DrumClips came to me by way of a professional session drummer I'd worked with recently. During our session together, I walked into the live room with a roll of gaffer's tape — an all too familiar scene apparently. The drummer smiled knowingly and whipped out some strange, but ingenious, little black rubber clips that simply snap over the drum hoop while applying pressure to the drum head. 

Putting a damper on drumheads may not be the right choice for every recording situation, but it's incredibly handy to be able to simply snap a clip on, without damaging the head, in order to audition a change in resonance. I really like how DrumClips add an additional point of pressure rather than just making the drumhead sound overtly duller. Using the clips are akin to placing a finger on the part of the drum that's "poinging" too much, which is exactly what I do to figure out where to place them. In the past, I would often tape a drumhead if the style of the music called for it. Now, if damping the drums is necessary, using DrumClips with decent heads and good tuning gets me much closer to the drummer's natural sound. (If only DrumClips could save a dead snare head!) 

These handy marvels are available in three sizes: Small for snares or smaller toms; Regular for snares or larger toms; and Bass for kick drums. Each clip comes with an optional felt strip that partially decouples the rubber structure from the head, offering softer damping. Multiple clips can be used on a single drumhead (notably the snare) for heavier damping. I found the Bass DrumClip to be particularly useful for resonant (front) kick drumheads without sound holes. 

I've never been a big fan of the clumsy, messy Moongel self-adhesive dampers (AKA "gummy bears"), and sometimes hoops just don't quite do the job. Because DrumClips have become such a great studio tool for my day-to-day tracking use, I feel compelled to let everyone know about these great gadgets. Beyond their obvious functionality, convenient size, and killer price, there's not much to say here other than, go buy some DrumClips now and keep them at the studio or in your shoulder bag. And don't forget to get them back from the drummer at the end of the session! 

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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