It is often impossible for drummers to practice without disturbing someone. Practice typically requires a dedicated room such as a studio lock-out, which gets expensive. Drum practice is also very loud and hard on drummers' hearing. Dead Ring Mutes address both issues by providing a simple solution to quiet cymbals during practice without affecting play-ability.
The Perfect Solution
The cymbal muting products on the market today are triangular foam pads that cover part of the cymbal. They take the "feel" out of playing as they require a drummer to strike foam rather than metal. They also turn drumming into target practice, because they only cover a small area and you have to strike the pad. For this reason, existing products make it impossible to work on technique and pretty much take the fun out of drumming.
Dead Ring Mutes are easy to install, by simply stretching the elastic band around the cymbal circumference. They only cover one inch of the cymbal around the edge which keeps the rest of the cymbal available for normal playing.
Many Benefits of Dead Ring Mutes:
95% reduction in “resonant ring.”
Reduce wear on drum sticks.
Protect your hearing when practicing.
Provide normal stick rebound.
Preserve cymbal edges.
Allow “real world” work on technique.
Provide natural stick feel.
Open up the crown for natural muted playing.
Save neighbor relations and family sanity.
Dead Ring Mutes are currently a Patent Pending product. They are created from woven flexible materials and will be hand made in the US. I have created a brand and a supporting website (www.deadringmutes.com). I have also created a basic demonstration video, and am in the process of filming a editing more, higher quality videos.
With this Kickstarter I would like to bring Dead Ring Mutes to market with funding for marketing, online advertising and production. I will also begin a campaign to gather endorsements from key drummers and drum lesson providers online.
Duct Tape and Muted Cymbals: The Beginning of an Idea
A year or so ago, my practice space was in my office near downtown Austin, TX. It was a great space and if I played there after hours, I could play as late as I wanted. The only issue that I had was that I never practiced. My office is about twenty minutes from my house, so it’s not very convenient to drive there on weekends or on weeknights. The idea of staying there to practice after a long day of work was not exactly exciting. I made the decision to move my drums to my home, and my home had an extra room available, so it seemed like the perfect solution.
I really wanted to make a push to get better and practice a minimum of one hour per day. The thing that I failed to take into consideration was my family. They were not at all interested in me getting better on drums. In fact, they hated the idea because of the noise. That's when I started exploring the idea of muting my drums. Actually, there was a little detour. I bought a set of electronic drums, but I hated the feel and I immediately stopped playing. The electronic drums when on craigslist and I set out to find the best drum mutes available.
My first set of mutes were the Vic Firth kind that everyone uses. They have the discs that go on the drum heads which seem to work fine, but the same material is used on the cymbals and it only covers a small portion of the cymbal. While they did work to mute the cymbals, the feel is all wrong. Hitting a foam pad is not drumming. In fact, it feels a lot like playing cheap electronic pads. Next, I tried dampening rings that fit on the underside of the cymbal. While they preserved feel, they didn’t mute the cymbal very well.
Since I wasn't having much success with existing products, I started experimenting with my own muting techniques. I tried taping cardboard to the underside of the cymbal, cutting out rings to just mute the crown, and several other ill fated ideas that all ultimately had problems. The one thing that I discovered was that duct tape around the edge of the cymbal made the cymbal quiet and was unobtrusive. I also discovered that duct tape only worked if I put it all the way around the cymbal. While the duct tape solution worked really well, it left residue on my expensive Zildjian and Sabian cymbals and looked very unattractive. However, I knew I was on to something.
I continued down this road by wrapping things around my cymbals including scarves, belts, and anything else that could find or buy. I even tried cutting open a bicycle inner tube. (It worked well, but was quite obtrusive.) My aha moment came when I cut off the bottom of a t-shirt and stretched it around my ride cymbal. It would not stay on but it worked well for muting and it made me realize that I needed a fabric or textile solution. I started experimenting with different elastic materials. Some worked, some did not. Many did not wear well or lost elasticity after a while. Eventually, I came up with the perfect size and material that led to Dead Ring Mutes. The woven product that I am now using is durable, created for folding, and works perfectly for absorbing radiant cymbal vibrations.
Risks and challenges
All of the major cymbal manufacturers make a product that competes with this product, but all of them ruin the effectiveness and fun of practice.
The primary advantage of Dead Ring Mutes is that they don't interfere with normal playing. A patent for the design has been filed. The key will be to make an impression in the market and get the brand out there before the majors catch on. I have a unique avenue by which I plan to gain endorsements that will get a lot of exposure. I am also working on getting the endorsement of several online drum lesson providers.