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  #1  
Old 06-23-2011, 08:08 PM
HMNY HMNY is offline
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Default Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

I'm a newbie, picking up after few years, been enjoying getting going again, still a long way to go, but wow, trying to tune my drums is taking up way too much of the little time I do have to practice.

I have made and contributed to a number of topics on the subject of tuning, bought a drum dial, switched heads, bought moon gel, worked hard to get the tension at each lug right by ear, then check with the DD, and still I get a sound nothing like what I'd like, and nothing like the great tom sounds you hear and see on youtube (where some drum deity throws on a new head and in 30 seconds gets the best tone in the world....grrrr)

I have received some great advise from a number of people on here who have taken time out of the days to impart advise, send links and I am really starting to feel I'm almost letting them down, I just don't get it! I am at the stage of thinking about going to my local drum store to ask for them to tune them, but I really don't want to do this as (I admit) the ego/pride aspect is fighting me, and if i just get them tuned, I am not going to learn anything.

Do I switch to more heads, I don't think the ones I have are anything special, or irrespective of heads should I be able to get something?

Any help appreciated, and if you have already offered advise, I'm sorry, I have tried

Thanks


is
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:31 PM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

Why don't you tell us exactly how you tune your head and we'll try and see what you are doing wrong. Slowly and evenly is the trick, use 2 keys 180 degrees apart and go no more that 1/8 turn, then move to the next 2 lugs that are as close to 90 degrees away from the lugs you already tightened.

You have to make sure your bearing edges on your drum are true and your drum is not out of round.
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:22 PM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR doing my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

Thanks Larry,

Same for both rack toms, I took off the old batter heads, cleaned the bearing and inside the drum, replaced the heads and followed what I have learned from the site to be the way to tighten down the head in the opposite lug to opposite lug method, until finger tight, then again using the "pattern" tighten each lug a full half turn, then push my flat hand on the centre of the drum to stretch the head out a little.

Then add another set of half turns using the pattern and so on until about 2 turns in, then using the DD, figure out which lug is at approx the tension I want (I'm using 75 for the batter at present), and using this is my starting point tune the other lugs to have the same sound/tension by going around the drum with a stick matching the tone at each lug.

Then I swapped over to the reso, I took off the head, cleaned the bearing and inside the drum, replaced the heads and tightened using the method as above until about 72 on the DD, per a recommendation from this site.

So here I am now, with a very ringy drum, so I make adjustments to the batter head, now small increments of a turn on the drum key, and it gets better, (to a degree) but this is where I just don't "get it" and I revert the the moongel so I can at least play something and not waste all of my limited playing time.

From what I have read, it seems possible to tune out most of this ringyness, but not by me, that's for sure!

I have a Yamaha stage custom kit, and the new batter heads ara a single ply Attack head, and the reso is a Remo Unicorn brand, which is badged Yamaha.

Thanks for reading.
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  #4  
Old 06-23-2011, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR doing my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HMNY View Post
From what I have read, it seems possible to tune out most of this ringyness, but not by me, that's for sure!
Those horrible overtones that are present when a head is not in tune can be tuned out. But remember that to a degree, all drums ring. That's just what they do.....no moreso than with a single ply head. Have you tried a pre-muffled head? It's also worth remembering that drums don't actually sound like they do on recordings. That one traps a lot of people. You could spend years trying to get the sound you hear on your favourite album and never hit the mark. What sound are you chasing?
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Last edited by Pocket-full-of-gold; 06-24-2011 at 12:47 AM.
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:25 PM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

Pocket,

Thanks for your reply, I recall you kindly gave me advice before....

I did wonder about the head, it does not seem to be that expensive, but I don't want keep throwing $ at the kit without at least some understanding of the mechanics of tuning.

The other day I came across these two tom sounds:

This rack tom sound at around 3:55

http://www.youtube.com/user/DRUM#p/c.../9/8Ew8ChPEbQY

And here at about 0:15

http://www.youtube.com/user/onlinedr.../2/1Dff9vQurEg


I would call this a 'fat', well damped tom sound, I am nowhere near this, I am very pingy, overtone, and a lot of ringing on (sustain) which does get better with moongel...

Thank you
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:36 AM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

Hi HMNY

I recently got back into drumming about 3 years ago after an almost 10 year break! Anyway...I got an acoustic kit and an E-kit within the first 6 months and quite honestly the E-kit was an easy shortcut to avoid tuning my acoustic drums, hehehe. I never was good at tuning in the past but within the last 6 months have been going at it hardcore determined to get this skill down! So....many frustrations later and lots of headaches from constantly practicing tuning I am starting to get good at it, you know when the tuning is close because you hear and sense the smoothness of the drum.

Pocket-full-of-gold:
Quote:
That one traps a lot of people. You could spend years trying to get the sound you hear on your favourite album and never hit the mark. What sound are you chasing?
I agree 100% that you cannot listen to anything mic-ed/recorded, you need to tune till it feels great and sounds great when you strike the drum.

Help is not possible for you unless you pay a local experienced drummer to tune your drums or you keep at it and there will be a "Light at the End of the Tunnel"


Lots of great advice on this forum and others in addition to watching the Bob Gatzen tuning DVD but none of it means anything unless you are persistent in practicing your tuning. I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and to be honest i have given up many times before, frustrated and exhausted feeling like I was on a wild goose chase.

The worst is when you think a drum sounds good but come back to it 10 minutes later and you wonder if somethings wrong with you to have thought that drum sounded good 10 minutes ago, lol!

Here's one little tip I might offer that will give you a good indication when a head is in tune with itself, just think of a string on a guitar/bass when you detune one of the strings it sounds and feels flappy and sloppy and it stops resonating, the drum head is exactly the same way in feel and sound if detuned which for many of us just means we have not tuned them properly but once you get even tension at every rod around the head you'll feel and hear smoothness.

Another thing with new heads is when the tuning is decent, play them as is for a few days then re-tune because i have noticed the head becomes easier to fine tune once they have played a few hours.

Just remember...don't listen to any drums recorded, go with what feels and sounds right to you. Poorly tuned drums will also give you a headache very quickly.

Advice from the Bob Gatzen DVD.....Pick one tom focus on that one drum and get single ply non-dampened matching heads for batter and reso.

Once you have the tuned the drum properly you should not need to put moongel or any other external dampening on the head. If you think your tuning is good but only because you added dampening then you're not there yet.

Regarding the DrumDial....Not trying to offend any happy DD owners but I bought it, used it, and hate it lol....talk about a wild goose chase! Most drum shells are not perfectly round, drum hoops are not perfect, new heads are not perfect, bearing edges are not perfect so I'm just doing everything by ear and feel now and much happier, plus I now own a fancy $60.00 paper weight ;-)

Sorry for babbling so much but when I read your post I felt and totally understood your frustrations. Best Wishes!
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  #7  
Old 06-24-2011, 02:52 AM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

A fat sound? You've got some options.
-Tune low, to the same note, both sides
-Tune lower on the batter and higher on the reso
-Or you could (*sigh...*) try some dampening methods. ie: Remo Pinstripes, Evans Hydraulics, duct tape, gaffers tape, moongel, O-rings, and so on.

One thing I noticed in those videos was that the drums were miced up and probably EQd to some degree. Those drums more than likely sound WAAY different in person, probably rather low pitched and "ringy".

On my old Stage Customs I used to love Remo Coated Emperors over Remo Coated Ambassadors. I would also use a drum dial, and tune to batter to 70-71, and the reso to 75-76. This gave me a low, fat sound, I found.
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Old 06-24-2011, 03:48 AM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR doing my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HMNY View Post
I have a Yamaha stage custom kit, and the new batter heads ara a single ply Attack head, and the reso is a Remo Unicorn brand, which is badged Yamaha
I'd recommend some new heads. I also have a Stage Custom kit and I tried Attack coated heads on there and they were the ringiest things I've ever heard. I tried an Evans G2 batter and it tuned up easily with no problem.

IMHO Attack heads are crap. Spend the few extra dollars on Aquarian, Remo or Evans and they'll tune up much easier.
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Old 06-24-2011, 04:00 AM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

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Originally Posted by HMNY View Post
The other day I came across these two tom sounds:

I would call this a 'fat', well damped tom sound, I am nowhere near this, I am very pingy, overtone, and a lot of ringing on (sustain) which does get better with moongel...
Quote:
Originally Posted by HMNY View Post
I have a Yamaha stage custom kit, and the new batter heads ara a single ply Attack head, and the reso is a Remo Unicorn brand, which is badged Yamaha.

Thanks for reading.
The sounds you picked will be next to impossible to reproduce live with a single ply Attack head. I would guess that you probably have the mechanics down but trying to make a single ply head sound like two ply heads is your problem IMO.

I would suggest a coated or clear 2ply head and you will see a HUGE difference in getting that "fat" tone you seek. If you want more control over the tones you can moongel or put G1 clear resos. That's my suggestion. I've tried the coated single ply Attack on a snare drum and it was WAY too open for my taste. Very ringy with no punch. I just don't care for that type of sound.
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:14 AM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

IMO you are focusing too much on the overtones. When your ear is 2 feet away from the drum....that's not what your drum sounds like from a normal listening distance. You have to listen to the fundamental. On a head that is in tune with itself, and tuned so it's frequency doesn't clash with it's reso head, you are supposed to have overtones. You have to kind of "look past" them. You are tuning for the fundamental not the overtones. The overtones will help your fundamental project into the audience. Dampen the overtones, and unmiced, you kinda killed your tom tone from the audiences perspective. Even a little damping can wreck your tone from a distance unmiced. You have to develop some love for the "right" overtones, meaning the ones that occur naturally with a well tuned drum. They are your friend. They make your toms sound alive in the audience. Hopefully you will eventually learn to accept and then love the sound of those incredible frequencies and the thought of muffling your toms will never again enter your mind.
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:40 PM
HMNY HMNY is offline
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

Wow!

I check in this morning and see some great replies and advice, just reading that others have experienced the same issues makes me feel less hopeless!.

Larry, Pocket, Red, Pete, Mr L and Nodiggie, thank you all for taking the time to reply, and provide some great suggestions, and humour (the $60 paperweight!)

I am taking myself off to my local drumstore fro some 2 ply coated heads later today, Evans or Remo, no cheap stuff, and hope to be able to report some progress as soon as I can.

This site, and the forums has been a fantastic source, and literally reaches worldwide, many thanks for all the help.

All the very best
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:08 PM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

I've found Remo coated Emperors over clear Ambassadors for the toms give me a good low fat tone. I don't use a drum dial so I can't give you any numbers but my batter is tuned as low as I can get it, whilst still being the zone where the drum "sings", the reso is pitched in the same region as a snare reso, so really quite high.

Remember when you're tuning to make sure that the notes of the two heads compliment each other harmonically, nasty overtones occur when you're heads are at odd harmonic intervals for example; an augmented fith wouldn't sound too nice. I know that ventures into music theory a little but if you can get a handle on which notes work with which it can really open your ears tuning-wise.

Hope you find the sound you're looking for mate,

Kev
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

What are you considering a turn? Are you considering a turn a full 180 degree rotation or 360 degree. I believe the correct amount for one turn is 180 degress, or atleast thats what I was taught
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:38 PM
HMNY HMNY is offline
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

Kev,

Thanks for your reply, I have to admit, I know nothing about the music theory of tuning, although I do understand a little what is meant by tuning to a note, how can I do this? I think I have seen some people using a small reed 'thing', a bit like a pan pipe in shape that gives the choice of a few notes, this make sense?

Rock,

Good point, I thought a turn was a full 360, so this is good info, although so far I have not been tuning the heads up super tight, but thanks, I will bear this in mind when discussing 'turns' in the future.
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Old 06-24-2011, 07:45 PM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

Which drums are giving you the most problems tuning?
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Old 06-24-2011, 07:53 PM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

BigDin,

At present it has been the two rack toms, a 12 X 9 and a 13 x 10, I have not ventured to the floor tom. I think based on what has been offered so far, I really do need to get some better heads, its becoming clearer to me that learning to tune on a crappy head just adds more confusion.

Thanks
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Old 06-24-2011, 08:09 PM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

Oh, a pitch pipe? I haven't used them before, I use Guitar Pro for composing so when I'm tuning my drums I use the tune feature to sound the note out. To begin with I get the drum to a point where it opens up and is evenly tuned, I'll then listen to the note and tune up from there, the idea is to match the pitch of the head to the reference point. I always tune the resonant head first, the next step is to choose a note for your batter that will be harmonically sympathetic.

To give you an example I tune the reso on my snare to A and the batter to C# which is a perfect fith above. Perfect fiths are good because they're neither major or minor and sit well against the root note (our A pitch). Just as a supplement to that and pureley for interests sake; this is to do with the waveform/frequency of the notes i.e. the sonic character of the pitch, the waveforms of a A and a C (perfect fith) work well together because of the ratio between the two frequencies is even.

I'd advise you look up some basic music theory a) because it's useful for tuning and b) it'll give you an appreaciation for the other instuments in an ensemble and band and the way they communicate. I'd thoroughly reccomend this site: http://www.musictheory.net very user friendly and comprehensive.

Hope that hasn't confused matters, it's much better demonstrated in person.

Kev
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Old 06-24-2011, 08:21 PM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

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Good point, I thought a turn was a full 360,
I was taught a little differently than Rock Drummer. A turn is 360 degrees. A half turn is 180 degrees. A quarter turn is 90 degrees and an 1/8th turn is 45 degrees.

So when you read someone say "two full turns above wrinkle"....to me that indicates rotation through 720 degrees.
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Old 06-24-2011, 08:32 PM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

I didn't read 100% of the comments so forgive me if I am re-hashing.

But there is this guy on youtube called "Bob Gatzen" and he goes IN DEPTH on every possible thing there is to tuning of your drums.

Also, if you want a Fat, deep, sustain sound, try tuning Both the Batter head AND the Resonate head the Same pitch…exactly.

Also, if you want some heads that are pretty forgiving, especially for newbies just learning how to tune...Evans EC2 are good. It's one of those heads you will almost always be able to get a "Good" sound out of them.

I am also at a dilemma with the "Drumdial". I will tune my toms / drums and EVERY lug will sound the same, so it is completely in tune with itself, does NOT have funky overtones, and sounds great. Then I will slap the Drumdial on there and according to it, most of the Lugs are "Off", sometimes by alot.

Anyone else have this problem?
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Old 06-24-2011, 08:54 PM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR doing my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

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Originally Posted by HMNY View Post
Thanks Larry,

Same for both rack toms, I took off the old batter heads, cleaned the bearing and inside the drum, replaced the heads and followed what I have learned from the site to be the way to tighten down the head in the opposite lug to opposite lug method, until finger tight, then again using the "pattern" tighten each lug a full half turn, then push my flat hand on the centre of the drum to stretch the head out a little.

Then add another set of half turns using the pattern and so on until about 2 turns in, then using the DD, figure out which lug is at approx the tension I want (I'm using 75 for the batter at present), and using this is my starting point tune the other lugs to have the same sound/tension by going around the drum with a stick matching the tone at each lug.

Then I swapped over to the reso, I took off the head, cleaned the bearing and inside the drum, replaced the heads and tightened using the method as above until about 72 on the DD, per a recommendation from this site.

So here I am now, with a very ringy drum, so I make adjustments to the batter head, now small increments of a turn on the drum key, and it gets better, (to a degree) but this is where I just don't "get it" and I revert the the moongel so I can at least play something and not waste all of my limited playing time.

From what I have read, it seems possible to tune out most of this ringyness, but not by me, that's for sure!

I have a Yamaha stage custom kit, and the new batter heads ara a single ply Attack head, and the reso is a Remo Unicorn brand, which is badged Yamaha.

Thanks for reading.
HMNY,

Hate to say this but...ditch the drum dial, ( I have one too and don't use it anymore), and the attack heads as others have suggested.

Tune the batter head first, tighten it up until it starts to have some tone. Once it has some tone, tune all the lugs evenly...then tune it up or down to the sound that you like. Again even up the lugs...using your ears so that all lugs have an even tone.

Once the batter has a nice tone move on to the resonant head. Repeat the above. Tune the resonant head until it is even in pitch to the batter head. That will produce the most sustain. If you want less sustain, tune the resonant head a little higher than the batter. If you want a little pitch bend tune the resonant head a littel lower than the batter.

Most of all have some patience...getting your ears trained will take a little time. Once you have it figured out you should be able to tune must faster. Watch those Bob Gatzen videos a few times...they sure helped me figure out how to tune better.

Last edited by BigSteve; 06-24-2011 at 08:55 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-24-2011, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

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Originally Posted by cobamnator View Post
I didn't read 100% of the comments so forgive me if I am re-hashing.

I am also at a dilemma with the "Drumdial". I will tune my toms / drums and EVERY lug will sound the same, so it is completely in tune with itself, does NOT have funky overtones, and sounds great. Then I will slap the Drumdial on there and according to it, most of the Lugs are "Off", sometimes by alot.

Anyone else have this problem?
(sorry for shortening your post above)

I too had this same problem with the DD!

I had been away from drumming for 2 decades and practically started all over. I was such a newb that I could not tell what each drum should sound like. Then one day, I had to change all batters...
The DD just seemed like a cure-all, instant fix to tuning. Damn things aren't cheap either.
Anyways, I'm reading thier charts - tightening and loosening to the exact tension. After a few weeks I finally realized my fricken DW set was out of tune (embarrased here).

In desperation I came across hero - Bob Gatzen. Tuning to notes (his snare video) just made so much sense to me since I couldn't yet tune by ear. Just pick your target note, hum and tune. All my drums are tuned now to specific notes (batter + resos). The one downside to tuning by notes is having a device available for your reference note.

Drumdial took 3 weeks to sell on Craigslist.
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Old 06-24-2011, 10:53 PM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

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Originally Posted by BigDinSD View Post
(sorry for shortening your post above)

I too had this same problem with the DD!

I had been away from drumming for 2 decades and practically started all over. I was such a newb that I could not tell what each drum should sound like. Then one day, I had to change all batters...
The DD just seemed like a cure-all, instant fix to tuning. Damn things aren't cheap either.
Anyways, I'm reading thier charts - tightening and loosening to the exact tension. After a few weeks I finally realized my fricken DW set was out of tune (embarrased here).

In desperation I came across hero - Bob Gatzen. Tuning to notes (his snare video) just made so much sense to me since I couldn't yet tune by ear. Just pick your target note, hum and tune. All my drums are tuned now to specific notes (batter + resos). The one downside to tuning by notes is having a device available for your reference note.

Drumdial took 3 weeks to sell on Craigslist.
Glad I'm not alone!

Because I would tune these drums VERY evenly, and they sounded wonderful, and just for kicks I would throw the DD on there and it would read something off the wall.

Perhaps it is a faulty D.D.?
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Old 06-24-2011, 11:19 PM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

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Originally Posted by cobamnator View Post
Glad I'm not alone!

Because I would tune these drums VERY evenly, and they sounded wonderful, and just for kicks I would throw the DD on there and it would read something off the wall.

Perhaps it is a faulty D.D.?
I dunno - check the calibration on a glass table, it's easy to do. I just think it is the concept of assuming that the same tension at one lug should produce the same TONE on all other lugs. There are probably more dynamics and factors besides tension that produce the tone. I too have dialed the tension after getting a nicely tuned head and - WAY OFF on some lugs!
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Old 06-25-2011, 12:54 AM
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

The drum dial is a measuring instrument. It doesn't lie. It is hard to get all your lugs to the same setting on the drum dial and to also have all the harmonic notes match at each lug. The drum dial just illustrates how hard it is to tune a drum.

Typical drum dial scenario: Your drum is on the floor. You got all the DD tensions to read the same at all lugs. So now you're ear tuning, tapping the head with a stick an inch from the lugs, with one of your fingers resting on the center of the head, listening to the harmonic note. Yet the harmonic note at lug A is too low and it's neighbor, lug B, is too high......There's a reason for this....

The most common mistake people make using the DD IMO is that they tension going around the perimeter of the drum. I did that too for quite a while before I realized that's not the best way to use it. I eventually got way better results when I started tensioning across the drum.

If the opposite of lug A, is lug Z, I'm talking about the line spanning lug A and lug Z. An 8 lug drum will have 4 of these "planes". They all have to be the same tension, not an easy task especially with only one drum key at a time. You tune for perfectly even DD tensions between lug A and Z. (using 2 keys for sure) After they match, rotate the drum 90 degrees, (X and Y axis) and get those 2 lugs at the same tension as A and Z. Repeat until done. You'll probably have to revisit lug A and Z and all the rest of the lugs at least once or twice to get all the individual tensions reading the same. Then when you ear tune, all the lugs just sing baby. Now that head is truly in tune with itself, no uneven tensions on any of the planes.

The thing is, you really need to use 2 keys to get the best shot at evenness. A key on lug A and a key on lug Z. You can feel for evenness better. If I could have a key on every lug, I would.

Then continue tuning by repeating the process on the other drum head.

Then ensure batter head tuning doesn't clash with reso head tuning by comparing harmonics. Adjust if necessary.

It's a 3 step process really, tune the batter, tune the reso, then adjust them to each other for maximum tone.

Then you repeat this 3 step process with all the other toms.

Then you have to make sure the intervals between all the toms are pleasing. Adjust if necessary.

Nothing to it lol.

It's really not practical for the gigging drummer. I use the DD when I change heads at home, and for recording.

I think if the DD people would clue their customers in, as to how to use their product better, not as many people would sell them. But you have to be really anal to get a perfectly tuned, and perfectly tensioned, 2 headed drum.
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  #25  
Old 06-25-2011, 01:09 AM
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cobamnator cobamnator is offline
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
The drum dial is a measuring instrument. It doesn't lie. It is hard to get all your lugs to the same setting on the drum dial and to also have all the harmonic notes match at each lug. The drum dial just illustrates how hard it is to tune a drum.

Typical drum dial scenario: Your drum is on the floor. You got all the DD tensions to read the same at all lugs. So now you're ear tuning, tapping the head with a stick an inch from the lugs, with one of your fingers resting on the center of the head, listening to the harmonic note. Yet the harmonic note at lug A is too low and it's neighbor, lug B, is too high......There's a reason for this....

The most common mistake people make using the DD IMO is that they tension going around the perimeter of the drum. I did that too for quite a while before I realized that's not the best way to use it. I eventually got way better results when I started tensioning across the drum.

If the opposite of lug A, is lug Z, I'm talking about the line spanning lug A and lug Z. An 8 lug drum will have 4 of these "planes". They all have to be the same tension, not an easy task especially with only one drum key at a time. You tune for perfectly even DD tensions between lug A and Z. (using 2 keys for sure) After they match, rotate the drum 90 degrees, (X and Y axis) and get those 2 lugs at the same tension as A and Z. Repeat until done. You'll probably have to revisit lug A and Z and all the rest of the lugs at least once or twice to get all the individual tensions reading the same. Then when you ear tune, all the lugs just sing baby. Now that head is truly in tune with itself, no uneven tensions on any of the planes.

The thing is, you really need to use 2 keys to get the best shot at evenness. A key on lug A and a key on lug Z. You can feel for evenness better. If I could have a key on every lug, I would.

Then continue tuning by repeating the process on the other drum head.

Then ensure batter head tuning doesn't clash with reso head tuning by comparing harmonics. Adjust if necessary.

It's a 3 step process really, tune the batter, tune the reso, then adjust them to each other for maximum tone.

Then you repeat this 3 step process with all the other toms.

Then you have to make sure the intervals between all the toms are pleasing. Adjust if necessary.

Nothing to it lol.

It's really not practical for the gigging drummer. I use the DD when I change heads at home, and for recording.

I think if the DD people would clue their customers in, as to how to use their product better, not as many people would sell them. But you have to be really anal to get a perfectly tuned, and perfectly tensioned, 2 headed drum.
Yeah, well, if it's that hard to use the D.D., Im just going to tune by ear.

You say...

"it is hard to get all your lugs to the same setting on the drum dial and to also have all the harmonic notes match at each lug. The drum dial just illustrates how hard it is to tune a drum."

Then why buy the thing in the first place? This is my point exactly. If the harmonic note, and tension are two different things (which I am not doubting), the D.D. is pretty redundant at best.

Why use it to even out the tension on all lugs, THEN tune it? When your going to change the tension anyway.

Anyways, maybe there is a secret to it. Who knows...
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  #26  
Old 06-25-2011, 01:44 AM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

You nailed the conundrum of the drum dial. Tuning by ear is way faster.

The DD is however perfect for the anal retentive. You can have a kicking tom sound for sure and not have the DD tensions match. Your ear is king.
It does appeal to my scientific nature, the DD... it is a precision instrument, but it's not practical. It did expand my understanding of the forces at work on my drumhead though. I couldn't rest until I figured out why I was getting the wacky readings. But tune by ear. Use the harmonics and get them to all match.
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  #27  
Old 06-27-2011, 07:50 PM
HMNY HMNY is offline
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Default Re: Tuning GRRR dong my "head" in, is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

So following all the great feedback to my tuning question I picked up a Tom Pack of Evans G2 coated heads as the next step in my tuning education.

So far I have just installed one head, on my 12" tom, and have tightened it up, but not started the tuning process. However, it is already apparent that this is a very different head to the Attack single ply it is replacing, and I hope to be able to spend some real quality time getting to grips with the tuning of this head, and subsequently the other two tom heads.

I'm not out of the woods yet, but I do now realise that just like the old "garbage in, garbage out " adage, it helps to have some good raw material to work with.

Thanks again to all those who have taken time to reply, just knowing that others have also experienced a steep learning curve when tuning has been a confidence booster.

Thank you all
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