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Old 10-09-2014, 06:23 AM
Guitar Guy Guitar Guy is offline
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Default Why can't I hear tones when tuning?

I'm trying to tune my snare, both the batter and resonant side. I'm going around it tapping it with my finger and with the tuning key but I'm having a really difficult time hearing some kind of tone coming from hitting it. I think my ears are really good (I'm a guitarist if you couldn't tell...) but hearing the tones on this thing is just a headache.

I watched some tutorials on tuning heads and I'm not sure why but I can hear their heads' tones just fine. It's like when I go from one lug to the next I'm hearing the exact same sound on this one.

Maybe I should get a drum dial? At least to practice with?
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:41 AM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Why can't I hear tones when tuning?

I'm a guitarist as well.

You're listening for the overtone, and not the note you hear when you strike the the drum. It's like listening for the harmonic on the 5th and 7th frets. If you can't hear it, try resting one finger in the center of the drum and tap about 1" from the lug. You'll eventually hear it. It took me a while to learn to tune. At one point I was so frustrated that I began tuning from scratch (loosen every lug) each Monday and made it part of my routine. I still have trouble with floor toms on occasion.


If you're a "Bass" guitarist, my advice changes. You need to turn the snare off first.
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:41 AM
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edvia edvia is offline
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Default Re: Why can't I hear tones when tuning?

Try placing the snare on a carpeted surface. That helps isolate the fundamental overtones, making it easier to tell when one lug is higher or lower than another. Also, be sure there's sufficient tension all around, so the head excites when you tap it.
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  #4  
Old 10-09-2014, 06:43 AM
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BillRayDrums BillRayDrums is offline
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Default Re: Why can't I hear tones when tuning?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitar Guy View Post
I'm trying to tune my snare, both the batter and resonant side. I'm going around it tapping it with my finger and with the tuning key but I'm having a really difficult time hearing some kind of tone coming from hitting it. I think my ears are really good (I'm a guitarist if you couldn't tell...) but hearing the tones on this thing is just a headache.

I watched some tutorials on tuning heads and I'm not sure why but I can hear their heads' tones just fine. It's like when I go from one lug to the next I'm hearing the exact same sound on this one.

Maybe I should get a drum dial? At least to practice with?
You gotta listen for overtones; lay your finger in the middle of the snare kinda lightly and it will isolate each nodal point a bit more as you tap with your other finger. Use that as the reference. Also, the lug directly across from that one will affect that nodal point, as well as the neighboring lugs.

A "normal tone" will not be so evident so rely on the overtones.
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  #5  
Old 10-09-2014, 07:00 AM
Guitar Guy Guitar Guy is offline
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Default Re: Why can't I hear tones when tuning?

I think what's happening is that since my resonant side is so tight, it's really difficult to hear a change in pitch. I loosened all of the lugs and only did one full turn on all of them and I've got more of a pitch coming through. It doesn't make tuning it so bad like that, but I wanted a really tight resonant head.
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Old 10-09-2014, 07:05 AM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Why can't I hear tones when tuning?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitar Guy View Post
I think what's happening is that since my resonant side is so tight, it's really difficult to hear a change in pitch. I loosened all of the lugs and only did one full turn on all of them and I've got more of a pitch coming through and it doesn't make tuning it so bad.
Indeed, tightly cranked resos are difficult.

I think the thing that helped me the most was when my instructor whistled the overtone I was listening for while I was tuning in front of him. I pretty much got-it from there on in, with the occasional flub.
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Old 10-09-2014, 07:06 AM
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BillRayDrums BillRayDrums is offline
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Default Re: Why can't I hear tones when tuning?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitar Guy View Post
I think what's happening is that since my resonant side is so tight, it's really difficult to hear a change in pitch. I loosened all of the lugs and only did one full turn on all of them and I've got more of a pitch coming through. It doesn't make tuning it so bad like that, but I wanted a really tight resonant head.
You'll want to crank your snare head more than one turn each. You should use 1/2 turns, directly across from each other; if it's a 10 lug drum then skip a lug. If it's an 8 lug then view it as a + and an x pattern. The trick is to evenly tension the head so you can get the right tone.

As you get tighter and tighter it's not necessary to keep making 1/2 turns, but begin to make shorter bumps, like 1/8 turns or even 1/16 turns. As you continue to raise the pitch the shorter bumps multiplied by the number of nodes will allow greater tension being applied than is evident. IOW, "A little can go a long way".
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  #8  
Old 10-11-2014, 10:20 AM
Guitar Guy Guitar Guy is offline
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Default Re: Why can't I hear tones when tuning?

By the way guys, how is it that people can tell whether or not a snare side head is tuned high or low? I've seen people hear a snare in a song and they can tell that it's tight just by listening to it. From what I've gathered from tuning myself, the batter head is the thing that's changing the most. I guess I'll get used to the differences over time.
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