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Old 05-16-2010, 05:37 PM
IPC IPC is offline
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Default Alternative Drum tunings

Has anyone here ever used/heard of tuning the drums in an unorthodox manner. It's my understanding that the most common tuning is to tune the drums about a 3rd apart. I've also heard that Jazz drummers tune their drums farther apart, and finally ive heard about people tuning to actual pitches. At any rate I was thinking of experimenting with different intervals. I'm not certain how to go about it though. If anyone has any experience with this kind of thing please let me know. It will probably end up being a trial and error process but any advice would make life alot easier. Thanks.
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Old 05-16-2010, 05:52 PM
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Default Re: Alternative Drum tunings

I usually start with my drums tuned to the same tension. I use a drum dial and I tension the bottom heads slightly tighter than the batters. Example Resonate heads on all toms at about 78 and batters on all toms at about 76 on the dial.

I then fine tune the batters on all of the toms by ear until I get the separation that I want. I will then adjust the resos to get sustain and tone. Most often times I don't have to adjust the resos much at all.
My resos are always tighter than my batters. I find that toms punch better this way.

Every drummer has their own way of tuning. Experimentation is the only answer until you find the method that you like.
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Old 05-16-2010, 06:11 PM
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Default Re: Alternative Drum tunings

I have experimented with tuning to pitch in the past.
I found that it was more trouble that it was worth.
I do tune farther apart for jazz than I do for rock.
I just go by sound.

I also have tried loose tuning of the resos and I found that the toms sounded good up close but they didn't sound good from afar.
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Old 05-16-2010, 06:17 PM
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Default Re: Alternative Drum tunings

I don't think there are really "alternate" tunings, because there are no rules about drum tuning to begin with.

Some people prefer lots of separation, some do not. Some tune their drums rather high (Neil Peart), others prefer the heads as slack as possible without being dead. If you ask 100 drummers how they tune their drums, you're going to get a huge variety of answers.
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Old 05-16-2010, 06:38 PM
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Default Re: Alternative Drum tunings

Thanks for the input. I forgot some of the fundamental philosophy underlying drumming. I guess it will just come down to listening to my music and figuring out what sound I want. There are so many issues with tuning though it can be intimidating, and extremely time consuming. I think tuning should be on the same level as hand technique or something like that in importance and I'll just have to work towards improving that skill set. Thanks again.
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Old 05-16-2010, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: Alternative Drum tunings

Remember, Every drum has a range where good tuning is possible.
It depends on the type of heads mainly.
The room that the drums are in is the next greatest tuning factor.
Drum shell composition is next on the list.
The way that the drums are being played is also is a factor. Loud of soft hitting will mean different tuning in most cases. Playing a lot of fast double stroke rolls will require tighter tuning to make play easier.
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