Technique of the Week – Glyn Johns Method

John Pickford is here with the latest technique of the week, and he’s chosen the Glyn Johns Method – a no-fuss drum mic’ing technique that’s done the rounds with many of music’s alumni…

glyn johns method

The Glyn Johns method is a simple drum kit mic’ing technique using 3 or 4 mics, as heard on albums by The Rolling Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin. There are several interpretations of it, however the principal remains the same. You need a good sounding kit in a decent room to make it work. Start with two ‘overhead’ mics, preferably good quality condensers with a cardioid polar pattern.


The first mic should be placed around 4 feet (122cm) above the kit, pointing to the centre of the snare drum. The second mic is placed adjacent to the floor tom tom, around 6 inches (15cm) above its rim, firing across the kit towards the hi-hat.

These two mics should be equidistant from the centre of the snare drum and panned. Some engineers measure the distance precisely and pan the mics extreme left and right, while Johns himself used a more instinctive approach with a narrower stereo spread. A third mic is used on the bass drum and sometimes a fourth is used as a spot mic on the snare drum.