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  #1  
Old 11-20-2009, 02:27 AM
sabian92 sabian92 is offline
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Default Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

I posted about 6 weeks back about tuning my drumheads and I sort of tuned my heads, but they fell out of tune again because they're new. I just end up frustrated with it and give up with it. I managed to tune the snare pretty well, but that was luck I reckon. I only tuned the batter as well, the reso head is stock and tuned to whatever it was when it came.

I have a gig in 2 and a half weeks with my college, I found that I'm the only guy with a kit out of the 4 bands that has a kit (quite annoying might I add...), and for reasons stated above I can't tune a kit because I'm utterly useless at it.

So, I need a crash course in drum tuning. I play bass that would apparently help me but It doesn't. I tried watching drum tuning videos on youtube and it didn't help me at all.

How exactly do you master the art of tuning a drum kit so it sounds melodic? Being that I already play bass, a little bit of guitar and I'm a music student you'd know my middle name would be melody, but it isn't to be, unfortunately.
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  #2  
Old 11-20-2009, 02:40 AM
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Pocket-full-of-gold Pocket-full-of-gold is offline
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

If you've posted before then I'll assume you've been referred to the 'tuning bible' and Bob Gatzen video links? If not, google for the bible and youtube for Bob. Other than that, revisit the tuning threads for more advice.

If so, then it's really a matter of practice, practice, practice....Like anything mate, the more you do it, the better you become. Tuning drums really is an art form all in itself and takes quite some time to build an ear up for. It certainly ain't easy initially. I've been playing for over 20 years and I STILL have a couple of drums that I have problems with. They seem to take forever for me to get to sound how I want them. Others seem to want to tune themselves though!!

Given you've got two weeks til gig day, I'd make the most of the spare time by tuning, detuning and tuning again. When you get one exactly where you want it, leave it alone (at least til after your gig). But like everything, the more you do it, the better you'll become. Your persistance WILL pay off though..........eventually!!

Most important of all though........DON'T GIVE UP!!

Good luck man.
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  #3  
Old 11-20-2009, 02:45 AM
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

I second watching Bob Gatzen's video's, very usefull. Youtube it
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  #4  
Old 11-20-2009, 03:50 AM
sabian92 sabian92 is offline
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

I watched a Bob Gatzen video, it didn't seem to help but I'll try again.

Thanks for the tuning bible link, it looks pretty helpful.

Wouldn't untuning and retuning my heads overstretch them? I know it doesn't do bass strings any good at all.
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:49 AM
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

If you are really that bad and need to get in the ball park quickly, go get a drum dial and use the suggested settings. Probably won't be perfect but it should be decent enough and one hell of an improvement over what you are describing. You can master doing it by ear after the gig
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:49 AM
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

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Originally Posted by sabian92 View Post
I watched a Bob Gatzen video, it didn't seem to help but I'll try again.

Thanks for the tuning bible link, it looks pretty helpful.

Wouldn't untuning and retuning my heads overstretch them? I know it doesn't do bass strings any good at all.
Eventually.....yes. But for the purposes of what you're trying to achieve, I really think any loss of head quality is going to be very minimal. Remember, these things stand up to some pretty serious beatings when being played week in, week out. Whilst they do wear out over time and need replacing, they are also extremely durable. IMHO, you'll get more benefit from practising your tuning, that far outweighs any adverse affect on the heads themselves.

As for your comment on bass strings, every bassist/guitarist I've played with will re-tune frequently, yet they don't need to replace them at each tuning. Heads will last even longer than strings, so go for it and experiment.

Time and patience are the key my friend.
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  #7  
Old 11-20-2009, 06:51 AM
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

Watch videos featuring drum techs, they are the ones who have mastered the art of drum tuning, they do it every day. These guys tend to be more thorough and candid.
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  #8  
Old 11-20-2009, 06:54 PM
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

I hate to be a prick, but you're first problem was that you only tuned one head and gave up quickly (if I'm reading your first post correctly). And if you're going to tune a drum kit be thorough, you have to, otherwise you're not doing the kit justice.

I think what you're having trouble with is listening for the correct sound i.e. a drum can have a lot of overtones when it's not tuned and it can kind of get to be a guessing game. Ideally what you want to pay attention to is the sound the head makes on the initial strike (or the fundamental) of the drum, and not the resonant tones that you hear immediately after. And try to match each lug to that fundamental. When the drum head starts getting in tune those resonating tones start evening out and really sing.

On a bit of a side note, how do you go about tuning your bass? Do you always use a tuner or have you ever tried using the harmonics? I'm a recent drum convert, but I've been playing guitar for about a decade now (Jesus tap dancing Christ! I'm getting old.) And for a large part of that time I've been using harmonics to tune my strings. I'll use a tuner to get the low E established, but after that everything else is done with the harmonics of the strings. Oddly enough using this tuning method on guitar really helped when it came to tuning the drums. You may want to look into it.
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Old 11-20-2009, 08:28 PM
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

I truly believe that the person that has difficulties tuning their drums really doesn't know what to listen for. There's a lot of valuable lessons on tuning on the Internet, but most fall short when it comes to the "listening" part of tuning. I think what most people might need when having tuning problems is an instructor so they can react one on one with someone knowledgeable in this facet of drumming. It's really nice to see a smile on someone's face when they finally achieve their goals after sometimes years of playing drums and not knowing what to listen for. Most anybody can do it, unless your entirely tone deaf. I've said this before, my dad wouldn't teach me how to play the drums until I knew how to take care of them and that I also knew the inside and out of tuning. He said it's all a part of playing the drums, and it is.

Call around and find a drum instructor that will show you how and what to listen for.

Dennis
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  #10  
Old 11-27-2009, 01:23 AM
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

i am useless at tuning drums, but then i cannot hear if a guitar or singer is out of tune.. just got a new drum kit that arrived and needed tuning-- not teacher to help, so i got a drum dial, asked on the forum what settings every one else had -- decided what setting to go for. Put all the drums back on the kit, and surprised myself that i felt the need to tweek them and got a realy good musical sound. so my advice is to buy a drum dial to quickly get you into the right ball park and have the confidence to twiddle around a bit-- if it goes wrong you can always get your dial out to go back to base
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  #11  
Old 11-27-2009, 01:53 AM
mrbutterskin mrbutterskin is offline
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

I had a similar situation when I first got my kit.
I realized a few things: First, the stock heads generally don't tune well. Perhaps you want to invest in some better top heads? Coated heads generally tune easier than clear. Second, toms tend to sound a lot worse when you're playing them by yourself in a quiet situation. Once you get on the stage with your band, a lot of the overtones get lost in the music. Having said that, like everyone said, its a matter of practice.
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  #12  
Old 11-27-2009, 04:42 AM
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sabian92 View Post
I posted about 6 weeks back about tuning my drumheads and I sort of tuned my heads, but they fell out of tune again because they're new. I just end up frustrated with it and give up with it. I managed to tune the snare pretty well, but that was luck I reckon. I only tuned the batter as well, the reso head is stock and tuned to whatever it was when it came.

I have a gig in 2 and a half weeks with my college, I found that I'm the only guy with a kit out of the 4 bands that has a kit (quite annoying might I add...), and for reasons stated above I can't tune a kit because I'm utterly useless at it.

So, I need a crash course in drum tuning. I play bass that would apparently help me but It doesn't. I tried watching drum tuning videos on youtube and it didn't help me at all.

How exactly do you master the art of tuning a drum kit so it sounds melodic? Being that I already play bass, a little bit of guitar and I'm a music student you'd know my middle name would be melody, but it isn't to be, unfortunately.

Then why not ask some of your other class mates that might be long time drummers to help you with the tuning? Seems like a simple fix to me ;-)
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  #13  
Old 11-28-2009, 05:32 PM
sabian92 sabian92 is offline
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

I bought a drum dial, and it sounds really stupid, but I don't know how to use it. Where are you supposed to put it? If you move it the reading changes so if I knock it then I end up tuning it badly (which I obviously end up doing because well... I'm that guy you see ;) What settings do you use? I do like pretty low tuned drums though, and i've got huge drums at that (I've got a 24" bass drum for gods sake =D)

I can hear if a guitar or a bass or a vocalist is out of tune, so that isn't a problem. I'm not totally tone deaf, which is a start...

I went out and bought new heads straight away - I've got Remo Ambassadors over Emperors on the toms, Powerstroke 3 over an Emp on the snare, and an Aquarian Superkick II on the bass drum (that isn't on yet though, don't see the point in putting it on if I can't tune the thing...) so heads aren't the problem. It came with Evans G1 coated heads so they weren't crap heads, I just don't like them. I don't like coated heads but maybe I should have taken the time to learn to tune them before throwing them away....

Konaboy, that would be nice but I assume as none of the other drummers have a kit, none of them will know how to tune one...
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Old 11-28-2009, 05:42 PM
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sabian92 View Post
I bought a drum dial, and it sounds really stupid, but I don't know how to use it. Where are you supposed to put it? If you move it the reading changes so if I knock it then I end up tuning it badly (which I obviously end up doing because well... I'm that guy you see ;) What settings do you use? I do like pretty low tuned drums though, and i've got huge drums at that (I've got a 24" bass drum for gods sake =D)

I can hear if a guitar or a bass or a vocalist is out of tune, so that isn't a problem. I'm not totally tone deaf, which is a start...

I went out and bought new heads straight away - I've got Remo Ambassadors over Emperors on the toms, Powerstroke 3 over an Emp on the snare, and an Aquarian Superkick II on the bass drum (that isn't on yet though, don't see the point in putting it on if I can't tune the thing...) so heads aren't the problem. It came with Evans G1 coated heads so they weren't crap heads, I just don't like them. I don't like coated heads but maybe I should have taken the time to learn to tune them before throwing them away....

Konaboy, that would be nice but I assume as none of the other drummers have a kit, none of them will know how to tune one...
Won't know till you ask ;-)

I'd probably do some things different if it were me. I'd put the emperors on the batter side and the ambassador on the reso side. Did you buy a regular emperor or hazy emperor for the snare side? If it's a regular emperor DO NOT put it on the snare side it will sound horrible. You'll get more snare resposnse out of a hazy ambassador snare side head.(not a regular ambassador)

Doesn't make sense to throw away heads before you've really tried them when properly tuned.
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  #15  
Old 11-28-2009, 07:37 PM
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

was there not a leaflet with the dial? Google it drum dial and there are instructions on line. Do use little distance guage you get with it, it is important that it is always the right distance from the edge.
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Old 11-28-2009, 11:36 PM
sabian92 sabian92 is offline
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

Nope, I got neither. It's a tama one as well so it's not a unknown make either.
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  #17  
Old 11-29-2009, 12:19 AM
Gretsch09 Gretsch09 is offline
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

Woah man! It's totally your head configuration! Switch that Sh1t with the quickness! You can't use 2 ply heads for resos.
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:36 AM
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sabian92 View Post
I bought a drum dial, and it sounds really stupid, but I don't know how to use it. Where are you supposed to put it? If you move it the reading changes so if I knock it then I end up tuning it badly (which I obviously end up doing because well... I'm that guy you see ;) What settings do you use? I do like pretty low tuned drums though, and i've got huge drums at that (I've got a 24" bass drum for gods sake =D)

I can hear if a guitar or a bass or a vocalist is out of tune, so that isn't a problem. I'm not totally tone deaf, which is a start...

I went out and bought new heads straight away - I've got Remo Ambassadors over Emperors on the toms, Powerstroke 3 over an Emp on the snare, and an Aquarian Superkick II on the bass drum (that isn't on yet though, don't see the point in putting it on if I can't tune the thing...) so heads aren't the problem. It came with Evans G1 coated heads so they weren't crap heads, I just don't like them. I don't like coated heads but maybe I should have taken the time to learn to tune them before throwing them away....

Konaboy, that would be nice but I assume as none of the other drummers have a kit, none of them will know how to tune one...
Ok, hold on a min!
1) Put the Ambassadors on the bottom of the toms and The Emperors on the top
2) Take the Emperor off the bottom of the snare and get an Ambassador SNARE bottom head. It isn't the same Ambassador that is used on the toms! Its thinner for the snare.

Note The Tama dial works differently that the Drum Dial. Read the Tama instructions. http://www.tamadrum.co.jp/eu/manual/TW100_Inst.pdf
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Last edited by bobdadruma; 11-29-2009 at 12:50 AM.
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:58 AM
sabian92 sabian92 is offline
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

I meant the skins were on the other way round. The 2-Ply head is definitely on the top ;) I have an Ambassador snare reso, I forgot to mention.

Thanks for that link anyway. I couldn't find that for some reason so I'm glad of the help.
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Old 11-29-2009, 01:48 AM
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

OK, let me know how you make out.
When using a dial tuner, first loosen the tension rod slightly and then tighten to the degree mark that is just under where you want to be.
Lift the dial, and set it down in position again while wiggling it slightly. The dial will seat itself as the head pulls itself over the bearing edge. The reading will have moved up just a bit from where you set it. Go around the drum to each lug a few times and repeat the above procedure to verify. This is the way that I have learned how to use the dial tuner through trial and error.
It works!
Drums should sound higher to you when you are playing them than what you want them to. Have someone hit the drums as you listen to them from the other side of the room. They will sound lower. You wont hear the overtones that you hear when you are up close. You will have to get used to this.
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Last edited by bobdadruma; 11-29-2009 at 02:29 AM.
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  #21  
Old 11-29-2009, 04:54 AM
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Default Re: Ok, Major problem with tuning now...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretsch09 View Post
Woah man! It's totally your head configuration! Switch that Sh1t with the quickness! You can't use 2 ply heads for resos.
Actually you can run emperor's as reso's and some guys do especially on larger floor toms to fatten the sound.

Oh yeah, watch the language!
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