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  #1  
Old 12-12-2012, 12:55 AM
pxavier pxavier is offline
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Default The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

How necessary are drum dials/tension watches? Do the majority of drummers use them when tuning their drums. i've been drumming for a while and only just joined a band who for the first time is asking me to use them.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:19 AM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

Plenty of threads on this.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:20 AM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

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Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
Plenty of threads on this.
Can you direct me to one so I can delete this thread? I couldn't fine any specifically about it's necessity.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:25 AM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...d.php?t=100198
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=96419


I would assume your band thinks you have troubles tuning your drums. The above links will take you to two of the most popular. However
I would train my ear to do this and not spend money on a tuner. 60 -100 dollars will buy a lot of heads.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:54 AM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

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http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...d.php?t=100198
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=96419


I would assume your band thinks you have troubles tuning your drums. The above links will take you to two of the most popular. However
I would train my ear to do this and not spend money on a tuner. 60 -100 dollars will buy a lot of heads.
They just believe my drums sound bad but they sound very good to me... here's a link to a recording of me playing. I just bought the Pork Pie BOB used in this recording at it was my first go at using a metal snare so it doesn't sound too good. tell me that you think?

https://soundcloud.com/pxavier91/all-i-want-m4a
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:08 PM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

I think it's fair to say that they absolutely are not necessary, and most drummers do not actually use them.

It is arguable that they are even capable of tuning a drum. I have a Tension Watch and do use it, but basically only for initially tensioning a new head. I don't use it for actually tuning the head.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

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Originally Posted by Soupy View Post
I think it's fair to say that they absolutely are not necessary, and most drummers do not actually use them.

It is arguable that they are even capable of tuning a drum. I have a Tension Watch and do use it, but basically only for initially tensioning a new head. I don't use it for actually tuning the head.
The "Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches"... has been zero for many decades . Didn't you notice? How were the drummers from previous times getting along without all that modern crap? 1) Experience (in tuning), 2) Good ears.

There hasn't _ever_ been a necessity and there never will - unless people are too dumb to tune properly. Simple answer.

As for whether _you_ need them: Can you tune? If yes - you don't need Drum Dials/Tension Watches. They have benefits (getting measurements instead of _only_ relying on your hearing but your ears are still the final judgement, not some measurements) but as said, most of the pros don't care now that those helpers are around, and in the earlier days everything was fine without them.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:37 PM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

I felt I was okay at tuning before I got my drum dial, but I liked the idea of using numbers as a reference. I don't see why people are so opposed to the idea. I played melodic instruments long before I started drumming and sometimes I find it hard to decide what note to tune with, so head tension comes to the rescue. I got my floor toms sounding much better using the drumdial, and when I use my 12" drums in my setup (which I've always found harder to tune), I'm sure it will help me again.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:10 PM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

No tuning devices are really necessary, but I find my Drum Dial to be a great time saver. it gets me about 80 percent of the way in tuning is a very short time. Then you have to tune by ear to get it just right.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:50 PM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

Thanks so much for the help guys! I am going to talk to my bandmates today about how I admittedly am not as into tone as I am into what I play, and also about how I can not afford better drums at the moment- since it now seems that this is the reason they always talk crap about my kit hahaha... I am going to ask for a drum dial for christmas just to satisfy them, because I am already satisfied with my own drum set.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:20 PM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

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Originally Posted by pxavier View Post
Thanks so much for the help guys! I am going to talk to my bandmates today about how I admittedly am not as into tone as I am into what I play
I don't think this is necessarily acceptable. What if a guitar player came up to you and said the same thing, or a bass player, regarding their tuning or tone?

Tuning is important and especially in the case with drums, tone is only achieved with proper tuning.

Work at it a little bit and try to get your tuning down, if you need to use a drum dial so be it, but please do practice your tuning..there's no such thing as a good drummer that's "just into what he plays and not into his tuning".
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:32 PM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

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Originally Posted by JesusMySavior View Post
I don't think this is necessarily acceptable. What if a guitar player came up to you and said the same thing, or a bass player, regarding their tuning or tone?

Tuning is important and especially in the case with drums, tone is only achieved with proper tuning.

Work at it a little bit and try to get your tuning down, if you need to use a drum dial so be it, but please do practice your tuning..there's no such thing as a good drummer that's "just into what he plays and not into his tuning".
It's more that they want it to be like the 2000 dollar kits the keep telling me to buy, but I can't afford that. My tuning is fine, they are the only people who complain about it. I'm referring to quality more than the tuning of my drums, sorry if that was previously unclear. I'm just buying a tuning dial so that I can satisfy them.
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:59 PM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

They are not necessary, but they are a great aid to tuning, especially if you are inexperienced or want to experiment with a new tuning.

Once you get used to the sound and feel of the head when the tuning is to your liking, you will probably then be able to tune quickly without one.

They are particularly useful for achieving an even tension quickly if you need a head change mid gig.

Don't let anyone tell you that you are dumb if you use one, it is your choice, each to there own.

The band may be asking you to re tune if the sort of music they play clashes with your current tuning. ie Jazz or Funk with JAW tuning may not be to there liking.

Also a kit sounds different out front. Get someone else to play it while you stand where an audience would be.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:26 PM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

Drum Dials are a pretty good tool, and will help you tune consistently. But your band mates are stupid for suggesting that you need a $2000+ kit. Even modern beginner kits are quite capable of sounding fine. Most people who complain about how "junky" a kit is never want to really fix it up, but would rather just buy a new one. Tuning is not magic, but if your kit is like many other "junky" kits I've seen and played you really need new drum heads. They go a long way in making a set sound great.

Also, if you know any experienced drummers, have them look and listen to your set. Its very hard to hear your drums in your recording.

Out of curiosity, what kind of drums and cymbals do you have?
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:23 PM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

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Originally Posted by mikel View Post
They are not necessary, but they are a great aid to tuning, especially if you are inexperienced or want to experiment with a new tuning.

Once you get used to the sound and feel of the head when the tuning is to your liking, you will probably then be able to tune quickly without one.

They are particularly useful for achieving an even tension quickly if you need a head change mid gig.

Don't let anyone tell you that you are dumb if you use one, it is your choice, each to there own.

The band may be asking you to re tune if the sort of music they play clashes with your current tuning. ie Jazz or Funk with JAW tuning may not be to there liking.

Also a kit sounds different out front. Get someone else to play it while you stand where an audience would be.
That's a good idea, I'll get my neighbor to do it for me sometime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlamFlamMan View Post
Drum Dials are a pretty good tool, and will help you tune consistently. But your band mates are stupid for suggesting that you need a $2000+ kit. Even modern beginner kits are quite capable of sounding fine. Most people who complain about how "junky" a kit is never want to really fix it up, but would rather just buy a new one. Tuning is not magic, but if your kit is like many other "junky" kits I've seen and played you really need new drum heads. They go a long way in making a set sound great.

Also, if you know any experienced drummers, have them look and listen to your set. Its very hard to hear your drums in your recording.

Out of curiosity, what kind of drums and cymbals do you have?
Thanks for the advice, I feel the same way.

I have a Gretsch Nighthawk with a Paiste 2002 24 inch Rev. Al Ride, a 14 inch Sabian B8, and a really crappy tin cymbal that came with my set but sounds good mid-chorus. I use a wooden beater. I have coated emperors on top and clear ambassadors on the bottom. Bass drum is outfitted with an Evans that has a clear strip around the inside. The Reso head of my bass drum is a coated ambassador. My hi-hats are also Sabian B8s. I like to tune my toms deep and low, and my bass drum fat and deep. Snare drum I like to experiment with. Here is another recording of me playing back when I first got my Pork Pie BOB and wasn't sure how to tune it:

https://soundcloud.com/pxavier91/7-07-express-1
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:38 PM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

I play and have played many low budget kits that sound excellent. I've played a Percussion Plus kit for like 8 years and I still get compliments on it, and I just got a Drum Dial about a month ago for kicks. So it is possible to get a pleasant sound from low budget drums. Get new heads and a drum dial and use the recommended numbers at first, and tweak from there.

You may want to ask what it is specifically about your tone that your band mates don't like... if they can't give you a straight answer then they're just bias against your kit, and will criticize it just because its low budget whether it sounds good or not.
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:40 AM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

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Originally Posted by pxavier View Post
How necessary are drum dials/tension watches? Do the majority of drummers use them when tuning their drums. i've been drumming for a while and only just joined a band who for the first time is asking me to use them.
I would be shocked if someone other than a drummer or sound tech recognizes wether a drum is "in tune" or not. I am going to bet they haven't a clue whether you are "in tune" but want you to sound like something they have heard before on a recording.

Drum dials are timpanic tension meters - the tuning part is still in the hands of the drummer. They won't tune your drum, but they will tell you how much pressure is registering at each lug. Thereby giving you a tangible measurement to allow you to make the decision as to how much tension you want at each lug.

I think they are great tools. What kills me is that world class orchestras have been using them for years and yet some drummers still contend there is no need.
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Old 12-14-2012, 04:23 AM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

Tuning is something that every drummer does in their own way.
Oh, By the way, buying a 2000 dollar kit won't make much difference in your sound.
Head selection and tuning are about 90% of what a drumkit sounds like despite what some people may say.

I use a Drum Dial. I use it to get the drum close to where I want it and then I fine tune by using both my ears and my sense of touch to feel the tension of each lug.
I am a tight tuner, I am the opposite of what you have described yourself to be.
I tune my resonant head to a higher pitch than my batter head or I tune it to sound equal in pitch depending on the music that I am playing. Either way, my drums always wind up on the tight side of the tuning tension spectrum. On a Drum dial that is in the mid to upper 70's area on the gauge for toms.

Do you need a Drum Dial?
NO!

It is it a useful tool to those who like to use it and feel that they get favorable results from using one?
Yes!

If you try a Drum tuning device and feel that it doesn't help you is there something wrong with you?
NO!

Drum tensioning devices are subjective to the user as is everything in playing music.
This video is a must to watch and understand. http://youtu.be/kM19VkXXJp4
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Last edited by bobdadruma; 12-14-2012 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:09 AM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
Tuning is something that every drummer does in their own way.
Oh, By the way, buying a 2000 dollar kit won't make much difference in your sound.
Head selection and tuning are about 90% of what a drumkit sounds like despite what some people may say.
BOOM! I've heard DW Collectors sound like poop and Percussion Plus sound like Matt Chamberlain in the studio. Heads, tuning, and a cat who knows how to pull the sound out of the drums. Just like cymbals...I can't make a K Zildjian sound good to save my life, but 1000s of cats make those Ks sound like fine crystal.
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:59 AM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
Tuning is something that every drummer does in their own way.
Oh, By the way, buying a 2000 dollar kit won't make much difference in your sound.
Head selection and tuning are about 90% of what a drumkit sounds like despite what some people may say.

I use a Drum Dial. I use it to get the drum close to where I want it and then I fine tune by using both my ears and my sense of touch to feel the tension of each lug.
I am a tight tuner, I am the opposite of what you have described yourself to be.
I tune my resonant head to a higher pitch than my batter head or I tune it to sound equal in pitch depending on the music that I am playing. Either way, my drums always wind up on the tight side of the tuning tension spectrum. On a Drum dial that is in the mid to upper 70's area on the gauge for toms.

Do you need a Drum Dial?
NO!

It is it a useful tool to those who like to use it and feel that they get favorable results from using one?
Yes!

If you try a Drum tuning device and feel that it doesn't help you is there something wrong with you?
NO!

Drum tensioning devices are subjective to the user as is everything in playing music.
This video is a must to watch and understand. http://youtu.be/kM19VkXXJp4
This is truly the end all be all on this topic in my view.... Perfect, perfect, perfect..........
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:34 PM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

I don't like Drum Dials.
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:45 PM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

I have a feeling that if pxavier experiments with different tunings the issue with his band will be resolved.
Ask your bandmates what they think you should change about the sound of your drums and let them be proactive in the solution.
Experiment until you all find a sound for your band that you like.
I think that you will all be surprised with the results.

This works both ways. I sometimes suggest that a guitar player uses a different guitar sound for a tune then what he is using.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:37 PM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pxavier View Post
They just believe my drums sound bad but they sound very good to me... here's a link to a recording of me playing. I just bought the Pork Pie BOB used in this recording at it was my first go at using a metal snare so it doesn't sound too good. tell me that you think?

https://soundcloud.com/pxavier91/all-i-want-m4a
the snare is okay, sounds more like you don't have the right drum head you want on there, and a little bit to do with technique
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

I use coated heads in a genre dominated by clear heads so that's most likely the case. They kind of did specify by saying they sound to low and not bright enough. Makes sense, and give me reason to not change it lolololololol. Thanks for the help guys!
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:13 PM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

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Originally Posted by pxavier View Post
It's more that they want it to be like the 2000 dollar kits the keep telling me to buy, but I can't afford that. My tuning is fine, they are the only people who complain about it. I'm referring to quality more than the tuning of my drums, sorry if that was previously unclear. I'm just buying a tuning dial so that I can satisfy them.
You'll have to tell them you'll start a 'pool fund' for them all to pitch in for you to buy a $2,000 drum set. That will shut them up :-)

What kit do you have?
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:13 PM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

I once showed up at a jam to find two of my band mates trying to re-tune my drums after they had taken my toms apart. They were beside themselves, because they thought they could get them to sound better than I had. they were wrong...

If you think you can get your kit to sound like you like it again, invite the band mates to tune the kit the way they want. let them at it, and see how it goes.

And I really like the idea of a $2000 collection!
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Old 12-23-2012, 01:52 AM
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Default Re: The Necessity of Drum Dials/Tension Watches?

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Originally Posted by JesusMySavior View Post
You'll have to tell them you'll start a 'pool fund' for them all to pitch in for you to buy a $2,000 drum set. That will shut them up :-)

What kit do you have?
Hahahaha... I have a cheap Gretsch Nighthawk.
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