What are good ways of making drums quieter?

Author: Simon DasGupta.
August 12, 2022

In this article

Reducing drum set volume is a challenge that many beginner drummers face. However, there are several practical solutions to this problem, and some may be simpler than you might think!

  • Is soundproofing a room a viable option?
  • Are electronic drums any good?
  • How can acoustic drums be made quieter?

Is soundproofing a room a viable option?

Possibly, but it's a very costly exercise. Unless you have a budget of around $10-15K to do it properly, then sadly, it's probably not going to be completely effective.

To truly soundproof a room, you have to construct a room within a room with a raised floor, lowered ceiling, and sound insulated walls. Aside from the floor, none of the walls or the ceiling should touch the room's main structure to avoid vibrations. Add to this the fact that you need a double door and most likely some lighting, power, and air conditioning, and you start to get an idea of why this is so costly.

Unfortunately, if you do not follow these guidelines, you can spend a lot of money on a room that marginally reduces sound. Some companies sell soundproof cabins for self-assembly, but these are expensive, take up a lot of space, and are not always the most visually appealing solution.

Are electronic drums any good?

Yes! Electronic drums are a great solution for aspiring drummers where the volume could be an issue. Plugin your headphones and drum away to your heart’s content.

When you can let loose, you can use a powered monitor for external sound. This is a great solution for musicians living in apartments or close to neighbors. However, it is worth noting that striking the pads, regardless of whether they are rubber or mesh, still creates the sound of the stick striking a surface, which can still be audible in adjacent rooms, or rooms above or below.

The sound of a bass drum beater playing a rubber or plastic bass drum post can also make quite a sound. So although it is much reduced, it should not be considered a completely volume-free solution. Still, if there is space between your practice room and the rest of the household, this is less of a concern.

Are there any solutions for acoustic drums?

Drum silencing pads are among the best options to reduce volume. Vic Firth manufactures Drum Mutes that can come in box sets for complete drum sets or individual pads for additional drums and cymbals.

Evans has a similar product called Sound Off Pads, which are also excellent. In both cases, these pads attach to the top of the drum or over the top of the cymbal and significantly reduce volume. While the drums are mostly silenced, you can still hear the tone, and the pads feel great to play. Also, at less than $200 for a complete set of drum and cymbal pads, this is a great value solution to a problem that could otherwise cost significantly more to resolve.

The great thing about these pads is that they are easy to remove when you want to play freely without them. If you are interested in purchasing any of these items, check out the links below.

What about lowering bass drum volume?

The acoustic bass drum, the largest drum with the most low-frequency sound, can produce a lot of volume and tone. Some higher-end drum sets come with a pillow inside the shell, often called an EQ pillow. However, most drum sets do not, and it is always a good idea to add some dampening to this drum. You don’t have to be too scientific here.

A regular household pillow inside the drum or even a blanket that touches both drum heads can be the best solution. You’ll find that the drum's sound and feel can be improved with some well-placed internal dampening. Your family and neighbors will thank you for this, and your bass drum will sound great! We've included a link to the popular Evans EQ Pillow below.

Brushes and rods.

You can also play acoustic drums with brushes or rods to reduce sound further. Brushes have multiple strands of wire at the end. These strands can be metal or plastic and can significantly reduce the drums and cymbals' sound. They are usually employed in jazz and lighter playing, but there’s no reason why we can’t use them for general practice.

Rods are made of multiple wood dowels and are usually available in different weights. All are lighter than sticks and give some more options to reduce volume.

Tone rings and gel pads.

Tone rings and gels/putty pads are also useful tools, although they mostly address the drum's ringing and tone rather than volume. Tone rings are plastic rings that sit on top of the drum heads, typically half an inch to two inches in diameter. One of the most popular gels is called Moongel. This is a blue gel that sticks to the drum head and controls tone and ringing, and you'll see them in our videos.

External mufflers can also be used to dampen volume. These attach to the drum's side and press a felt muffler down onto the drum head. Older drums are often equipped with internal mufflers. These are found more on vintage drums and are considered a little old school. Modern gels are more subtle, controllable, and easily removable. We've included a purchase link to them below.

Good manners go a long way.

Volume control aside, it's a good idea to have agreements with family and neighbors regarding when you will and won't play drums, especially if you are playing acoustic drums without sound dampening. Don’t let volume issues get in the way of your practice time. There are solutions for all budgets, and playing the drums has never been more accessible.

Buying the products recommended in this article.

If you can't make it to your friendly local drum store, you can purchase using the links below. As an affiliate of Amazon.com, we may receive a commission if you choose to do this.

Silencing Pads.

Vic Firth Drum Mutes. Complete set for Rock-sized drum set. (22-inch bass drum, 12, 13, 16-inch toms, 14-inch snare drum, hi-hat cymbals, 2 x crash cymbal pads). Please measure the diameter of your drums before purchasing. If your drum sizes are different from this, explore the alternative size options and select the appropriate pack. Individual pads are available for sale.

Internal Bass Drum Pads.

Evans Bass Drum EQ Pillow. This is a great pad that will sit in your bass drum, lightly touching both front and back drum heads.


Moongel. It's not from the Moon, but it is a gel. This is one of our favorite products, as seen in our videos.

Practice Pads.

Evans Real Feel 12-inch Practice Pad. This is our favorite pad. Great value, double-sided for different feels, and great rebound!

DW Go Anywhere 5 Piece Practice Pad Set. This is a brilliantly designed set from Drum Workshop, which comes mounted on a solid stand. Don't forget to add a bass drum pedal if you want to use the bass pad feature.

Want to learn more about beginner drumming? Check out our FREE guide.

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