Hey, church guys … what's with the plastic drummer shield?

mattmccloskey

Supporting Member
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5,688
The best way to control the sound is absorbent gobos. Ideally gobos on three sides, an absorbent ‘cloud’ above the drummer, and then plexi in the front (gobo would be better, but the plexi is necessary if you want visual contact between the drummer and musical director).
This is done sometimes for pit bands, and works extremely well in contrast to just an open top plexi cage on three sides, where the sound can still bounce up and out the back.
 

JCW308

Supporting Member
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7,795
Rare is the drummer that has the skilled intelligence to control his volume to what is appropriate. " I gotta get my sound " the Plexiglas is ineffective for the most part. It's either a built in obsession by the venue/ FOH sound wrecker or a crutch for a less than skilled drummer who can't play well at low volume..
Absolutely clueless.
 

laurabaileysirishcre

Supporting Member
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403
Our church has tried about everything, full box, shield only, no shield, and these quiet acoustic drum and cymbals (they looked like the real thing but you could actually talk over them at a normal conversation volumes).

Right now we are using these shields that only block the cymbals as they are really the problem in our room. Its not completely a volume issue, mainly the high end of some of the cymbals is really harsh and fatiguing after 10-15 minutes. We still mic everything but I think drums are mainly from the stage but the cymbals are through the house where our FOH person eqs out the harshness. It has been working well.
 

jumpnblues

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5,421
There are a lot more venues than churches using them. They're nothing new by any means. They've been in use for decades in rock bands and even country bands.

Drums are such an acoustically loud instrument that they often benefit from acoustic attenuation in the form of shields. I've also seen and heard them used with guitar amps. Not sure, but it seems I read somewhere recently where Robben Ford used them. They also help preserve the hearing of the first few rows of fans. Especially in small venues.
 
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TubeStack

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The whole plastic shield thing is very 2020/Covid-19.

Maybe these churches were ahead of their time!
 

fetchmybeer

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If a church can't handle a double bass setup with a Dave Lombardo type drummer, it ain't rockin' enough for me!
 

stimpson

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1,678
Most churches need to have a fairly low stage volume for a number of reasons, and good front of house control of the mix. With acoustic drums that pretty much mandates a shield like that, or use of an electronic drum kit. If it makes you feel better, many church crowds cringe at the sight of a Marshall stack.
i showed up for a gig with a marshall half stack and they put one of these shields in front of my cabinet. after our set, the soundman charged us $15 for a soundboard recording. we never played at that place again
 

PB+J

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1,498
Semi professional or dad band musicians don’t know how to modulate their volume. They simply can’t play quietly and believe it can’t be done. Also they are playing in church bands to live out rock star fantasies
 

gtrdave

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5,100
Absolutely clueless.
No, actually he's right on the mark. I've been involved in worship for 25+ years, been part-time and full-time on staff at churches and have played at churches with 2000+ people in attendance and less than 50 and one constant through them all is that really skilled musicians and especially drummers are rare in church.
A drummer who can play with dynamics and play in-time without a click and can play to the room is not very common in the world as it is, save for true professionals and a few others, and church drummers are usually weekend warriors who pretty much start songs by yelling "Hulk Smash!" and then have at it with their pseudo-solo stylings.
So, churches have adopted ways to try and tame the pounders by putting them behind a ClearSonic shield and maybe even toss in a few Sorber panels to try and further mute the mashers.
Honestly, my experience has shown me that the money would be MUCH better spent on having the drummers take proper drum lessons to learn rudiments and dynamics. And here's a clue: try using your wrists instead of your elbows ALL OF THE TIME?!!?

Yet I digress, I removed the drum shield at my last church and instead worked with the drummers and with the kit in an effort to educate them and improve the overall team and experience. Darker cymbals help as do Moongels and 7A or 8D sticks, but there is NO substitute for proper education and technique. If you can get the drummers to learn and grow, they will appreciate it as will everyone else.
 

JCW308

Supporting Member
Messages
7,795
No, actually he's right on the mark. I've been involved in worship for 25+ years, been part-time and full-time on staff at churches and have played at churches with 2000+ people in attendance and less than 50 and one constant through them all is that really skilled musicians and especially drummers are rare in church.
A drummer who can play with dynamics and play in-time without a click and can play to the room is not very common in the world as it is, save for true professionals and a few others, and church drummers are usually weekend warriors who pretty much start songs by yelling "Hulk Smash!" and then have at it with their pseudo-solo stylings.
So, churches have adopted ways to try and tame the pounders by putting them behind a ClearSonic shield and maybe even toss in a few Sorber panels to try and further mute the mashers.
Honestly, my experience has shown me that the money would be MUCH better spent on having the drummers take proper drum lessons to learn rudiments and dynamics. And here's a clue: try using your wrists instead of your elbows ALL OF THE TIME?!!?

Yet I digress, I removed the drum shield at my last church and instead worked with the drummers and with the kit in an effort to educate them and improve the overall team and experience. Darker cymbals help as do Moongels and 7A or 8D sticks, but there is NO substitute for proper education and technique. If you can get the drummers to learn and grow, they will appreciate it as will everyone else.
Guess we have different experiences. Been doing the same thing in VERY large churches since 1991. This thread is so off topic. Somehow it got to be "shield OR technique" and if you have one you don't have the other - and that is simply not true. Many pro drummers I have worked with also play in churches, and also are fine with the clear shields. It's really not one or the other. Many churches just have them because they are going direct with everything and have IEMs but they still have acoustic drums. Of course the shield disappears when the switch to an electric drum set.
 
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gtrdave

Member
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5,100
Guess we have different experiences. Been doing the same thing in VERY large churches since 1991. This thread is so off topic. Somehow it got to be "shield OR technique" and if you have one you don't have the other - and that is simply not true. Many pro drummers I have worked with also play in churches, and also are fine with the clear shields. It's really not one or the other. Many churches just have them because they are going direct with everything and have IEMs but they still have acoustic drums. Of course the shield disappears when the switch to an electric drum set.
But you can (as I and others have) easily prove that a shield does not help matters and in most cases they ADD reflections and delay and cause muddiness in the overall sound by using an analyzer and performing an A/B test. Now, if you want to talk about a full isolation enclosure as is used at many of the megachurches then that's a different story. Granted, they can run $10K+ for the manufactured ones, but they are really the only way to properly and effectively accomplish a shielded drum kit on stage.

My church in L.A. included about 5 pro-touring drummers. Guys who played with Larry Carlton and Barry Manilow and J-Lo and Janet Jackson and others and these guys played an unshielded acoustic kit on a small stage in a church that legally held less than 500 (but we'd normally exceed that at all three services) and they all had incredible technique and dynamics. A drum shield was never brought up in discussion.

Using an electric kit is, for me, the extremely last resort because while I'm a guitarist first, I also play other instruments including the drums and I can tell the difference even with the high-end Roland kits. Sadly, those are usually out of the price range of churches that are forcing e-drums on their team and so they get saddled with the cheap Yamaha or Alesis or Simmons (or worse) kits. That's drummer abuse, imho...but I totally understand some churches think they have no other choice.
 

AltecGreen

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,173
I usually see the plexiglass covers only in large scale symphonic or operatic metal concerts. Certainly not quiet playing. They seem to used to prevent interference with the orchestral instruments. Here are some examples that definitely have nothing common with church music.

Symphonic Metal-Within Temptation

Operatic Metal-Therion

Black Metal-Satyricon
 




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