Tuning Drums for Audition

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
Right now, my drums sound great - but that's from my Driver's Seat perspective. I need to know what tuning adjustments to make so my drums sound really good for the guitar player and bassist that will be playing in front of me tomorrow when I audition for them.

My current heads are:
TOMS - 10/12/16
Evans EC2 Clears for the Batters
Aquarian Classic Clear for the Resos

BASS - 22x18
Aquarian SK II Batter
Evans EQ3 Ported Reso

SNARE - 14x5 Supraphonic
Evans HD Dry Batter
Ludwig Snare side

I'm definitely not too worried about my snare, but my bass can be tricky at times and the toms never sound good (to me) from out front.

Thanks for the sharing your opinions!!
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
As always, tuning depends largely on the genre. But a good rule of thumb for almost any style is, tune the kick and especially the toms higher than you think they should be, in order to better convey attack and tone in an acoustic setting. If you're drums are mic'd, that's a different story, and you can usually get away with more moderate (lower) tuning.

The snare is a different animal, don't tune too high unless you're playing reggae or ska (high tunings aren't always welcome in those genres, either.)

Bermuda
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Have another drummer over so you can listen and work on them. Ideally, this is something you should only have to do once or twice and commit to memory.

And don't let it consume you during the audition. It's often better that things sound good to you, so you feel better, and you play more naturally.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
As always, tuning depends largely on the genre. But a good rule of thumb for almost any style is, tune the kick and especially the toms higher than you think they should be, in order to better convey attack and tone in an acoustic setting. If you're drums are mic'd, that's a different story, and you can usually get away with more moderate (lower) tuning.

The snare is a different animal, don't tune too high unless you're playing reggae or ska (high tunings aren't always welcome in those genres, either.)

Bermuda
This is for a Classic Rock gig. When you say "tune them higher," I assume you mean both the top and bottom heads, right? I already keep my bass pretty tight. No JAW around here.

Unfortunately, I don't have any idea what the room (it's at one of the guys houses) will be like. If it's like most settings I've seen, they'll probably be facing me and only standing about 4 - 5 feet away (give or take).

Have another drummer over so you can listen and work on them. Ideally, this is something you should only have to do once or twice and commit to memory.

And don't let it consume you during the audition. It's often better that things sound good to you, so you feel better, and you play more naturally.
Having another drummer over isn't an option - I'm the only drummer I know. :)

I definitely am not going to let my sound consume me. I know you play guitar too, KamaK, so I know this doesn't apply to you, but it sure seems that a lot guitarist wouldn't know a good or bad sounding drum if it hit them in the face. I'm just trying to make sure I leave a good impression, you know? And making sure the drums sound good to the other guys (whether they're aware of it or not) certainly can't hurt.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It's better to have the toms ring a bit, so tuning them a little higher usually works well. If you're already there, that's good. Most drummers who have to ask, aren't. :)

Bermuda
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I know you play guitar too, KamaK, so I know this doesn't apply to you, but it sure seems that a lot guitarist wouldn't know a good or bad sounding drum if it hit them in the face. I'm just trying to make sure I leave a good impression, you know? And making sure the drums sound good to the other guys (whether they're aware of it or not) certainly can't hurt.
You're right. Unless something is catastrophically wrong with the tom, to the point where it literally says "Moo" in a passive aggressive tone, it won't matter.
 

MileHighDrummer

Senior Member
Hmmm. I would say to get your drums tuned where they are optimized for your playing. Once done, leave them there. Are you not confident in your current tuning?
 

opentune

Platinum Member
The sound behind the kit can be very deceptive. Record your drums, it helps immensely to hear how they sound 'out there'. Experiment with tunings and record. Results will depend on your room, just as it will when you leave the house and go into another room.
 

bonerpizza

Silver Member
If you don't get the gig because your drums aren't tuned to their expectations consider that a sign!

Keep in mind that the room your trying out in can have a big effect on how your drums sound. I played the same kit in 3 rooms last week and in each room they sounded significantly different, I did very MINOR tuning changes.

Tama Starclassic 24/12/16

Room 1 was my friend's SMALL living room with wood floors.
The kick lacked low end, my toms sounded full, and snare had a great punch.

Room 2 was my friend's "sound dampened" practice room in his house.
There's no bass traps but he's got other sound dampening materials on/in the wall, my kick drum sounded like (good) thunder, the toms sounded tuned higher, and the snare got lost.

Room 3 was my band's heavily sound dampened/proofed/etc room.
EVERY drum sounded flat. The kick drum sounded terrible, toms were dead, and the snare sounded flat.
 

ron s

Senior Member
This little write up on the Remo website is sound advice and easy to follow, especially the bit that explains a bit about ways of tuning for different styles.

http://www.remo.com/portal/pages/drumming/product_tips/Drumming+Product+Tips+Drumset.html
I checked out that article on the Remo site- one thing I had not heard before was the bit about tuning the bottom head deeper ( which I take to mean "looser") than the top head.

Most advice I have always heard to tighten the snare side head much tighter than the batter head.

What up with that?
 
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