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  #1  
Old 12-04-2011, 12:52 AM
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Default Little rant, nothing major

Today's rant is about the drum tone of other live drummers I personally hear, on their own kits. Because I didn't feel like asserting my will, recently, I had to share a drumkit, a nice Yamaha MCA, at a beautiful venue with superb acoustics. I mentioned this in another thread where I literally puked on the guy when he played his kit. OK not literally, but it was just awful, a complete waste of a nice kit. The drum tone really detracted from the music I thought. Afterwards, I asked the venue's sound man there, great guy, who loves the way I tune my kit.."Out of 10 drummers that come in here, how many get a good drum tone?...He was scratching his head. He said that almost none of them do. It seems that every band I hear personally, the drum tone really detracts. Is it just me in my little world or is good drum tone that rare?

For the most part, and this is all my opinion, the heads are too thick, the reso heads I hear are too loose, and so are the batters. Then they are muffled. I just hate that tone, it makes me want to vomit. The tom parts I hear in my head...won't work at all with that tone. I don't even like most of the cymbals I hear, or the way they hit them. Too rude, no finesse. Now I don't get out to see other bands too much, but when I do, it's always the same story it seems.

Went out to see an old bandmate's latest band last night, first time. His drummer, middle aged white guy, he had a nice set of Pearl Masters, they looked all shiny and sparkly...18" kick (too small for the music IMO), 1 - 12" rack that sounded like it was headed with a piece of indoor outdoor carpet, and a 14" floor that was just a little better...his snare sound was rather dull, he didn't use rim on the backbeats so no crack....the hi hats were also just really dull sounding, his ride had a tiny amount of trashiness and he was sticking way too hard for that small room, so it overpowered everything, the kick sound was just idiotic...
He had one decent sounding crash cymbal. He was they type of drummer that played a little too many notes, just enough to kill the groove, at one dynamic all night. His time and tempo were OK and some of his fill choices were cool but mainly he detracted by being too fancy, with not enough dynamics, and an unbalanced sound coming from his kit, too cymbal heavy, with bad tone all around.

If I could EQ him I would turn the treble way up. No crispness. Couldn't keep a straight money beat in songs that needed that relentless beat. What is so hard about keeping straight beat for more than 5 seconds?

I am so sick of seeing drummers who have a God awful pukey tone and who add too much crappy sounding bullshit in with the drum part..... so they won't be "boring".

Thanks, I needed that.

Last edited by larryace; 12-04-2011 at 01:14 AM.
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  #2  
Old 12-04-2011, 01:38 AM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

My compliments on your rant. I know it's a personal taste thing, but I have your back on this one. I filled in for a guy who had a nice (except for the dark green color) set of Yamaha MCA's and he had really thick, dead, 2-ply heads on them. I think they were Evans and the tuning was really flat. It was like playing a set of those plastic 5-gallon paint buckets. The feel and sound was the same.

I find that approach to tom tuning as revolting as you do. It's like putting studded snow tires on a Ferrari.
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  #3  
Old 12-04-2011, 01:48 AM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

Something funny:

A number of years ago, a local promoter needed to borrow my kit because none of the bands could bring their own (transport issues). I played a lot of gigs for this promoter so had no issues with him using my kit as long as it was made clear that it had been brought there as a favour and the other players had to treat it with respect.

I take the kit along, set it up and watch the gig. About three songs in, an audience member looked at me and asked me if the kit was triggered. I just turned around and said 'no, it's not triggered'. He had no idea it was my kit or who I was but asked me anyway. He then asked me how I knew and I said 'well, that's my kit'. He looked at me again and just said 'man, that sounds awesome'.

I felt immensely proud right then and there. He was right, it did sound awesome. I've heard a lot of kits played by other bands but I've never heard one sound quite as good at a local gig; or many gigs in fact. It also makes me laugh because my kit is not expensive in the slightest. I rarely change the heads (they could do with it now but I don't have the money) and I tune them only occasionally but since then I've known what it is capable of and I'm very proud to own it, warts and all.
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  #4  
Old 12-04-2011, 02:12 AM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

I'm with you 100%, Larry. If it isn't the sound of the drums themselves, it is the sound reinforcement (or lack thereof). I ALMOST never hear good sounding drums at local gigs.

That's not even getting into the playing side of things...
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  #5  
Old 12-04-2011, 02:22 AM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

I totally agree ... and the unfortunate thing is ... it's been that way for a while. Cats simply don't know how to tune. A rehearsal spot I used to rent a room from, they had about 20 band rooms ... and about half those cats used to ask me to tune their drums ... and ask me "how do I do that ?" ... and I'd show them ... and a month later, I'd be back in the same room, tuning the same kit for the same dude. It just amazes me ... I was something like 10, when I learned how to tune a drum kit. It's a lost art, it seems. All these tension watches and drum dials ... don't need 'em. Just put the head on the drum, and then listen.
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  #6  
Old 12-04-2011, 02:30 AM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

I like the way my drums sound and they do resonate more than most that I hear, but most that I hear are recorded and probably doctored. However I have been to numerous drum clinics here locally with some pretty big name drummers I can only remember one set that I can say I liked how they sounded. Most of them don't seem to be tuned too low but just not tuned. The toms to me all sound dead and I have wanted to hang around after the clinic and get in the seat and see if they sound better from the back side. Maybe some day.
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  #7  
Old 12-04-2011, 03:08 AM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

I'm with you too, Larry. Sometimes when I'm watching a band, I get too focused on the technical factors, like drum tuning (or not), cymbal sound, mic positioning, guitar tones, vocal clarity, vocal harmony blending (or not), and mix. The best concerts are when a band's performance keeps me captivated enough that I don't start nit-picking the details...
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  #8  
Old 12-04-2011, 03:09 AM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

I'm definitely with y'all on this.

Went to one of the 3 top local venues last night to hear what I was told was the top band that played there. Drummer came in at 8:30 pm, set up, did a quick budda budda budda budda and announced to his bandmates that he was ready.

I sat there pondering the fact that all four drums had sounded like cardboard and waiting for him to tune 'em, and, of course, for the band to start. Meanwhile, the drummer started talking to this chick, and the guitarist had some friends to swap stories with, and the bass player was surrounded by his local students....

We stayed for a couple more hours but never did hear the drums again, or the rest of the band either. They were all too busy talking to get around to playing.

Guess around here it's fine to use drums that sound like @#$! because no one has any intention of playing 'em anyway.
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  #9  
Old 12-04-2011, 03:16 AM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

http://www.myspace.com/video/testify...r-kit/37129147


Larry,

You're not alone brother by a sight!

This was a beautiful kit that was choked to death with Pinstripes and felt strips under the batter. It was my duty to take a video and post it. lol
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  #10  
Old 12-04-2011, 03:21 AM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
who add too much crappy sounding bullshit in with the drum part..... so they won't be "boring".
I really hate that. Drummers that over use the hi-hat/splash thing too.

I've been there with people asking me how I get the sound I do.
I've even gone into detail with a couple because they were friends. Next time I see them, they either can't do it, or they didn't listen.

I stopped giving tuning pointers to people, but if something on someone's kit brakes, or a cymbal tilter falls over, then I'm still up there fixing things.

It's funny how people use these dead heads and "tune" JAW and expect the drums to be heard over one or two guitars and a bass player--that are probably fighting to be heard, or won't turn down because "that's their sound, man".

Whatever.

My worst kit experience was a really nice Tama Starclassic that was dead as a wet blanket, and a bass drum that was stuffed and you couldn't see the batter head through the hole...and the band providing the gear was late on top of it.
Thanks to that genius, everyone sounded pretty lousy.
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  #11  
Old 12-04-2011, 09:22 AM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

People tune and muffle their drums too "dead" for me. Some of the worst offenders are the chopmeisters. I think they like that sound because it helps them show off their chops. I hate it.
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  #12  
Old 12-04-2011, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Today's rant is about the drum tone of other live drummers I personally hear, on their own kits. Because I didn't feel like asserting my will, recently, I had to share a drumkit, a nice Yamaha MCA, at a beautiful venue with superb acoustics. I mentioned this in another thread where I literally puked on the guy when he played his kit. OK not literally, but it was just awful, a complete waste of a nice kit. The drum tone really detracted from the music I thought. Afterwards, I asked the venue's sound man there, great guy, who loves the way I tune my kit.."Out of 10 drummers that come in here, how many get a good drum tone?...He was scratching his head. He said that almost none of them do. It seems that every band I hear personally, the drum tone really detracts. Is it just me in my little world or is good drum tone that rare?

For the most part, and this is all my opinion, the heads are too thick, the reso heads I hear are too loose, and so are the batters. Then they are muffled. I just hate that tone, it makes me want to vomit. The tom parts I hear in my head...won't work at all with that tone. I don't even like most of the cymbals I hear, or the way they hit them. Too rude, no finesse. Now I don't get out to see other bands too much, but when I do, it's always the same story it seems.

Went out to see an old bandmate's latest band last night, first time. His drummer, middle aged white guy, he had a nice set of Pearl Masters, they looked all shiny and sparkly...18" kick (too small for the music IMO), 1 - 12" rack that sounded like it was headed with a piece of indoor outdoor carpet, and a 14" floor that was just a little better...his snare sound was rather dull, he didn't use rim on the backbeats so no crack....the hi hats were also just really dull sounding, his ride had a tiny amount of trashiness and he was sticking way too hard for that small room, so it overpowered everything, the kick sound was just idiotic...
He had one decent sounding crash cymbal. He was they type of drummer that played a little too many notes, just enough to kill the groove, at one dynamic all night. His time and tempo were OK and some of his fill choices were cool but mainly he detracted by being too fancy, with not enough dynamics, and an unbalanced sound coming from his kit, too cymbal heavy, with bad tone all around.

If I could EQ him I would turn the treble way up. No crispness. Couldn't keep a straight money beat in songs that needed that relentless beat. What is so hard about keeping straight beat for more than 5 seconds?

I am so sick of seeing drummers who have a God awful pukey tone and who add too much crappy sounding bullshit in with the drum part..... so they won't be "boring".

Thanks, I needed that.
Gee Larry. Tuning? Knowing how to play? Knowing what to play and when to play it? You, my friend, are asking for way too much. Stop it!

Didn't they tell you when you bought your expensive drums that you didn't have to know how to do anything because the drums do everything for you? Where you been, man? You better get back under that rock ;)

Serious EDIT: I hear you, but at the same time, you can show up with great sounding drums, then we all complain that the sound man doesn't have his s**t together anyway. How many times have we had threads like that? So, six of one, half a dozen of the other.
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  #13  
Old 12-04-2011, 09:49 AM
mikel mikel is offline
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

With you on kit sound. What is wrong with a drum that sounds like a drum rather than a cardboard box.

One thing though. You do seem to have a fixation with vomit.
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  #14  
Old 12-04-2011, 12:05 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

Although I generally agree with Larry on this, I'd like to add a little reality check too. Many drummers judge the out front sound of someone else's kit compared to their own driver's seat sound. I have experienced the results of that on a few occasions. Drummer A has told me that he thinks drummer B's sound is crap. Subsequently, I've heard drummer A's sound, & it's been little different to drummer B. There's a lot of partizan self congratulatory element in drum sound appraisal.

Completely agree on the numbers though. Not that I know even close to everything about tuning, but I'd say less than 1 in 10 drummers have a good working appreciation of the skill. Weigh that against the 9 out of 10 drummers who can tell you drum make x sounds better than drum make y, & it becomes laughable. The other trend that I see is almost more laughable. With the exception of early stage beginners, Quite often, the better the kit, the worse the tuning skills of the player. I hear cheap kits tuned well more frequently than I hear really good kits tuned well. Of course, on the rare occasion I do hear a high end kit tuned well, it's a delight.
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Old 12-04-2011, 12:11 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

For me, many of the players, particularly the younger guys, out there seem to tune for the sound that they get, and they want a studio type sound at the kit, instead of looking/listening at the sound that goes out front, they want gratification from their point of view. I discovered this at a gig where my kit was played by a friend with his band before we played. The drums sounded boxy. At the time I was using pinstripes on the toms and a ps3 on the bass with a blanket for muffling. I've never been a user of tape on the drums for ring so that wasn't the issue and the intervals between the toms were fine, but it just wasn't there for me. Soon after I switched to emperors/ g2s and found the opening up of the sound made me tune the toms lower and I got the resonance and purioty of tone I was looking for. Did the same with the bass drum too, but just detuning slightly and now I don't use any damping there either. Sounds awesome!

EDIT: Hows that for sychronicity?- See below! Great minds think alike, fools seldom differ!
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  #16  
Old 12-04-2011, 02:14 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

Every kit that I play that isn't mine is either tuned too loose or it is over muffled, Or both.
Most drummers don't understand the relationship between the batter and the reso.

I don't even try to tell other drummers about tuning unless they ask me.
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Old 12-04-2011, 03:29 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

I love it when my $599 set of Stage Customs blow these $3500 DW sets out of the water played live. My toms are played wide open and tuned up a bit; my kick has one rolled-up t-shirt juuuuust touching the batter. I know they sound great, because I let another guy who played after us use my kit, while I sat out in the audience listening to them. He couldn't stop raving about how it sounded.
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  #18  
Old 12-04-2011, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

So, what's going on? Why does just about everyone on here love well-tuned resonant drums and in real life there's load of people with kits that sound like cardboard boxes.

My bugbear is my mate's kit I practice on in rehearsal studios. I have to thank him big time cos he lets me share his kit in the studio we share, but I hate his tuning. He's JAW on toms and bass. Horrible
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  #19  
Old 12-04-2011, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
I had to share a drumkit
Hi Larry

During a week end festival years ago, of which I was part of the organisation team, my drumkit was used by all drummers during the event, it was a Tama Artstar Cordia (birch shells) with Zildjian cymbals. The highlight of the week end was a pro outfit who played last on the stage on the sunday.

Well, when that pro drummer played, it was unbelievable, that was MY drums, MY cymbals and MY tuning, but, man, this guy was producing sounds from that kit that I never thought possible, it was a real eyes (ears) opener.

It just prove that a really "good" drummer, somehow manages to produce beautiful and varied sounds from a kit, regardless that's their tuning/kit or not.

I would have liked to hear HIS drumset....

Having said that Larry, I sympathize to the fact that many a drummer doesn't really know how to tune a drum. But that's one of the hardest task of a drummer, and can take years to be mastered...
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  #20  
Old 12-04-2011, 05:08 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

Well said!
Some Cats either don't know how to tune or are too LAZY to do it...Tuning is all about - Ears, Feel and Patience...that's it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by harryconway View Post
I totally agree ... and the unfortunate thing is ... it's been that way for a while. Cats simply don't know how to tune. A rehearsal spot I used to rent a room from, they had about 20 band rooms ... and about half those cats used to ask me to tune their drums ... and ask me "how do I do that ?" ... and I'd show them ... and a month later, I'd be back in the same room, tuning the same kit for the same dude. It just amazes me ... I was something like 10, when I learned how to tune a drum kit. It's a lost art, it seems. All these tension watches and drum dials ... don't need 'em. Just put the head on the drum, and then listen.
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  #21  
Old 12-04-2011, 05:49 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liebe zeit View Post
He's JAW on toms and bass. Horrible
JAW tuning can sound great, especially on larger size thicker shelled drums, but it has to done right. It's actually more difficult to tune JAW properly than almost any other tuning. Finding that spot when the shell starts to respond is tricky, as is getting an even tuning with such a slack head. JAW batter with the reso exactly 1 octave higher is a pretty funky thing to do on bigger & thicker drums.
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  #22  
Old 12-04-2011, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

Quote:
Originally Posted by alparrott View Post
I love it when my $599 set of Stage Customs blow these $3500 DW sets out of the water played live.
HA! you may be getting a little ahead of yourself there dude. come to the same stage with your stage customs, they will get smoked by my DW's i promise.


i do agree with this rant, it seems as if some drummers don't feel the need to tune before every show. in the heavy metal local scene, i have witnessed this alot. it doesn't take long to tune up, so i dont understand either why some just let it go. quite a few guys let the pinstripe and/or ec2 go for too long and think they still sound good. i dont use single ply heads myself, but damn, you can tell as much as single plys, when the 2 ply heads need to be replaced.

i think it would be safe to say, its all about how you play your kit and how YOU make it sound. some guys outfit their kits with everything under the sun, and either over play it, or have no idea what they have bought and put into their kits.

everyone has to start somewhere so i dont rip on these guys too much, but i do understand when everyone has to share a kit and it sounds like garbage. good rant. hopefully many others will read.
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  #23  
Old 12-04-2011, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by DOT_Steel View Post
come to the same stage with your stage customs, they will get smoked by my DW's i promise.
if you're one of the elite few DW owners that actually know how to tune drums, then maybe. Of all the upper strata of drum makes, DW's are consistently the most frequently badly tuned in my experience. That's not a reflection on the drums, but it's certainly an insight into the power of brand "must have". :)
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  #24  
Old 12-04-2011, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

Quote:
Originally Posted by caddywumpus View Post
I'm with you too, Larry. Sometimes when I'm watching a band, I get too focused on the technical factors, like drum tuning (or not), cymbal sound, mic positioning, guitar tones, vocal clarity, vocal harmony blending (or not), and mix. The best concerts are when a band's performance keeps me captivated enough that I don't start nit-picking the details...
I know! All I could do was focus on the crap drum tone, my problem for sure. If he was a great player it would have been different, but an average drummer with an bad tone is distracting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nodiggie View Post
http://www.myspace.com/video/testify...r-kit/37129147


Larry,

You're not alone brother by a sight!

This was a beautiful kit that was choked to death with Pinstripes and felt strips under the batter. It was my duty to take a video and post it. lol
Funny but not really! Case in point. Those racks could win a prize for worst tone ever...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikel View Post
With you on kit sound. What is wrong with a drum that sounds like a drum rather than a cardboard box.

One thing though. You do seem to have a fixation with vomit.
You're right... my therapist says I'm making good progress on that front, good ob.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigiainw View Post
For me, many of the players, particularly the younger guys, out there seem to tune for the sound that they get, and they want a studio type sound at the kit, instead of looking/listening at the sound that goes out front, they want gratification from their point of view.
Yes it starts there. I used to be there too, until I heard it ONE TIME out front, and I puked.
After that, toms wide open, with some tension on the heads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
Every kit that I play that isn't mine is either tuned too loose or it is over muffled, Or both.
Most drummers don't understand the relationship between the batter and the reso.

I don't even try to tell other drummers about tuning unless they ask me.
Exac-a-dact-ly Bob -o- Rooney.
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  #25  
Old 12-04-2011, 06:13 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

rant acknowledged: I appreciate that you aren't a hypocrite Larry. As a new drummer really really trying to understand and work at getting a good sound, you answered my post about what's going on with my tuning problem. I understand what you mean, and I will continue to work at getting a good drum sound.
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  #26  
Old 12-04-2011, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
if you're one of the elite few DW owners that actually know how to tune drums, then maybe. Of all the upper strata of drum makes, DW's are consistently the most frequently badly tuned in my experience. That's not a reflection on the drums, but it's certainly an insight into the power of brand "must have". :)
you are correct man, i have also heard quite a few DW kits that you know were just bought for the name. horrible! we own several kits (one being a black 7pc stage custom) Pearl MCX, and others, we dont take "chances" on what could happen, or what could sound bad, we double up on everything, so we bought a DW workshop series. so yes, we are the "few" that know what the capabilities of a high end drumkit are. i think its more of one drummer blew another out of the water instead of one kit being better..

Last edited by DOT_Steel; 12-04-2011 at 06:39 PM.
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  #27  
Old 12-04-2011, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

I don't know, I kinda like my kit a little trashy sounding. I've always muffled my bass drums and tuned them medium-low. I use a ring on my snare drums for less sustain and tune them really high like that snare drum sound from the Yes band. I've always liked that sound. I like to use thin heads on the tom toms. The first tom tom tuned high for certain fills, and the second tom tom tuned quite a bit lower to play with the floor tom like like you would on a four piece kit. I like to keep a black dot or pinstripe on the floor tom with a ring and tune it really low. It's like having a second bass drum. I probably spend the most time trying to dial in the floor tom sound. Do I know what I doing? Not really, I'm sure I could use a lesson in tuning, but I know what I like. I make an attempt to tune the drums before we play, or re-tune after a song if I don't like what I'm hearing. It can be rough depending on how much noise the guitar players are making with their constant noodling. I've never had the luxury of having a really nice kit. Maybe I'm biased, but I did get a chance to hear somebody else play my kit and it sounded better on the audience side than from behind the kit, so I was happy knowing that.
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Old 12-04-2011, 06:51 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

So Larry, how do you tune your drums to ensure that other drummers don't want to vomit on your sound?
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  #29  
Old 12-04-2011, 07:01 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

This whole JAW thang ... I don't know. I have my 6 ply, 30 year old Luddies. My Yamaha Recording Customs. My Gretsch Round Badge kit. And my RMV's. 20 drums. And none of them come even close to sounding good at JAW. I don't know what drums would sound good at JAW. Unless people define "just above" as 3 turns on the tension rod. My experience is that JAW sounds like wet cardboard. Just below wrinkle sounds like paper, and just above wrinkle sounds like wet cardboard. And to get to a drums sweet spot is quite a bit beyond JAW. Least every drum I've ever tuned.
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:09 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

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Originally Posted by Midnite Zephyr View Post
I don't know, I kinda like my kit a little trashy sounding.
Sometimes I think "a little trashy sounding" BEHIND the kit contributes to a better sound out front. What I mean is, guys try to get too controlled a sound, too studio-like, and it just sounds dead from the audience. Especially true in an un-mic'd situation. In truth, I have heard some pretty dead sounding kits that actually sounded OK through a PA when close mic'd, and I think the dead sound is easier for a lot of sound guys to deal with.

You guys mentioned DW kits. There is a guy around here, well known, well liked, he is really a sweetheart of a guy - but his DWs sound AWFUL. They aren't overly muffled or too low pitched, they just aren't tuned with even tension, or they are tuned such that the batter and reso are not in sympathy (phase cancellation?). I don't know exactly what the problem is because I've only heard them from the audience, never messed with them. But they have no power, no tone at all. It's heart-breaking...
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:23 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

It's the overtones of a properly tensioned drum that turn most ears away from that sound. You have to listen "through" the overtones. The overtones are the pavement that your drum tone rolls out on. You kill them and your drum tone carries maybe 24" away. It's selfish to the audience to kill your drums overtones, JMO.

If guys were taught to embrace the overtones, and tune so the overtones are all complimenting each other, I wouldn't be ranting like this.

Hey some guys actually like that lifeless sound. Nearly every drummer I see in the clubs tunes that way. They either like it that way, or don't give a care. Not my type of drummer.


Bo, it's no big secret.. See I tune them tight, and I have them angled in such a way that if they do get thrown up on, the vomit rebounds right off the drumhead, on to the guitar amp. (where it belongs! I don't mean that!)

But they sound so good that no one has vomited on my set.
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:30 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

Not to disagree with the rant, but I will say tuning the drums for most people is hard.
Unlike a guitar player who can just plug into a tuner and turn 6 knobs, a drummer has 12 to 16 "knobs" per drum, times 4 to 5 drums minimum. I think just too many young drummers find it intimidating.

But the bigger issue I've found is drummers tend to make their drums sound good to them from where they sit, and not to where they sound good to the audience. Most people don't realize they need sustain and ring to cut through the music. Made more complicated by egotistical singers and guitar players who tell the drummers to "cut out that racket while we're tuning/warming up" and the inevitable first gig where you have the inexperienced sound guy on his 1st gig who reaches for the gaffers tape too quickly, giving a young drummer the impression a dead drum is a good drum.

And then you look at music of the last 20 years: So many recorded sounds are triggered (if there is even a real drummer). Real drum sounds are compressed and EQ-ed to the point they don't sound like any tone a drummer going to get live.
How many times have we seen a thread where a young drummers asks: How do I get this sound? And the answer is, "you can't, because it's not a real drum tone". Which I'm sure for some people makes them think "well, what's the point in even trying?"

And even when you find a record with real drums, and you dig into how it was achieved, we find the big name pros with the best gear end up using drum doctors or other cartage company to bring in a drum set and tune them for them. Then said drummer goes on the road, and they have a roadie tune the drums for them.

Which is not en excuse for poor tuning, it's just I think the average drummer has a lot of factors working against them in the learning process. So many good drum tones are a result of studio magic and sound pros manipulating the raw tone that the average drummer isn't exposed to what a good raw tone is.


I will add in my mini-rant, which contributes to the problem: So many drum tuning videos I've seen use terms like "a minor third apart" or "this drum and this drum are a fifth apart" which just go over the average beginning drummers heads. For the average person who is picking up the sticks for the first time and getting their first drum set, terms like a third or a fifth aren't in their vocabulary. So now, not only is the average beginner intimidated by the sheer number of rods that need to be turned, with no reference point of what a real drum sounds like, now some "expert" is talking to them using big words to make them feel dumb!
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:35 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
It's the overtones of a properly tensioned drum that turn most ears away from that sound. You have to listen "through" the overtones. The overtones are the pavement that your drum tone rolls out on. You kill them and your drum tone carries maybe 24" away. It's selfish to the audience to kill your drums overtones, JMO.

If guys were taught to embrace the overtones, and tune so the overtones are all complimenting each other, I wouldn't be ranting like this.

Hey some guys actually like that lifeless sound. Nearly every drummer I see in the clubs tunes that way. They either like it that way, or don't give a care. Not my type of drummer.


Bo, it's no big secret.. See I tune them tight, and I have them angled in such a way that if they do get thrown up on, the vomit rebounds right off the drumhead, on to the guitar amp. (where it belongs! I don't mean that!)

But they sound so good that no one has vomited on my set.
I was being sarcastic. I know you can get a good sound. Actually, I'm surprised how many people don't believe that when the whole band kicks in, you don't really hear the overtones anyway, which is why you need them in the first place - so they still sound like drums ten feet in front of the all the amplifiers!

You can probably attribute this attitude to the fact that guys tune the way they do because mom and dad will, psychologically, always be in the next room ;)
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post


I will add in my mini-rant, which contributes to the problem: So many drum tuning videos I've seen use terms like "a minor third apart" or "this drum and this drum are a fifth apart" which just go over the average beginning drummers heads. For the average person who is picking up the sticks for the first time and getting their first drum set, terms like a third or a fifth aren't in their vocabulary. So now, not only is the average beginner intimidated by the sheer number of rods that need to be turned, with no reference point of what a real drum sounds like, now some "expert" is talking to them using big words to make them feel dumb!
I preferred how Tony Williams once stated it: the smaller tom will have a higher pitch then the bigger one ;)
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

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Originally Posted by DOT_Steel View Post
HA! you may be getting a little ahead of yourself there dude. come to the same stage with your stage customs, they will get smoked by my DW's i promise.


i do agree with this rant, it seems as if some drummers don't feel the need to tune before every show. in the heavy metal local scene, i have witnessed this alot. it doesn't take long to tune up, so i dont understand either why some just let it go. quite a few guys let the pinstripe and/or ec2 go for too long and think they still sound good. i dont use single ply heads myself, but damn, you can tell as much as single plys, when the 2 ply heads need to be replaced.

i think it would be safe to say, its all about how you play your kit and how YOU make it sound. some guys outfit their kits with everything under the sun, and either over play it, or have no idea what they have bought and put into their kits.

everyone has to start somewhere so i dont rip on these guys too much, but i do understand when everyone has to share a kit and it sounds like garbage. good rant. hopefully many others will read.

Probably not Dot.
The difference between a mid range kit, with good well tuned heads, and a top of the line kit, with good well tuned heads is minimal. It would take a very experienced and clued up drummer to notice the difference, and the audience would probably not.
What you get, I think, for the extra money are better finished, better hardware and classier finishes on the kits. Also, as you would expect, better customer service, and longer waranties.
But noticably superior sounds? possibly, but so much depends on the heads and the tuning.
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  #36  
Old 12-04-2011, 09:35 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

When some drummers (especially beguiners and intermediates players) are looking for a purchase of a drumkit, they "overlook" a small but important detail. What drums is going to be the obvious choice for the sound they want.

As an exemple, If a drummer want a sound that's full, fat with an emphasis on low end frequencies, the choice of the drum shells and heads are important in my view.

If that drummer bought birch shells kit with a 45 sharp bearing edge, flanged hoops with clear ambassadors as batter heads, he will have a hard time to achieve the sound he wants, thus leading somehow to a type of muffling device, again especially for the beginers to intermediate players.

Now, if he had choosen an african mahogany shells kit with a 30 round bearing edge, die cast hoops with coated emperors as batter heads, he will be halfway there, the tuning then is more easier (not easy) to achieve the sound he want.

The problem is very often linked to the fact that they're buying their kits with a narrow budget, and, often too, without seeking advices or not knowing much about drum construction, they are then stuck with the tuning and can't achieve the sound they want.
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Old 12-04-2011, 10:11 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

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The problem is very often linked to the fact that they're buying their kits with a narrow budget, and, often too, without seeking advices or not knowing much about drum construction, they are then stuck with the tuning and can't achieve the sound they want.
And who here hasn't done that? No money and not willing to listen to people who may know what's better for them? Come on, that's just crazy talk ;)
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Old 12-04-2011, 10:25 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

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And who here hasn't done that? No money and not willing to listen to people who may know what's better for them? Come on, that's just crazy talk ;)
That's just my point Bo, IF I did listen or seek advice when I purchased my first or second kit, I would have been better off... and gain some valuable knowledge, instead of finding about it the hard way and having spend unnecessary money on the "wrong" kits.

But you're right, the experience of others are often ignored or not consulted at all, and most of us have done that and it will continue for years to come :-))
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Old 12-04-2011, 10:31 PM
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But you're right, the experience of others are often ignored or not consulted at all, and most of us have done that and it will continue for years to come :-))
Yep - all I can do is make a suggestion. If they listen, ok. If not, I'm still ok. I remember being young when the world revolved around me ;)
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Old 12-04-2011, 10:43 PM
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Default Re: Little rant, nothing major

I will concede that drums are not easy to tune. But it's the standards of the people that get me. I could not settle for that bad a tone. And I guess I just can't understand why people don't try harder, or care more. Lazy people annoy me. Maybe I put too much emphasis on good drum tone. I'm OK with that, because I care dearly about it, it's what I do. I want it to sound so satisfying, so it's really a treat for anyone listening to hear. ANY bad sounding drumset I've ever heard is capable of great tone.

Since DAY ONE I knew I could get a better tone than I was getting, and did everything I could think of to better my drum tone. How many hours did I spend changing heads, retuning, trying different combinations...What I found out was dead simple, single ply heads tuned medium high, with the reso higher than the batter. Simple. No tape. No EC2 tone rings. Evenly tensioned heads with attention given to the relationship between the batter and resonant heads, specifically, that the batter head overtones don't clash with the resonant heads overtones, but rather, are in the same scale.
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