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  #1  
Old 10-17-2009, 03:30 AM
Wholelottalovin Wholelottalovin is offline
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Default Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

Okay. Before everyone says USE the search bar, I did and I have previously. I have read numerous threads on the matter and some websites too. Watched youtube videos and even bought a drum dial and some moon gels. I still can't tune my drums.

I started drumming in June. I bought a kit in July and since then it has been a constant struggle to get the drums where I think they should be. I can get them to sound decent from behind the kit, but once you step in front of it they sound horrible!! The kit is 8 years old, stock heads. Is that the problem? I'm really strapped for cash now since I just bought my first car and drum kit but I really can't stand the sound of my drums.

I was thinking of
Clear,
http://accessories.musiciansfriend.c...ead?sku=446709

http://accessories.musiciansfriend.c...ead?sku=446712

http://accessories.musiciansfriend.c...rum?sku=442972

http://accessories.musiciansfriend.c...ack?sku=446710

Opinions? Suggestions? Please help, I LOVE drumming and have really put some effort into tuning them but I just can't seem to get it right.

Drums are Pearl Export (Standard sizes 12, 13, 16 tom, 14 snare, 22 bass). I like classic rock (Zep/ Beatles) sound but right now am just playing grooves/ rudiments and working on some songs my teacher has suggested.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 10-17-2009, 07:47 AM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

I'd seriously recommend Pinstripes. They're super versatile in my opinion, and although I'm no master-tuner, I can still get a pretty fantastic sound out of them on my ddrums.
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  #3  
Old 10-17-2009, 07:58 AM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

Pinstripes are good heads for the tuning-challenged, they are very forgiving and have a lot of inherent tone. I would say that the issue is the stock heads that maybe you have had on there since the kit was new...?

Stock heads on all but the highest quality kits are usually of laughable sound quality and construction. In many cases, they don't even tune well. The fact that they are potentially that old means they have probably lost whatever playability qualities they have ever possessed. I try to change out tom heads at least yearly, if not more often, depending on the amount of playing. Even the most durable heads you can buy lose a little something over time, affecting sustain, tone, and feel. And I do not keep stock heads on drums.

Lose those suckers and get something else - anything else! - on there, and I bet you'll feel and hear a HUGE difference.
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Old 10-17-2009, 09:28 AM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

I'd bet that 13" tom is giving you the most problems ? 13"ers are a real pain in the neck in that configuration. They're GREAT with a 4 piece but i've always had trouble with em as a 5 or more.
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  #5  
Old 10-17-2009, 01:58 PM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

Unfortunately for your finances, yes...the first thing I would do is swap all heads out.

I played an export kit for years and personally preferred the sound of emperors (I would swap between coated or clear) over clear ambassadors on all toms. It took while to settle on these heads but in the end I found they worked best for me. For the kick I ran PS3's on batter and reso, with slight muffling.

Pinstripe batters are a great option too for the reasons already stated and worth thinking about.

There is so much trial and error with tuning drums, especially early on. You've just gotta stick with it and keep playing about until you find a sound you're happy with. Like everything, the more you do it the easier it gets. I honestly think it took me a couple of years before I was happy with my ability to tune.
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:23 PM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

Peek at this it will give you a start. Also check out YouTube for Bob Gatzen. He goes into great detail.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pH_RoUQyv5A

Also like the other posts say. New heads would make a huge difference. I too like either the clear emperors or coated ambassadors.

Good luck
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  #7  
Old 10-18-2009, 01:10 PM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wholelottalovin View Post
The kit is 8 years old, stock heads. Is that the problem?
Yes, 8 year old heads, bad enough. 8 year old stock heads, super bad. The good news is you may be able to tune your drums a lot better than you think. Once you get a little cash, get a new kick batter (and reso., if you can afford.) For that matter, since you're taking lessons, run you plight by your teacher. Perhaps he can kick you down some "used" heads for free/cheap. Get your kick sounding good, then your snare. Then work on the toms.
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  #8  
Old 10-18-2009, 04:22 PM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

Ditto on the new heads. I always endorse Evans genera g2's for toms, Remo COATED ambassadors for snares, Remo clear Diplomats for snare/ tom reso's and Evans emad's for bass drums.

here's the "stickys" to tuning tips:

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=218
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...ead.php?t=6029
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=29146

I don't know why tuning drums is such a mystery to figure out. This is what i do to tune my drums on the fly. The goal is to tune the batter head for feel and the resonant head for tone. First i seat the head properly by rolling the new head against the shell to make sure that it doesn't have any factory bends or other glaring defects. next i put the rim on it and finger tighten each lug as tight as i can. Next i try to wiggle the rim back and forth clockwise and counterclockwise to expose any looseness in the head and then i finger tighten again. I go through this a couple times until I'm satisfied that the head is seated completely. With 2 drum keys on diametrically opposite lugs i tighten the lugs down to low tension. I move clockwise with both keys until all lugs are tensioned low. Then i tension all of them to medium. Then all to high. Then all to soo tight i can hear the drumhead starting to stretch. If i have time, i'll let them sit overnight at this point. When i get back to the drum, i tune the first lug. I release the tension all the way until the head releases, then i tighten it back up to where i can feel tension re-establish and then i give the key another full turn and a half. That usually goes back to medium tension. I then go clockwise, 1 lug at a time and repeat this procedure until all of the lugs are set to medium tension (or adjust if you prefer playing on high tension or low tension heads). There should also be no visible runs on the surface of the head (check against a lightbulb or sunlight). If there are, tighten down the nearest lug until the run is smoothened out. Next, tune by ear. Using your index finger, tap the head lightly about an inch away from the rim next to the first lug that you tuned. Move to the next lug and tap the head an inch away also. The tones should match. Move your tapping in a full circle all the way around the drum, adjacent to all the lugs. Find the highest tone. All other lugs should be tightened to match this high tone. When you're done tuning by ear, 2 things should happen: 1) when you tap on the head at an equal distance from the rim, about an inch, the tone should be uniform all the way around the head 2) the tone when striking the middle of the head should match the tone played near the rim.

Again, tune the batter head for comfortable feel and then tune the resonant head for tone.
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  #9  
Old 10-18-2009, 07:01 PM
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HOUSTON 94 HOUSTON 94 is offline
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

Try putting on the reso and tune it super tight. Fill the drum with gasoline and put the batter on super tight. Play a gig with lots of pyro and no one will care how they sound.
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  #10  
Old 10-18-2009, 09:12 PM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

I think that everyone here has struggled with tuning issues in their drumming career.
You have to work this out on your own. No One can teach you how to tune!
We have all gone through the stages of tuning where we put tape on our drums, Over torqued heads and ruined them, etc! We all had to learn by trial and error!
I'll try and make this simple,
1) Get a Drum Dial
2) Get new heads
3) Install the tom heads and torque them all to 75 on the drum dial. (torque snare head tighter, read directions that come with dial)
4) Experiment with changing the torque on the heads in one or two degree increments
Raise the tension on the batters, and lower the tension on the resos, and vice versa until you like the amount of sustain and the tone.

THERE IS NO CORRECT ANSWER TO TUNING DRUMS!
THE DRUM DIAL IS JUST A TOOL, YOU MAY STILL HAVE TO FINE TUNE BY EAR!
NO MACHINE CAN REPLACE A HUMAN AS THE FINAL WORD IN DRUM TUNING!

Listen and learn while you are doing this! It make take you weeks, months, and years to find the tuning that you like. Make small adjustments each day.
Wear ear protection and note the difference in the sound with the noise filtered.
Make some recording samples with a USB mic to hear what your drums sound like.

BE PATIENT! LEARNING TO TUNE IS NO DIFFERENT THAN LEARNING HOW TO PLAY!
IT TAKES PATIENCE AND TIME!
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Old 10-18-2009, 09:22 PM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

try with repairing your bearing edge.
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  #12  
Old 10-18-2009, 09:42 PM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fmeshtar View Post
try with repairing your bearing edge.
Even a drum with slight imperfections in the bearing edges can be tuned. Most of us have drums with bearing edges that are slightly imperfect. You may have to adjust one or two of the tuning rods on the drum to overcome this problem. This is done by ear. Tap on the head near the tuning rods with the eraser end of a pencil and adjust the rods to equalize the pitch.
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  #13  
Old 10-18-2009, 11:03 PM
Wholelottalovin Wholelottalovin is offline
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

WOW! Thanks for all the replies everyone! I've been reading all of the suggestions and trying to use them but I'm still having trouble. I am convinced its the heads but I can't do much about that now. At least I feel like I'm getting closer to where the drums should be but just not there yet. I hate to be a pest, but could someone throw a mic on their set so I could get some more ideas? Nothing special, just a hit on each drum will do.

Thanks sooooo much!
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  #14  
Old 10-18-2009, 11:17 PM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

Listen to these recordings. I was using Remo clear Emperors over clear Ambassadors on the toms and a Remo PowerStroke 3 on the snare. SK II on the bass. http://www.reverbnation.com/bluecollarproject
Im playing a 1974 Gretsch 12,13, 16 toms and a chrome 14 snare. Here is a You Tube vid where I solo near the end of the song I was playing Ambassadors over Diplomats on the toms that night.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oi5wXD_DOiI
Go to this Thread and listen to Steamers drums in a live room. http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=54825
That is what drums sound like in real life. That is the sound that you should hear from your drums. The sound that you will hear up close is different than the sound that you hear from sitting away.
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Last edited by bobdadruma; 10-18-2009 at 11:53 PM.
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  #15  
Old 10-21-2009, 03:07 AM
Wholelottalovin Wholelottalovin is offline
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

bobdadruma- thanks so much!! I went to my lesson yesterday and talked to my teacher about the heads but all we came up with was that I need to start saving up for new heads. I've been experimenting with the tunings more, and right now my kit is so off its horrible but I was up until 4:30am to finish homework and up & out for class again so I'm not really in the mood to keep messing with it now.

Thanks so much for your help everyone! I'm sure I'll be back when I get new heads but hopefully I won't have any questions based off these replies! THANK YOU!!
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  #16  
Old 10-21-2009, 03:15 AM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

Take it slow! You'll get it when the time is right.
Yes, your drums will be totally messed up for a good while! That's all part of the learning process! You tune and play, you wake up the next morn, try your drums and say to yourself, "WHAT WAS I THINKING!"
We have all been there and done that! Get new heads and carry on!
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Old 10-21-2009, 03:37 AM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

I remember being like you, I couldn't get my drums to sound good at all. They went "boing" when they were supposed to sound, well, like drums.
Just for the hell of it why don't you try this. Get a book, a pillow, a cushion from your sofa, a Tupperware container, the bottom of one of your sneakers, lots of different things to hit with a drum stick and then hit them with a drum stick, not too hard. What feels the best to you?
Myself, I like my stick to bounce a little once I hit the drum while holding the stick loosely. I like a fairly tight head. But that's just me, we all have different preferences. Some people like to have no bounce at all.
Once you find something that feels good to hit with a drum stick, the idea is to make the batter heads of your drums feel the same, and you do that by tensioning the heads. So get a drum key and mess around until the over-all tension of the head feels good to hit with a drum stick, the way you want it to feel. Now you're in the ballpark.
Tap around each lug and get all the sounds to be pretty much the same, the same pitch. Well, it's a start.
Now go to the bottom head, the resonant head. For now let's just get that to sound exactly like the top head.
The result is that you'll have a drum that is more or less in tune with itself. There's a hell of a lot more to it than just that, but just try this for now and see what happens.
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:00 PM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

Random thoughts:

1. Start saving. You need new heads. And new resos are as important as new batters--don't try to reuse them.

2. Forget the drum dial, the paperweight used by more drummers than any other. It will not teach you to tune and, frankly, it's not good enough for professional work. If you have the DD's $60 burning in your pocket, you would be far, far better off spending the money on a couple of lessons from a drum teacher who can tune.

3. The following vids are great for those learning to tune. I don't agree with every last bit of advice he gives, but he's right far more often than not.

Tuning toms

Tuning snares

Tuning bass drums

Why reso heads are important

Reducing snare buzz part 1 and part 2.
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Old 10-21-2009, 10:22 PM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by drumtechdad View Post
Random thoughts:

1. Start saving. You need new heads. And new resos are as important as new batters--don't try to reuse them.

2. Forget the drum dial, the paperweight used by more drummers than any other. It will not teach you to tune and, frankly, it's not good enough for professional work. If you have the DD's $60 burning in your pocket, you would be far, far better off spending the money on a couple of lessons from a drum teacher who can tune.

3. The following vids are great for those learning to tune. I don't agree with every last bit of advice he gives, but he's right far more often than not.

Tuning toms

Tuning snares

Tuning bass drums

Why reso heads are important

Reducing snare buzz part 1 and part 2.
drumtechdad hit every nail on the head and I couldn't agree more. The only thing I can add is that the drums are your musical instrument, learn how to tune and care for them.

Dennis
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:25 AM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

+1 on new heads and the Bob Gatzen videos (FREE Bob Gatzen videos on YouTube and Evans site)

One thing that the OP has that guys my age never had is the internet to help you with advice, videos, articles, etc. There is so much help available.

However the financial part of buying heads can be daunting when you're making no or little money.

Take heart! The holidays are around the corner.

I would start putting together a plan to let loved ones help you with getting new heads. You could put the word out that this is important to your growth as a musician and you've been getting lots of input from old dudes...uh....I mean experienced drummers who have confirmed as much. Then get some relatives to pool their money for maximum usefulness. My daughter does this to great effect. Too bad it's not for drum stuff. :(

Another thing to keep in mind is that a Pearl Export kit with stock heads or new heads is not going to sound just like Bonham's kit (Ludwig wood or Vistalite). There's a video with Jeff Ocheltree describing how JB got his sound and it includes using big drums with batters tuned somewhat high, using Remo Emperors and Ambassadors. Most of the recordings he did with Zeppelin were also miked ambiently in big rooms by an excellent ground breaking engineer (Eddie Kramer I think). Therefore that's a tall order if you're trying to mimmic his sound. Doesn't mean you can't get a really good sound with good heads and tuning.

Don't let impatience get the best of you (a mantra for young players trying to work up blazing double bass chops as well). Tuning for me took many years and a lot of experimentation. I'm still learning but I feel much more confident that I can arrive at a good sound with a good drum and good heads.


Jim
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  #21  
Old 10-22-2009, 03:27 AM
Wholelottalovin Wholelottalovin is offline
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

You guys are great! Seriously, I love this forum...

I got the drum dial for about 25$ so its not as big a waste as it could have been. Once I find my sound it'll help me reproduce it, I suppose.

As far as letting impatience get the best of me, the drum heads (and my cymbals for that matter, Paiste 404s) bother me greatly. BUT I spent about 2 months practicing all of my drum rudiments and grooves on a guitar hero drum kit, so now I am just happy to have a kit. (I spent 6 months playing bass through a guitar amp, I'm used to making things work. Now I have an Orange Crush 35b which is amazinnnggg... good things come with time and saving!)

I am using the kit as bad as it may sound now to improve my technique, because I know at the end of 2 weeks I get to play on a well maintained kit, with AAX cymbals (man do I LOVE those things...). I feel playing on a rough kit(even though I take care of it, I polished all of the shells and rims today...you just can't fix things like heads..) makes me play better (trying harder to sound good, I suppose) and I am rewarded at lessons when even playing rudiments is a load of fun. (Seriously, is it weird to like working on rudiments??? haha)

As for the bit about the holidays coming up, I am VERY good at milking the family for music gear. We have a very small family, only only 12 of us total, only three kids so we all get our fair share of goodies for the holidays. I made a point years ago that I'd rather get fewer things if they were what I wanted than to get pointless stuff people thought I wanted. Being a girl, I always got dolls and clothes and things that people assumed I liked But, I'm a surfer, a bassist and now a drummer. Now I ask for music stuff and am fortunate enough to get most of it, and what I don't get I save up for. The problem now is my paychecks go directly towards paying for drum lessons but eventually I'll be able to save up some money.

Seriously thank you everyone for your help! I will try the thing mentioned about collecting items, hopefully that will hold me over until I get new heads.

I watched the videos on youtube, and repositioned my bass drum and it sounds sooooo much better now. I left the spurs where they were from the previous owner thinking he knew something about drumming but I was wrong. We're still learning... always learning. But at least having fun in the process. =]
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:50 AM
Wholelottalovin Wholelottalovin is offline
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

just to update everyone, I did some experimenting with the snare and got it sounding pretty good compared to how it has been sounding. still getting a little buzz from the 12 inch tom but I have a feeling once I get that where it should be there won't be as much buzz... its a LOT better than it was though/ I'm working on the toms tomorrow, thank god its finally friday!

thanks everybody!!
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  #23  
Old 10-23-2009, 02:04 PM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wholelottalovin View Post
just to update everyone, I did some experimenting with the snare and got it sounding pretty good compared to how it has been sounding. still getting a little buzz from the 12 inch tom but I have a feeling once I get that where it should be there won't be as much buzz... its a LOT better than it was though/ I'm working on the toms tomorrow, thank god its finally friday!

thanks everybody!!
There are a few ways of lessening the sympathetic vibrations in your snare. Two of the easiest ways would be to slightly tighten your snare's resonant head and also by slightly lowering the pitch of your 12" tom. It shouldn't take much of an adjustment to hear the improvement. Just make sure your tom's heads are in tune with themselves when your done adjusting your tuning.

Dennis
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  #24  
Old 10-25-2009, 03:49 PM
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Default Re: Its offical, I CAN NOT tune a drum kit. Help please?

Here and here are some tips on reducing snare buzz.

I highly recommend the suggestion to go for snare wires with fewer strands--it really works, and you get more tone from your snare drum. I use Puresound 16-strand wires on most of my snares these days.
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