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  #361  
Old 02-25-2008, 08:35 PM
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

14x11 shouldnt be tricky .. what did you do last time ? did you replace all the heads and then find the problem? Maybe take the pitch up a tick on the higher toms or space the tuning out a bit more.... often a problem between 14 floor and the reso head of the 16..
great looking kit , what did you make the octobans from?
Simon
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  #362  
Old 03-03-2008, 03:24 AM
shepfu1 shepfu1 is offline
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

i don't know how everyone else feels about this but I just bought a Drum Dial from a guy off of Craiglist for $40 and it was a wise investment. I have been playing drums for 20+ years and always fought with my tuning. I guess I don't have the best ear in the world, although I can tune a guitar by ear in about 2 minutes. Weird I know but I spent about an hour with this drum dial today and trusted the readings, my ear told me that once I mounted all the drums and actually played them they would be way out of tune but I just went to the suggested settings that came with it and I was shocked how good my drums sounded. I now know what it is like to have drums that are actually tuned properly. It was like night and day. I have had my new set for about 6 month's now. It is Mapex Pro M 6 piece and although I thought they sounded good before they sound like they should now. I am so happy with sound of my toms now I could burst. I want to go play them right now but my baby is sleeping and my wife frowns on waking him up with my drumming. LOL
I must say that if you are having problems tuning your drums or you are not sure about how to do it buy a Drum Dial. They really work.
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  #363  
Old 03-25-2008, 02:08 AM
Will.ftw Will.ftw is offline
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

Hey all, long time reader first time poster.

I've been pulling my hair out trying to get my two toms to sound decent. I've read the tuning bible and most of the posts in this thread but I have no idea whats causing the dead sound on my toms.

I'm looking for a more deep and sharp sound but can't tune it correctly. I'm also not sure if the problem is due to my heads either. The heads are pretty old, they are "Remo - Weatherkings" but are in good condition. Are the 'weatherking' series a bad head? If so what are some decent ones that are available these days?

Thanks in advance :)
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  #364  
Old 03-25-2008, 01:16 PM
Shaggy Alonso Shaggy Alonso is offline
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLUkDXSfPCc
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  #365  
Old 04-09-2008, 12:07 AM
lukas lukas is offline
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

hey all, i haven't read the whole thread so i might be repeating something but......i've found a great way to tune kick and floor toms!

i recently helped a friend purchase a drumset for an organization he runs and we bought a used yamaha oak custom. the set was almost new and only been rented by the store a few times so it couldn't be sold as 'new'

anyways, the kit sounds amazing!
i didn't have to tune it at all...it's a 22" kick, 10" & 12" toms, and a 16" floor tom.
i wanted to find out how the drums were tuned because they sounded full, deep, and very even. we have a piano near the set so i hit the res. and batter head on the kick a few times, went to piano and it turned out to be a G major... batter hear was a D and the reso. side a G below that D. the floor tom is the same intervals just a different pitch...haven't bothered to check what note exactly,....

the sound is very rich and punchy, but with lots of bottom end and definition - kind of like a well eq'd bass thick but not muddy...

so the moral of that story is? tune the heads a "5th apart" ... if you don't know what that is it's time to learn some basic theory and u even use a guitar tuner when tuning the heads.

btw. the batter were Evans Clear EC2's and the reso were very thin single ply yamaha heads...the kick is a EVans EQ2 on the batter and i think an EQ3 on the reso.

hope this helps.
God bless y'all!
lukas.
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  #366  
Old 04-09-2008, 01:45 AM
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

That is cool because I tune with a drumdial and always tune the batter 5 tighter than the reso. ie: my 11x12 is 82 batter and 77 reso then I adjust it by ear .
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  #367  
Old 05-24-2008, 08:15 PM
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Default Tom tuning

Hey guys
I use Pinstripes on batter and clear abassador on resonant head and i play primarily heavy stuff. Slipknot , metallica etc.
I've been having some difficulty in tuning my toms to have a short decay and a 'thud' sound to them. I can get a nice 'thud' when i dampen them by sello-tapping a small bit of kitchen roll to the head , but when you see Joey Jordison and Lars Ulrich playing live , you can't see any dampening on the top heads.
Please could i have some help with achieving the short decay 'thud' sound without dapening?

Also , i have a 14" floor tom , and no matter how i tune it , it gives a huge amount of echo. Any tips on tuning or how to fix this?
Thanks very much :)
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  #368  
Old 05-24-2008, 08:19 PM
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Default Re: Tom tuning

Tune your resonant head lower, and your batter higher. If you have the resonant head at a low enough tension, it will resonate at a lower frequency, giving you that deep 'thud' sound, this will also die out sooner giving you the sound you desire. JJ has a slappy sound from his drums, that could be achieved from both high and low tuning. Think of the resonant head as a subwoofer.
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  #369  
Old 05-25-2008, 10:42 PM
Zoofie Zoofie is offline
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Default Tom tuning again :)

Hey guys
I use Pinstripes on batter and clear abassador on resonant head and i play primarily heavy stuff. Slipknot , metallica etc.
I've been having some difficulty in tuning my toms to have a short decay and a 'thud' sound to them. I can get a nice 'thud' when i dampen them by sello-tapping a small bit of kitchen roll to the head , but when you see Joey Jordison and Lars Ulrich playing live , you can't see any dampening on the top heads.
Please could i have some help with achieving the short decay 'thud' sound without dapening?

Also , i have a 14" floor tom , and no matter how i tune it , it gives a huge amount of echo. Any tips on tuning or how to fix this?
Thanks very much :)
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Old 05-25-2008, 10:53 PM
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  #370  
Old 05-25-2008, 11:08 PM
Zoofie Zoofie is offline
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Default Re: Tom tuning again :)

Thanks mate , any more ideas?
Thanks
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  #371  
Old 05-29-2008, 03:41 AM
raje.a raje.a is offline
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Default tuning a 14 x 14 floor tom

Before i ask my question i would like every one to know that i have read the drum tuning bible, watched the bob gatsen( and other ) videos on you tube, and i've also been reading the great threads on this site...now thats out of the way... i would really be grateful for some advice on tuning my 14" floor tom.

My toms are tuned relatively high for a jazz sound. The 14" is tuned to a D top and bottom. It sounds a bit boiney. I want it souning more controlled. What did the old masters do? ie Art Blakey or Tony Williams. Those gretch drums had internal muffling maybe they used those?
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  #372  
Old 05-29-2008, 08:31 AM
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Default Re: tuning a 14 x 14 floor tom

An old trick was to run a felt strip under the drum head. Or make a ritchie ring, which is what the Powerstroke 3 has/does. The internal mufflers, lots of vintage drums are missing those because cats took them out. They'd un-adjust themselves, come loose, vibrate and make noise, etc. Depending on what make/series drum you have, Ambassador, Emperor, Powerstroke 3, or Fiberskyn 3 make for good batters. And an Ambassador reso.
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  #373  
Old 05-29-2008, 08:52 AM
raje.a raje.a is offline
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Default Re: tuning a 14 x 14 floor tom

thankyou harryconway.

The drums are yamaha MCAN and I'm using renaissence batters with ambassodor reso's.

Last edited by raje.a; 05-29-2008 at 08:54 AM. Reason: incomplete
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  #374  
Old 05-29-2008, 09:16 AM
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Default Re: tuning a 14 x 14 floor tom

Well certainly, the Yamaha Maple Custom shell is a good shell. A tad more "bright" than a vintage Gretsch, I think the Fiberskyn 3 will get you the "traditional" jazz tone you're after.
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  #375  
Old 05-29-2008, 11:44 AM
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Default Re: tuning a 14 x 14 floor tom

Do you tune the heads to the same pitch? Tuning the batter head a minor third -- perfect fourth lower (or the resonant head a minor third -- a perfect fourth higher) tends to eliminate the boinginess and makes the sound a lot more focused and controlled
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  #376  
Old 05-29-2008, 02:46 PM
The popes love child The popes love child is offline
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Default Re: tuning a 14 x 14 floor tom

I really found the opposite of what I used to think was a vintage tuning style worked. I cranked up my batter head a couple turns above its lowest point, and tuned the reso. head at its lowest tuning point. This gives a very quick and focused sound. The batter head being higher doesn't produce as much of a rumble, and the reso head being lower creates a very fast decay. I am using Aquarian modern vintage on both sides.
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  #377  
Old 05-29-2008, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: tuning a 14 x 14 floor tom

I'm with Wavelength on this one. I'm using a Yamaha Oak 14 x 11. Clear Emperor on top ambassador on reso. Top head tuned to a D and reso tuned to an E. Tom really growls. With your head combo maybe try the batter tuned to an E and the reso up a minor or major third?
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  #378  
Old 06-03-2008, 09:37 AM
aboylikedave aboylikedave is offline
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Default Re: Cool tom tuning techniques!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdrums21 View Post
As far as minor thirds go, that is just a relationship between two notes. A minor third is three notes apart (from a B to a D is three notes...B to C is one note, C to C# is two notes and C# to D is the third note)), a major third is 4 notes apart, a perfect fourth is 5 notes apart, etc. Hope this helps.
Hi guys due to this thread I've really got stuck into tuning, but have a question: I'm just getting a bot confused between thirds, minor thirds and intervals of three notes.
Am I correct in saying that some of you are are suggesting a good difference between batter and reso is a minor third (3 notes) and some of you who suggest the wedding march are suggesting a 4th (5 notes)?

When CD drums says "If your drums are say 10”,13” and 16” like mine, try tuning in fifths. " does he mean five notes (perfect 4th) or perfect 5th?

Man, I'm learning alot!
Cheers
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  #379  
Old 06-04-2008, 05:36 PM
ermghoti ermghoti is offline
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

I think intervals are always used, eg fifths means perfect fifths. Otherwise, one would say "five half-steps," which would be a perfect fourth. Actually, either wold work, since drums are not tuned harmonically, unless one tries to match the key of a song for a recording.
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  #380  
Old 06-10-2008, 04:16 PM
MadJazz MadJazz is offline
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

The complexity of drum tuning stems from the many variables which define the sound. The trick is to isolate these variables, first and foremost by concentrating on the batter side which sets the initial tone, then by tensioning the reso side and listening how it alters the initial hit.

1. Remove heads on both sides.

2. Inspect and clean the head, bearing edges and inside of the drum with a soft towel. Inspect the hoop and lugs and replace where necessary.

3. Place the batter head and finger-tighten the lugs.

4. Tension the head ½ on each lug, in a star pattern, preferably using two keys which speeds up the process.

5. Hold the drum by the rim and hit the center of the head. Listen. You should hear a dull thud, void of tone and sustain. This means the head isn't stretched and should be tensioned higher. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you hear some tone, then continue in smaller increments, tensioning ¼ of a turn.

6. The closer you get to the tone you like, the smaller increments you should use: 1/8 and even 1/16 of a turn. Remember that if you have for ex 8 lugs, 1/8 of a turn on each of them results in a total increase of one full turn (8x1/8=1). To get a quick idea to where a higher tension will take you, give one single lug a full turn and listen. Then detune.

7. When detuning, lower the tension below the point where you want to be, then tune it up. After detuning, press firmly on the centre of the head with your palm, to stretch the head in place. Do not press on the snare reso, this head is too thin to support such pressure!
Should you ever note some wrinkles in the head, you didn't tension the head evenly and should detension all the lugs and start over from step 1.

8. Repeat steps 4 and 5, keeping in mind steps 6 and 7, until you reach a tone you like. When the drum starts to ring and when you hear too many high tones, you know you tuned to high. When, to the contrary, the drum has a muddy, dirty tone, you tuned too low. Of course, you might like that kind of tone and remain there.

9. Note that the higher the tension, the higher the tone and the shorter the sustain. The lower the tension, the lower the tone and the longer the sustain. What we're aiming at for toms in most musical styles is a low tone and short sustain, meaning that you have to find a trade-off between a too low or too high tension. Tone and sustain will be strongly influenced by the choice of heads. In jazz, toms and kick are usually tuned to an opposite effect: higher tone and longer sustain. Nevertheless, a trade-off still exists.

10. Once you've discovered the limits of the batter side and you're satisfied with the result, do not touch the batter anymore! Mount the reso side and repeat all previous steps with this exception: do not hit the reso, hit the batter and listen how the reso affects the hit on the batter. Probably you'll want both heads pretty close to each other but not necessarily equal. As long as you're not using identical heads, you'll never get a perfectly equal sound on both heads anyway. If both batter and reso have extremely different tension, you'll hear two voices. This can actually be a good listening exercise.

Once you've reached a certain level of familiarity with tuning, you can try to tune the batter ½ turn up and the reso ½ turn down for ex, or vice versa, and listen to the effect. Also try different head configs as the heads determine a large part of the drum's character. Don't be shy of trying the weirdest combinations! This doesn't need to cost a lot of money. Buy a single head before procuring an entire set, preferably in a size which you can use both on a tom and a snare. Or simply switch batters with resos.
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  #381  
Old 06-23-2008, 09:15 PM
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Smitty Smitty is offline
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Default Gretsch Club Rock Shell Tuning Issues

Help Needed!!!
My new drums:
Gretsch Catalina Club Rock Kit
16"x26" bass drum “wish Evans made the EMAD head on a 26” drum”
6.5"x14" snare drum, 9"x13" rack tom with 16"x16" and 16"x18" floor toms
Currently using all the stock heads – Evans G1 Coated on top and a factory Gretsch clear on bottom.

These drum shells look great however I think they sound flat.
Is that because these are a Mahogany shell?
Can someone suggest the correct drum head combo before I decide to start sanding the inside of the shells or point me in the right direction for light sanding techniques?
I'm back to playing my Tama Birch kit but would rather be playing the Gretsch drums.

Thanks,

Smitty
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  #382  
Old 07-01-2008, 12:01 AM
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CASP3Rdrummer CASP3Rdrummer is offline
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

Quote:
Originally Posted by MadJazz View Post
The complexity of drum tuning stems from the many variables which define the sound. The trick is to isolate these variables, first and foremost by concentrating on the batter side which sets the initial tone, then by tensioning the reso side and listening how it alters the initial hit.

1. Remove heads on both sides.

2. Inspect and clean the head, bearing edges and inside of the drum with a soft towel. Inspect the hoop and lugs and replace where necessary.

3. Place the batter head and finger-tighten the lugs.

4. Tension the head ½ on each lug, in a star pattern, preferably using two keys which speeds up the process.

5. Hold the drum by the rim and hit the center of the head. Listen. You should hear a dull thud, void of tone and sustain. This means the head isn't stretched and should be tensioned higher. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you hear some tone, then continue in smaller increments, tensioning ¼ of a turn.

6. The closer you get to the tone you like, the smaller increments you should use: 1/8 and even 1/16 of a turn. Remember that if you have for ex 8 lugs, 1/8 of a turn on each of them results in a total increase of one full turn (8x1/8=1). To get a quick idea to where a higher tension will take you, give one single lug a full turn and listen. Then detune.

7. When detuning, lower the tension below the point where you want to be, then tune it up. After detuning, press firmly on the centre of the head with your palm, to stretch the head in place. Do not press on the snare reso, this head is too thin to support such pressure!
Should you ever note some wrinkles in the head, you didn't tension the head evenly and should detension all the lugs and start over from step 1.

8. Repeat steps 4 and 5, keeping in mind steps 6 and 7, until you reach a tone you like. When the drum starts to ring and when you hear too many high tones, you know you tuned to high. When, to the contrary, the drum has a muddy, dirty tone, you tuned too low. Of course, you might like that kind of tone and remain there.

9. Note that the higher the tension, the higher the tone and the shorter the sustain. The lower the tension, the lower the tone and the longer the sustain. What we're aiming at for toms in most musical styles is a low tone and short sustain, meaning that you have to find a trade-off between a too low or too high tension. Tone and sustain will be strongly influenced by the choice of heads. In jazz, toms and kick are usually tuned to an opposite effect: higher tone and longer sustain. Nevertheless, a trade-off still exists.

10. Once you've discovered the limits of the batter side and you're satisfied with the result, do not touch the batter anymore! Mount the reso side and repeat all previous steps with this exception: do not hit the reso, hit the batter and listen how the reso affects the hit on the batter. Probably you'll want both heads pretty close to each other but not necessarily equal. As long as you're not using identical heads, you'll never get a perfectly equal sound on both heads anyway. If both batter and reso have extremely different tension, you'll hear two voices. This can actually be a good listening exercise.

Once you've reached a certain level of familiarity with tuning, you can try to tune the batter ½ turn up and the reso ½ turn down for ex, or vice versa, and listen to the effect. Also try different head configs as the heads determine a large part of the drum's character. Don't be shy of trying the weirdest combinations! This doesn't need to cost a lot of money. Buy a single head before procuring an entire set, preferably in a size which you can use both on a tom and a snare. Or simply switch batters with resos.
when you say 1/2 step lower or higher you mean to turn each lug half turn ?
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  #383  
Old 07-01-2008, 12:13 AM
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

I think a half step is one-half note.
What is it you are sanding on?? Is this an attempt to make the drums sound better??
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Last edited by GruntersDad; 07-01-2008 at 12:52 AM.
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  #384  
Old 07-01-2008, 12:31 AM
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

pff how the hell im supposed to know whether i tightened a half note ore one whole note higher or the same for loosening ? :(
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  #385  
Old 07-01-2008, 12:44 AM
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

CASP3R,

Tuning to specific notes requires a tuning device. I have been using a guitar tuner, but others here report success with pitch pipes. A half step is basically the pitch difference from a white key on a keyboard to an adjacent black one, or vice versa. Hope that makes sense; perhaps someone can explain it better.
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  #386  
Old 07-01-2008, 01:01 AM
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

Quote:
Originally Posted by m1ck View Post
CASP3R,

Tuning to specific notes requires a tuning device. I have been using a guitar tuner, but others here report success with pitch pipes. A half step is basically the pitch difference from a white key on a keyboard to an adjacent black one, or vice versa. Hope that makes sense; perhaps someone can explain it better.
yeah i know whats a half note... but i cant tell the difference with my ears only :/
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  #387  
Old 07-01-2008, 10:24 AM
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

Casp3rdrummer,

2 things...

1) A single octave is made up of 12 notes.
Using a bass or guitar tuner will only avail you to a certain number of those notes, but not all of them.
The best tuner to use, if tuning your drums to a specific note, is a CHROMATIC tuner.
This type will show all 12 notes within the range of a single octave.
Back when I worked at the local music store, I sold a couple of drummer friends a Korg CA20 and they were very grateful, having finally found nirvana in the sound of their drums.
The Korg unit is fairly inexpensive and works very well. It's also fairly easy to use.
The CA20 has since been superceded by the CA30.
I'm not sure if that model is still in production, but last time I checked, that's what they were making.

2) MadJazz stated a 1/2 TURN, not a 1/2 step. Look back and read the part you highlighted again and you'll see your error.

This also brings up a point about the evils of agonizingly long threads.
The same answer keeps being repeated several times by different people because no one has the patience to read back over all the prior pages of dialogue that have already been written.
I posted step-by-step instructions on how to mount and tune a head, earlier in this thread.
MadJazz's instructions differ slightly from mine and don't go into quite as much detail, but its still pretty much the same post (no worries MadJazz, I probably wouldn't have looked back through the entire thread either).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
Help Needed!!!
My new drums:
Gretsch Catalina Club Rock Kit
16"x26" bass drum “wish Evans made the EMAD head on a 26” drum”
6.5"x14" snare drum, 9"x13" rack tom with 16"x16" and 16"x18" floor toms
Currently using all the stock heads – Evans G1 Coated on top and a factory Gretsch clear on bottom.

These drum shells look great however I think they sound flat.
Is that because these are a Mahogany shell?
Can someone suggest the correct drum head combo before I decide to start sanding the inside of the shells or point me in the right direction for light sanding techniques?
I'm back to playing my Tama Birch kit but would rather be playing the Gretsch drums.

Thanks,

Smitty
Smitty,

Part of the phenomena you're experiencing may have to do with the shape of the beaering edge.
Those drums feature a modern version of the Gretsch bearig edge, which is a large 1/4 round on the outside of the shell with a 35 degree angled cut on the inside of the shell.
The large roundover can have a tendency to give a drum a drier sound because it helps quell some of the sustain of the head.
The phenomena is more apparent with toms than any other drums because of their proximity to your ears and their size already has a lot of "built-in" muffling present (believe it or not).
The thicker than "traditional Gretsch shell thickness" shells of the Catalina series only highten this phenomena.
I don't know how tight you tension your heads, but if you're using the typical "Rock tuning" for your toms, try going a little tighter and try to achieve a point of maximum sustain.
It won't sing for a week, like a lot of modern drums will, but you should notice a difference over the typically very loose tuning most rock drummers tend to use.
Another thing you can do is to place a weight in the middle of the head. This will actually promote sustain.
The most common form of doing this (in fact, its the only one that I'm aware of) is to use a dotted head, like a Remo CS.
The extra layer of mylar in the middle of the head was originally meant to quell sustain, but later tests show that the extra material actually does the opposite, because the added weight acts like a pendulum and keeps the head in motion longer than if it were never present.
Another trick which may help "wetten" those toms are to use a thin head on the resonant side.
While in reality, this actually shortens the total sustain experienced when energy is imparted on the drum, the thin bottom head will actually increase resonance and give the drum a bigger sound.
The result is a trick of the ear that makes the drum seem like its gained some sustain.

..btw, are you absolutely sure that the stock batter side head on a Gretsch Catalina drum is a coated Evans G1?

For the BD, try a coated EQ3. According to Evans' chart ( http://www.evansdrumheads.com/EVAProductsDS.aspx?ID=11 ) its a little brighter than the EMAD, but fairly close.
...or you could try placing masking tape or black electrical tape around the edge of the head, right inside of the hoop.
If using masking tape, use several short sections whose ends overlap slightly. On my 18, it took 5 strips. You have a 26, so it may be more like 8 or 10 strips.
If using black electrical tape, work in small lengths and while holding the roll in one hand, use the other hand to form the tape to match the curve of the head / hoop. Its a rubbery plastic, so you can do this.
Masking tape is more like paper and will tear if you try doing it that way.



Elvis

Last edited by Elvis; 01-22-2009 at 01:20 AM.
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  #388  
Old 07-01-2008, 10:35 AM
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elvis
Another thing you can do is to place a weight in the middle of the head. This will actually promote sustain.
The most common form of doing this (in fact, its the only one that I'm aware of) is to use a dotted head, like a Remo CS.
The extra layer of mylar in the middle of the head was originally meant to quell sustain, but later tests show that the extra material actually does the opposite, because the added weight acts like a pendulum and keeps the head in motion longer than if it were never present.
...btw, Smitty, if you're not into Remo heads, the black dot that appears in the middle of the CS can be bought separately, so you can "dot" any make / model of head you choose.
The dots are sold through "Cannon" and are stick-on items.
Check with your local music retailers and see who can deal with Cannon.
Also, forgot to mention that a dotted head may sound a little brighter, because the reinforced middle increases the presence of the attack of the stick hitting the head.


Elvis
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Old 07-01-2008, 08:12 PM
Nunu2324 Nunu2324 is offline
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

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Originally Posted by dunchykong View Post
i have a pacific fxr kit. it says it has true pitch tunning. the 22x18 virgin bass drum has A stamped inside the shell under the date. the 16x14 floor has an A aswell. the 12x9 doesnt say anything under the date, nor does my 14x6 snare, mabee they forgot to stamp them??? anyways, how can i achive these notes with my drums? i tried actually using a guitar tunner but that didnt work well. any suggestions?i love my new kit but tunning is a little off and i know they would sound sweeeet if they were tuned up a bit better.
True Pitch Tuning means the tension rods have more threads on them so you can tune them to the pitch you want easier. They are'nt Timbre Matched like DW's.
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  #390  
Old 07-23-2008, 11:29 AM
B9891 B9891 is offline
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

i've tried tuning the toms but i dont really know what they're supposed to sound like. any ideas?
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Old 07-23-2008, 03:12 PM
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

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Originally Posted by B9891 View Post
i've tried tuning the toms but i dont really know what they're supposed to sound like. any ideas?
Wow, talk about a broad question. =()
You sound like you're just starting off. My advice, get with a teacher. You can find one at pretty much any music store.
Take some lessons. They can show you the ins and outs of playing and answer all your questions.



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  #392  
Old 08-20-2008, 06:16 PM
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Rimshot1 Rimshot1 is offline
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

One of the problems I often face when doing a live gig is that my toms almost never sound the same as they did at the previous gig. This is because of the layout of the hall, higher ceiling perhaps, room construction size, whether the gig is in the open air etc etc.
This bugged me and "my way" of ensuring that my drums were "roughly" the same tension and sounding to the way I liked to hear them, I bought a drum dial.
This little contraption ensures that your toms are tuned to the same tension every gig, so hopefully they should be sounding the same as when you last played them, but of course you have to remember the size of the venue, the points I've already made and also often the weather, a long drive to a gig in the heat of summer will require a re-tune perhaps, or your toms will sound flat.
I have actually got used to the way I like to hear how my toms sound and I think they sound the same everytime I now play.
A professional drummer friend of mine tunes his toms (including the floor tom) to the tune My Dog Has Flees.(from left to right). It works for him!.

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Old 08-20-2008, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

I just got this thread and wanted to thank you for the information that I know I will soon be needing...I am new and need all the advice I can get along these lines...reading this made great sense and I cannot wait to give a try! Thanks again


Quote:
Originally Posted by MadJazz View Post
The complexity of drum tuning stems from the many variables which define the sound. The trick is to isolate these variables, first and foremost by concentrating on the batter side which sets the initial tone, then by tensioning the reso side and listening how it alters the initial hit.

1. Remove heads on both sides.

2. Inspect and clean the head, bearing edges and inside of the drum with a soft towel. Inspect the hoop and lugs and replace where necessary.

3. Place the batter head and finger-tighten the lugs.

4. Tension the head ½ on each lug, in a star pattern, preferably using two keys which speeds up the process.

5. Hold the drum by the rim and hit the center of the head. Listen. You should hear a dull thud, void of tone and sustain. This means the head isn't stretched and should be tensioned higher. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you hear some tone, then continue in smaller increments, tensioning ¼ of a turn.

6. The closer you get to the tone you like, the smaller increments you should use: 1/8 and even 1/16 of a turn. Remember that if you have for ex 8 lugs, 1/8 of a turn on each of them results in a total increase of one full turn (8x1/8=1). To get a quick idea to where a higher tension will take you, give one single lug a full turn and listen. Then detune.

7. When detuning, lower the tension below the point where you want to be, then tune it up. After detuning, press firmly on the centre of the head with your palm, to stretch the head in place. Do not press on the snare reso, this head is too thin to support such pressure!
Should you ever note some wrinkles in the head, you didn't tension the head evenly and should detension all the lugs and start over from step 1.

8. Repeat steps 4 and 5, keeping in mind steps 6 and 7, until you reach a tone you like. When the drum starts to ring and when you hear too many high tones, you know you tuned to high. When, to the contrary, the drum has a muddy, dirty tone, you tuned too low. Of course, you might like that kind of tone and remain there.

9. Note that the higher the tension, the higher the tone and the shorter the sustain. The lower the tension, the lower the tone and the longer the sustain. What we're aiming at for toms in most musical styles is a low tone and short sustain, meaning that you have to find a trade-off between a too low or too high tension. Tone and sustain will be strongly influenced by the choice of heads. In jazz, toms and kick are usually tuned to an opposite effect: higher tone and longer sustain. Nevertheless, a trade-off still exists.

10. Once you've discovered the limits of the batter side and you're satisfied with the result, do not touch the batter anymore! Mount the reso side and repeat all previous steps with this exception: do not hit the reso, hit the batter and listen how the reso affects the hit on the batter. Probably you'll want both heads pretty close to each other but not necessarily equal. As long as you're not using identical heads, you'll never get a perfectly equal sound on both heads anyway. If both batter and reso have extremely different tension, you'll hear two voices. This can actually be a good listening exercise.

Once you've reached a certain level of familiarity with tuning, you can try to tune the batter ½ turn up and the reso ½ turn down for ex, or vice versa, and listen to the effect. Also try different head configs as the heads determine a large part of the drum's character. Don't be shy of trying the weirdest combinations! This doesn't need to cost a lot of money. Buy a single head before procuring an entire set, preferably in a size which you can use both on a tom and a snare. Or simply switch batters with resos.
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Old 09-02-2008, 06:05 PM
annihilator annihilator is offline
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

hi, I wanna tune my drums to a deep heavy sound... like on red hot chili peppers' latest album, stadium arcadium

so, I guess my question is whether modestly bolted lugs are enough or is it a question of tom sizes or different heads....

my kit is an untouched tama imperialstar, of 10", 12" and 16" floor
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Old 09-02-2008, 06:48 PM
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

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Originally Posted by annihilator View Post
hi, I wanna tune my drums to a deep heavy sound... like on red hot chili peppers' latest album, stadium arcadium

so, I guess my question is whether modestly bolted lugs are enough or is it a question of tom sizes or different heads....

my kit is an untouched tama imperialstar, of 10", 12" and 16" floor
When you say untouched I take it you mean as in new and unmodified. I don't know what the standard heads are on an Imperial Star but I would go for Remo Pinstripes all around including the bass drum. I tune mine to a medium high (tuned to my liking) and then I use rings on all the tomes. You can get these rings in a kit for all the toms and they are made by Evans and I think Remo also do them.They muffle the toms slightly so you can tune them high but with the rings it gives them a flat sound. :-)
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  #396  
Old 09-02-2008, 11:55 PM
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Ian Williams Ian Williams is offline
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

The tuning experiment takes time and patience per tom and snare (also bass drum) by loosing/tightening each lug 3/16 - 1/4 of an inch, while hitting at the same time. The resonance/rattling should go away and the sound will be clean and clear on all your drums. Each drum should sound different. If you like the big sound, heavy and powerful drumming as I do, my drum-set has: Tom-Toms 12"x10", 13"x11", Floor Tom 16"x16", they sound heavy as Children of the Grave from Black Sabbath.

Good luck & Regards,

Ian
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Old 09-14-2008, 04:22 PM
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

Everyone has their methods. It takes time for a player to determine the sounds they want and what heads and tuning will get them there. To complicate matters it usually changes from one kit to the next. :)

My birch Mapex kit is 7pc with 8/10/12/14/16 toms. White suede ambassadors for batter and clear ambs for reso. Both heads are tuned to the same pitch. On the drum dial the 8/10 are 75. The 12/14 are 74 and the 16 is 73. The intervals all work well together allowing the drums to resonate together in a musically pleasing way. I like my toms tuned higher and with a lot of resonance and sustain which makes getting the intervals right that much more important.
The kick is 22" and has PS3's front and back tuned to 74 on the batter and 72 on the reso with a 5" port.

My Maple PDP kit has 10/12/14/16 toms and a 24" kick. Same heads except the tom batters are clear Ambs. The toms are tuned to the same pitches/intervals as the Mapex kit but because of the different heads and more low end from the shells they sound completely different. The Kick also uses PS3's front and back with a 5" port. I tune this drum a bit higher reading 75 on the dial for both heads. The bigger diameter still keeps the pitch deep and punchy at the higher tension.

I know some people feel you need to "fine tune" after using the drum dial. I did initially as well until I found some tricks to get the reading to be more accurate. You need to tweak by hand and possibly use a pitch pipe to zero in on the tuning you want. Once you have your tuning documented, its not difficult to accurately reproduce with the dial. Obviously make sure the dial is calibrated with the needle precisely on zero before starting. This also assumes the heads are seated and stretched in

1)Use the included spacer to make sure you accurately locate the dial the same distance from each lug,
2) Bring the head up to pitch no more than 2-3 points of the dial per trip around the drum.
3) Once you make a change on a lug, tap the rim of the drum gently a few times. This wobbles the dial just enough to reset itself on the new tension of the head. Sounds weird but it works.
4) After you do your last pass fine tuning lugs to pitch, do another pass checking the readings until they are all on the money without having to tweak anything

It works for me. Hopefully it will be useful to others.

Last edited by TheArchitect; 09-17-2008 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 09-14-2008, 04:27 PM
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Default Re: Problem with tuning..plz help

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Originally Posted by Wernervonwaltsleben View Post
I did everything the tuning bible said, tighten the lugs finger tightened.backed off 1/4 turn.then half turns till i get a distortion free tone and when i start looking for the pitch.theres this one lug thats higher, so i tune the rest of the lugs to that one but it never catches up, as soon as i turn one of the other lugs, the higher one gets more higher and higher and the other never catches up.i completely removed the higher lug, like before finger titened and it still has a higher pitch.how do u explain something like that.is there problem with the drum or skin?
That sounds like a shell that's out of round or a bent hoop to me
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Old 09-14-2008, 04:37 PM
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

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Originally Posted by skinner View Post

Most drum tuning experts recommend not tuning your toms too tight. Many say to tune just past where the wrinkles are gone.
I consider that advice nonsense. That's one way of doing it but there is no reason you can't tune a good bit higher and still have a fine sounding drum. Only you can decide if that's a sound you like and if its stylistically appropriate for the music you are doing.
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Old 09-14-2008, 08:39 PM
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Rimshot1 Rimshot1 is offline
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Default Re: TOM TUNING

In reply to TheArchitect, I agree with you, as you suggest, if using the drum dial, remember that depending on the heads being used, you have to adjust the tuning of each head to the previous ones used and tuned. I congratulate you on using the drum dial for tuning your toms. I have found this very useful and as you say once you have written down your settings, the job become easier for future tune-ups. :-)
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