Secrets of the Stax Drum Sound

stax recording techniques
Artist, , , ,
PerformerAl Jackson, Jr., Howard Grimes, Willie Hall
Gear, , , , , , , ,
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Al Jackson, Jr. was the house drummer during the heyday of Stax Records. Willie Hall and Howard Grimes sat in when Jackson was not available and took over after his death. The following are some of the recording setups that were used at Stax during that time.

  • The drum kit was usually a Rogers, sometimes with a Ludwig 400 or Ludwig Acrolite snare
  • Drums were either recorded in a small booth or surrounded by baffles (gobos)
  • Jackson often placed his wallet on the snare drum to deaden it
  • Snare mics included Neumann KM84, RCA 77DX, ElectroVoice RE-15, Shure 545
  • Kick was often mic’ed with an RE-20
  • Drums were recorded through the Specrasonics console
  • Snare was sometimes detuned until the head was floppy and then tightened with the snare’s built-in damper
  • Hi-hat was never mic’ed
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