Yet another tuning post...

DJgrind

Junior Member
Hey folks.. could use some advice. I have never been the best at tuning drums, at least in my opinion, and no matter what approach I take to getting the right sound it never works. Now I have a PDP X7 maple set with Evans G2 coated heads. I prefer a sound with little to no overtones but whenever I tune my drums they just sound very garbage can like, and although I can acquire equal pitch throughout the whole drum it still rings forever. The only way I can get a good sound out of these drums is to throw on the muffle rings which make the ringing stop but also kills the natural sound of the drum. One last thing, I do use a drum dial to get equal tension but as I found out it doesn't actually tune the drum. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

LukeSnyder

Gold Member
Hey folks.. could use some advice. I have never been the best at tuning drums, at least in my opinion, and no matter what approach I take to getting the right sound it never works. Now I have a PDP X7 maple set with Evans G2 coated heads. I prefer a sound with little to no overtones but whenever I tune my drums they just sound very garbage can like, and although I can acquire equal pitch throughout the whole drum it still rings forever. The only way I can get a good sound out of these drums is to throw on the muffle rings which make the ringing stop but also kills the natural sound of the drum. One last thing, I do use a drum dial to get equal tension but as I found out it doesn't actually tune the drum. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
I would try moongels, that is sort of a middle ground between open drums and putting a muffle ring on.
 

RocketSauce

Member
What resonance heads do you have? Excessive ringing could be due to you over-tightening your resonance heads.

How high up do you tune? I use Evans coated G2s as well and but I don't tune mine up very high...about 2.5-3 fulls turns on each head. But if your keeping your batter heads tuned down and your resonance heads tuned up the drum will sound poor.

If you tune your heads to the same pitch you shouldn't have much of a ringing issue...especially with a coated head. Maybe tune your resonants 1/4 turn less.
 

BrewBillfold

Silver Member
The only way I can get a good sound out of these drums is to throw on the muffle rings which make the ringing stop but also kills the natural sound of the drum.
If you get what you consider to be a good sound with the rings on them, then keep the rings on. The aim is to get what you consider to be a good sound. If it's not the "natural sound" of the drum, who cares?
 

DJgrind

Junior Member
I believe my resonant heads are a higher tuning than the top.. see I thought the top head was suppose to be lower than the resonant head. I use Evans resonant heads by the way.

And to Brew, I would be more satisfied with myself if I could achieve nearly the same sound without relying on dampening rings, which do make it sound decent, but like I said kills some of the drums tone.

I will try retuning my drums differently this time around and see how it works out, worst comes to worst I may also try the gels.
 

Coldhardsteel

Gold Member
I second Billfold's comment. A drum is a drum is a drum. "Killing the tone" tends to be more of a myth, and even then, it'll still sound like the drum, just modified to make it sound the way you want it to. There is no shame in muffling or using any rings or whatever. Moongels are basically dampening rings in small rectangular form anyway.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
With all due respect,

It's not the drum, or it's tuning, it's your perception of the tone. Drums ring naturally. Tuning the overtones out...you can't. They have overtones. They are beautiful. You can certainly put thick heads on them and lessen them, but to me that's castrating the drum. If you hit the drums dead center, your overtones will be the least noticeable. But any drum struck more than an inch off center will have noticeable beautiful overtones.

If you muffle your drums, it may sound decent to you, but to the audience (unmiced), they sound like boxes. Muffle the drums, have someone play them, and stand like 20 feet away. If they are playing along with your band, that is an even better representation of what you are doing to your tone.

Even a little muffling robs major life from the drum from the audience' perspective. Those overtones are what give your drum life and personality. When you hit your drum, you have to kind of overlook the overtones because when the music starts, the overtones are a non issue.

In fact the overtones are your friend. They give your drum sound legs. When it's dead silent you hear everything, but you don't play your drums in dead silence at a gig. So you have to get used to that wide open sound while practicing. I'd say try embracing the ring and getting every ounce of sound you paid for.

The reason I say all this is because I hate dead sounding toms and if I hear you play with dead sounding toms, then I won't like you. Just kidding, but I do stick up for drum overtones because they are awesome and can't defend themselves lol.
If you mic your drums, admittedly, muffling works better, but miced, I still prefer unmuffled, with all the overtones. Lively and happy sounding. Full of fun and adventure.

But hey, if you like deadened toms and you're wishing I'd just let it go, then that's cool too, it's all about what sound is in your head.
 

azrae1l

Silver Member
With all due respect,

It's not the drum, or it's tuning, it's your perception of the tone. Drums ring naturally. Tuning the overtones out...you can't. They have overtones. They are beautiful. You can certainly put thick heads on them and lessen them, but to me that's castrating the drum. If you hit the drums dead center, your overtones will be the least noticeable. But any drum struck more than an inch off center will have noticeable beautiful overtones.

If you muffle your drums, it may sound decent to you, but to the audience (unmiced), they sound like boxes. Muffle the drums, have someone play them, and stand like 20 feet away. If they are playing along with your band, that is an even better representation of what you are doing to your tone.

Even a little muffling robs major life from the drum from the audience' perspective. Those overtones are what give your drum life and personality. When you hit your drum, you have to kind of overlook the overtones because when the music starts, the overtones are a non issue.

In fact the overtones are your friend. They give your drum sound legs. When it's dead silent you hear everything, but you don't play your drums in dead silence at a gig. So you have to get used to that wide open sound while practicing. I'd say try embracing the ring and getting every ounce of sound you paid for.

The reason I say all this is because I hate dead sounding toms and if I hear you play with dead sounding toms, then I won't like you. Just kidding, but I do stick up for drum overtones because they are awesome and can't defend themselves lol.
If you mic your drums, admittedly, muffling works better, but miced, I still prefer unmuffled, with all the overtones. Lively and happy sounding. Full of fun and adventure.

But hey, if you like deadened toms and you're wishing I'd just let it go, then that's cool too, it's all about what sound is in your head.
wouldn't this also be another perception of how a drum is supossed to sound?
 
Use moon gels or Drum gum. Also Don't forget to not tighten the strainer too much. Oh yeah even with perfect tuning, there'll always be some overtones. Drum muffling helps making great tunings even greater.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
But if your keeping your batter heads tuned down and your resonance heads tuned up the drum will sound poor.
Perhaps, although not necessarily.....it depends to what degree. Whether a drum sounds good or poor is down to the tuning and correlation between the batter, reso and shell......some guys have the batters higher, others the batter and reso are of equal tension, others tune the resos higher......but whichever road you travel, the drums must be tuned correctly.

I've been tuning my resos slightly higher than the batters for years. My drums don't sound poor and neither do these: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMqHqADnREY
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Ah Brew touche. I guess I do like SOME dead sounding toms lol.

You would have to go there lol. Are you sure you're not James? (Motojt1)
 

drumtechdad

Gold Member
First: are you using stock reso heads? If so, ditch them for clear Evans G1s or clear Ambassadors. They'll sound better and make tuning easier, too.

You say "although I can acquire equal pitch throughout the whole drum it still rings forever." Yes. When you make the batter and reso match in pitch you get the most sustain. Most guys raise the pitch of the reso head to reduce sustain.

And to echo Larry's points: 1, real live drums do not sound like drums on recordings. It takes us all a while to get over that. ;-) 2. If you play out unmiked, ring and sustain are your friends--they're what make your drums sound loud 'n' lively to the audience. Muffled drums sound soft and lifeless.

If you play out unmiked, tune for sustain, fine-tune lug-to-lug as best you can (this turns an obnoxious ring into a pleasant one), and if this drives you crazy in your practice space, throw studio rings on them and be happy.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
FWIW, coated undamped heads seem to be a bit touchier as far as tuning and overtones goes. I have both coated and uncoated G2s for my Renowns. While I like the sound of the coated heads and keep them on most of the time, they do take a little more effort at tuning and keeping them tuned.

You could go for damped heads like eqs, studio x, pinstrips or various center dot things. Or if it just bothers you in practice (when you don't have all the other noise of a band playing along) then you could add on the moongel, gaff tape T's, or pieces of damping ring. On the Summertime clip I added to Polly's thread, I was using a PDP hammered brass snare with an Ambassador tuned moderately high along with a 5" long piece of a damping ring sitting on the low edge of the drum. You can still hear it ring but the sustain is controlled.
 
Top