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Microphone Month 4

How to Cut a Hole in a Kick Drum Resonant Head

We don’t want to start an argument about whether kick drums record better with or without a resonant head. Likewise, we’ll avoid the “hole or no hole” debate. But if you decide to cut a hole in your resonant head, we have a home-cooked method that works without the risk of accidentally splitting the head.

First, you need to decide where to position the hole. It’s often set about one third of the way up the head and near the hoop on the right or left. You can locate the hole anywhere you like, but many drummers suggest not putting it dead center. That spot transmits too much beater attack and reacts more like a single-headed drum. You might need to experiment with old heads to find the best-sounding spot for your particular drum. When you’re satisfied, mark the spot with a pencil or marker.

Now it’s time to actually create the hole. Avoid your gut instinct to grab a utility knife and start cutting! Instead, heat up an empty soup can (with the label peeled off) on the stove just long enough to make it hot enough to melt the head’s plastic (see, we told you it was home-cooked!). Using oven mitts, pliers, or hot object-handling device, place the can on your marks on the head. Apply gentle pressure until the can has melted through the plastic. Carefully pull the can back through the hole and place it somewhere safe. Now you can take your trusty utility knife and gently clean up any rough edges.

A few things to keep in mind:
1. Do not leave the can on the stove unattended. It’s not worth burning down the house just to get that perfect kick sound.

2. Be very careful handling the can. It’s hot!

3. Remember, gentle pressure is the key to getting the hole placed without ripping or splitting the head.

Sweetwater assumes no liability for any damage sustained to you, your home, or your kit using this method. Take your time, use your… uhh, head, and you’ll be fine.

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