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View Full Version : Drum Dials and tension watches


hotsauce3n
08-01-2005, 09:59 PM
Are the drum tuners good? I was thinking of the ones that look like a clock that about about $60 and do not require and kicking but check the pressure of the head. I was wondering if they are reliable and/or even neccessary for tuning. I would just like to have my drums sounding the best they can.

illy
08-01-2005, 10:28 PM
i was wondering about this too. i wanna be able to tune my drums better, but i seem to be a bit tone deaf when it comes to matching the lug tensions one by one. i really can't hear the individual tones with the overtones and such. i would really like to for once not have to use some sort of muffling on my toms to get a decent sound. i love the way un-muffled drums sustain and sing.

finnhiggins
08-01-2005, 10:48 PM
i was wondering about this too. i wanna be able to tune my drums better, but i seem to be a bit tone deaf when it comes to matching the lug tensions one by one. i really can't hear the individual tones with the overtones and such. i would really like to for once not have to use some sort of muffling on my toms to get a decent sound. i love the way un-muffled drums sustain and sing.

Those tuners are OK for getting a head up to an approximate pitch in a hurry, but they won't do the fine stuff you're having trouble with. I'd suggest teaching yourself to tune a guitar, having that background really helped me with being able to pick out pitches on drum heads.

scarlit
08-01-2005, 11:07 PM
I have the drum dial tuner. It works great when u need to tune your drums in a hurry (like at a gig or whatever). For those of us who have not been playing for 30 years and have trouble tuning our drums perfectly by year, this thing will help make your drums sound better.

illy
08-02-2005, 03:33 AM
well i can tune a guitar no problem. i play the guitar to compose my own music all of the time. it's just i can't hear the differences well at all when i hit an inch below each lug like everyone says i should be able to... my ears can't distinguish the tone from the overtones. i tried muffling the bottom head and muffling the top head while tuning, and still my ears fail me.

and it's not like i'm tone deaf. i can sing along with any song, hold a note, harmonize, but the drums just jack me up for some reason. i think it would help if someone could show me in person how they tune them. maybe i can learn what differences to listen for.

don't know. : /

Subdivisions
08-02-2005, 04:23 AM
Illy, if your looking for someone to show you the basics and details of tuning, Bob Gatzen has an excellent dvd that you might want to check out. It is called Drum Tuning Sound and Design Simplified. Its very in-depth but it covers the basics nicely. I have not had a chance to watch the whole thing, but the parts I've seen are great. There is also a video, but the dvd has more info in it.

Bob Gatzen DVD (http://www.vintagedrum.com/category/Videos-DVDs-Drum-Technique-Drum-Instructions/brand/Bob+Gatzen)

Drummer_Dude9164
08-02-2005, 05:11 AM
i have a tama tuner, and even though it was 70 bucks, i think it was well worth it. its much much easier than trying to tune it by ear, and you can tune an entire set in probably 10 min, depending on the size of ur set.

largo61
08-07-2005, 04:43 PM
I have the drumdial. I bought it with battle of the band winnings. It is a great tool for tuneing. The first time I used it it didn't really save time. I had to get the perfect sound out of them. But now everytime I tune it saves a load of time. And my drums sound great. It brings out the potensial of my drums. I have always had trouble controlling the overtones in my floor toms. The drumdial really makes them rumble. It is kind of expensive though. It cost about $68 after shipping. It was worth it. When I change my snare head it takes only about 10 minutes to get the same sound out of it every time. I found two choices in drum tuners. The drumdial and Tama tuning watch. I went with the drumdial because one it was cheaper. And I have heard that the Tama isn't as accurate. I can't dream of anything being more accurate then the drumdial.

Kevlar
08-07-2005, 08:09 PM
I've been using an Evans torque key for a while now, it lets you get all the lugs to pretty much the same tension (and therefore pretty much the same pitch). I've found it really handy as tuning them all the same drives me crazy.

Harakirie
08-07-2005, 08:37 PM
i saw this kinda thing made by tama where you can tune the drummes by numbers or something , looks like a good thing to have ...

nate
08-08-2005, 12:55 AM
Illy, if your looking for someone to show you the basics and details of tuning, Bob Gatzen has an excellent dvd that you might want to check out. It is called Drum Tuning Sound and Design Simplified. Its very in-depth but it covers the basics nicely. I have not had a chance to watch the whole thing, but the parts I've seen are great. There is also a video, but the dvd has more info in it.

Bob Gatzen DVD (http://www.vintagedrum.com/category/Videos-DVDs-Drum-Technique-Drum-Instructions/brand/Bob+Gatzen)


yup - I got this - and it helped me a whole lot - my drums sound loads better...

gar
10-14-2005, 12:44 PM
I dunno about everyone else, but im really naff at tuning drums- i know the sound i like and when drums sound good but it takes me for ever! I bought an Evans ratchet key- its ok, works well on my snare (since its new and its lugs are friction-free) but the lugs on the toms seem to have different amounts of friction in them, therefore, even though the setting of the ratchet says its the same tension, the head tension is not equal at each lug. Im thinking of getting a drumdial to help, so is this a wise purchase? or is it just worth keep practicing tuning, manually?

aspenleaf
10-14-2005, 03:41 PM
I bought an Evans ratchet key- its ok, works well on my snare (since its new and its lugs are friction-free) but the lugs on the toms seem to have different amounts of friction in them, therefore, even though the setting of the ratchet says its the same tension, the head tension is not equal at each lug. Im thinking of getting a drumdial to help, so is this a wise purchase? or is it just worth keep practicing tuning, manually?

I own a Drum Dial, and it is sometimes useful to help even out the head tension. It can quickly get you into the ballpark, then you have to fine-tune by ear.

Also, it your tensions rods have different amounts of tension, try removing them one by one, cleaning them, then lubricating them very lightly with a light grease.

Togg
01-06-2006, 01:36 PM
I have been using a drum dial for initial set-up of my drums for some time now, just wondered whether anybody else liked or disliked them?

GoatOfSatan
01-08-2006, 02:58 AM
Hi, I came across a website called drumdial.com while looking for drum tuners and this looks really cool, I recently bought a used kit and have no idea how they should sound. These drum dial tuners look pretty promising and I was wondering if anyone has tried them and what you think of them, or if you could suggest anything else and where I can buy them.

Thanks!

Jeff Almeyda
01-08-2006, 03:03 AM
They seem to do what they claim. I've used it to check my tuning jobs and it generally seems that if you get the same reading on the dial between two lugs then you get the same pitch as well. Helps to speed things up once you get the hang of it

I use it and like it.

dunchykong
01-08-2006, 04:08 AM
with all of these tunners you need to have smooth tension rods.........................

dingbat
01-08-2006, 04:23 AM
A tuning type of device like a drum dial will work in a pinch if you are say in a club/gig environment where it is hard to get any quite to listen to the drum head as you are tuning or don't have the time to tune by ear because the show must go on. They can get you in the "ball park" but are not a substitute for listening with your ears when tuning by hand. Drum sound is a matter of preference, people go for different effects that they have in mind. A device like the drum dial measures head tension in front of each lug on the drum to assist you in achieving uniform tension at each lug, but even then, due to variances in heads (and their condition if old, pitted or stretched) and bearing edges on the drums where the head makes contact with the drum shell, uniform tension will not gurantee uniform sound at each lug, that's where the ears come into play. Check out this site to guide you through tuning and many other things about drums - http://home.earthlink.net/~prof.sound/id5.html

Jeff Almeyda
01-08-2006, 02:45 PM
Drum tuners can work but you mentioned that you have no idea what your drums are supposed to sound like. Your best bet with that is to hook up with someone who can tune already, a teacher, friend, engineer or someone at a local drum shop. They may not have "your sound" but that doesn't matter. They just have to have a good sound.

You need to train your ear to recognize the difference between a good and bad sounding drum. That's the first step.

Use your ears and don't rely on tools until you can do it the old fashioned way.

mikei
01-23-2006, 10:46 PM
Has anyone here used a drum dial???

I purchased that with a new set of G2 coated for my toms.

I have never been good at tuning and said what the heck, I will check out the drum dial.

It is an amazing tool. I highly recommend it for people, like me, who have little experience.

I love the G2 coateds also.

CraigG
01-24-2006, 04:41 AM
I think the drumdial is a great tool. I use it, but it's not perfection. I still tweak to my liking.

Canuck1
02-01-2006, 07:09 PM
Hello everyone,

I'm new to the forums. I am debatting buying a Tama Tension Watch. If anyone owns or has tried this piece of equipment, could you please tell me what you think. Thanks a bunch.

~tamadrummer~
02-12-2006, 03:19 AM
they look good, how much are they btw?

Stevesmithfan
02-12-2006, 03:41 AM
It's not very good. Your ears are the best tools for tuning. Save yourself the money. IMO
I think they're around $90 U.S.

radiofriendlyunitshifter
02-13-2006, 05:23 PM
i have a drum dial which is essentially the exact same thing except $30 cheaper. i use it

for quick tune situations, which gives you a good starting point, but then you should tune

them by ear.

Guinness
03-15-2006, 06:58 PM
I love this handy little tool. It saves hours of frustration in bringing your drums up to the fine tuning stage. I can get the heads close to where I want them almost instantly, then spend 10-30 minutes per drum getting the perfect pitch. I don't have the time or the patience to spend a day tuning a set, with the Drum Dial I spend 2 hours max.

rendezvous_drummer
03-15-2006, 10:12 PM
i want to buy one but they are very expensive! 90 bucks at the local store here.

Guinness
03-15-2006, 10:18 PM
You can build one for about 20 bucks with a dial indicator (which is really all it is), a hockey puck and a couple of set screws. All you need is a drill. You can find pretty good used dial indicators on E-bay for 10-20 bucks.

rendezvous_drummer
03-15-2006, 10:33 PM
cool, thanks, i'll check out ebay.

gsharp
03-17-2006, 04:52 PM
I bought this CD. http://www.drumtuner.com/drumtuner.html
It's really good. After reading numerous websites on tuning I was still frustrated (even after 2 years of trying to tune) because I never had a reference for the actual tone I was trying to tune to. I started searching the net for sound samples but couldn't find any. I stumbled across this CD. It has 1 instructional track and 31 sound files. Three playing the whole kit tuned three different ways and the rest are for each individual drum at different tunings. The notes are repeated for about 2 min. so you can tune while it's playing. The first tells what to listen for while tuning. I highly recommend this for anyone having tuning woes. The Drumtuner website has several links to distributors but I found Cheap Music Accessories had the best price and I have to say fast service since I got it in 3 days via US postal service. Wish I'd had this 2 years ago!

gsharp
03-17-2006, 05:01 PM
Try this CD. http://www.drumtuner.com/drumtuner.html
It's really good. This CD has reference tones for each drum. It has 1 instructional track and 31 sound files. Three playing the whole kit tuned three different ways and the rest are for each individual drum at different tunings. The notes are repeated for about 2 min. so you can tune while it's playing. The first is instructional and tells what to listen for while tuning etc. I highly recommend this for anyone having tuning woes. The Drumtuner website has several links to distributors. I also have a drum dial but without a sound reference to aim for it wasn't much use.

radiofriendlyunitshifter
03-17-2006, 05:36 PM
i have a drumdial too. as it has been said before, it's good for when you need to tune

something in a hurry and get it approximately in tune. but then, if time permits, you

should tune it by ear. and yah, it measures the tension of the head, not the torque of the

tension rods

radiofriendlyunitshifter
03-17-2006, 05:41 PM
with all of these tunners you need to have smooth tension rods.........................


not the case with the drum dial. it measures the tension of the head

Drummer Karl
03-18-2006, 01:12 AM
Mhh, I don`t like them! You`ll have a better tuned drum maybe but you won`t train your ears and your feeling for tuning. Just give me a cheap drum key and I`ll be happy. Why don`t we buy a drum machine, this thing drums instead of us?? just kidding ;)
I think this situation is much better: "what is the secret of your great drum sound?"---"my expirience about tuning!" than this: "what is your secret of your great drum sound?"---"it is so great because of my drum tuning machine!"
So, I`ll always keep away from those tuning machines...

Karl

harryconway
03-18-2006, 04:36 AM
Are the drum tuners good?
I was thinking of the ones that look like a clock that about about $60 and do not require and kicking but check the pressure of the head.I was wondering if they are reliable and/or even neccessary for tuning.I would just like to have my drums sounding the best they can.
Jeff Ocheltree has a DVD out called "Trust Your Ears" and I highly recomend it. He learned his craft from Billy Cobham and was John Bonham's drum tech. Not only does he explain how to tune drums but also some ideas on recording and mic placement and some killer players on there as well. I use a yarn wrapped marimba mallet when I tune my drums as well as thumpin' the head with my finger and drumstick.

SlingerlandMan7
04-03-2006, 06:37 AM
I am an owner of "The Drum Dial" and I really like it. You can buy them at www.musiciansfriend.com and the brand is "Drum Dial." (Don't go for the TAMA. This is just as good and less expensive).

GOOD THINGS:
1. Can tune in quiet surroundings
2. Can tune slightly better than the human ear
3. Affordable for its service
4. Dial has proof of correct tuning (Sometimes when tunig by ear you can hear overtones, but this reads tension and is right on)

BAD THINGS:
1. Tunes to a perfect pitch (Sometimes in music you want the tuning to be slightly off for the genre of music. Jazz would be a great example)
2. You have to slowly take off the tuner to get an accurate reading on the head (the mere tuning change you make isn't large enough to effect the tension meter)

Personally, I absolutely love this product. Never once have I had to tune by ear afterwards, and I have always been satisfied.

I would storngly recommend this product to every drummer.

-Christian

dunchykong
04-03-2006, 08:22 AM
not the case with the drum dial. it measures the tension of the head

what i was getting at was that all of the tunners work great, but if your drums have bad rods, bearing edges, heads, or drum hoops, you might still have a problem with tunning even if you use the tunning device correctly.

Steady Freddy
04-04-2006, 04:38 PM
I have a Tama drum dial and I think it's one of the most innovative and useful tools for drummers ever invented.

I changed both the batter and resonant heads on four toms a couple of days ago. This took about three hours including cleaning the drums, lubing the rods, and tuning.

The following day I rechecked the tension using the dial. Some of the heads had dropped slightly in tension. Using the dial I brought the tension back up and that only took a few minutes.

After playing for a while I decided to lower the pitch of the rack toms a little, and again, that only took a couple of minutes.

As some have said, there are variations between different types of heads, but the dial will get you in the ball park quickly, and then you can tune by ear and record the settings for those heads.

There seems to be some that think breaking from tradition is a bad thing. Let's see, should I ride the horse to work today in the rain? Ah, maybe I'll take the SUV instead.

8>)

YMMV

harryconway
04-05-2006, 12:25 AM
Learned how to tune by ear (and eyes) a long time ago so just one gizmo I don't need.

Chip
04-11-2006, 09:22 AM
I have one, it's good, but.......
It can be easier sometimes to tune by ear than to get it out of it's box, I've had it for about 1 and a half months, haven't used it, and won't bother about it much until I get new heads(3 month old pinstripes....). I havent really messed around with the settings, I just tuned it to 75 on all, sounded better. Snare sounds 2x as good now though. I kinda was in a rush everytime I used it too..... that doesn't help. I can't wait to get new heads to try diff. settings etc.

morristyson
04-13-2006, 02:54 AM
The DrumDial tuner is a handy little device. But it's not a replacement for tuning by ear. I spent a few hours getting the right sounds. The tuning chart that comes with it gives you a recommended tuning range for your various drums, but it doesn't account for the types of woods or batters you have.

Once you find the right sound, write down the magic tuning numbers (both batter and resonant!) in the tuning chart. From then on, tuning your drums is quick and easy.

And don't drop the tuner. It's quite delicate.

Mo

somedrummer
04-13-2006, 06:47 AM
I don't feel the need for a device to help me tune my drums. If I were going to tune to specific notes, I would get a tuner. However, I know what I want my drums to sound like, and I am able to do that with my ears and hands, so why should I spend the $60 or so dollars on this little device.

Steady Freddy
04-13-2006, 11:31 PM
I just tuned it to 75 on all, sounded better.

That sounds about right.

75 - 80 on rack toms and 70 - 75 on the floor toms should be a good place to start.

Try 90- 95 on the snare batter and 80 - 85 on the snare side. It'll crack real nice.

Guinness
04-13-2006, 11:50 PM
I have one and couldn't live without it. I e-mailed Steve at Drum Dial and he gave me some recommended setting for each individual drum. I didn't like the one for the bass drum so I won't include it (batter head was way to loose)

10"- 76 top and bottom
12"- 75 top and bottom
13"- 75 top and bottom
16"- 74 top and bottom
14" snare- 85 top/82 bottom - This sounded good, but I tweaked mine to 88/85 for a better feel.

The snare as well as the bass drum are probably going to vary considerably from person to person because these two rely very heavily on feel, but the tom tuning hit the sweet spot like he said. I hope this information helps somebody.

Loge
04-14-2006, 12:22 AM
I just used the "Drum Dial" last night for the first time. My bandleader just got a used set of Pacifics he's planning on making the 'house drums' for his commercial recording studio. At the end of rehearsal last Saturday, he handed the device to me and asked if I'd take it home and try it on my kit to see if it worth using or keeping. I was under the impression that the "Drum Dial" was one of those torque gauges and was wondering, at first, where the lug socket was that would fit on that little shaft to turn the lug. Also couldn't figure out why it had to be so heavy. A quick scan of the DD website explained it all and I got very good results working with it last eve. I was impressed with it's sensitivity and accuracy in tuning up the drums 'to themselves'. Afterwards, it was quite easy to tweak the sound by ear (the manufacturer clearly states that the device is no substitute for one's ear in the final analysis). All in all I think it's a great product and saves time(especially with new heads) by eliminating a lot of the trial and error of the initial setup. I got around the same numbers as those mentioned not really knowing what the range was.

Deathmetalconga
04-14-2006, 06:20 PM
I got one yesterday on the recommendation of the people here and it seems to work very well for the drum set. Actually, I was surprised how close the lugs on my snare were, but with some fine adjustment, I noticed a more even, focused sound from my snare.

I will put it through the paces with my tablas, rawhide ashikos, bongos, congas and hand percussion. I think the assumption is that this is for stick drums and I expect it will work with natural heads as well.

Chip
04-15-2006, 02:08 PM
Thanks for the tuning tips Steady Freddy. God I love this site.
The racks sound good, but my floor tom has always been a royal pain to tune. I've spent about 3 hours at once and never achieved more than a dead sounding thud, I got fed up with it and bought the DD. I just haven't been bothered to muddle with the settings.

Steady Freddy
04-15-2006, 08:04 PM
Thanks for the tuning tips Steady Freddy. God I love this site.
The racks sound good, but my floor tom has always been a royal pain to tune. I've spent about 3 hours at once and never achieved more than a dead sounding thud, I got fed up with it and bought the DD. I just haven't been bothered to muddle with the settings.

Floor toms can be temperamental. If the drum seems dead. Bring up the reso head a little. Go slow. That might bring it to life.

Leadfoot
04-15-2006, 08:16 PM
Drum tuners can work but you mentioned that you have no idea what your drums are supposed to sound like. Your best bet with that is to hook up with someone who can tune already, a teacher, friend, engineer or someone at a local drum shop. They may not have "your sound" but that doesn't matter. They just have to have a good sound.

You need to train your ear to recognize the difference between a good and bad sounding drum. That's the first step.

Use your ears and don't rely on tools until you can do it the old fashioned way.
This sums it up pretty well, & once you've learned to tune by ear, you do not need the dial thereby rendering it an interesting but absolutely unnecessary tool.

If you like gadgets, & enjoy fiddling around with stuff, & have money to spare, by all means buy a drum dial, but there'll never be one in my gig tool box. Tuning by ear is one of the most basic skills any drummer should learn anyway.

Loge
04-15-2006, 08:22 PM
I will put it through the paces with my tablas, rawhide ashikos, bongos, congas and hand percussion. I think the assumption is that this is for stick drums and I expect it will work with natural heads as well.

You know, you're probably right about that. I'm going to try it out on my congas. Of course, the rawhide heads are very different in nature from a thin plastic head, as is the rim/hoop arrangement. Worth a try, though, to see if it makes a difference. I once purchased a used set of Matador bongos where the previous owner had severely cranked down one side of the macho causing the hoop to sit crooked and warping the head. Made it hard to get a good tone.

As far as needing a DD at all, I've been tuning by ear exclusively for four decades and would be the first to agree that it's an art unto itself.
I've always arrived at satisfactory results after various periods of time. I've only used this device once, but with new heads it got me into
the "ballpark" range much quicker than usual. Tensioning evenly has always been the greatest time killer for me, and the visual reference
did help. To achieve the final desired sound is all up to the ear and the "art". The DD just gives one a quick head start.

Chip
04-16-2006, 04:19 AM
I was thinking about tightening the reso last night. It's also 16" deep so it's a lot harder to get the reso moving like it should, which is why my next kit will be fusion sizes.

I got the drum dial as a tuning aid. I never intended for it to replace my ear (and I never will).
It's only here to train. Not replace.

Steady Freddy
04-16-2006, 04:31 AM
A lot of the experienced guys have stated that they tune by ear and that every drummer should develop the art.

I can't say that I disagree, but some of these guys haven't had 10, 20, 30 or whatever years of experience. Some may have less experience than that even if it were to measured in weeks.

At least they'll have something to go on while they develop their ears.

Deathmetalconga
04-17-2006, 08:24 PM
This sums it up pretty well, & once you've learned to tune by ear, you do not need the dial thereby rendering it an interesting but absolutely unnecessary tool.

If you like gadgets, & enjoy fiddling around with stuff, & have money to spare, by all means buy a drum dial, but there'll never be one in my gig tool box. Tuning by ear is one of the most basic skills any drummer should learn anyway.

Well, I do like gadgets and I have money to spare, so I embrace the Drumdial. However, I don't like fiddling around with stuff, which is why I now use the Drumdial.

Tuning by ear is a great skill and I respect anyone who's gone through the time and trouble to learn it. For me, however, I want to spend more time playing and less time fiddling around with tuning. This is the early 21st century and if people are able to tune an instrument quickly with the aid of a machine, so much the better.

This is the same reason that all of my hand drums (djembe, ashikos, congas, tablas, dumbek, etc.) are bolt-and-lug tuned, instead of rope tuned. I've heard people at drum circles say, "Any good drummer should be able to develop the skill to rope tune." But rope tuning is tedious, unpredictable and time consuming. That's why all modern stick drums use lugs.

There's always a more efficient way to do something and very often that involves the use of some mechanical or electronic device.

Leadfoot
04-17-2006, 09:06 PM
Well then, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this issue then, if you like the drum dial, by all means knock yourself out. I don't blindly knock the thing, I borrowed one & tried it, it works, but just seemed to be an extra step in an otherwise simple procedure, didn't save any time at all.

Steady Freddy
04-30-2006, 07:21 PM
On the drum dial web site there'a a chart that might be helpful to get started using the dial.

It can be found here:

http://drumdial.com/drummer.htm

Chip
05-01-2006, 05:10 AM
That chart comes with it though, did it come with yours?

If you know how to tune by ear, it's still useful. The first few times only saved about 10 minutes. Now I save about an hour. After seeing a fair few tuning videos, the way I do it without the dial is pretty bang on. It's all this stuff that makes tuning sound impossible. Get a DVD or video on it, and they'll be sounding sweet in no time. It's really not AS hard (still hard though....grrr) as people say. What I am going to do is ear training. That'll be cool.

Steady Freddy
05-01-2006, 06:56 PM
That chart comes with it though, did it come with yours?

If you know how to tune by ear, it's still useful. The first few times only saved about 10 minutes. Now I save about an hour. After seeing a fair few tuning videos, the way I do it without the dial is pretty bang on. It's all this stuff that makes tuning sound impossible. Get a DVD or video on it, and they'll be sounding sweet in no time. It's really not AS hard (still hard though....grrr) as people say. What I am going to do is ear training. That'll be cool.

My dial is a Tama. The chart that came with it had the settings for toms at 50, and the kick drum at 40. That didn't even take the wrinkles out of the heads.

Using my ears I eventually brought the toms up to around 75 and the kick to 70. I used the dial to make sure the tension was even.

My 12" rack tom sounds best around 80.

I'd like to see a sticky thread about drum dial settings. We could list the settings, heads, shell sizes, type of music, etc.

There are so many threads about "how to tune" on this board I think it would be a valuable resource for many of the drummers who are starting out and haven't developed ears yet.

One of the more unique approaches that I've seen was a drummer for the Grateful Dead. We played a concert with them way back when. He just tuned all of his drums two turns up from rod contact on the rims. He also detuned every time tore down. I thought it was a bit extreme, but his drums sounded good.

mind_drummer
05-01-2006, 07:40 PM
OK guys

You can build yourself, drum watch tension (drum dialer) for very cheap and it's not even complicated...

http://www.hotdrum.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=4022&hl=

http://www.pearldrummersforum.com/showthread.php?t=134980

Try it yourself (I'm still searching for a bargain on a dialer/tension meter)...

Chip
05-02-2006, 10:01 AM
Oh ok. Tama is in metric, DD is in imperial, making it less sensitive.

I have no troubles getting my 13" to sound good, I don't really use the tuner for it.

The 14 and 16" is a different story, I hate them. The bass still has the stock head so I don'tbother with it much.

We should start a tension watch/DD settings thread. Where abouts? Other Gear?

CodeGuy
05-07-2006, 05:53 AM
I just purchased one of these things, as the principle behind the thing is pretty sound. First of all, let me say that I CAN tune by ear, and have been doing so for a very long time. In fact, so far my drums sounded better (to me) pre-drumdial than post-drumdial. However, I am kind of weary of having to try and reproduce my sound every time I change out heads. Just gets kinda tiresome. So I thought I would get one of these bad boys, work with it to get my sound, and store the tension settings away for future turbo tuning.

Anway, like I said, I am still in the experimentation phase with this thing and the one thing I have not seen anyone do is post up numbers for their drums. Please, nobody post the little cheat sheet from the Drumdial.com site. I have multiple copies of it. What I am looking for is some "killer sound" numbers that you have been able to dial in with your own kits. My toms are 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 for the record. I use Evans G2 clear batter and Evans G1 clear reso. So... anyone have any numbers for me to play with? Many thanks in advance.

Edit: Hrm... reading back up the page I see that others are asking for the same thing. Guess I'm not the only one wanting this info. Anyone?

morristyson
05-07-2006, 03:39 PM
14 x 5.5 snare - 88 batter, 85 reso
13 x 11 rack - 75 batter and reso
16 x 16 floor - 75 batter and reso
18 x 16 floor - 73 batter and reso
22 x 18 kick - 72 batter and reso

I use 2-ply batters.
mo

Deathmetalconga
05-08-2006, 06:16 PM
Anway, like I said, I am still in the experimentation phase with this thing and the one thing I have not seen anyone do is post up numbers for their drums. Please, nobody post the little cheat sheet from the Drumdial.com site. I have multiple copies of it. What I am looking for is some "killer sound" numbers that you have been able to dial in with your own kits. My toms are 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 for the record. I use Evans G2 clear batter and Evans G1 clear reso. So... anyone have any numbers for me to play with? Many thanks in advance.

Edit: Hrm... reading back up the page I see that others are asking for the same thing. Guess I'm not the only one wanting this info. Anyone?

This is a good idea, Code Guy, but I think this information would be of limited use. The settings will vary by the diameter and depth of the drum, number of lugs, thickness of the shell, shell material, number of heads, thickness and plies. The exact same settings on one drum will be inapplicable to another drum unless they are very close in construction.

Steady Freddy
05-30-2006, 05:53 PM
I've just added a 8 x 8 tom to my kit. After messing around with the tuning I brought the 8 and 10 inch toms up to 80. The 12 was already at 80 and the 14 and 16 are at 75.

The 8 and 10 sound like the drums on the Miami Vice theme song. Almost a roto tom kind of sound. The 16 still growls.

I'm using Aquarian clear Studio X heads for batters and Classic Clears on the reso side.

themac5150
06-24-2006, 10:36 PM
Jeff Ocheltree has a DVD out called "Trust Your Ears" and I highly recomend it. He learned his craft from Billy Cobham and was John Bonham's drum tech. Not only does he explain how to tune drums but also some ideas on recording and mic placement and some killer players on there as well. I use a yarn wrapped marimba mallet when I tune my drums as well as thumpin' the head with my finger and drumstick.
That dvd has very little tuning instruction on it. He talks about John Bonham's tuning, and taps the drums to show the differences, and mic placement for the "Bonham sound" but nowhere on the video does he sit down and say "this is how to tune a drum". He tunes up a vistalite bass drum reso head very quickly, but doesn't explain the how's and why's. He also changes out a batter head on a black beauty snare later, also done very quickly with none of his know how descibed. I have the dvd, I bought it thinking it would be a how to video based on the title "trust your ears" but its more of Jeff tooting his own horn and drummers he's worked with talking about Jeff and drum teching. I was very disappointed in the content. It doesn't even show a tech how to be a tech. The only reason this video is worth anything, are those green sparkle Ludwigs, and Danny Carey's Ocheltree/Paiste bronze drum set. I wish Jeff would do a better, more instructional video. A man with that much talent and experience deserves better.

About the drum dial...I bought a cheap set when I was getting back into drumming and was having a real battle trying to tune it. I never remember it being that hard to tune a drum. I bought the dial as a tool to help me get the head equally tensioned. The dial actually saves me an enormous amount of time getting the drum balanced. Its not perfect, and I usually have to tweak a few lugs to get them all in tune. One note though, if the bearing edges are poor, or if there are dings in the heads in the area under the dial, the readings will be off. The set I bought had the worst bearing edges I have ever seen, very uneven, and poorly executed. Truing up the edges revealed how bad they were. No tool or ear will get a good tuning out of a poorly constructed drum. Before I re-edged the drums I could not get the drum in tune with itself...with or without the dial. I think the construction of some entry level kits today(cost cutting steps, questionable quality control and cheap hardware) are the true culprits of the frustration of learning how to tune by ear. The drum dial is a quality tool that does what it is designed to do but the drum would have to able to tuned in the first place. The dial does get you to a point of resonable tuning very quickly, provides a reference point for future repeatability, and allows a beginner to "hear" what a evenly tensioned head is supposed to sound like. It also allowed me to have the freedom for experimentation without fear of never finding that sweet spot again.

Steady Freddy
06-28-2006, 02:07 AM
That dvd has very little tuning instruction on it

I agree. The DVD was interesting but in general a disappointment. It would have been much better had he gotten into the how to part. His comment about tuning by the feel of the rods was a little over the top. I don't doubt that he may be able to do it, but how do you teach someone to do that?

hotsauce3n
06-29-2006, 04:24 AM
OK guys

You can build yourself, drum watch tension (drum dialer) for very cheap and it's not even complicated...

http://www.hotdrum.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=4022&hl=

http://www.pearldrummersforum.com/showthread.php?t=134980

Try it yourself (I'm still searching for a bargain on a dialer/tension meter)...


That really works exactly the same as the drum dial??? im just gonna do that if that really works thats easy to do.... great post

a1DrummerT
06-29-2006, 06:42 AM
Alright well like i said..yea i have tuned by ear forever and i can to it very well..but i need to save some time alright because i like to tune them differently alot.

okay..i just need to know from anyone who has or does use one..how many points on the dial = a full note up/down on the scale?

thanks alot

and any other tips besides not using one will be accepted

i feel like a cheater using one but i can already tune by ear good enough

Jeff Almeyda
06-29-2006, 11:56 AM
It's not cheating. That's like asking your guitar player if using an electronic tuner is cheating.

I use one and they work great.

Make sure to raise the tension incrementally and evenly across all of the lugs or you'll never get them all to come out equal.

samthebeat
06-29-2006, 12:50 PM
what about one of those evans tension drum keys, has anyone got tips for using them, or has anyone ever had any sucess cause I certainly havent.

NUTHA JASON
06-29-2006, 02:04 PM
i also have a drumdial. i don't believe you can use them to tune to a key. this is because rims and heads do not sit perfectly or make a perfect match and so the tension is not an indicator of the note. most particularly from one drumset to the next.

no, the drum dial's one big advantage is that it helps get even tension across the whole head. i only tend to use mine when putting new heads on and for the first few tunings thereafter. then the head will be seated well and not stretched or warped and i can tune by ear from then on. i learned this because when i bought my tension watch i tried to tune my kit which had well used heads already on it. when things were the same across each lug i was amazed to find that some of the screws were buried deeply while otheres were just 2 quarter turns from coming out the lug...the head was warped. also inspite of the equal readings the sound was horrible. new heads and careful use lead to a quality drumsound which once established has remained easy to tune since then. the watch is a useful starting point but, as jeff ocheltree says, TRUST YOUR EARS.

j

beatsMcGee
06-29-2006, 03:11 PM
i always had a few questions on this topic, and one has been answered as far as the insturment mentioned and how it works, but as far as tuning by ear... is there like a set way to tune consistantly... it cant really all just be what sounds good ? i mean ive heard some damn good sounded kits and wondered if there is a universle type guidline for tuning.....

now i remember one thread about tuning each head 5 octives i think higher or lower than the previous head.. is this correct? and how do you determine what that is.. b/c i dont know what 5 octives lower would sound like.. thanks

n2xlr8n
06-29-2006, 03:27 PM
now i remember one thread about tuning each head 5 octives i think higher or lower than the previous head.. is this correct? and how do you determine what that is.. b/c i dont know what 5 octives lower would sound like.. thanks


Great insight on the Drum Dial. I've considered getting one for a while.

Beats:
I've always tuned my kits to either "Here comes the bride", or "The theme from Star Wars" notes...I'm no music scholar, but I think The bride is 3rds, and Star Wars is 5ths. Some smart person here can clear that up for us, though, I'm sure.

Mediocrefunkybeat
06-29-2006, 03:33 PM
I think Bride is 3rds, I've heard it used as intervals before with great effect. I'm not smart and I'm not good at music theory either, it's been a stumbling block.

An Octave difference between drums would be the same note in a higher or lower pitch, it would be also be practically impossible to tune like this unless you were tuning, say a roto tom then the next drum be a 14x12 Tom. Octave = 8 notes (A B C D E F G A). Tuning to an F, for instance, would put the 'A' a 3rd above it. Intervals are counted inclusively so a third = F+G+A. Hope that makes some sense.

This picture may help (cited from Wiki):

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/49/Interval_numbers.gif

beatsMcGee
06-29-2006, 04:06 PM
you had me until you typed :

Intervals are counted inclusively so a third = F+G+A. Hope that makes some sense.


@n2xlr8n

when you say you tune to "here comes the bride" or the "star wars theme" what does that actually mean.. you hum the tune while tuning your drums, haha? what part of the song do you use to tune the drum.. if you could just clear this up for me.. thanks

Jeff Almeyda
06-29-2006, 04:32 PM
i also have a drumdial. i don't believe you can use them to tune to a key. this is because rims and heads do not sit perfectly or make a perfect match and so the tension is not an indicator of the note. most particularly from one drumset to the next.

no, the drum dial's one big advantage is that it helps get even tension across the whole head. i only tend to use mine when putting new heads on and for the first few tunings thereafter. then the head will be seated well and not stretched or warped and i can tune by ear from then on. i learned this because when i bought my tension watch i tried to tune my kit which had well used heads already on it. when things were the same across each lug i was amazed to find that some of the screws were buried deeply while otheres were just 2 quarter turns from coming out the lug...the head was warped. also inspite of the equal readings the sound was horrible. new heads and careful use lead to a quality drumsound which once established has remained easy to tune since then. the watch is a useful starting point but, as jeff ocheltree says, TRUST YOUR EARS.

j

I have found this to be 100% true. A head that has been seated correctly with the drum dial is VERY easy to tune thereafter. It makes "regular" tuning so much easier that other guys are amazed at how quickly I can dial in my snare drum.

BTW, those devices that measure torque at the lug are nowhere near as good as the drum dial which measures actual head tension.

beatsMcGee
06-29-2006, 06:10 PM
okay so say one buys new heads for his/her drums, uses the drum dial to get an even tension rating on all the lugs... how often after that should that person check the tension with the drum dial to make sure its not off so that the head can seat correctly? and you said you use the drum dail for the next few tunings to allow the head to seat correctly thus allowing the tuning sessions there after to be very easy?

i hope i made some sense.. thanks

NUTHA JASON
06-29-2006, 06:17 PM
BTW, those devices that measure torque at the lug are nowhere near as good as the drum dial which measures actual head tension.

absolutely...i have the evans torque key. and it is useful to a degree but unless every lug has the same amount of wear on the thread, same lubrication, same amount of rust and the rim is not too warped, then the key is only marginally better than using the touch of your fingers on a normal key.

okay so say one buys new heads for his/her drums, uses the drum dial to get an even tension rating on all the lugs... how often after that should that person check the tension with the drum dial to make sure its not off so that the head can seat correctly? and you said you use the drum dail for the next few tunings to allow the head to seat correctly thus allowing the tuning sessions there after to be very easy?


i tune the head up slightly tighter than i would ordinarily do (on a thursday)and leave it over night. next day i de-tune it a bit and then tune it up to where it is right with my ears using the dial again, then i gig it (friday) then i tune it again on saturday with the dial before the gig, then i leave it all week and retune it with the dial on the next friday afternoon. usually after that it is well seated and i leave the dial at home from then on and use my ear.

j

n2xlr8n
06-29-2006, 07:12 PM
@n2xlr8n

...you hum the tune while tuning your drums, haha? what part of the song do you use to tune the drum.. if you could just clear this up for me.. thanks


No problem:

You sing it. On a 5 pc kit, the low tom would be "here", the midddle tom would be "comes", and the high tom would be "the bride" : )

I have a older 10 pc Sonor Designer series kit that is a royal pain to tune.....so I bought a pitch pipe, lol.

Steady Freddy
06-29-2006, 07:55 PM
I use the torque key for checking the rods on the snare between songs. I usually have a couple of rods that like to back out when I'm doing a lot of rim shots.

It may not be perfect, but it's real quick and close enough for rock and roll.

beatsMcGee
06-29-2006, 08:24 PM
No problem:

You sing it. On a 5 pc kit, the low tom would be "here", the midddle tom would be "comes", and the high tom would be "the bride" : )

I have a older 10 pc Sonor Designer series kit that is a royal pain to tune.....so I bought a pitch pipe, lol.


wow, that easy eh? cool thanks !!

a1DrummerT
07-09-2006, 05:01 AM
Are the drum tuners good? I was thinking of the ones that look like a clock that about about $60 and do not require and kicking but check the pressure of the head. I was wondering if they are reliable and/or even neccessary for tuning. I would just like to have my drums sounding the best they can.

i have one for tuning in a hurry and i like it but what i have noticed on mine..maybe all of them like mine not sure..is that once you adjust the lug you have to take off dial and put it in place again for the full dial change to take effect..that was messing me up at first

but they are good..just make sure you learn how to tune by ear also because it is good to know how

a1DrummerT
07-09-2006, 08:07 AM
alright im having trouble w/ my dial..how far off should the snare be from toms/bass to keep the snares from vibrating because of resonance.

also for those who have experimented with the dial how many units = 1 note change ?

ty in advance

Deathmetalconga
07-10-2006, 10:47 PM
I've never seen where it says what the numbers on the dial stand for, if anything. Do they show the resistance pressure of the drum head in ounces, or grams or something? Or are the numbers arbitrary, just representing some subdivision of the dial with no corresponding weight or pressure?

Chip
07-11-2006, 06:09 AM
The numbers are length. The Drumdial measures 1 notch as 1/1000 of an inch. The tama product measures 1/1000cm or mm (I can't remember, probably cm), thus making it finer.
Therefore;
Tama=metric
DD=imperial

As you may know, Drumdials are made from dial indicators with a base. What happens when you tension up the drum, it offers more resistance to the point, thus pushing it up further, giving a higher reading. Nothing to do with weight, it's a very clever idea no matter.

Therefore the numbers show how much further your head pushes the pin up into the mechanism, thus the resistance pressure is measured in distance.

The numbers are there because they are what you find on a dial indicator, but they hve no use themselves to my knowledge. You may aswell have pictures of animals and say "I like mine between the rabbit and the donkey". But with the numbers, you can go in between increments, easier to remember etc, thus giving numbers the edge over our furry freinds.

If you can somehow find a relation of the number to the pitch of said drum, go for it. In fact, tell us how it goes if you do it, I would be interested to find out.

moojii
07-13-2006, 06:49 PM
just spent the afternoon putting my new heads on my kit using the drumdial.

i have never been the best at tuning by ear and found the drumdial very useful.

i tuned it in to even readings then tapped around the head to familiarise myself to the sound..am hoping it will be a really useful teaching tool.

drums sound better than ever.

yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Deathmetalconga
08-04-2006, 10:13 PM
I like my Drum Dial but I am starting to learn to trust my ears more. I have started putting the heads on a set of solid-shell ironwood drums (www.spiritdrums.com). The wood is twice as dense as maple, the shells are a half-inch thick and there are no plies or glue to absorb sound (yes, they weigh a lot). So the drums are extremely reflective and correct tuning is crucial or the overtones sound awful.

I've tuned a 10-inch tom so far and used the drum dial for batter and resonant heads, but I couldn't reduce the overtones no matter how hard I tried. I then put the drum dial away and began hitting the head in the center and making small adjustments to the tuning bolts. The overtones began to disappear and there is now an round, even tone coming from the drum. When I put the drum near my head it makes my skull vibrate in sympathy - the tone is that powerful and even. So I think I have this drum tuned correctly, although it will help to have the rims and heads for the rest of the set as I can then tune the drums against each other.

The lesson: For very sensitive drums, the Drum Dial might only be able to get you 90 percent of the way, which seems close but is still way off for sensitive drums. The Drum Dial measures tympanic pressure very accurately, but I'm discovering there's more to tuning than just tympanic pressure. You'll need to use your ears and make tiny adjustments by ear to get the rest of the way there.

www.terrasonus.com

Chip
08-05-2006, 03:35 AM
Good post!

Skull-vibrating tuning, eh? Hehe, I should posted that in the 'superlatives' thread. I'm making a stave shell soon, and it's most probably going to be more sensitive than the steel POS I have now.

I think what the Dial is supposed to do is just have the head at even tension (compared to bringing the tension up by ear, I have experimented by bringing up the tension and judging by just how many turns I had done, and the reading was five notches higher on some lugs) but after the tension is even, then you start fine-tuning and working them to be the same by ear. It gives you a good foundation to start tuning on. I'm pretty sure that is more what it is used for, rather than just the equivalent of a guitar tuner.

themac5150
08-05-2006, 05:15 AM
[QUOTE]It gives you a good foundation to start tuning on. I'm pretty sure that is more what it is used for, rather than just the equivalent of a guitar tuner.[/QUOTE

Exactly! It makes it really easy to get the initial settings, putting the tension of the head at the lugs very close to one another. I notice from my use with it, that I can get the head tuned by ear EVENTUALLY, but the dial cuts down on the tweaking time. Yes, I still have to tap and listen and put some fine adjustments here and there, but when changing heads, I can set them even, crank them up and stretch and seat, back off and set to my dial settings. If that setting doesn't sound like you want, the heads are pretty much evenly tuned and you can tune it to the sound you desire, and then measure the head, and write down the settings for that particular head combination. The dial is not the end all tuner, but for newbees just starting out, it provides a reference for head tension that would only come with experience. They can buy the drum dial, set all the heads to 72, and it will sound better than haphazardly twisting away, until they "get it" or are taught differently. I can't pick up a guitar and tune it perfectly by ear alone, some can. I may "stumble" upon it trying. The dial takes a lot of the "stumbling" out of the equation.

Chip
08-06-2006, 05:30 AM
That being said.......... anybody know a good foundation to start on a:
16"x16", 6-lug, most probably poplar, possibly maple, 9-ply floor tom? Pinstripes and stock reso. The surroundings don't matter, it sounds shite everywhere.

I've tried to get a good tone, but I just cannot get away from a 'bwwawawaaoooowww' with heaps of overtones and barely any definition. My 12" and 13" sound great, but then the floor tom sounds horrible. I'm thinking of a Benny Greb sounding floor tom, that is the type of punch I have in everything else. I don't want to have to muffle the thing to death...... I almost had a nice sound out of it, but it's still pathetic. Thanks.

Deathmetalconga
08-07-2006, 06:38 PM
Good post!

Skull-vibrating tuning, eh? Hehe, I should posted that in the 'superlatives' thread. I'm making a stave shell soon, and it's most probably going to be more sensitive than the steel POS I have now.

I think what the Dial is supposed to do is just have the head at even tension (compared to bringing the tension up by ear, I have experimented by bringing up the tension and judging by just how many turns I had done, and the reading was five notches higher on some lugs) but after the tension is even, then you start fine-tuning and working them to be the same by ear. It gives you a good foundation to start tuning on. I'm pretty sure that is more what it is used for, rather than just the equivalent of a guitar tuner.

HAHA! That would be a good slogan for the DrumDial, "Skull-vibrating tuning." The human body actually does have a resonant frequency, around 9 hertz. When you stand next to a subwoofer and "feel" the low tones, it's those very low frequencies that are literally making your flesh vibrate sympathetically. With enough amplification, these frequencies will also make your inner ear vibrate, causing vomiting and dizziness, or even cause tissue damage at very high power levels. The Army has experimented with using ultra-low frequencies as weapons.

You're right, Chip, in that the Drum Dial can't be relied up for everything and isn't as "presto" as a guitar tuner. I'm now starting to realize that. I think once you attain the same readings on each lug, you can then tweak each lug, hit the drum and listen to what the sound is doing. If the unwanted overtones start going away, you know you're heading in the right direction.

You said you're making a stave shell? Tell us about it.

Chip
08-08-2006, 09:50 AM
Well, that was a nice bit of information! I'll have to tune my bass to say... ooh, 9 hertz. Hehe, oh yeah, skull-vibration.

I realised the Dial was to be used for a starting tool rather than a "presto" tool by reading the reviews (I'm a very conservative and cautious person... I'm getting more impulsive though). It does help me a lot. So no ideas for floor tom settings? Oh well, I'll experiment.

The stave shell.... I've not much to say about it (yet). Either Maple or Jarrah (or another Australian hardwood, maple is just the benchmark wood, but I think it would be a bit expensive to ship here), and I'm looking for free floating snare hardware (anyone? I can only find ones with shells in them... much too expensive, any idea on how much it is for just the rims/hardware? If I bought a 14 x 5" snare with the shell, I could just switch the shells over and essentially have 2 snares... either way), so I don't have to drill holes (better tone... and I'm lazy).

I'm thinking 14" x 5", I think 20/32 staves (32 will allow a 10 lug more comfortably), if it's 20, it should be each stave as 2.2" wide, and about 3/4" thick. So I'm going to need a 100" x 2.2" x 3/4" (that's a 20 stave shell) piece of wood.

And I need to find something to cut the sides of the staves at a 9 degree bevel so they will arrange as a circle. I might make my own lugs (brass if I do), I have access to metal lathes, a shaper, drill press, milling machine etc. I plan to make a scale model (I might even end up with a 10" popcorn snare!) out of a less valuable wood first, just to make sure I don't screw up a heap of Jarrah, that is expensive.

It'll be a wee bit of a challenge, me thinks, I think it will be well worth the effort, though. Any help would be appreciated. One more thing, I've registered at the ghostnote forums (I know, I'm a traitor), as they have a tutorial for stave shells for $8 or so, but I haven't got an activation email yet. Is there a way I can get another one sent ? I have to build this snare in a few weeks [major woodwork assignment] and would like to get started as soon as possible, but I can't until I get that tutorial (or another resource on stave shells, I found one for a drum, but it is about 20" tall, so the procedure is different). I have basic shop knowledge, but I really don't want to screw it up.

I'll probably have to start a thread on this.... I don't think it will get answered in this thread.

Tell us about it
You, my friend, have created a monster! You got me talking (well, typing)!

I've not much to say about it
Well, I proved myself wrong, didn't I?

Almuric
09-22-2006, 08:32 PM
I was never interested in tuners, but a great drum tech friend introduced me to their uses and completely tuned my whole set for me with one just before a gig. I have a large set but it only took about a half an hour. Each head was tuned to the same tension, reso heads 6 degrees tighter. I was not far of in my own tuning but the drums really sing in their own tones now. And I finally have that drop pitch sound I was looking for. They never sounded better!! My bandmates noticed the difference too.

Go for it!

Muckster
10-12-2006, 04:49 PM
I still rely on my ears. But, i do use a drum dial. After initial tuning, i'll use my drum dial to record my current settings in a notebook. It does come in handy for super quick head changes, especially between sets.

Drumkill
10-25-2006, 10:12 PM
I have been using my Drum Dial now for close to 2 years on both my early 1980s Yamaha Recording Series custom kit (strictly for home use) as well as my gigging kit with is a Pearl EX fusion kit (a very funky purple colour).

I do find the Drum Dial extremely useful when you are setting up in a bar/ resturant setting as the owners/manager of the bar usually does not want to hear the tap tap tapping of a drummer tuning his/her drums while people are eating. (or the guitarist testing their rig to see if there solo setting is going to be loud enough) I can quickly tune up the gigging kit after I bring it in from either the hot/humid or coldness/dryness of the northern Canadian environment without disturbing the patrons or the manager. Once the rest of the band is setup and we run through our scheduled (or permitted) soundcheck, I adjust the tuning on the drums manually, again to adjust to the temperature and humdity changes. I haven't found a time that it hasn't come in handy and people are always wondering what I am doing with the "gadget".

I live the tuning bible and fundamentally believe that all drummers should know the whys and the how to tune your drums regardless of the complimentary tools (such as a Drum Dial or a Tension Watch) available. Having said that, I am very happy to use my Drum Dial and my ear and both for any and all situations that they call for it.

We want people to hear our playing in both the ensemble setting as well as the potentially small window highlighting your skills (aka tasteful mini-solo) but your tympanic expressions will only be as good as the sound and quality of the instrument that you are expressing it on!!!!

I believe that both your ear and a complimentary tool will work, you just have to be open to use them and understand their strengths and weaknesses... 'cause you know that they have both!!!

My $.02 worth...

Nick5
10-31-2006, 05:16 AM
I have the drum dial tuner. It works great when u need to tune your drums in a hurry (like at a gig or whatever). For those of us who have not been playing for 30 years and have trouble tuning our drums perfectly by year, this thing will help make your drums sound better.Well said Scarlit.
I have the Tension watch. Changing heads is a lot simpler. I can always get the sound back very easily by using the numbers on the dial. I highly reccomend them.

mikei
11-11-2006, 08:38 AM
This might be benificial, or perhaps a waste of time.

What drum dial settings do you use for your drums? Lets share different recipes!

Have used EC2s, G2 coateds, G2 clears and G1 clears.

I currently use 75 bat 74 reso for my 8 and 10 toms.

I use 76 bat 75 reso for my 12

I use 75 bat and 74 reso for my 13

I use 75 74 for my 16 and 18 toms.

For my Vinnie Paul Snare, I use 92 batter to 84 reso with my snare wires fairly tight with EMAD batter.

My Bass drum is 75 by 75. I have a 4 inch hole cut out with an evan pad touching the batter head

I would like to see some of yours to test if possible!

eddrummer05
11-11-2006, 09:35 AM
for my toms:remo clear ambassador top & bottom
10" 75top. 74bottom
12" 77top. 76bottom
13" 75top. 75bottom
16" 75top 70bottom

14x5 snare top94. bottom 85 xemperor coated top, bottom ambassador snare
13x3 piccolo top 93. bottom 85 coated ambassador top, bottom ambassador snare
22"bass batter75. resonant 70 powerstroke 3

Steady Freddy
11-11-2006, 05:56 PM
It depends on the heads, but for toms 75/75 is a great place to start. I'm currently running 75 on the batter and 80 on the reso on the 8, 10, and 12. 70 batter and 75 reso on the 14 and 16.

For the snares 90 batter and 80 reso. Some snares are cranked up a little higher. 95 batter and 85 reso. Again it depends on the heads and shells. Some snare batter heads feel like a block of wood at 95 and above.

My OCDP snare is set at 90/90.

Most of the settings I've seen posted here are in the same general ball park. If you're new to drums, or have trouble tuning the drum dial will be one of the best investments you could make.

Colin1374
11-14-2006, 05:11 AM
this may sound noob, but i've never had nor used a drum dial, what exactly is it?

Guinness
11-14-2006, 02:11 PM
10" tom- 76/76
12" tom- 75/75
13" tom- 75/75
16" tom- 74/74
22" bass drum- 75/75
14" x 6.5" snare- 88/77....gives it a real fat sound.

Steady Freddy
11-14-2006, 04:45 PM
this may sound noob, but i've never had nor used a drum dial, what exactly is it?


http://drumdial.com/index.html

themac5150
11-15-2006, 04:19 AM
Coated emperor/coated ambassador
Batter/Reso
14x12 75/80
16x16 75/80
18x16 75/80

Emperor X/Ludwig snare side
14x6.5 93/80 75 at bed

Ludwig heavy clear/Ludwig heavy black
26x14 85/85 approximately
These are all just my starting points, it may vary up or down a bit at different lugs after I fine tune it by ear.

Synthetik
11-19-2006, 02:03 PM
My drumdial arrived saturday. It was interesting to note that my drumheads were actually around 80, or tighter than recommended. I am going to set up my new kit as per instructions (75/74 or there about) and see how it works.

Steady Freddy
11-19-2006, 05:24 PM
My drumdial arrived saturday. It was interesting to note that my drumheads were actually around 80, or tighter than recommended. I am going to set up my new kit as per instructions (75/74 or there about) and see how it works.

Depending on the rods thread pitch, 80 is a quarter to a half turn up from 75. I had a set of coated Aquarian Response IIs that I ran at 80. In the end pulled them off my set after a couple of weeks. They lacked projection for rock.

You strike me as a drummer of considerable experience. What I find interesting is that even though you've tuned by ear you're still in the general ball park as the rest of us who use the dial.

I'm at 75/80 for the toms, but I think I'll try 75/74 today for band practice. I have to put a new head on my 8" anyway. It's starting to look like the surface of the moon.

Thanks for the feed back.

Synthetik
11-20-2006, 02:00 AM
The situation currently is aquarian studio-x drumheads on pearl export.

By ear, if they are set with any less tension, the response drops off dramatically, and the drumhead will really flap.

If I went up much, the head would have decent response, but then the toms would be high pitched and choked.

80 seemed to fall into a narrow sweet spot. It was almost a natural spot to tune, given the limitations of the drum/druhead combo.

It's going to to be a *huge* difference on Tempus carbon fiber with G-1 coated.

wooltonboy
11-20-2006, 04:20 PM
What I find interesting is that the recommended reso settings provided by Drumdial, always seem to be LOWER than the batter settings, particulary on the double-ply head recommendation.
I also find that most people who have posted Drumdial settings seem to have the reso at a lower number.
I was wondering if having a lower single-ply reso setting, when using a double-ply batter, will in fact make the reso be equal to the batter in tension, or maybe even higher. In other words, because of the diffent thickness betwen reso and batter, the setting is actually compensating for this?
I do find that I get a much nicer, thicker sound when the reso is set at a lower tension
Thoughts on this?
Cheers
Phil

Deathmetalconga
11-23-2006, 12:46 AM
I also like looser resonant heads. If my drums are tuned optimally, there is a "pitch bend" effect where the initial note gives way to an upwardly-bending note just a fraction of a second after stick impact. My drums are notoriously difficult to tune, particularly my 10 inch tom, and I have fussed with it for an hour or more after changing heads.

For my kit at http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18719, these are my settings:

snare: 93 bat, 86 res
bass: 71 bat, 69 res
8 inch tom: 74 bat, 72 res
10 inch tom: 73 bat, 71 res
12 inch tom: 72 bat, 70 res
14 inch tom: 71 bat, 69 res

Talkit variable pitch drum: 71 bat, 69 res

I like my drums tuned low - once you get below 70, the tuning bolts are basically finger-tight!

www.terrasonus.com

spw
11-29-2006, 12:43 PM
I have been experimenting with the dial, trying their specs, just seeing sound differences, I'm still looking for THE sound i want, trouble is i don't know it until it hits me, does that make sense?

Do you guys use the dial for the rough tune, then tune to particular notes?
If you do, where do you get the tones (notes)? Also, it seems i am basically tone deaf at this point in my experience level, hell, when i was trying to tune without the dial, lots of times i couldnt tell which lug was lower.

Guinness
11-29-2006, 03:36 PM
I have been experimenting with the dial, trying their specs, just seeing sound differences, I'm still looking for THE sound i want, trouble is i don't know it until it hits me, does that make sense?

Do you guys use the dial for the rough tune, then tune to particular notes?
If you do, where do you get the tones (notes)? Also, it seems i am basically tone deaf at this point in my experience level, hell, when i was trying to tune without the dial, lots of times i couldnt tell which lug was lower.

It takes practice and with practice comes experience. I had heck getting my snare 6.5 x 14 snare to sound good with the recommended settings. I had no choice but to go back to the old school method of tuning by ear using the methods outlined in the drum tuning bible- http://home.earthlink.net/~prof.sound/index.html

The tom settings are fairly accurate as far as the recommended settings suggested, but I found that the snare and bass drum required a little more effort. My suggestion would be to take the time and follow the instructions outlined in the tuning bible and once you have it tuned well to your liking just use the Dial to record those settings and you're good to go the next time you change the heads. I know it's frustrating, but once accomplished it's a huge relief to know you have found your drums sweet spot and can duplicate that tuning in minutes if needed. Good luck.

wooltonboy
11-29-2006, 04:55 PM
I have been experimenting with the dial, trying their specs, just seeing sound differences, I'm still looking for THE sound i want, trouble is i don't know it until it hits me, does that make sense?

Do you guys use the dial for the rough tune, then tune to particular notes?
If you do, where do you get the tones (notes)? Also, it seems i am basically tone deaf at this point in my experience level, hell, when i was trying to tune without the dial, lots of times i couldnt tell which lug was lower.

I know what you mean. The whole tuning process can be totally frustrating.
I seem to have 2 things I struggle with.
1)...Can't seem to decide on whether the reso should be higher or lower than the batter head, as I've found pleasing results with both ways
2)...Can get nice sounds from individual drums, but can't decide on actual range of pitch difference from drum to drum. I find particulary that if I tune my 12" to the same setting as the 10", it's too low, and lacks resonance

I guess it's all about experimenting....time consuming though!
Cheers
Phil

infamouspdp
12-10-2006, 06:43 PM
i always wanted one,but didn't know if it was worth it really.i can tune by ear,but that takes more time which i don't always have.so,i bought one a few weeks ago and i'm glad i did.tuned a 5 piece set in less than 30 minutes.i would say sometimes you have to make some fine adjustments by ear,but overall i'm happy.

Maytridy
01-01-2007, 06:58 PM
Just wanted to say thanks for this thread! I couldn't get my toms in tune so I searched the forums. Using the tensions mentioned here I was able to get a decent sound out of my toms. Thanks!

nova2wl
01-03-2007, 04:13 AM
I just got my drum dial today and I just put all my drums to 75/74 except for my snare and bass drum.

I have one question though. How important is the tension of the resonant? Im relatively new to drumming so I don't fully understand how it works just yet.

Maytridy
01-03-2007, 04:50 AM
The resonant head tension will alter the pitch, the batter head tension will alter the feel of the rebound and also the pitch, but much less than the resonant head.

Red Hawk
01-03-2007, 10:06 AM
huh...

i tuned my whole kit once with a drumdial at 75/74 and thought it sounded horrible, both to me and through the PA. Before that (and still now) I always tuned my drums to what sounded like the resonant freq of the shell. If I can get the batter head to that frequency, and then lock the resonant head in just slightly below that frequency i get that great funky pitch dive on the toms. I don't use any muffling on the toms, except a tiny bit of gaff tape on the 14". The way i usually do this is to detune one or two lugs about a quarter turn... I never took the time to figure out what numbers that tuning came up to on the drumdial, as it was borrowed and didn't work for me anyway.

If I had to guess I'd say that my batter heads are higher than 75 by a bit (maybe 80 or so) and my resos are lower than 74 (maybe 70ish). At 75/74 my toms felt floppy and sounded like cardboard boxes. My kick is just slightly better than finger tight on the batter side, and tuned to the shell resonance on the resonant side. Evans EQ pad barely touching the batter head, and an old sweater on the resonant head, changed as far as how much is touching the reso head depending on the room. The snare drum is cranked down like a concrete slab on the batter side and pretty floppy on the resonant side, snares are average tension.

I guess maybe my setup is pretty messed up, but it sounds sick through our PA, and every PA I've played it through, as well as 2 studio sessions... all tuned and muted the same way.

[edit] forgot to mention that i have evans g1s on the toms, and that i tune my 14" tom, then tune the 10" to be an octave above that, then tune the 12" to be about a 5th below the 10".

pcmckay
01-04-2007, 04:41 AM
I tuned my kit with a drum dial and the tension settings were 85 on all the reso heads, and 78 on the batter. I think my kit just booms, it really sounds great.

larlev
03-07-2007, 06:22 PM
Sorry to bring back this thread.....

I decided to buy a DD.....at first I was really skeptical, but I will say that head changes have never been faster..as some of you know I change heads very often...mainly just to experiment..

On my new build with keller shells and Emp/Amb clears.....I have the following settings

10"...76/75
12"...75/74
16"...74/73

This tool does not replace your ears....but if you change heads frequently it makes it a lot faster.

The one thing I have noticed on many forums is the misconception that a lower reso setting equals a lower pitched reso...this is not true in what I have found..the difference in head thickness, ie. 1 ply vs. 2 ply...means the tension will be affected, resulting in a higher pitch...my toms have a higher pitched reso even with the tension settings lower...

mikei
03-07-2007, 07:45 PM
I tuned my kit with a drum dial and the tension settings were 85 on all the reso heads, and 78 on the batter. I think my kit just booms, it really sounds great.

I am going to try this.

I tried going 75 batter /80 reso and it wasn't bad. However, the frequency caused major snare rattle for me.

I am going to try your combo of 78 /85. Sounds like it is tuned very high.

wooltonboy
03-09-2007, 04:22 PM
I've been experimenting with the Drumdial for a while now, and I have a question.
I've found that on my rack toms, a higher reso setting (usually around 78) and a slightly lower batter (around 75-76) gives me a great sound.
Do most of the Drumdial users use the same rack tom settings for their floor toms?
I'm going to experiment with putting my floor toms (14x14,16x16) at a higher reso also.
I've always had the resos on the floors at around 75 to try and get that really deep sound, but maybe they should be higher also?
Thought?
Cheers
Phil

Keith526
11-01-2007, 09:42 AM
I couldn't find a drum dial from my local music store but the had a Tama drum watch. So far it is fun but does anyone know if the numbers are the same as the Drum dial? there is so much info and samples on the drum dial so I using the drum dial values and I'm getting some good sounds.

www.myspace.com/keithdaileybeats

fusssion
11-01-2007, 04:30 PM
About "singing" songs when tuning.....

I've always heard of the beginning of the Star Spangled Banner...

Oh say can you see

the Ohh is 2 hits on your snare

say is your floor tom

can is your middle tom

you is your higher tom

see is your highest tom or snare ....

works!

Steady Freddy
11-02-2007, 05:16 PM
I couldn't find a drum dial from my local music store but the had a Tama drum watch. So far it is fun but does anyone know if the numbers are the same as the Drum dial? there is so much info and samples on the drum dial so I using the drum dial values and I'm getting some good sounds.

www.myspace.com/keithdaileybeats

They are the same. Both of them go from zero to one hundred.

Steady Freddy
11-02-2007, 05:26 PM
I've been experimenting with the Drumdial for a while now, and I have a question. I've found that on my rack toms, a higher reso setting (usually around 78) and a slightly lower batter (around 75-76) gives me a great sound.
Do most of the Drumdial users use the same rack tom settings for their floor toms?
I'm going to experiment with putting my floor toms (14x14,16x16) at a higher reso also.
I've always had the resos on the floors at around 75 to try and get that really deep sound, but maybe they should be higher also?
Thought?
Cheers
Phil

Running a higher reso head will take some of the growl and rumble out of the floor toms. Your toms will also sound lower in pitch out front than when you're sitting behind the drums.

I was running 80 over 80 on rack toms and 75 over 80 on floor toms. The drums seemed to be pitched up pretty high, but when I recorded them they sounded great.

Any where between 75 and 80 should get you close. Fine tune by ear after that.

goughy
11-03-2007, 09:27 AM
I bought one of these years ago after many years of hating the tuning of my drums. I have absolutely no sense of pitch or tone. I couldn't tell if the pitch at one lug was sharper or flatter than another. So I bought one.

I trust it completely. I tune up to my settings and leave it at that. And my drums sound better than they ever have. I change they tension settings every now and then just to mix things up, but they always sound great.

I've had my toms at 75 top and bottom, to their current settings of
13x9 73.5 top and 72.5 bottom
16x16 74 top and 72.5 bottom

Can't remember my snare, but it's about 88 top and 80 bottom.

I use clear g1's on the top and ambassadors on the bottom of my toms (all getting old. My snare has a coated g1 top and a 300 evans snare side head.

stevedrum
11-16-2007, 09:57 PM
I don't think that the tension watches are effective. Not that I'm a Physics expert but i think that if you put ension on one side of the shell the other side is effected and the tension cannot be the same on all the lugs.

ermghoti
11-16-2007, 10:49 PM
They are the same. Both of them go from zero to one hundred.

They (the Tension Watch and Drum Dial) are not the same. They are calibrated with different units, the TW is metric, the DD English, IIRC. Trying to use DD settings on a TW will probably break something.

I don't think that the tension watches are effective. Not that I'm a Physics expert but i think that if you put ension on one side of the shell the other side is effected and the tension cannot be the same on all the lugs.

They measure the tension of the head, not the lug. Since the pitch of the head is directly related to the tension, these tympanic measuring devices work as advertised. If the tension is not even across the head, it will sound wretched (the basic out of tune multipitched klunk). If the shell and hoop are perfectly round, there is a quite regular tension measurement at each lug. If something is a bit out of round, the tensions need to be different to be in tune.

Steady Freddy
11-17-2007, 03:31 AM
They (the Tension Watch and Drum Dial) are not the same. They are calibrated with different units, the TW is metric, the DD English, IIRC. Trying to use DD settings on a TW will probably break something.


I've heard that before, but have to disagree. Both dials are calibrated the same. They both go from zero to 100. I have a Tama unit and use drum dial settings without any issues.

Both dials are exactly the same.

Deathmetalconga
11-17-2007, 03:44 AM
They (the Tension Watch and Drum Dial) are not the same. They are calibrated with different units, the TW is metric, the DD English, IIRC. Trying to use DD settings on a TW will probably break something.



They measure the tension of the head, not the lug. Since the pitch of the head is directly related to the tension, these tympanic measuring devices work as advertised. If the tension is not even across the head, it will sound wretched (the basic out of tune multipitched klunk). If the shell and hoop are perfectly round, there is a quite regular tension measurement at each lug. If something is a bit out of round, the tensions need to be different to be in tune.


And what are the units? Pounds per square inch? Kilonewtons? I have a Drum Dial and I think the measurements are just arbitrary and don't correspond to any particular system. I think they just measure the variance of tension between different points on the dial, not relative to any system of measurement (English or metric).

Steady Freddy
11-17-2007, 04:02 AM
And what are the units? Pounds per square inch? Kilonewtons? I have a Drum Dial and I think the measurements are just arbitrary and don't correspond to any particular system. I think they just measure the variance of tension between different points on the dial, not relative to any system of measurement (English or metric).

I tend to agree. These dials are very commomly used to measure run out. Machinists use them. They are usually calibrated to measure in thousands of an inch. In this case the dials read head tension. The setings are arbittrary, but repeatable.

tard
07-02-2011, 06:36 PM
i have not used a drum dial/tension watch yet but i see how they could be more acurate than the torque key type, i have an evans and a rythm tech and they are garbage, the differences in the lugs alone make them useless, you can actually get them closer faster by hand, and you will still need to do the tap test to get them right even more so than just finger tightening all the lugs and then tightening them all the same # of turns with a regular key, dont believe me? try this, tune your snare with a torque key, do it a couple times, backing them off a bit then bringing them up to torque so that they are all exactly the same according to the key that is, then take a regular key and loosen 1 lug 1 complete turn and then tighten the opposite lug 1 completel turn, go around again with the torque key, it will still say they are all the same because the strain on the lug is the same but the tension on the head sure isnt, at least the drum dials measure head tension not lug torque, but if your really fussy or lazy (like me lol ) there is an electronic sonic tuner out there that sits across the rim and sends a sonic signal thru the drum and will show you the actual note of the drum and shows which lug to turn and which way to turn it to bring all lugs to the perfect pitch but they are between $300 to $400, if i was in a bigger area with more drummers id buy one and advertise the service just like piano tuning....lol