TOM TUNING

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Re: Tuning the reso toms. How i know if im in the ball park ?

I have to be reading this wrong:

Get the fundamental pitch of the drum by striking the bearing edge with a stick without any heads at all on it.

Do you really want to strike your bearing edges with a stick???
 
F

fourstringdrums

Guest
Re: Tuning the reso toms. How i know if im in the ball park ?

I have to be reading this wrong:

Get the fundamental pitch of the drum by striking the bearing edge with a stick without any heads at all on it.

Do you really want to strike your bearing edges with a stick???
That's what I read too. Yikes, no! You NEVER want to strike your bearing edge with anything.

The proper way is to take the heads off and hold the drum by a lug lightly. With a soft mallet or your fist, strike the side of the drum lightly to get the fundamental pitch of the shell.

Personally I don't go through all that trouble. I usually tune my top and bottom heads so they have the same pitch interval between them the theme from Jaws (I forget what that is...a whole step?) I tension my resonant heads until they have a clear resonant pitch first in the area of where I want the pitch of the drum to be within this pitch interval. Then I tension the top head accordingly.
 

jking

Member
Re: Tuning the reso toms. How i know if im in the ball park ?

I have to be reading this wrong:

Get the fundamental pitch of the drum by striking the bearing edge with a stick without any heads at all on it.

Do you really want to strike your bearing edges with a stick???

That's what I read too. Yikes, no! You NEVER want to strike your bearing edge with anything.

The proper way is to take the heads off and hold the drum by a lug lightly. With a soft mallet or your fist, strike the side of the drum lightly to get the fundamental pitch of the shell.

Personally I don't go through all that trouble. I usually tune my top and bottom heads so they have the same pitch interval between them the theme from Jaws (I forget what that is...a whole step?) I tension my resonant heads until they have a clear resonant pitch first in the area of where I want the pitch of the drum to be within this pitch interval. Then I tension the top head accordingly.

I'll third that. Don't strike your bearing edge.

I also don't think it's worth the trouble to find the fundamental pitch of the shell. You'd need a pitch pipe or something so you can match the pitch. Then you have to write it down until you get the heads on. You still will have to adjust all the drums in relation to each other. Seems like it's simpler to just tune each drum so they sound good & then adjust from there. I suppose if you have trouble finding a good place to start, then go with it.
 

drumpy

Junior Member
Re: THE TOM TUNING THREAD

Howzit all my fellow drummers out there.

I have a bit a problem, or it feels like a problem. I have three drum kits. One standard size kit ( DB percussion), One fusion size 10, 12, 14 and 20 x 16.5 kick (Gretsch) and the other kit 10, 12, 16 and 22 x 18 kick (DDrum Kit). My problem is that I have no issues tuning either of the kits except the 14 x 12 tom of the Gretsch kit. For some or other reason I struggle to get a good quality sound from the tom. I have changed heads ( by the way I use Evans G2 Clear on all my toms) but it just does not help, I even have the Tam tuning dial , but no good results. The problem is I played on various kits that has the 14" tom and they always sound great.

Could it be my tom? or is it the lack of tuning knowledge? Does any-one have the same problem?
 

Wavelength

Platinum Member
Re: THE TOM TUNING THREAD

My problem is that I have no issues tuning either of the kits except the 14 x 12 tom of the Gretsch kit. For some or other reason I struggle to get a good quality sound from the tom.
What is the sound you are looking for? Are the heads in tune with themselves? How are the heads tuned in relation to one another? Different drums have different tuning ranges, and some might work best with a certain type of pitch relation between the heads. For instance, my drums sound best when I tune the resonant heads a perfect fourth above the batter heads, while some other drums sound best when both heads are tuned to the same pitch.
 

drumpy

Junior Member
Re: THE TOM TUNING THREAD

The sound I am looking for is a fairly solid but resonant sound. On all my toms I usually tune my bottom heads a half turn tighter than the top head. It works well on all the toms , but the 14" has a personality of its own.
 

drumpy

Junior Member
Re: THE TOM TUNING THREAD

thanks man, got it . . . . I will print it and study it . . . . happy drumming
 

Elvis

Silver Member
Re: THE TOM TUNING THREAD

Sounds to me like it may be a quirk of those particular heads and/or that particular drum.
You sound like you're competent with your tuning abilities.
I'd check it against another drum of same make/model/size/heads and see if that's not whats going on here.

But go ahead and see what the Drum Tuning Bible says (I assume that's what you're "studying").
Prof. put lots o' good info in there.



Elvis
 

m1ck

Senior Member
Re: Cool tom tuning techniques!!

... My point is, try tuning the bottom heads of your toms a minor third higher on the bottom. It helps to control the amount of sustain, has a pitch relationship with the top head so you don’t have dissonance between the two heads, and gives the drum some life. Now, to reduce more unwanted overtones, you should get the drums in tune with themselves. If you have 2 inch differences between your toms (i.e. 10,12,14,16) your drums will probably lend themselves to be tuned a major third (four notes) or a fourth (five notes) apart. If your toms are not 2 inches apart and configured differently, go with an interval that’s appropriate. For instance if you have 12” and 13” toms, you may want to tune them a minor third apart. If your drums are say 10”,13” and 16” like mine, try tuning in fifths.

For the record, here are the tom sizes on my kit, the heads I use and how I tune them. If nothing else, it can be a point of reference, but every drummer that has played my kit, even some famous players, have loved the way they felt and sounded.
Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute Nouveau
10x7.5 tom
13x9 tom
16x14 tom
Heads are usually coated or clear ambassadors, sometimes coated or clear emperors.
NO MUFFLING!!!
The 10” tom has the top head tuned to a “B” and the bottom head a minor third higher to a “D”. The 13” tom has the top head tuned to an “F” and the bottom head a minor third higher to a “G#”. The 16” floor tom has the top head tuned to a “B” and the bottom head a minor third higher to a “D”. They sound and feel great, no overtones or snare buzz. Please post some comments if you try this technique, or if you just want to say stuff about it. Good luck and happy tuning!!
I'm new here and this thread is old, so I don't even know if cd21 is still around anymore...

But what I want to know is this: when you speak of tuning a head to a certain note, are you listening to the dominant tone when you finger-tap by each lug? Or when you strike the head with a stick? I've been experimenting with this. I have a tom sitting on a blanket-covered table, so the reso (for example) is on the bottom and totally dead. The batter is in tune, meaning equal head tension at each lug. If I tap it by the lugs - either with a stick or my finger - I get a certain dominant pitch that can be associated with a note a keyboard. If I strike the drum with a stick in the center of the head, while it's in that same position, I get a dominant pitch that is not identical to the former.

When you say you've got your 10" tom tuned to a B, is it the lug-tap or an open stroke that's a B?
 
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jay norem

Guest
Re: THE TOM TUNING THREAD

I probably don't have any business posting here since I'm guessing that you guys are all rock drummers and I'm rather an old guy. But what I do, once the new heads are well placed and stretched on the shells, is to first adjust the tension on the batter head to suit the way I play. I rely on a decent amount of "bounce," so I adjust the tension to give me just the feel I'm looking for. Then I adjust the tension on the bottom head for pitch, and there isn't a great deal a variance there. A good drum will always sound good if you get your heads vibrating correctly.
As far as pitch is concerned, that's not all that important to me. A good drum will "sound" at its natural resonant capacity. If you try to make it too high or too low then you're wasting a good drum.
Look at it like this: you wouldn't want your drum to feel like you're playing on a table, nor would you want it to feel like you're playing on a mattress. You want it to feel like you're playing on a drum, and you want the drum to sound as good as it's made to sound. Head tension is very important, but pitch is rather beside the point as long as you have a well made drum.
 

Wavelength

Platinum Member
Re: THE TOM TUNING THREAD

Head tension is very important, but pitch is rather beside the point as long as you have a well made drum.
The heads' tunings also affect the drum's timbre. With different intervals between the heads one can tune a drum into many different timbres while keeping one pitch. For me, timbre comes first, pitch second and playing feel (=rebound) third..
 

Elvis

Silver Member
Re: THE TOM TUNING THREAD

I probably don't have any business posting here since I'm guessing that you guys are all rock drummers and I'm rather an old guy. But what I do, once the new heads are well placed and stretched on the shells, is to first adjust the tension on the batter head to suit the way I play. I rely on a decent amount of "bounce," so I adjust the tension to give me just the feel I'm looking for. Then I adjust the tension on the bottom head for pitch, and there isn't a great deal a variance there. A good drum will always sound good if you get your heads vibrating correctly.
As far as pitch is concerned, that's not all that important to me. A good drum will "sound" at its natural resonant capacity. If you try to make it too high or too low then you're wasting a good drum.
Look at it like this: you wouldn't want your drum to feel like you're playing on a table, nor would you want it to feel like you're playing on a mattress. You want it to feel like you're playing on a drum, and you want the drum to sound as good as it's made to sound. Head tension is very important, but pitch is rather beside the point as long as you have a well made drum.
Jay,

Just a quick note to say thank you for posting that.
I couldn't agree more and its exactly what I look for when tuning my drums.
It's nice to hear from someone who actually wants their drums to sound like a drum.



Elvis
 
J

jay norem

Guest
Re: THE TOM TUNING THREAD

Jay,

Just a quick note to say thank you for posting that.
I couldn't agree more and its exactly what I look for when tuning my drums.
It's nice to hear from someone who actually wants their drums to sound like a drum.



Elvis
Why you're very welcome Elvis. "Great minds think alike" and all that.
Nothing sounds sweeter than a drum that's allowed to sing with its own unique voice.
 

h3r3tic

Silver Member
Tom Heads....

How's it going people?

I've been wondering about some tunning possibilities on drumset... So my biggest question is how to make the drumheads on the toms more muffled without using rings or mufflers... I've learned hot to tune my drumset after beeing at a drumworkshop with an EXCELENT portuguese drummer called Hugo Danin (who studied at the drummer's collective) but the thing that I can't remember from his workshop was hot to make the toms sound "good" without using rings or mufflers....

So should I loosen up my reso heads? like should they be lower or at the same "pitch" as my batter head?

I have them currently tunned a little higher than my batter side and they give the "sound" I want, but not the resonnace I want (I think that's how you say it)...

So any suggestions?
 

mind_drummer

Platinum Member
Re: Tom Heads....

Reso tune lower will reduce the pitch and resonance little bit.

Take a tom and experiment, you will learn by yourself and there's nothing better.
 
D

DamoSyzygy

Guest
I probably don't have any business posting here since I'm guessing that you guys are all rock drummers and I'm rather an old guy. But what I do, once the new heads are well placed and stretched on the shells, is to first adjust the tension on the batter head to suit the way I play. I rely on a decent amount of "bounce," so I adjust the tension to give me just the feel I'm looking for. Then I adjust the tension on the bottom head for pitch, and there isn't a great deal a variance there. A good drum will always sound good if you get your heads vibrating correctly.
As far as pitch is concerned, that's not all that important to me. A good drum will "sound" at its natural resonant capacity. If you try to make it too high or too low then you're wasting a good drum.
Look at it like this: you wouldn't want your drum to feel like you're playing on a table, nor would you want it to feel like you're playing on a mattress. You want it to feel like you're playing on a drum, and you want the drum to sound as good as it's made to sound. Head tension is very important, but pitch is rather beside the point as long as you have a well made drum.
Perfect! I couldnt agree more
 

skinner

Member
I consider myself to be a fairly capable drum tuner. I can get a sound that I am pleased with from my toms (fusion sizes 10,12,14,16). The problem is that when I get my drums tuned to the place where they sound good, the heads are much looser than I would like. I prefer my heads to be really tight. For me it just feels better and I feel like I have much more articulation.

Most drum tuning experts recommend not tuning your toms too tight. Many say to tune just past where the wrinkles are gone. But I just really love to have my heads tight. What can I do ? Are there any certain sizes or shell materials that tend to sound better when tuned really tight ? Does anyone else have this issue ?
 

Elvis

Silver Member
I consider myself to be a fairly capable drum tuner. I can get a sound that I am pleased with from my toms (fusion sizes 10,12,14,16). The problem is that when I get my drums tuned to the place where they sound good, the heads are much looser than I would like. I prefer my heads to be really tight. For me it just feels better and I feel like I have much more articulation.

Most drum tuning experts recommend not tuning your toms too tight. Many say to tune just past where the wrinkles are gone. But I just really love to have my heads tight. What can I do ? Are there any certain sizes or shell materials that tend to sound better when tuned really tight ? Does anyone else have this issue ?
There's two things you can do:

1) Get bigger drums. The larger drums will naturally want to speak at a lower pitch. You'll have to tension the heads tighter in order to enjoy the "sound" you like now.
Don't go too big, either, as there is a range in which any size tom will speak in. You want some overlap between what you have now and the larger size.
Maybe just one "size" up (12,13,16,18).

2) Use a thinner resonant side head. Thin bottom heads give off a darker and more resonant sound. They also seem to lower the pitch a little, thus (just like with the larger toms) you'll need to pull the batter side head up a little tighter to enjoy the pitch that you like.
The sound with a thin bottom head will always be darker and more resonant (more "tympani-like" if you will) compared to a medium weight head or thicker, but you can "balance" that out by pulling the batter side up to higher pitch.


Of the two, I'd say # 2 is the cheaper fix and if you like the sizes you're playing with now, its kinda the only choice.
If you're thinking about another kit, or just don't care, then a combination of both suggestions should give you what you're looking for.

Other than that, the only other thing I can think of is to replace the batter side heads with DOTTED heads.
You don't have to pull them as tight, but playing on the dot will give the drum a more "solid" feel and you might enjoy the same rebound you do with your current heads.




Elvis
 
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