Call to post and other tuning questions...

M

Mike_In_KC

Guest
I am constantly working on tuning - as a newbie I still can't seem to get my toms "right". I was looking at the instructions that came with my tune-bot, a tool that I understand needs to be used to supplement not replace my ear. On to the questions...

In the tuning charts that tune-bot presents they mention the interval types between each drum. The only one I kind of understand is "Perfect Fourths" which I believe is the gap between the first two notes and last two notes of "Here Comes the Bride". The other intervals listed are "Perfect Fifths" , "Major Thirds", "Major Chord" and "Call to Post". If I understood perfect fourths correctly I assume perfect fifths would be the interval between A and F? Is major thirds the interval between A and C? I have no idea what "Call to Post" or "Major Chord" is - do I need to know?

If I want to maintain perfect fourths for my intervals and I am using four toms, 10, 12 (racked) and 14 and 16 on the floor AND I am using these note values:

10" = 3E
12" = 2B
14" = 2F#
16" = 2C#

What note should I tune my snare drum? Does anyone have a link to a chart that shows all of the notes? I had never heard of a "2F#" before I started playing drums - I only knew of F#....

The note values used above were taken directly from the tune bot instruction page - just fyi.

http://www.tune-bot.com/drum-tuning.html

All help as always is greatly appreciated.

MM

P.S. Larryace and Tony you are off the hook :)
 

Otto

Platinum Member
Hey!

Dont take my little blurb here as a replacement for persuit of a deeper understanding of theory....

imagine a piano keyboard...

c c# d d# e f f# g g# a a# b c

... the sharp(#) notes in that list above are the 'black keys'.

a 'half step' is the distance between a note and the next note in the sequence.

so, 1 half step up from g is g#....and 1 half step down from g is f#
1 half step up from e is f

You can google different 'intervals' to see how many half-tones(aka Semitones) define that 'interval'.


With that out of the way, most drummers I have met tune their drums to the most resonant dominant pitch for that drum...that way you get the most 'full' sound possible from the drum.

Snares, to me, have so much white noise coming off them that tuning to pitch becomes more chore than expressive art...but still, its a fun experiment to see what pitches you can pick out to compliment the song...so experiment away(especially with metal shells like brass or aluminum)! Note that i say this having gone through long phases of pitch selection specificity on my snares to accomodate the sound i get when I release the strainer...

I think the art of tuning comes into play when you select tuning ranges amongst your set that have the least cross resonance....so when you hit one drum the rest of your drums are as quiet as possible.

Have fun with it...and experiment as much as you can!...record the sounds you create and keep a journal of what you like/dont like...and keep the recordings as examples and document how you recorded-which you will want to know later when you start getting into recording techniques...really pays off when you are trying to recall how you had your snare tuned when it would not buzz along with your bass drum hits...

Work to be able to control your sets sounds without using dampening...or as little as possible.
 
M

Mike_In_KC

Guest
Hey!

Dont take my litle blurb here as a replacement for persuit of a deeper understanding of theory....

imagine a piano keyboard...

c c# d d# e f f# g g# a a# b c

...where the sharp notes in that list above are the 'black keys'.

a 'half step' is the distance between a note and the next note in the sequence.

so, 1 half step up from g is g#....and 1 half step down from g is f#

You can google different 'intervals' to see how many half-tones(aka Semitones) define that 'interval'.


With that out of the way, most drummers I have met tune their drums to the most resonant dominant pitch for that drum...that way you get the most 'full' sound possible from the drum.

Snares, to me, have so much white noise coming off them that tuning to pitch becomes more chore than expressive art...but still, its a fun experiment to see what pitches you can pick out to compliment the song...so experiment away!

I think the art of tuning comes into play when you select tuning ranges amongst your set that have the least cross resonance....so when you hit one drum the rest of your drums are as quiet as possible.

Have fun with it...and experiment as much as you can!...record the sounds you create and keep a journal of what you like/dont like...and keep the recordings as examples...really pays off when you are trying to recall how you had your snare tuned when it would not buzz along with your bass drum hits...
Great stuff - thanks Otto!
 

JimFiore

Silver Member
I think it's worth mentioning that we really can't create chords with drums and the idea of true musical intervals on drums is somewhat misleading. The pitches described are the fundamental resonances of the vibrating head but unlike most melodic or chordal instruments, the harmonic sequence of the head is not arranged in integer multiples. Thus, a sense of a specific pitch is lost, and more so when multiple drums are played simultaneously.

In a way that's fortunate, otherwise we'd be stuck playing a 3 or 4 or 5 note instrument and would have to retune every time we played a song in a different key. Consequently, I think this is one of those things that people can spend way too much time on, inadvertently. Getting each drum to sound good itself and in concert with the rest of the kit is very important, but I don't think it's wise to go overboard with the concept.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Take an afternoon to find the 'sweet spot' for each tom, by working with its batter and reso. For a start you could tune the reso and batter the same. Every drum size sounds good at a certain combo, and a certain pitch. Remember tune 'batter for feel, reso for pitch"

Then, to me it's as simple as singing "three-blind-mice'. Getting those notes, down the toms, from high to low. In other words, adjust batter/reso for each tom to get that sequence of notes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDzdAHmGFCU

OK, that vid was not needed. lol
Snare, I honestly suggest just crank it up and start from there, not neceassirly tuned to a note, though safely its at a pitch higher than highest.
Bass drums are mostly exempt from this, just start get a good low end punch.

I play a 4-piece. I get the three-blind-mice sequence of notes from snare to hi tom to floor tom, and same for hi tom to floor tom to bass drum. Snare varies with kind of music played, tuned up or down.

Hope this helps. Like Tony wrote above, I would not get lost in this.
 

vxla

Silver Member
Throw that tune bot away and use your ears to find something you like, then make sure it feels good underneath the hands and make small adjustments, if necessary.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
The tune bot is used to get each lug in tune with the others. I think you are wasting your time trying to tune to a piano keyboard for example. I understand the intervals etc, but all drums and drum sets are different. Tune the drums by ear to get them close to where you want, and if you have to use the tunebot, use it to match the lugs to each other and not as a guitar tuner for drums. there are no rules in tuning. If you want your 12 inch tom higher than your 10 then fine but don't rely on the tunebot to do your ears work.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
Wow this is getting deep. I'm mostly self taught. I started tuning my drums about 40 yrs ago. Just turning the key untill I got a sound I liked. As time went by I kind of figured out what to do to make the drums sound good. I think the earlier statement about the tune bot making the tension even at ea. lug is right. After that you just fiddle with ea. lug equally, until you get the sound you want. You will develop a skill for it, but like learning to play well, learning to tune will take some time. I've never used one, but I'm sure a tune bot is a good tool for tuning. A lot of people who post on here use them.
 
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