Video: Achieving a Bob Marley-Style Reggae Drum Sound | What's That Sound?

In this week's episode of our What's That Sound series, Noam and Jessica stir it up and recreate the recorded drum sound of Carlton "Carly" Barrett, the long-time drummer of reggae pioneers Bob Marley & The Wailers.

Reggae Drum Loops in the Style of Bob Marley
Reggae Drum Loops in the Style of Bob Marley
By Reverb
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When it came to tracking the kit for this particular episode, isolation and precise stereo panning was where it's at—as a percussionist, Barrett's style was all about syncopation, flashy fills, and plenty of emphasis on the hi-hats. We highlight this by placing the overheads (this time, a pair of AKG 451s) in close proximity to the cymbals (a pair of 13" UFIP hi-hats), only about six inches away from the sound source.

That unmistakable reggae snare sound—courtesy of a Yamaha Jimmy Chamberline Signature snare close-mic'd with a Beyerdynamic M201)—was created by removing the bottom head and the snares, stuffing it with a piece of acoustic foam, and tuning the top head as high as possible.

For the two toms, we relied once again on out our trusty 13" and 16" Gretsch rack and floor, each mic'd with a Sennheiser 421 and dampened by towels. The kick drum—a blanket-muffled Ludwig Vistalite mic'd with a Neumann U 47 FET with the front head removed—was played with a soft beater.

How close did we get to the original? Watch the full video above.

Learn more about how your favorite artists created their signature sounds in our ongoing What's That Sound? series.

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