Tuning, Please Advise, Sound clip inside

Ricky_Bobby

Junior Member
Hi everyone,

While i have been drumming for a few years now i finally took a crack at trying to tune with a drumdial along with a tunebot and wanted some opinions on whether i did it right. I know its all preference but to me for a birch kit, along with evans ec2 heads it seems too close together and dark.

Sakae Almighty Birch 10x7, 12x8, 14x12 and 16x14 are on the sound clip.

ANY and ALL advice is appreciated.

Recorded with a Zoom H4N Handy Recorder -

https://soundcloud.com/mark-adams-926111945/sakae-almighty-birch-10x7-12x8-14x12-and-16x14/s-BlfBr

One of the main inspirations for buying the kit is in the link below. Id love to sound like this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jcz61MORDS8
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
What have you been doing about tuning for the first two years. I'm not one to use tuning aids, but that's me. Your drums are much more muted than the example of the other kit in your inspiration video. EC2 heads are very muted by design. The drums in that video seem to be single ply clear heads and allow the birch drums to really sing. You may want to try something else to obtain that sound. The heads just aren't resonating.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
The drums sound muted and dull, with little to no decay or sustain. I'd go back to the drawing board and re-tune them to help open them up to help give them some life.
 

Ricky_Bobby

Junior Member
What have you been doing about tuning for the first two years. I'm not one to use tuning aids, but that's me. Your drums are much more muted than the example of the other kit in your inspiration video. EC2 heads are very muted by design. The drums in that video seem to be single ply clear heads and allow the birch drums to really sing. You may want to try something else to obtain that sound. The heads just aren't resonating.
Thanks for the feedback - My instructor had been tuning the drums for me. I picked these heads because i didn't like the pitch bend (Booooing) after hitting the drum but in hindsight maybe the drums i heard that out of were out of tune.
 

Ricky_Bobby

Junior Member
What do you think about Evans G2 Clear? From the product descriptions it seems to have a lot more Sustain and tone compared to the EC2S which are all attack. I know those aren't 1 ply but i have them here.

If you were to order a few sets of heads what would you order in my situation to test the sound variations? If that makes sense.

Thank you again.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
I would tune lower myself.. they sound a touch too high and choked, And it only takes a little too high to do that.
 

Groov-E

Silver Member
What do you think about Evans G2 Clear? From the product descriptions it seems to have a lot more Sustain and tone compared to the EC2S which are all attack. I know those aren't 1 ply but i have them here.

If you were to order a few sets of heads what would you order in my situation to test the sound variations? If that makes sense.

Thank you again.
I recently put g2 coated on my usa customs over clear ambs, and all that mass killed all overtones and muted the drums. That is what I was looking for at this particular moment.

I think that for a sound similar to the one in the video, a good bet would be single ply heads. Coated if you want a bit less overtones.

As for downward pitch bend, it usually means you tuned the batter tighter than the reso.

Try and tune them to the same pitch to start thing off and then experiment : a bit higher on the bottom always works for me, but with 2-ply coated I ditched the principle and tuned them equally to get more head sustain.

As for your recording, I would get your current heads in tune with themselves and tighten the resos. This is what I would do to excite the shells a little and inject some life.

You just need to sit down and experiment as much as possible. It is a long process, just be patient. And for starters, i feel 2-plys are easier to control and are more forgiving than single-plys. But it is all a matter of personal experience and taste.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
The Genera resonant head gives less sustain.

The ec2 head gives less length to the transient note and less openness from overtones.

The mics in the preferred example are close to the head and will capture more decay and depth from proximity effect.

The Zoom mic captures less sustain and more transient tone because it's further away from the drums.

finally, if the room is very small and muffled, the length of tone will be reduced in the recording.

Clear G2 over clear G1 will give a sound closer to the preferred example.

Those drums are very loud and will sing best if tuned to their loudest, both top and bottom heads.

In the preferred example with Grzegorz Krawczyk, it sounds like his bottom heads are higher than the top. There's bend in the decay. Bend is most pronounced in smaller drums.
 
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GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I think it's the head choice but try tightening up the reso head and loosen up the batter and see if that makes them sing some.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Want my opinion? Get rid of the EC2's. Those can be tone killers.

Birch has lot of punch with not a ton of sustain, so putting a double-ply head on there is killing that tone IMO. I'd look into getting something single ply and maybe a set of the Remo O-rings just in case the ring is too much. All of the Sakae Almight Birch sets I've seen online sound nothing short of amazing, but I think just about every set has had single-ply uncoated heads. This is where I'd start if I were you.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Sakae Almighty Birch 10x7, 12x8, 14x12 and 16x14 are on the sound clip.

ANY and ALL advice is appreciated.
That kit will sound fantastic unless the drums are damaged (e.g., bearing edges uneven, shells out of round, etc.).

Assuming that they're in good shape, I suggest you start with a fundamental head pairing such as Evans G1 over Evans Genera or the equivalent in Remo or Aquarian heads.

By starting with basic, fundamental heads, you'll learn two things:
  • How to hear what's happening as you tune the heads.
  • How that head combo sounds once it's dialed in.

I'd start with the 12" tom. Give yourself a few hours—without the tuning gadgets—and get it right. Be patient. Get a beverage or two. Enjoy the process. Nothing beats being able to tune up your kit by ear, knowing when to tweak the reso head vs. the batter, and knowing when it's time to replace a head. This is a great skill to have when it's time to play on a stage and a lug or two need a tweak, or when you're sharing a kit at a venue.

Regarding a tool such as the Drum Dial (I have & use the Tama "Tension Watch"), once I get a drum tuned the way I like it, I use the Tension Watch to measure the tensions and I record them. That way my tuning is repeatable. However, once the I've tuned to the recorded settings, I finish by tweaking by ear.
 

Ricky_Bobby

Junior Member
You guys are awesome... i really appreciate all the feedback. Im desperate to make these sound good.

So far i have switched out the heads to Evans G2 clears.... i am stuck with the Evans Genera reso's until the G1's get here from sweet water.

While i am going to try and tune by ear today.... where could i go to get some sounds to measure against? I know that sounds silly but i have no base or reference point as to what i should be listening for.


thank you so much and dont laugh too hard.... i probably should have done this first in my drumming endeavors.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
Nobody is laughing and everybody has been there.

I might advise buying or building a turntable, or what's called a lazy Susan to put your drums on for tuning.
When you hear a lug at the same point from your ear it becomes less tedious to discern the pitch differences, especially with those lively birch drums.

You shouldn't have to get those drums perfect to get a great sound out of them. They're very accommodating to tuning discrepancies.
 

Smoke

Silver Member
Don't forget about The Drum Tuning Bible - while it's not perfect, it's got lots of different things to try to dial in your sound. It's a "sticky" at the top of the General Discussion page.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
There are lots of drum tuning videos on YouTube.

Oh, and no one is laughing. We've all been there at some point.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Sorry for stating the obvious, but you gotta learn how to tune these properly, or else you just spent a lot of unnecessary money on your awesome kit just to have them sound no better than my Ludwig Element Birch kit which I only spent $400 for. Tuning is as much of the learning process as is rudiments. It took me years to learn how to tune properly by ear.

Bob Gatzen has some good tuning videos.
https://youtu.be/uJ9Unab1OzU
 
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FreDrummer

Silver Member
Lot's of good advice being given here, but I would like to point out that EC2's are not necessarily "very muted" or "tone killers." Like anything, different heads and drums interact differently. One type head may sound great on one type of drum and not-so-good on another. I have some Pearl Master toms (maple, in power tom sizes) that sound fantastic with EC2's over Genera resonants. I tried G2's on them, but there was just too much resonance and sustain. The EC2's gave me that Goldilock's "just right" effect. Will they work on the Sakae birch? It depends, but I think, with good tuning, they could sound great on the 14" and 16" toms, at least.

I never like it when people make absolute, end-all judgements about heads. Next thing you know, some poor sap will be researching heads and googles "Evans EC 2..." They might end up on this thread and quickly -- and erroneously -- conclude EC2's are always dead. Heck, Gruntersdad just started a thread about putting hydraulics on his renowns. Now, there is a head that is widely considered the most muted out there and even EvansSpecialist has said they are "Not for everyone," but if it works, it works!

Another suggestion for the OP: I've found the Aquarian Super 2 an interesting head. It's a 2-ply, but the plies are 7 and 5 mil, so the total thickness is only 12 mil... the Remo Vintage Ambassadors also use this recipe, but only come in coated.
 
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