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Old 07-26-2009, 04:07 PM
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drumtechdad drumtechdad is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Anytown, USA
Posts: 1,107
Default 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.
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