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-   -   Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings? (http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52173)

SharkyBait911 07-26-2009 04:52 AM

Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings?
Hi guys !

I got a drum dial the other day and i was wondering what are the perfect settings for tom/snare resonant and batter heads. I would like this thread to be a looking place for others with the same question so please post other settings as well but i would like my settings answered first (if you don't mind). I play fusion/funk so i like that nice session (studio) sound i don't like he ploddy sound of a rock kit, and more importantly i play Remo pinstripe heads.

I don't know anything about the settings of toms etc, ive just gone by what sound i like so I don't know if the info ive just told you will affect the tension at all because it might be the same tension whatever but well you tell me !


razorx 07-26-2009 06:41 AM

Re: Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings?
Tune by ear and then write down the setitngs. The tama settings sounded horrible on my kit.
But now that i think back on it, I think the settings that they haver are for single ply batter heads. I use 2 ply heads so i'm assuming that may have been the problem.

DrumEatDrum 07-26-2009 06:48 AM

Re: Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings?
I get everything on my toms to 60 to start, and then adjust from there by ear.

That seems to work for me.

razorx 07-26-2009 06:55 AM

Re: Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings?
Lol mine are between 40 and 50.

GRUNTERSDAD 07-26-2009 01:55 PM

Re: Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings?
You aren't going to find perfect settings. They will differ from drum to drum and from drummer to drummer. As was said tune your drums then use the settings as a reference for re-tuning and when installing new heads.

drumtechdad 07-26-2009 04:07 PM

Re: Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings?
Good advice here. The drum dial cannot tell you where to tune your drums. Nor can anyone on this forum, because they don't have your drums, your heads, or your desired sound. The only way to find where you should tune your drums is by experiment: you need to let your drums tell you where they want to be tuned. Do the following and you will learn a whole lot about your drums. Afterwards, apply the drum dial and write down the settings so you can replicate them later.

Do this with each tom, preferably right on its mount:

First, loosen both heads down to finger tight. For the purposes of this experiment tune both heads the same, even if you decide later to have them tuned to different pitches.

Add 1/4 turn to all tension rods, top and bottom, using the criss-cross pattern. If the heads still sound flappy/papery add another 1/4 turn, and keep adding 1/4 turn until you get the first real sound without distortion. Make sure both heads are the same pitch and touch up the lug-to-lug tuning.

You have now found the lowest note this drum will play.

Now add another 1/4 turn, top and bottom, keeping the lug-to-lug tuning good. Stop and listen. Keep doing this 1/4 turn at a time until you've reached a point where the drum is obviously choked, then back off until the drum sings again. This is the highest note the drum will play well.

In-between these two points there was probably one range--as small as one note but more usually 2-3 half-steps--where the drum really sings. (I.e., where it has the most sustain and is loudest and punchiest.) That's the range where you want to keep that drum.

Do this for all your toms. Once you're done you'll know exactly where each of your drums sound best. It's worth striking adjacent toms together to see if it sounds good (no beating). You may have to tweak one up or down or both.

Now you can play with raising the resos to cut the sustain if you wish.

denisri 07-26-2009 04:10 PM

Re: Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings?
Hi Sharkybait911
Agree with Gruntersdad's comment...I tune my sets and made note of the tunings...if I need to retune or change heads it saves me time.
I'm constantly retuning my drums for different rooms and change heads for different types of gigs.

Steady Freddy 07-26-2009 09:37 PM

Re: Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings?
Some pretty good avice here.

I've been using a drum dial for four years and find it to be a great tool. Once you get used to it it will save you tons of time doing head changes, You'll need to spend some time finding out where your drums liked to be tuned initially.

Some guys perfer both heads tuned to the same pitch. Some perfer the reso head tuned to a higher pitch than the batter. Some perfer a lower tuned reso.(but not too many)

Start with both heads tuned the same. 60 is around the lower range and 80 is around the uppper range for toms. (rock tuning)

Using the same advice that Drumtechdad offered, you can also apply that to the drum dail.
Start at 60, then 65, 70, 75. and so on. If the drum sounds good at 70 (for example only) and then starts to lose volume and sustain at 75 (choking) back it off and you're in the general ball park.

Then try 68. 70, 72,74, and see how you like the sound. In the end you'll need to fine tune by ear. That said, some guys have a good ear and some don't.

It's common to find a tension rod that reads a little higher or lower. Don't worry about it. Drum shells, hoops, hardware, and heads, are not designed to fly into space. Sometiimes there's a little variance. Again, don't get wrapped around the axel about it.

A few very general pointers. Tune floor toms 5 to 10 points lower than rack toms. Bass drums 5 to10 points lower than floor toms. Snare drums 10 to 15 points above rack toms, some times much higher.

You'll just need to experinent to find a sound you like. Different heads will have an effect also. After using a drum dial for a while you'll be able to get a good feel for how you want your drums tuned and the different settings for different heads, rooms, styles, miced or not. ect.

I changed four snare batters yeasterday in less than three minutes each and had the drums sounding good just using the dial. After a lot of use I know where these drums liked to be tuned.

Keep notes and future head changes will be a snap.


bobdadruma 07-26-2009 10:48 PM

Re: Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings?
I usually stay around 75 on the tom batters and 80 on my snare batters. I set my tom resos to 75 and my snare reso to about 85. I always fine tune by ear from there. I also use the eraser end of a pencil to even things out. The dial is never the final word. It's just a starting point.
Every one of my drums has a few lugs that don't read true with the dial.

larryace 07-27-2009 06:34 AM

Re: Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings?
The thing I found with the dial...if you have a lug that's way out of whack, (assuming your bearing edge is true) that means the hoop is not parallel to the bearing edge. Means you have to loosen up and start over and be really careful to tighten that hoop down slowly and evenly always keeping in mind that for a good sounding drum, that hoop needs to be as parallel as possible to the bearing edge from every angle. I always go around the circumference turning 1/8th or smaller turns rather than cris cross because the drum is round and you have to take that into consideration. It's like putting a lid on a paint can, you go around the outside to seal it up. You gotta respect the roundness when tuning.

dorfmeister 09-29-2011 04:14 PM

Re: Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings?
Any one have any thoughts on the new digital drum dial? Does it add any ease of use or greater functionality to the analog drum dial?

sticks4drums 09-29-2011 04:19 PM

Re: Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings?
Well for one thing it is way easier to read for us old guys. The other day I was over at my friends place helping him tune his new Bubinga kit. He has the older drumdial, with the needle. Well I can't see close up very well anymore, so it was murder trying to see the number the needle was on. I have the new digital one and it is great. It has a nice big digital numerical readout, that I have no trouble reading. Even without my cheap 20 dollar drug store glasses. Sucks getting old.

Bull 09-29-2011 05:27 PM

Re: Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings?
My kit is 14/16/26. The tom batters are usually 74-75 and the resos are 78-80. I am always playing around with the tuning of my kick. Right now, the batter is 74 and the reso is about 78. I tune by ear and check the tensions with a drum dial ,just for reference.

Oh and my snare is pretty cranked. The batter is about 90. After about 87,the drum dial doesn't register on the snare reso. I assume it's because it's so thin. The snare side is cranked WAYYYY past the the batter.

eric_B 11-05-2011 09:14 AM

Re: Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings?
Does any one know how the Drumdial and Tama Tension Watch results relate? Are they about the same or are the Tension Watch lower or higher?

AudioWonderland 11-05-2011 10:41 PM

Re: Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings?
Snare Batter - 88-90 - Ambassadors

Toms - Ambassadors
8" 77
10" 76
12" 74
14" 74
16" 70

This should get you close to pitches that are 4ths about

Kick drums - 76 - PS3

I like my drums tuned high and resonant

mikel 02-19-2012 04:53 PM

Re: Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings?
Don't think it matters really.

The dials are essentially an engineering measuring device for machine tooling etc.

They are adapted for drum use. If the springs used are of even a slightly different tension, and they will be, in the same model and make of dial, you will get a different reading between dials. They were not designed to measure pressure (the head) but flatness/depth.

But, as I say, It matters not. The dial will make it easier to get even tension at each lug, and that helps hugely with tuning.

All the tension figures quoted are ball park. Try them and see what suits you, then write them down. As long as you use the same dial, and same readings every time, you can replicate your sound.

Lesludwig 07-04-2013 08:48 PM

Re: Drumdial/Tama tension watch settings?
On the chart supplied with the drum dial,it presumes the Tom resos are clear heads.Should the readings be the same if using coated heads?Cheers guys.

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