

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 09:47 PM

agreed he is not the most technically drummer out there but he makes it sound interesting and that what counts.

#6 machinegunbassdrums

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 10:38 PM

also from what i gather, he was playing in a "dead" room where there was no untreated sound room and the drums didnt get the carry as well.

also the miking techniques, the EQ and the mixing process will have changed the sound to some degree.

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YELLOW_TOAD on 15-01 2009, 08:14:22
Bikinis should be small.....not drum sets.


#7 drummingbulldog

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 01:36 PM

Yeah. I have read that 5150 has awful room sound for the drum room. Obviously, they get a good drum sound but playing in that room is probably not the most fun for him. I have recorded in totally dead rooms as well as live wood rooms and the wood room always makes you feel better.

I always thought Al was really musical and played off of Ed really well. They answer each others sentences really nicely. Some of his grooves for rock are unorthodox and I always appreciate a guy who comes at a different angle. Plus, he used roto toms when everyone else was turning their nose up at them. In the studio, they are fun and melodic. Bozzio used them nicely in Missing Persons too. Anyone remember the solo on the tune Windows by Missing Persons? Sly Dunbar used them with Peter Tosh too. If you guys get the chance check out the track called Crystal Ball by Peter Tosh. The drumming grooves super hard and the roto toms are sick.

In drumming, there is no right or wrong; just right and left. (Sean Jones)

What does your warmup routine consist of?

Buddy Rich: " I take my hands out of my pocket."

www.facebook.com/howielongstreet

www.facebook.com/rogerthatrocks

Mapex Saturn 10/12/14/16/22 in teal lacquer finish
Gretsch 50's-60's Round Badge 13/16/22 in Silver Sparkle finish
Gretsch New Classic 8/10/12/14/16/22 in Nitro Glass finish
Gretsch 1960 13/16/22/5x14 snare in Natural Wood finish
Mapex M series 8/10/12/14/16/20/22 in natural wood finish

Yamaha Recording Custom 1987/2005 8/10/12/13/14/16/22 in Cherry Wood finish

Cymbals are Zildjian, Sabian, Istanbul, and Wuhan.


Assorted snare drums by Ludwig, Pearl, Tama, Dunnett, Mapex, CB700, Gretsch, Grover, Slingerland and Yamaha.


#8 machinegunbassdrums

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 01:57 PM

i feel the same, playing in dead rooms just makes me feel bleh, adn the onyl way i can feel half decent is to put a load of pictures or posters up.

playing in a wood room or a live room makes my drums sing more and i feel happier playing them, my old college had a dead room for recording and i jsut felt like i totally under-performed on the recordings :(


they did, i think it's cause they both know about each others instruments, as ed played drums before alex, and alex played guitar before ed.

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YELLOW_TOAD on 15-01 2009, 08:14:22
Bikinis should be small.....not drum sets.


#9 drummingbulldog

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 05:02 PM

Yeah. Alex had a Dad that was a clainet player too so he played jazz with his Dad as a kid. I think when you listen to the early VH records you hear a lot of that influence because he swings. Ed was definitely a very musical guitarist so I can see playing with him would be easy and natural. Plus, I bet it was cool to be able to say, "Hey man, can you play this?" Then pick up the sticks or guitar and show the other the idea. I think my fav AVH tracks came on Fair Warning. I like so many drummers but he was cool to me at a young age and I never forget him or his brother.

In drumming, there is no right or wrong; just right and left. (Sean Jones)

What does your warmup routine consist of?

Buddy Rich: " I take my hands out of my pocket."

www.facebook.com/howielongstreet

www.facebook.com/rogerthatrocks

Mapex Saturn 10/12/14/16/22 in teal lacquer finish
Gretsch 50's-60's Round Badge 13/16/22 in Silver Sparkle finish
Gretsch New Classic 8/10/12/14/16/22 in Nitro Glass finish
Gretsch 1960 13/16/22/5x14 snare in Natural Wood finish
Mapex M series 8/10/12/14/16/20/22 in natural wood finish

Yamaha Recording Custom 1987/2005 8/10/12/13/14/16/22 in Cherry Wood finish

Cymbals are Zildjian, Sabian, Istanbul, and Wuhan.


Assorted snare drums by Ludwig, Pearl, Tama, Dunnett, Mapex, CB700, Gretsch, Grover, Slingerland and Yamaha.


#10 Gannut

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 04:28 PM

Yo,
I have a 6.5 x 14 Supraphonic.  I use an Evans Generra Batter Head.  I also put some PureSound Blasters on it and it gives that tone that you are looking for (I love that tone too...).  It's an awesome head...give it a try. 
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