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  #1  
Old 03-22-2012, 06:25 PM
haroldo_psf haroldo_psf is offline
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Default cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

Hi all. First of all, I am a noob. I have owned mykit for about a year. I have watched Bob Gatzen on youtube a million times. I have read online guides, I have read drummerworld threads. This helped me tune my drums while they were already in the ball park since I bought them, as the drum shop tuned them for me before I took them home, so I just had to basically make sure the lugs and each head were even as time when by, as the tones were basically already defined and I just had to maintain it.

However, for the first time, I changed the original Pearl heads that came with the kit (Vision birch, 8", 10", 12", 16" toms) with Evans G1 clear for reso, and G2 coated for batter.

My issue is that, when starting from scratch, I found that I didn't really know what the exact tone should be for each tom. Most tunning guides just say "tighted until it starts to resonate, then even the lugs". Well, there is a huge area of achievable tones in the "resonating area".

For instance, when I was done tunning them, my 10" and my 12" sounded the same! I knew immediatelly something was off. I could hear a descending tone difference going from the 8" to the 10", but between 10" and 12" it was flat. Either my 8" and 10" are too low, or my 12" is too high.

I tossed a coin, and decided the 12" was too high, and turned it down a quarter turn per lug, and evened out the lug tones from there. I could now here a descending tone difference between the 10" amd 12", but was that tone difference enough?

Now, what is THE tone that each tom should have?

How much tone difference should there be between tom to tom?

About sustain...When I tuned the bottom head close in tone to the top, the tom had a nice looong sustain after a hit, like BAMMMMMMMMMmmmmm. When I tuned it a little higher, it sounded nice and defined, BAMMM!

How much sustain is right? (please don't tell me "preference", just give me an answer for crying out loud)? If it is really preference, than give me YOUR preferece? How much sustain is normal for a good sounding rock kit? Do I want the toms humming away after fills going into the first and second beat of the next bar? Or should they speak their piece and be quiet after wards? What is good when you are recording or playing live?

Should I go buy a drum dial? Does this thing come with a tension table that says: 10" tom should be roughly at this tension, 12" inch at this tension, etc? Does it come with any instructions guidelines as well? I'm not interested in just finding out what the tensions are, I need to find out what it should be.

The problem I have is, as noob, I have no preference. I don't know what is good, what is bad, what is typical, and what isn't.

So, when look for threads here, 99% of the time the answer is "preference". Well, I don't have a preference. Can someone at least steer me in the right direction, pleeeeeeeease?
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

Even with the most sustain possible are you going to hear it in a live band setting? No, not much chance of that really

Even if you could, is the audience going to hear it? We know you will, but will they? No, probably not

Tune to three or four tones apart. I used the latter, using 'Here comes the bride' as a guide
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:31 PM
haroldo_psf haroldo_psf is offline
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

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Originally Posted by Liebe zeit View Post
Even with the most sustain possible are you going to hear it in a live band setting? No, not much chance of that really

Even if you could, is the audience going to hear it? We know you will, but will they? No, probably not

Tune to three or four tones apart. I used the latter, using 'Here comes the bride' as a guide

thank you!!! That's one step in the right direction, and very clear. I get it, and can follow that.

Ok,sustain down. Now the tone... How to I know what is THE tone each tom should be at? In other words, once resonating, how tight should the batter head be?
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:50 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

This may or may not work, but tighten the batter side to what tension you like the feel of the best then tune the resonant head for the tone. There is a video of Thomas Lang doing it on YouTube.
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:57 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

Download the Tuning Bible if you haven't already. It has been an invaluable resource for me. It has tuning ranges, detailed tuning techniques, and good pitches to put your toms at. For a 2" diameter jump I think anywhere from a minor third to a fourth is good. You can use the standard lullaby melody for a minor third, and 'here comes the bride' for a fourth.

If you are playing live with a band, unmiced, your drums will sound much much much deader than they actually are, so I raise the overall pitch of my drums slightly (about a half to a whole step) and tune the batter resos heads to the same pitch so I can get as much sustain going to the audience as possible. But if I'm playing miced up, or just for myself, I don't like too much sustain, so I tune accordingly. It completely personal preference.

I try not to worry about the exact notes I'm hitting with my toms. I just try to make sure they sound good as a set, that the pitch profile as I go down the drums is to my liking. If you're new, than having a note (C#, or something) can help you get your tuning right everytime. But there is no correct answer to, "What pitch should my 12" tom be at?".
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:58 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

I tune the resort heads about a full turn and a half higher than the batter. Which gives me the amount of resonance I want.
Basically, I would suggest tuning the resort head until it's undeniably "tight" but still gives about a half an inch when you apply a medium amount of force to it. Then tune the batter head until you find the sweet spot.
what is the sweetspot? When you think it sounds sweet. You're going to HAVE to do some messing around on your own, but this may be a good way to start.
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Old 03-22-2012, 09:24 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

As for how long sustain toms "should" have, (and you'll hate this) it's all preference! But something that really got me from being completely to being a little less lost was tuning to specific notes.

http://www.sticksandstaves.com/index.php?id=14 - Tuning ranges for different drums!

http://www.seventhstring.com/tuningfork/tuningfork.html - A tuning fork!

Right now my kit is tuned 8"A, 10"E, 12"B, 14"E and 16"B, so the floor toms don't follow the same interval as the rack toms but yeah... I'm happy! I'm still struggling with the floor toms but I'll get there some day.

If you are going for say, E on the 10", don't tune both heads to E because that will render the overall note higher. Both heads on my 10" are tuned roughly C#, with the reso just a little bit higher than the batter.
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Old 03-22-2012, 09:31 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunar Satellite Brian View Post
I tune the resort heads about a full turn and a half higher than the batter. Which gives me the amount of resonance I want.
Basically, I would suggest tuning the resort head until it's undeniably "tight" but still gives about a half an inch when you apply a medium amount of force to it. Then tune the batter head until you find the sweet spot.
what is the sweetspot? When you think it sounds sweet. You're going to HAVE to do some messing around on your own, but this may be a good way to start.
"Resort Heads"

Are you/are you planning on a vacation?
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  #9  
Old 03-22-2012, 10:08 PM
haroldo_psf haroldo_psf is offline
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

thank you all so much for the replies! I haven't had a chance to check those links yet, specially looking forward to the "tuning bible" and the links Sjogras shared.

However, I believe I am almost there! I went home at lunch (because I just can't let it go and wait until the end of the day), and realized I have a baseline sitting right there: my ekit Yamaha DTXplorer! So, assuming when they recorded the samples, they knew what they were doing (if those are actually accustic recorded samples), and assuming their tom sizes are close to mine (long shot here...), I thought I had a straw to grab and start pulling...

My 10 inch tom was right on the same note as the first rack tom on the DTX. Then I copied the note difference between the two rack toms on the DTX to my 10" and 12", and it actually sounds like a drum again! Whoooohoo!!! Thank god!

I have sustaining differences between the toms which I can now sort out later, after reviewing all the info and links you guys shared.

One thing that had thrown me off was that my 12" head was not properly seated, which caused it to wrinkle in a wierd way. Without realizing that, I cranked the lugs until the wrinkles disappeared, and then tuned them all the same. This is what caused me to tune it too high in the first place. I removed the loop to re-seat the head, and the head was stuck to the hoop! Did I damage it? It sounds and looks fine, so I will rock it anyway.
Well, after I seated the head properly, the wrinkles were gone very fast this time around, and I was able to tune it like my DTX.

Thanks all, I feel like I learned something new today and feel much more capable now with this whole tuning thing
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Old 03-22-2012, 11:24 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

I want my toms to ring/sustain for as long as possible. I use two toms and tune them so that I can play "George of the Jungle." If I use three toms, I make sure I can play "Three Blind Mice." I usually tune the bottom head lower. Becoming good at tuning takes a while to learn. The more you do it, the better you will get. Peace, goodwill, and blues.
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Old 03-22-2012, 11:36 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

I found with my toms that the best sound and most resonance is about 1 full turn from finger tight so now when I put heads on I just finger tight all the lugs then at a 1/2 turn at a time I bring them up to 1 full turn and then fine tune the batter to the tension rod with the lowest pitch and the reso head to the tension rod with the higher pitch making the reso just a bit tighter than the batter which I find gives the most resonance with the least overtones. I tune all my toms this way and the difference in size and depth between each tom gives almost perfect steps between each tom.
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  #12  
Old 03-23-2012, 03:46 PM
haroldo_psf haroldo_psf is offline
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sjogras View Post
As for how long sustain toms "should" have, (and you'll hate this) it's all preference! But something that really got me from being completely to being a little less lost was tuning to specific notes.

http://www.sticksandstaves.com/index.php?id=14 - Tuning ranges for different drums!

http://www.seventhstring.com/tuningfork/tuningfork.html - A tuning fork!

Right now my kit is tuned 8"A, 10"E, 12"B, 14"E and 16"B, so the floor toms don't follow the same interval as the rack toms but yeah... I'm happy! I'm still struggling with the floor toms but I'll get there some day.

If you are going for say, E on the 10", don't tune both heads to E because that will render the overall note higher. Both heads on my 10" are tuned roughly C#, with the reso just a little bit higher than the batter.

Wow man! thanks so much for that link with the drum tone ranges! I feel "musically empowered" :). Went back home, and gave it yet another go around. downloaded Android app 'gStrings' to help ID the tones.

8" ended at a G, 10" at E, 12" C (was at a C#), 16" D.

My drums sound SO freaking good right now. I can't wait to go play them, but have to go to a vacation this weekend with the wife, and pretend I'm not thinking about my drums the whole time and enjoy our time away.
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  #13  
Old 03-23-2012, 04:31 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

A neat trick some ancient drum dude showed me once is to put the drum shell without heads next to your ear and tap the shell. You should hear a "tone" that the shell itself makes. That's your "sweet spot", and then try and get the heads to match that tone.
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

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Originally Posted by Xero Talent View Post
A neat trick some ancient drum dude showed me once is to put the drum shell without heads next to your ear and tap the shell. You should hear a "tone" that the shell itself makes. That's your "sweet spot", and then try and get the heads to match that tone.
That sounds cool, i`m going to try that next time!
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Old 03-23-2012, 10:52 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

http://www.menet.umn.edu/~kgeisler/Tuning.pdf

This is a link to the Tuning Bible. Good Stuff.
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:15 AM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

Quote:
Originally Posted by topgun2021 View Post
"Resort Heads"

Are you/are you planning on a vacation?
haha, I tried fixing that about 60 times, but auto-correct was convinced reso was not a word.
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:50 AM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

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Originally Posted by Lunar Satellite Brian View Post
haha, I tried fixing that about 60 times, but auto-correct was convinced reso was not a word.
I believe "resonant" head is more friendly with autofix. Autofix burns me in the butt once in a while changing a sentence into something with a completely different meaning.

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Old 03-24-2012, 10:02 AM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

Trying to tune to a specific note may or may not work. Frankly I don't think that will necessarily get you where you want to be. Here is my suggestion. Since you are new to drums and drumming you need to get intimately familiar with your instrument. Yes this is going to border on the "preference" idea but here's how you determine a preference. Pick either your highest or lowest tom. It's usually easier to do this starting with your highest/smallest tom. Tune your resonant head so the tension rods are finger tight. Now bring those rods up about a half turn and tune the head lug to lug as you already know how to do. Now go to the batter head and do the same thing. How does the drum sound? Probably not the best at that range so bring it up another quarter to half turn and retune. Keep doing that while all the time tapping the head to hear how the drum is sounding. At some point you're going to hear that drum singing where it just sounds right. Try playing with it from that "right" point tuning up or down slightly to hear if you can get it any better. This process is going to take some time the first few times you do it but it's part of getting to know your instrument. Once you are comfortable with that basic sound go back to the reso head and play around with that a little in the same manner to see if you can get the drum to sound any better. At some point you're going to be satisfied that the drum in your hand is going to sound as good as it ever will (given the type of heads you choose). Go to the next sized drum in your kit and go through the same process without comparing the pitch between drum #2 and the one you've already tuned. When you get that second drum to the point that you're satisfied you can now compare the interval of the pitches between the two drums. With fairly traditional sized drums you will probably find that you're somewhere between a fourth or fifth difference. If the drums sound good and have a distinct difference in the pitches move on to the next drum and so on through your entire set, When you have all the drums tuned where you think they sound good, put your kit together and play up and down between your toms to see how the set sounds as a complete instrument. If you need to fine tune a drum up or down a bit you can now do that to get a final overall pleasing sound between all your drums. Remember that once you've got a drum tuned to that basic good sound use very small changes in tension. Often turning a tension rod no more than 1/8 of a full turn can be all you need. Hope that helps and good luck.
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:03 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

Haroldo,I was frustrated when I started 3 yrs. ago as well. I bought different heads to start the whole process.I bought remo coated emporers for my toms.They all have a tone ring on them (purchased seperately) and one or two moon gels to get the dampening that I wanted.I have8 x 12",9 x13" 12 x14",and 16 x16". Never really checked but the resonance is fairly short.Practice to a song you like and listen to what the reso. is and try to get the same .A lot ,if not most drummers have something to control overtones ,etc. on their drums whether its tone rings,gels,tape controlled heads,wallets.It is still preference for you but this can get you where you want to be.This is what I`ve got going on my my kit and it works for me in the rock,pop genre for what I play at home.I hope this is the type of info you`re looking for.I`m basically three,blind,blinder,mice.lol Happy tuning,Terry
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:40 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

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Originally Posted by tobyhd1 View Post
Haroldo,I was frustrated when I started 3 yrs. ago as well. I bought different heads to start the whole process.I bought remo coated emporers for my toms.They all have a tone ring on them (purchased seperately) and one or two moon gels to get the dampening that I wanted.I have8 x 12",9 x13" 12 x14",and 16 x16". Never really checked but the resonance is fairly short.Practice to a song you like and listen to what the reso. is and try to get the same .A lot ,if not most drummers have something to control overtones ,etc. on their drums whether its tone rings,gels,tape controlled heads,wallets.It is still preference for you but this can get you where you want to be.This is what I`ve got going on my my kit and it works for me in the rock,pop genre for what I play at home.I hope this is the type of info you`re looking for.I`m basically three,blind,blinder,mice.lol Happy tuning,Terry
So, you're using a quite muffled head, O-ring AND moongel? I'm sorrry, but your drums must sound like hitting cardboard... I strongly disagree regarding "most drummers" using dampening... I'd say most drummers use no dampening.

I myself use no dampening at all on the rack toms, the floor toms have one piece of moongel each though. I've been using Evans G1 as resos for a while now, and lately Evans G2 clear or Remo ambassador clear for batters. (I need to try some clear emperors too, but I guess they'll be pretty much like the G2s). I have no problem with overtones, but the 12" is kind of hard to tune but that is probably due to room acoustics, the rack, mount and such, since the drum sounds like it should held by hand. I wish I had a bigger room =/

With my former kit, a Sonor force 2001, I did use O-rings, but since upgrading to Sonor 3007s everything (obviously) sounds a lot better :)
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:53 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

You could do the John Goode extreme: take all the hardware off of each shell, then suspend it and bang on it with your fist. The note the shell rings at would be what you tune the heads to. Have an oscilloscope handy so you can determine what note that it is, then right that letter inside the shell to use as a future reference. Put all the hardware back on and put the new heads on and tune to that note.

And then find out you're back at square one anyway ;)
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

Quote:
I myself use no dampening at all on the rack toms, the floor toms have one piece of moongel each though.
I agree - let those puppies sing!

I essentially use Gatzen's method of tuning. Personally, I like the reso head tuned the same as the batter head. If I need to dampen a little for recording, I use little cut squares of pantie liners. They're cheap, stick to the head, and are easily removed. For heavier dampening needs I use cut pieces of those sticky wall toys, or window decorations. Use only white, as the colored ones tend to bleed.
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:33 PM
tobyhd1 tobyhd1 is offline
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

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Originally Posted by Sjogras View Post
So, you're using a quite muffled head, O-ring AND moongel? I'm sorrry, but your drums must sound like hitting cardboard... I strongly disagree regarding "most drummers" using dampening... I'd say most drummers use no dampening.

I myself use no dampening at all on the rack toms, the floor toms have one piece of moongel each though. I've been using Evans G1 as resos for a while now, and lately Evans G2 clear or Remo ambassador clear for batters. (I need to try some clear emperors too, but I guess they'll be pretty much like the G2s). I have no problem with overtones, but the 12" is kind of hard to tune but that is probably due to room acoustics, the rack, mount and such, since the drum sounds like it should held by hand. I wish I had a bigger room =/

With my former kit, a Sonor force 2001, I did use O-rings, but since upgrading to Sonor 3007s everything (obviously) sounds a lot better :)
Don`t be sorry,the drums sound good! ..Sound like 6 ply cardboard with good heads.
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:10 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

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Originally Posted by tobyhd1 View Post
Don`t be sorry,the drums sound good! ..Sound like 6 ply cardboard with good heads.
Well then, as long as it works for you. Actually, I must admit that a bit of muffeling would suit some songs better when I play with ear plugs, but in general an open drum sound is what I prefer.
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:14 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

I prefer as much as i can generate while keeping a (subjectivly) pleasing tambre.

I then control the sustain via how I play the drum.

Dont get me wrong...I followed the '70s trend for some time.

Developing the ability to use sustain properly on a drum set is neither easy or obvious...and is frequently ignored by teachers.
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:32 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

In regards to resonance, MD magazine had an article on quick fix's and one them was that if you want to adjust the amount of resonance but not influence the integrity of the sound, is to put cotton balls inside the toms, adjusting the amount of cotton balls to suit the sound you want.
Neat trick.
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  #27  
Old 03-26-2012, 06:59 PM
Anthony Amodeo
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

I prefer a more open tuning ...ala Keith Carlock

but moon gels can do wonders for people who have trouble tuning some overtones out of their toms

some styles I play ...be it for a live situation or a recording situation ...call for a more dead thud type sound which i like as well...and to achieve that I just drop the tuning a bit and throw on some moongels

sounds great
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:17 PM
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Default Re: cry for help: Toms tone? How much sustain is good?

I have an O ring made from a old Bass drum batter head placed inside my 16" tom, on top of the reso. It's a bit wider because that drum resonates forever. It's got a nice, deep tone, with just enough sustain.

The floating toms sing freely with coated G2's.
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