I love the idea of the Silentstroke drumheads. The mesh they are made up of allows the drumhead to vibrate without pushing much air – meaning the shock waves they create are much smaller and therefore quieter. Brilliant stuff. The problem for me is that they are a little too quiet. This is why I decided to play around with putting a Falam Slam patch on the Silentstrokes. If you aren’t familiar, the Falam Slam patch is the small round pad that you put on a bass drum where the beater strikes it in order to give it extra durability. They are basically drum head stickers.
The idea was that the patch would push a little more air into the drum and resonate, giving more volume of especially shell tone as the air resonated. It worked. I liked every version I tried, so it was a matter of just getting the best combination. I also use the Zildjian L80 cymbals in my teaching studio, and the combination really saves my ears. However, the cymbals are louder than the Silentstrokes, but adding the patch fixes this.
Falam pads are made out of kevlar, and I have also been testing the Sound Control Clear Dot Patch – basically the same thing made out of mylar. I also experimented with the size – 2″ and 4″ patches and with a bass drum hole reinforcement ring from a Kickport that I had lying around. Another thing a played around with was putting the patch on the underside of the head, instead of on top. Oh, and drums of different sizes of course.
Overall, what I found was that I preferred putting the patch on the underside. I also found that 2″ pads were better for 10-12″ toms, but the 4″ pads were better for snares and larger. I might have liked the reinforcement ring, but the glue didn’t hold. Remo’s glue was excellent – it consistently held in every case – even when removing the pad and putting it on something else. Much of the glue remained on the mesh head, but it was easy enough to clean up with my fingernails.
The falam pads worked great on top and bottom, but I felt they were a little better on the underside. They created a little extra “tap”-like attack when playing the pad that I found useful in teaching. I started using the pad as a target for tone and technique. For example, mixing buzz strokes with free strokes, the buzz strokes should land on the drumhead’s logo while the free strokes should land on the patch. The Impact Patch created a less thumpy attack and a little more drum tone.