Metal - Part 1

The Noise of Metal

To me a lot of percussion is about metal. Not just Gongs & Cymbals, but any sort of metal that can be beaten, shaken, rubbed, scraped, bowed - anything. Metal is the best part of percussion. Suffice to say, this is not the stuff you do while playing in a pop band! But this is serious weird stuff. Not for the faint of heart!

The 1st photo shows the 3 main pieces of sheet metal I use. The largest is 24”x36” and was found over 30 years ago at a club I was playing at that was remodeling. It’s just corrugated/textured aluminum. The other 2 are basic sheet metal, like you find in ducting. They are 32”x14” and 27.5”x9” and were taken from a construction dumpster. The smaller one is real thin and flexible. The other one is a bit thicker. None of these create a tone, like anything made of bronze. Instead, it’s a short white noise sound that makes a great alternative to the longer, resonating bronze ones.


The smaller ones work great by holding them by the end and flexing them up & down, creating a warbling/modulating sound.


You can also grabe both sides and get a sort of snap creating a woop-woop sound.



I also flex them against the floor and use mallets.


Or play 2 sheets on top of each other. Be creative!


So by now, you either think this is the coolest stuff, or complete rubbish!

I also love to flex the metal on the edge of a drum in an up & down motion.



I love this type of thing, but you need to be careful to NOT cut your hand on a sharp edge. I've done that in the heat of a performance.

You can also lay the sheet metal across a drum. I put objects on it and hit the end, creating a great wobbly sound.


Top photo, Metalworks, and all other photos © 2008 Michael Bettine

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