It’s quite hard to find a drummer who doesn’t place their drum kit on a rag. It’s very common for drummers, regardless of the place they perform at. But does a drum mat actually influence the quality of play, or is it just a stylish element of the drummers’ subculture? Let’s take a look at the actual benefits to see if it’s worth buying a rag for your drum kit.
The first and the biggest reason why drummers use drum mats is shockwave reduction. This is all about the physical force that strikes the drums when you play them. While you usually hit the snare and the floor tom in a top-down movement, the rack toms and the bass drum receive the force under angle. Due to this, the entire kit starts to move forward!
That’s where a drum rug adds movement resistance to the floor and dampens the shockwave. In most cases, it’s enough to minimize the movement of the gear, but some drummers also use a bass drum stopper to block it permanently and match the aggressive style. Make sure to get a rug with a built-in stopper if you play any genre with energetic bass drum lines.
No matter where you play, a rug will make the kit much more stable and boost the level of comfort. You can ensure that if you try to play a song without a rug first and play it with a rug underneath right afterwards.
Imagine yourself playing basketball in an empty gym. The echo would be just terrible! The similar thing will happen if you start playing a drum kit on a hard floor in your room. The less echo suppression objects there are, the more reverb and acoustical mess you hear while playing.
A drum mat helps to reduce sound wave reflection from the floor and catches a part of the higher frequencies produced by cymbals and snare. As a result, the sound is less messy because the echo doesn’t interfere with clear sounds as much as it does without a rug.
Of course, a rug doesn’t create a complete sound isolation layer, so you should also consider installing bass traps and sound diffusors in the room where you play the drums to achieve higher sound clarity. That’s also an obligatory measure if you want to make records that sound well in the mix. Unfortunately, most homes are full of hard materials that have high sound reflecting properties and can easily mess the whole experience by stunning you with echo and snare rattling.
Stage & Studio Benefits
Apart from blocking the rack forward movement and suppressing unwanted sounds, some professional drum mats let you be better organized in the studio and on stage by helping with commutation. Such rags have special slots and grooves for microphone wires so that you can thread them through the marked holes and be more efficient while connecting everything to the multicore or any other port you have.
You can benefit from this option when you are getting ready to perform live on stage. Drum kits usually take more time than other instruments to set and adjust, so soundguys will bless you for saving their time and nerves with a carefully organized set of microphone wires.
Another smart thing to do with a stage drum rug is to mark the positions of each piece with a sticky tape. This will additionally boost your setting up speed and give you more time for the soundcheck. If you practice only at home, these marks can help you to remember the most convenient positions for each piece and return them to place quickly if needed. Some mats also come with special heavy-duty, reusable, sticky mat markers that make it easier for you to outline the best positions and number them. Marker packs are sold separately as well.
If you have a portable drum mat, you will always be able to set up the whole kit faster and benefit from the improved sound and stability anywhere you go.
Last but not least, a drum mat can be a great item to liven up the interior of the place you play at and an attribute of your personal style. There are numerous design options with different specs on the market, so you can simply choose the one that matches your current needs and taste the best. For some reason, most drummers are quite conservative and prefer either unicolored or, surprisingly, classic ornamental rugs with vintage patterns. Supposedly, this tradition came from times when there were no special drum rugs and everybody used old home carpets instead.
A Worthy Investment
Summing up all the benefits listed above, you can clearly see that a drum rag is a drummers’ must-have in the vast majority of cases. It can add up many points to the quality of your drumming experience by keeping the kit in place, improving the sound quality, and even helping you to organize the set up in the studio and on stage. It’s a relatively cheap accessory, but its importance shouldn’t be undervalued. It’s almost as important as a pair of drumsticks!