Hearing pitch while tuning

gusty

Platinum Member
Im trying to tune my snare, and its like sometimes i can hear the pitch of each lug and sometimes i cant. its quite frustrating when i cant. any tips on how to hear it better? (note: im not talking about pitch in general, im fine with that, just on a drum when the pitch isnt always so clear).
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Hope you're doing it with the snares off .. : )

No great insights except to say that if the drums are in round with bearing edges in good shape, then all you need to do is to tap 1 inch away from each lug ( ..I use a light touch, just using my fingers..) to hear a tone.

By alternately tapping in front of other lugs and the one you are tuning, you'll be able to 'hear' the tonal difference.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Everything Aydee said. I use 3 tuning tools, to hit the drum head. A drumstick, my finger, and a marimba mallet. Sometimes 1 of the 3 will produce a better, more audible "tone" for the ear/brain to focus on.
 

gusty

Platinum Member
yeah, doing it with the snares off and all that...

the drum on its own, i can hear the pitch (easier on the batter than the reso), when i try to reference that to a note (piano or tuner) it gets a bit harder sometimes...

spose its just all practise. by the way, does any one have any recommendations for a 12 x 7 funk snare? (eg, batter tuned to an A, reso to a B)
 

aydee

Platinum Member
I've played a Black Panther, that size ( I think..) on a friend's kit recently that really sounds great. He had it cranked way up and it sounded great..

what works great for me my trusty Yammie Brass Piccolo.. works great with everything when in not in the mood for my Pearl Chad Smith.
 

gusty

Platinum Member
I've played a Black Panther, that size ( I think..) on a friend's kit recently that really sounds great. He had it cranked way up and it sounded great..

what works great for me my trusty Yammie Brass Piccolo.. works great with everything when in not in the mood for my Pearl Chad Smith.
It wasn't a cherry maple was it? and you dont know exactly how up it was? :p

yeah, a piccolo would be cool, specially since im into david g...but i dont know how much use i'd get out of it, maybe it'd be worth it.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
It wasn't a cherry maple was it? and you dont know exactly how up it was? :p

yeah, a piccolo would be cool, specially since im into david g...but i dont know how much use i'd get out of it, maybe it'd be worth it.
It was pretty dark. It was wood and sounded like maple.. The piccolo? You could probably use it for anything.. well, almost anything ( Dave Lombardo groove might not work on a piccolo, but everything else would sound just fine )
 

oops

Silver Member
You're running a Yamaha Brass Piccolo? Check the Keith Carlock thread, I posted some stuff in there about his.

Would be highly interested to discover if you're using the same one and what your opinions are. I'm in the market.
 

gusty

Platinum Member
It was pretty dark. It was wood and sounded like maple.. The piccolo? You could probably use it for anything.. well, almost anything ( Dave Lombardo groove might not work on a piccolo, but everything else would sound just fine )
Mines a bit of a honey/orange wood finish. that sounds quite bad (i know) but it looks nice. i might check out that piccolo.

Oops, are you talking to me or aydee?
 

aydee

Platinum Member
You're running a Yamaha Brass Piccolo? Check the Keith Carlock thread, I posted some stuff in there about his.

Would be highly interested to discover if you're using the same one and what your opinions are. I'm in the market.
That's the one. Its the SD series, .. made sometime in the late nineties.. This was a gift to from a well-known drummer and one of my heroes, so its very close to my heart...

Its an unbelievably great sounding snare, and can sound a lot more than a piccolo too, with the right tuning adjustments. I have another piccolo ( PEACE )and a PEAL Chad Smith, and the the only time I use the Chad Smith is when I want more cut in the sound ( which only happens when I'm playing with a particularly loud guitar set up )
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Gusty, try putting a fingertip lightly on the center of the head while you tap. This will give you more of a harmonic sound that may enable you to better hear the pitch. If that doesn't work, try muffling the head slightly with your fingers on the opposite side of the lug you're tuning, experiment with a little muffling or a lot to see what works better to hear the pitch.
 

k3ng

Silver Member
I prefer tapping with mallets. They give you a more... genuine tone of the drum in question.

Also don't tap too hard. Softly as possible, which means you have to tune your drums in pretty much dead silence to get the best effect.

As for notes, I've never followed notes for my drums.. I just tune them until I'm happy.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
I prefer tapping with mallets.

As for notes, I've never followed notes for my drums.. I just tune them until I'm happy.
Another mallet man. And I, too, don't reference a piano. Each drum has it's own "sweet spot", and I want the drum "to be all that it can be".
 

drumtechdad

Gold Member
Gusty, try putting a fingertip lightly on the center of the head while you tap. This will give you more of a harmonic sound that may enable you to better hear the pitch. If that doesn't work, try muffling the head slightly with your fingers on the opposite side of the lug you're tuning, experiment with a little muffling or a lot to see what works better to hear the pitch.
Instead of a fingertip resting on the center of the drumhead, try a moongel. The pitch changes depending on how firmly you press your finger into the head, but the moongel remains constant.

As you tap, just listen for a pitch that is higher than the fundamental pitch of the drum. Zero in on it, and listen to that pitch at each lug. Just takes getting the hang of it.

Another mallet man. And I, too, don't reference a piano. Each drum has it's own "sweet spot", and I want the drum "to be all that it can be".
Yes. And once you find that sweet spot you can see what pitch it is, and thereby be able to easily replicate your tuning when it comes time to rehead. I do it with a pitch pipe.

Also, by identifying the pitch you've tuned to--and perhaps nudging it a little bit higher or lower while staying in the sweet spot--you can often arrange the spacing of the toms to be more even, more melodic, or whatever you want. For instance, a tritone between toms sounds pretty bad both sequentially and when the toms are played together; by nudging the tuning to a perfect fourth or a perfect fifth--whichever keeps the toms singing well--you get a much nicer result.

My kid's kit is 8-10-12-14f-16f, tuned to G, Eb, Bb, F, and C. All drums are in their sweet spots, yet you get a nice melodic sound around the toms, and any two adjacent toms sound great when struck together.

The key is to (as you say) let the drums tell you where they want to be tuned, but once that's done thinking in pitches is handy.
 
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