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We have all seen them, the crazy drummers like Animal of Dr.Teeth and The Electric Mayhem. Moreover, if one has witnessed such a spectacle in person, it is no wonder that drummers do not have their drum kits fly off in every way. Furthermore, why do drummers use rugs? Does that help them drum?
Reasons Why Drummers Use Rugs
- Drummers use rugs to dampen reverberating drum sounds.
- Drummers use rugs to stop the drumset from sliding.
We will look at some of the reasons why these drum rugs are an essential component in the drummer’s professional arsenal.
Moreover, we will get up close and personal with some of the best drum rugs on the market.
First and foremost, to answer the question “Why do drummers use rugs?” we are going to bring out some simple physics.
When a drummer strikes a drum, there is a shock to the drum from the stick, mallet, or brush. This shock is a physical hit to the drum skin, which produces the sound one hears.
Shockwaves Move the Drumset
This shock produces a sound, but as one might imagine, it also sends a shockwave down through the drum and the drum stand.
If this drum stand is not magically levitating in the air, the shock will translate through the drum stand into the floor beneath.
Consider now, if one will, that the drum is typically not mounted perfectly horizontally. If we are investigating the bass drum, the drum is mounted sideways. It means that the direction of the mallet’s force striking the skin of the drum is horizontal.
Now, imagine that Animal is beating away on the drums and pounding the bass pedal. It does not require a rocket scientist to imagine the bass drum moving further away with each strike of the mallet.
Benefits Of Drum Rugs
So, how do drummers solve this wandering drum dilemma? It is quite simple; they throw a rug down under the drum kit.
The benefits of a drum rug do not stop at just helping to alleviate drum wander. Drum rugs also help to protect the floor beneath from the inevitable scratching and wearing that would occur if the drum stands and throne were all directly on top of the floor.
Drum Rugs Help Acoustics
The last hidden benefit of having a good drum rug has to do with acoustics. If one has ever been inside an empty gymnasium with a basketball, one would understand all about echo effects.
When a sound bounces off a hard surface, and there is nothing to stop the sound, an echo produces. Imagine the echos bouncing off a smooth, hard floor from under an actively played drum kit.
The drum rug acts as a dampener, soaking up the echoing sound. It prevents the drums from vibrating from the sound of their skins as well as from the sound of neighboring drums.
This dampening effect is most notable when concerning the vibrations that cause a snare drum to rattle when not struck.
Similarly, the rug can also help soundproof if you need to play drums quietly in an apartment.
Rug With a Bass Drum Stopper
Another method many drummers use to help prevent the bass drum wander is to add a bass drum stopper. Although most bass drum rugs come with a non-slip base to help prevent sliding. Some drummers still prefer to include additional components to help. One such device is a bass drum stop bar.
A bass drum stop bar is a padded weight placed on the drum rug, just against the leading edge of the bass drum. The weight helps to prevent the drum from wandering forward.
One could think of these devices the same way that those long movable curbs in many parking lots work. It is also similar in concept to a heavy bookend for a bookshelf to hold a stack of books in place on a shelf.
Different Types of Drum Rugs
As one may have gathered from the different features of drum rugs, many differences can separate the types of drum rugs.
Types of Drum Rugs
- Portable Drum Rugs
- Permanent Drum Rugs
- Isolation Mats
Portable Drum Rugs
These drum rugs are portable, with live performance in mind. They also work well for those who have to move their practice space, like a rental studio shared with other bands.
The portable drum rug usually comes with features that make it easier for transport, as a loop to tie a rolled-up mat. Or a handy rug carrying bag.
Permanent Drum Rugs
Permanent drum rugs designed for placement on the floor, are by no means intended for transport. And the drum kit set up on top without required tear down and movement of the rug is the goal of this setup. These rugs have no special features that make transport easier and are often the heaviest of drum rugs.
Isolation mats are a little different than standard portable or permanent drum rugs. Specifically designed for eliminating vibrations, these mats primarily have acoustics in mind. In other words, these are the acoustically superior mats, or at least that is the intent of the manufacturers.
Isolation mats do not always have a non-slip bottom like many of the portable or permanent mats do. The focus is on vibration and sound isolation, not on drum wander prevention.
Differences in Types of Drum Rugs
When it comes to drum rugs, one might think one type fits all. However, this is not the case, and there are several types of drum rugs with different features.
Rather than attempt to classify drum rugs into different types, let us take a look at the features that one can find on different styles of drum rugs.
Most drum rugs intended to prevent drum wander have a non-slip base. It is typically a rubberized coating on the bottom side of the rug or mat.
Many drum rugs come with extra weight manufactured right into the corners of the rug. This extra weight helps to prevent drum rug wander by holding the mat in place. The concept is similar to the previously discussed bass drum stop weights.
Many drummers swear that the traditionally woven rugs that emerge from Asian markets are among the best types for drummers to use. The acoustics of these rugs are one of the best performing types of drum rug.
Travel Loops & Carriers
Many portable drum rugs come with easy to use features that make it faster for a drummer to tear down their setup and get it moved. One such feature is an elastic loop or ties on one side of the rug. It enables the drummer or drum tech to quickly roll the mat and easily tie it in the rolled position for transport.
Another similar feature is a carrying case or bag. Some of the more sophisticated isolation mats include a carry case for the rolled-up rug.
With professional studio drum rugs and some electronic drum rugs, there are cable management ports built right into the rug. These allow for routing cabling for microphones or for electric drum pads to help with cable management.
Some of the Best Drum Rugs
Drum rugs range in price from as little as $50 to as much as $400 or more. Nevertheless, which drum rugs are the best of the bunch? When it comes to drum rugs, specialty and brand have everything to do with the price.
Assuming that one gets what one pays for, then some of the best drum rugs are those with either a superior purpose or a highly recognized brand.
For example, one of the most expensive drum rugs is a portable isolation rug by Auralex. The mat, marketed with a branding name, the HoverMat, and the marketing geared towards vibrational insulation. The rug retails in the US for around $340.
DW makes another higher-end drum rug. This brand, known amongst drummers for their kits and double-bass, has its own branded drum rug that retails around $180, depending on where one purchases it. The features are simple with the non-skip bottom surface and emblazoned DW logos in the corners of this 5.3’ x 6.6’ rug.
Tama is a well-known cymbal and drum maker, but they also have a strong line of drum rugs. Tama has stuck to a more traditional approach with its woven style drum rugs. The rugs are backed with a non-slip rubber coating and come in a variety of designs from paisley to southwestern patterns.
There are all kinds of different drumming rugs to chose from in today’s marketplace. When deciding on a drum rug, one should pay more attention to the features than the aesthetics. Furthermore, one’s selection should be based upon the need and not the want. Get something that works and does the job. That way, nothing is slowing down one’s beat.
What is the main reason you use a drum rug?
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- “Why are drum kits often placed on carpets or bits of carpets? Is it acoustics or the slippage of components?“ Quora, https://www.quora.com/Why-are-drum-kits-often-placed-on-carpets-or-bits-of-carpets-Is-it-acoustics-or-the-slippage-of-components, Accessed June 21, 2020.
- https://www.reddit.com/r/drums/comments/24vfy3/question_about_drum_rugs/, Accessed June 21, 2020.
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