For my final course at my community college here in Clevleand, I'm recording a free-form/improvising drummer, my friend J. Guy Laughlin.
Here's a good Youtube clip of him performing solo at Turnup Records in Kent.
Now, so far I've recorded him using your standard drum set up. Overhead pencils to catch high frequencies, Shure SM57s for the tom and snare action, an AKG D112 for his kick, and I used an Earthworks omni mic for capturing the sound of the room.
This worked quite well for when he was going full-blast on his kit. My problem though was capturing the more quiet, indirect sounds, like when he takes the small cymbal and drags it across his snare head in the clip. He also uses different sticks to get other sustained sounds out of his drums. While this was sounding fine over the monitors, the levels were less than adequate and didn't give me nearly enough "meat" to work with in post.
I'm not looking to mimic the recorded material of Eli Keszler or Chris Corsano, but there is a way to capture these tiny sounds live, without causing phasing issues and such, right? My one instructor suggested that I try placing a mic (like a pencil) by his snare RIGHT when he starts to make the smaller sounds, but this in my mind is inconceivable given the nature of improvisation (that and this studio is HUGE, I don't think even having a second engineer handy is going to make for good timing).
We have pretty much every standard mic and brand in our studio. I'm open to any suggestions. Cheers!