Tom Tuning: Which Way to More Resonance?

RobertM

Platinum Member
I recently watched a video via YouTube, posted by Remo, featuring Russ Miller on tuning techniques (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_a3EjAohUzU). In this video, Russ offers some cool advice on drum tuning using one of his PHX toms, and at one point he says that tuning the bottom (resonant) head tighter than the top (batter) head makes the drum "open up and have more length."

However, a jazz and vintage drum expert I know once gave me the following tuning advice, which suggests the opposite about resonance:
"Tune the top head tighter than the bottom head and you will get a nice open sound that will push out toward the audience. Making the bottom head tighter than the top will not maximize the resonant potential of the drum. Tuning the bottom tighter works fine for close mic'd drums (the sound pushes up instead of out), but most of us play in an open acoustic environment and the sound should push out toward the audience."
So, the latter advice suggests that tom resonance is more open with top tighter than bottom, but Russ claims the reverse in the video: bottom tighter than top = more open, lengthier note.

What do you think? Which is it?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
My tuning odyssey has taught me through trial and error, that to my ear, a tighter reso, by a 3rd, a 4th or by my fav, an octave....sounds best.

This is my personal opinion of the 3 tuning approaches:

Reso tighter than batter: punchy tom tone, my fav.

reso same as batter: A good tone, if not a tad boring, not as complex sounding as above.

reso looser than batter: boingy, tubby, badly tuned, wonky tone.

These are my opinions. Good tone is very subjective. Some recommend reso looser than batter, that tone makes me want to hurl.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
I recently watched a video via YouTube, posted by Remo, featuring Russ Miller on tuning techniques (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_a3EjAohUzU). In this video, Russ offers some cool advice on drum tuning using one of his PHX toms, and at one point he says that tuning the bottom (resonant) head tighter than the top (batter) head makes the drum "open up and have more length."

However, a jazz and vintage drum expert I know once gave me the following tuning advice, which suggests the opposite about resonance:

So, the latter advice suggests that tom resonance is more open with top tighter than bottom, but Russ claims the reverse in the video: bottom tighter than top = more open, lengthier note.

What do you think? Which is it?
I think they are both wrong. Tuning both heads to the same pitch provides the longest sustain
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
heads tuned to equal pitch gives you the most resonance

then whether you chose top tighter or bottom tighter is up to you .....but the greater the Hz distance between to pitches of the heads the shorter the sustain

on toms I prefer the bottom heads about 20 to 40 Hz above the top depending on the size of the drum

and my drums sound pretty damn good if I must say so myself :)
 

drstrangefunk

Senior Member
Bo Knows Tuning.

i await Bo's response.

through trial and error, i also found that for rack toms, an octave higher on the reso works for me. on my 16" floor tom, i found that unisons (the same note) work best for me. Larry Ace got me there on snare tuning.

Bo has the best tuned kits - all different types. if there is a common thread to be found on various types of kits i believe that Bo's tuning guide would be a good start. i'd post it if i could find it. i remember that he made a vid once.
 

SgtThump

Platinum Member
I think they are both wrong. Tuning both heads to the same pitch provides the longest sustain
That's been my experience as well.

I'll start out tuning both to the same pitch and if there are no weird downward pitch bends, I'll slap on a moon gel and it's perfect to me. If there are weird downward pitch bends, I'll tune the reso head up a tiny bit and check again. If I go too much higher on the reso head, the sustain will drop bigtime and I don't like the tone as much.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I think they are both wrong. Tuning both heads to the same pitch provides the longest sustain
This.

But hey, just mess around and try it yourself, no need to take the word of others. If there's a drum that doesn't sing most with both heads tuned to the same pitch, I haven't played it yet.
 
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