Getting into Funk Music: The Ultimate Drumkit Guide!
The ideal drumkits for unleashing funky rhythms, along with essential considerations to elevate your percussive journey in the WORLD OF FUNK!
If you were to play heavy metal music on the guitar, you would need a few things. Distortion pedals and having a 4 by 12 amp will be a great way to start!
I want to write these articles creating different styles on the drumkit, starting with Funk. Some things are obvious but many things are overlooked.
The Bass Drum
It is easier to make a small drum sound big as opposed to making a big drum sound small. If you listen to old-school funk music like James Brown and the Meters, it's most likely those drummers were using 20-inch bass drums.
Having a small bass drum is important in funk because it creates a tone, similar to the toms. The reason we use a bigger bass drum in Rock/Metal is purely for the attack. This sound creates a 'thud' sound which isn't ideal for Funk. Check out these small bass drums! (20 and 18 inches)
The Snare Drum
If there is something that funk music needs from a snare it is a high-pitched crack! I feel it is important to tune your snare drum high to create a funky feel. Make sure it is not too tight otherwise, you will choke the drum. This means it will have a high-pitched sound but no lasting tone.
The depth of a snare drum is really important. 14 by 5 inches is stock standard on most drum kits. If you are going for some old-school funk sound, I recommend a wood snare. If you want something more modern, check out something made from metal.
Most drum companies won't talk about what makes a drum kit funky. Although I feel funk and fusion music are very similar when it comes to tone. Fusion sizes usually mean 8, 10 for the small tom, 12 for the middle tom, and 14 for the floor tom. These sizes are perfect for Funk music! Simply because these size drums have a lot of tone. Check out these funky-sounding drum kits!
The hi-hats are super important when it comes to playing funk music! As they open a lot and have many accents, it is important to get the right set. I always liked 'brighter' sounding cymbals. Don't get anything that is 'hand hammered' as these are 'darker' sounding cymbals used primarily for jazz music.
14-inch hi-hats are stock standard and will get you by playing funk. If you can afford a second set, I recommend 13-inch or 15-inch as they sustain for a long period of time. Check out these hi-hats!
If you are playing in bands that do lots of gigs, I recommend 'single-braced' hardware. As you are not playing extremely loud funk music, there is no need to have extra-weight cymbal stands. This will just make it harder to carry your gear from your car to the club.
These kits all sound great and have single-braced stands. Check them out!
I can't stress how important sticks are to playing certain styles of music. Get 5a's for funk if you are playing live gigs. They are thin but will not break. I also recommend 'Nylon' tip sticks as they are 'brighter' on the cymbals. If you are playing laid-back funk at a quiet volume, 7a sticks will also suffice.
In conclusion, remember that funk music is all about the groove! Keep your backbeat on the snare consistent, ghost notes quiet, and don't slam the bass drum. Playing a beat too loud will kill the funk feel.
Listen to James Brown, the Meters, and Prince for inspiration. Keep practicing!
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