Question on tuning

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
If I was to use the same head, batter, on various depth drums, all at the same drum dial numbers, would the drum depth make the drums sound bigger or do I still need to tune lower for deeper drums. I don't own a drum dial so I can't test this. Thanks for any input.
 
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PDPx7Drummer

Guest
I generally tune top and bottom the same with my Evans torque key, starting at maybe a few clicks or in terms with a normal drum key an 1/8 or 1/4 of a turn above JAW on the 16 and then the fundamental tone of each drum as you go up takes care of it. I honestly can't tune it too high to make it melodic because they choke out too early. Maybe with the 12 mil single ply I could but not with these Emps. Really unless you tune to a certain pitch or to fit your bands sound I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Feel free to correct me here as I am still new to this stuff....
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
If I was to use the same head, batter, on various depth drums, all at the same drum dial numbers, would the drum depth make the drums sound bigger or do I still need to tune lower for deeper drums. I don't own a drum dial so I can't test this. Thanks for any input.
Are you assuming the same diameter?
Or a regular set of drums that get bigger as they get deeper?

On a regular set of toms, use the same dial tension all the way around will still yield the results of the larger toms sounding deeper than the smaller toms.

When I have used a dial, I set all the rack toms to the same number. The floor tom might be slightly lower number, but not by much.

But of course, as you know, a dial only gets you close, fine tuning still often needs to be done by hand. And the tune-bot appears to be making the dial obsolete.

I need to dig mine (the Tama version) out of the closet and sell it before everyone realizes they're obsolete. LOL.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I'm sorry for an incomplete question. I am referring to 14 inch snares of varying depth. If I tune them all to the same Dial setting, will the deeper drums sound deeper?
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
I'm sorry for an incomplete question. I am referring to 14 inch snares of varying depth. If I tune them all to the same Dial setting, will the deeper drums sound deeper?
They will have more of the characteristic of the shell, that's for sure. That's why I dig the deeper snares. Some people say they will have a lower pitch or be not as responsive/sensitive, but I find this to not be the case. But, then again, I don't have a drum dial to compare tensions, so I have no objective data on the matter. I just tune the drum until it sounds and feels good. Each drum has character, and I tune to bring that unique quality out. With deeper drums, there is more of that character to bring out it seems.
 
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PDPx7Drummer

Guest
Well that's a horse of a different color lol! I suppose it would have a lower tone to it but it also depends on the matierials, thickness etc I would think. Not to up on the differences of tuning snares as I've only had 3 in my whole life lol. A couple stainless steel Pearls and now this stock PDP.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I'm sorry for an incomplete question. I am referring to 14 inch snares of varying depth. If I tune them all to the same Dial setting, will the deeper drums sound deeper?
I find the dials are completely useless on snare drums.

Because snares are usually tuned at much higher tensions than toms, the higher tensions make it hard for the dial to distinguish the differences from one lug to the next.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I'm sorry for an incomplete question. I am referring to 14 inch snares of varying depth. If I tune them all to the same Dial setting, will the deeper drums sound deeper?
Yes, definitely.

Can't help with the drum dial numbers Grunt.....never used one. But I do tend tend to tension all my snare batters pretty similarly. As much as I'm looking for a tone, I'm also looking for a certain response. So given that, I know the batter tensions are all pretty close. I'm sure if I ran a dial over them the readings would be in the ballpark.

There's no doubt my 6.5" deep snares sound deeper than the 3", 5" and 5.5" that I have, given the same head type and similar tension.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Thanks again....I tend to tune my batters the same but was wondering if the better idea was to play with the tuning.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Thanks again....I tend to tune my batters the same but was wondering if the better idea was to play with the tuning.
It never hurts to play around with it. I know I've fiddled with various tunings etc over the years. Whilst there's little doubt that you can make two identical drums sound vastly different just by playing with different tunings, I think I always come back to the response. I just prefer a batter (and reso for that matter) in the medium to tight range. Hence tend to tension the heads all in a similar fashion and then just rely on the various depths or shell materials of each drum to provide the sound I'm after. Pretty much why I can't seem to own enough snare drums!!
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I just prefer a batter (and reso for that matter) in the medium to tight range. Hence tend to tension the heads all in a similar fashion and then just rely on the various depths or shell materials of each drum to provide the sound I'm after. Pretty much why I can't seem to own enough snare drums!!
That's exactly how I go about it, too, and I'm also having trouble resisting the urge to run out and buy a 5x14 maple, and another 6.5x14 Tama Mastercraft steel. I still don't have bronze, but I think I want that to be of the 3 mm variety. Of course, copper's pretty warm and rich and any of those Guru's would be a welcome addition to the family... don't get me started! But yeah, they all get pretty much the same treatment with respect to tuning.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
I think it's good to understand why increased depth makes a drum sound deeper (richer). All other things being equal, a deep drum and shallow drum will have the same pitch, so the fundamental "note" doesn't change with shell depth, what does change, is the amount of overtones (or more accurately, tones other than the fundamental tone) that a deeper drum produces. I use the analogy of adding chorus to a bass guitar. Chorus adds the perception of depth to the sound, in a similar way to overtones (especially lower frequency overtones) on a drum. Those overtones effectively "fatten" the resolved sound. More shell depth = more overtones.

Another variable is the increase in shell area. Shells affect a drum's sound in three ways:

1/ by "absorbing" certain frequencies via sympathetic resonance.
2/ by reflecting certain frequencies.
3/ by transferring vibrations from the batter to the reso head

The shell itself produces very little of the sound. It shapes the "resolved" sound that's radiated mainly by the heads. Think of a drum shell as a speaker cabinet, & drum heads as the speaker cone. More shell area means greater influence over the resolved sound via the three mechanisms listed above, & if we're talking depth (richness) of sound, primarily mechanisms 1 & 2. Mechanism 3 has a profound affect on sustain & snare wire sensitivity.

The above should be taken into account when considering shell constructions too. Once this relationship is understood, it's pretty easy to work out what different shell materials will bring to the party, & how shell depth plays a part in that equation.

I hope this helps.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Andy great stuff as usual. Thanks to all. My main concern was, should I be tuning my deeper snares with looser batter heads to take advantage of the depth. My thinking now is that the drum will take care of itself.

this I got from the Drum tuning Bible:

The shell depth while having a small impact on the warmth or resonance of the drum has a greater impact on volume and articulation. The diameter has a far greater impact on creating lower pitch. Greater depth increases volume or power by having an impact on resonance of the fundamental note of the shell. A shallower shell creates a shorter burst of tone and makes a drum more articulate by virtue of the fact that the quantity of surface area of the parent material (i.e. the shell) is lessened and therefore cannot resonate as much as large surface area. Less distance between heads means the opposite head (i.e. Resonant head) reacts quicker, or gets excited faster when striking the batter head, it responds better to softer playing. For instance, a 22” diameter kick drum of 16” in depth has a shell area of approximately 6,080 square inches. A 22” diameter kick drum of 18” in depth has a shell area of approximately 6,840 square inches, or a 12.5% increase in area to resonate. Take that same thought to a 10” tom with a 9” depth. This results in a shell area of approximately 706 square inches versus one with an 11” depth, which results in a shell area of 863 sq. in. That 2” increase in depth is now a 22% gain. The deeper the shell, the more likely they are to produce a deeper or warmer sound because of resonance ability, but this should not be confused with a low tuning.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
The tuning bible is essentially correct, but the "increased resonance" element of the explanation is short on detail, & probably a good thing, because the detail is actually full of ifs, buts, & caveats, & therefore terminally boring :) The increased surface area and distance between heads is only part of the equation, the affect of which, can be either diminished or expanded by changes in shell construction/material, and in particular, augmentation of bearing edges + the shell's ability to act as an efficient conduit between the heads. For clarification, a big part of the tuning bible's reference to increased resonance is the generation of overtones, as in my earlier post. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that the art of the drum designer is the management of overtones. The augmentation of overtones in a deep drum such that they add manageable value, & the creation of overtones in a shallow drum, such that they enrich an otherwise over clean fundamental, being the highest manifestations of that art.

& yes, as always, the way to get the best out of any drum is to just go with the flow. As long as the usual big check items are ticked off the list, let the drum tell you when it's happy. That way, you'll always be playing to it's strengths, not papering over it's weaknesses. To disguise it's weaknesses, is usually also to place a veil over it's strengths.
 
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