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Getting the Bonham Sound

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  • Getting the Bonham Sound


    I'm just getting started figuring out how to get certain sounds out of my TD-8. One that has been particularly vexing is the huge sound on several Zep tunes, including "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You." The snare in particular seems elusive. I called Roland and have since tried increasing the reverb and playing around with the EQ, but it ain't quite there. Thoughts?

  • #2
    oooh, side question, did bonham ever record with his vistalites?
    td-6, pro-mark, remo, sabian, dw, tama rockstar.


    • #3
      Hate to rain on your parade but you're setting yourself up for disappointment. I don't think you want to assume your $800 box (or whatever a TD8 costs) is going to reproduce exactly what you hear on radio, CD's, etc. At a minimum you will need to invest on some outboard gear and then you will need to know what you are doing to properly utilize it. Good reverb, compression, etc.

      The fact that you can even come close is something to be happy about - don't ruin a good experience with unrealistic expectations. I'm not saying you can't nail some of the sounds you are looking for - just be realistic.
      Kit Pic 1 Kit Pic 2 Kit Pic 3... And FOR SALE I have: 3 PD-9's, MDS-10 purple rack w/cables/pad and cym mounts. See classified posts for details or PM me.


      • #4
        I think JBRip! was an attempt at that. As I recall, there were similarities but I didn't save it. It's a TD-10 patch and FatTim has a TD-8. I don't know how similar the sounds are in the 10 vs 8 or if it would be any help to him.
        Kit Pic 1 Kit Pic 2 Kit Pic 3... And FOR SALE I have: 3 PD-9's, MDS-10 purple rack w/cables/pad and cym mounts. See classified posts for details or PM me.


        • #5
          and now, two months later....

          If you can find a TD-5 module with the upgraded sound samples (circa 1998), it has a snare sample called "LedZ", which I have never found on any other Roland module. It REALLY sounds like John Bonham's snare!! (I still have my TD-5, but I'm hanging on to it!!)

          It would probably be a hassle to use it on a live gig, but invaluable in the studio. I'll never understand why Roland didn't include that sample in any of their later modules. They have certainly put a bunch of useless snare samples in them (IMO) - could it have hurt to put just one more sample in there?


          [This message has been edited by Slash Crazy (edited May 18, 2002).]
          I think, therefore I am....or at least I think I am!


          • #6
            This probably isnt much help seeing as you have a td8, but i was playing arong with an alesis dm pro the other day in my local drum shop & it has a led zeppelin patch as a default.....does the exact sound you want......cant wait to get a dm pro...they're great!


            • #7
              DM PRO

              I had a DM PRO it did have some great sounds. I found it very complex to dig into the settings and tweak. Also my DM always locked up. Alesis gave me a new unit and it too kept locking up.
              I sold it and bought a TD8. The TD8 has been great.
              good luck... have a great day... rick
              (Chrome Hart BX Kit, TD 8 Module, All Roland Cymbals, Electrovoice SXA 250 Powered Monitor, Yamaha 10/2 Mixer, Alesis Pico Verb, BBE 482i Sonic Maximizer, Samson S-Phone Headphone Amp/Mixer), V Club Kit, Boss BR-8 Digital Recorder, Sony 7509 Headphones, Roc & Soc's
              Charcoal Gray Metallic GMS Kit, Turquoise Sparkle Slingerland Kit. Many Zildjians...
              DRUMS - WOOHOO! I'm SILLY!


              • #8
                USE....samples.... w/ VOODOO....

                I have a TD-8 as well......

                But I also have a MINI-MIDI kit that I am triggering from my MAC TITANIUM Powerbook.....

                I use VOODOO by Bitheadz.... This program offers 14 triggering pads and I use a MIDIMAN 2x2 Midi (cheap) interface and trigger the sounds from my ROLAND OCTAPAD.....

                the OCTAPAD works perfect, because it has 8 pads.... plus 6 1/4" jacks for external pads.... making 14 TOTAL PADS..
                exactly enough for VOODOO.....

                Well, my friend did his HOMEWORK.....and tool samples.... of BONHAM's kit sounds from a variety of CD recordings....

                while, I am not a SAMPLING expert, he did a pretty good job, and if I were to really get a perfect sample, I can use VOODOO to manipulate the sample file itself.... THIS is a little over my HEAD....

                BUT, VOODOO can import AIFF format and u can apply these sounds to any TRIGGER.... based on the MIDI note number........



                • #9
                  Cool idea, but you need to get separate hits of each of Bonham's drums.. I don't know of a lot of songs (by any group) where the only thing you hear is the drummer hitting ONE drum and letting it ring out, and then when the ambience dies, hitting ONE other drum, etc, etc.. You can get short snips of drums sounds, sure. But you won't get the full effect of the sound unless it's by itself.

                  I remember back in 1992 sampling the kick drum and the snare flam from 'Carry on Wayward Son' by Kansas. Right at the beginning, there's 4 kick notes (boom boom, boom boom), then whack! on the snare. Well I was able to trim the samples to use only the 4th kick hit and the second snare hit of the flam. The result? a 1/2 second or better kick sample (with room sound) and a slightly shorter snare sample, with room sound and ringing of the head. Sounded decent and I was able to use it in a few songs I was creating on the computer. I also sampled a 16" china for Abacab by Genesis which I also had on the computer.

                  My point is, there's some useable stuff out there, but to get a nice long sustain you're gonna have a tough time unless you can find flams and things that you can take 1 hit from. Generally I would think you'll get about the same length of time in those samples as you will from the drum brain's internal sounds due to other things following close behind on most recordings.. If you can match the room sound and work your way backwards dialing in sounds, that might be the way to go..
                  Expanded TD-10, TD-7, PTX-8, DrumKAT 3.8, 8xPD7, 5xPD9, 4xKD7, FD7, 3xPD100, 4xPD120, 4xHart Acupad TE3, 2xECymbalX, Pintech Kick, 10xLP Spike, 2xSapphire, 3xPTT8, 1xPSD8, PBD8 Kick, 2xSynare 3, 2xAcrylic Cymbals, Gibraltar/Roland racks


                  • #10
                    When The Levee Breaks

                    Okay guys, I'm going to attempt to re-create Bonham's drum sound on this awesome track from Led Zep IV on my TD-6. Okay, when you've stopped laughing have a read of the following I ripped from an article by a guy called Bill O'Neill from Venice, CA.

                    There is *a lot* of stuff goin' on in this, one of my favorite Zep songs, so forgive me if I don't talk about all of it. And I've used the remastered Zep IV as a reference, so any time notes are based on that.

                    First off, of course, is the tremendously huge and powerful sound of Bonham's drums. Most of you are probably familiar with the story behind this, but here it is in Page's words: "We had actually tried to record ["Levee"] in a regular studio and it just didn't happen, but we knew there was something there, that we just had to try another attempt. When we got to Headley Grange, Bonzo's drumkit was set up in the hall. Right from the first album the whole object was to try and make the drums sound like drums, but this hall made them sound like super cannons. It was a three-story entrance hall with a staircase going all the way around it. The minuite we heard that we said, 'Let's try Levee Breaks and see what happens!' And of course, that gave the backbone to the overall sound" (Musician magazine, Nov 1990).

                    Page has been quoted saying something like "Oh, we just hung a mike over the drums and away we went" which is surely and oversimplification. There are very likely two (or more) mikes over those drums, and another in front of the kick drum. The drum tracks as a whole are stereo; the reverb especially spreads around the stereo spectrum a bit, although the drums themselves don't move much within it. This stereo sounds to me like the natural sound of the room, with the drums miked from a far distance (like ten or more feet above them). And to get stereo, at least two mikes are needed. The kick drum has plenty of oomph, and was certainly treated with an additional mike, probably fairly close to it. And Page, that sneaky guy, has place a close-mike on the snare and hi-hat, too, and he's performing some aural sleight-of-hand. Check it: way off on the right side of your head, buried in Page's guitar, a snare drum is banging away. Then, just to be fancy, he pumps it up a little during the first verse. At 1:35, he whacks it up and down to accentuate one hi-hat hit. From 1:43 to 1:47, in that break between stanzas, he cranks it up to balance against the harmonica on the other side.

                    Bonham's fills are the primary clue that the main drum sound comes from overhead distance mikes; notice how loud the cymbals are compared to the snare. That's because the cymbals are physically closer to the mikes. Now, cymbals are naturally much louder than toms, but listen to how hard Bonham hits those toms -- he really brings them out. That kind of playing is a studio skill, a trick, if you will, of it's own.

                    Okay, as if the huge sound of the hall wasn't enough, in the first two measures of unaccompanied drums, Page has added echo to Bonham's drums. Page did the same thing to Bonham's sound on "Heartbreaker." Notice how the echos make the part swing, and make it even more interesting. Notice also that the echoes disappear when the guitar and harmonica enter; keeping the echoes going would've cluttered the track.
                    I've only had the TD6 a couple of weeks and haven't gone into any real 'depth' with it yet. Of coure I'm being a tad optimistic (naive?) but I'll let you know how I get on, or when I give up...
                    Still miss you baby, but my aim's gettin' better...


                    • #11
                      No laughing here, man. You might want to use kit 31, (HevyRock) as a starting point. I think that kit is pretty close already. Some ambience tweaks might be all you need...


                      • #12
                        One of the reasons his skins sounded more powerful then the cymbals is because Bonham hit his cymbals much lighter then the toms during recordings and when the mix was pumped up to be laid down on tape the toms had this awesome sound and the cymbals were not over-killing the mix.


                        • #13
                          J Bonham

                          I too had a song I wanted to lay a "bonham inspired" part on. What I ended up with was this:


                          Don't get me wrong, Im not saying I sound like Bonham, Im just saying that Bonham came to mind when I was thinking up this part.

                          I used a sound called Bomb for the bass drum I ended up putting a little bit of phaser or flanger on it too. Then picked a snare with tons of reverb from a prepatch kit called ....crack I think.. I cant remember atm.

                          But one other thing that helps you get that Bonham sound is the cabasa on the +'s Check it out on the track above.

                          By the way, Im new here to these forums and look forward to discussing drums with you all. Happy Holidays

                          Last edited by dizz; 12-27-03, 05:59 AM.
                          <--- www.bumpandsway.com --->


                          • #14
                            Trippy song man. You definetely got the big-drum sound going. I really liked it!


                            • #15
                              Thanks drrags!
                              <--- www.bumpandsway.com --->