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Old 05-03-2014, 05:56 AM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Torq Keys (Tensioning)

I picked up up one of those cheapie torq drum keys yesterday and had some time to play around with it. I just searched on the boards for a discussion centered on them and did not find one, so I figured I'd start one.


The one I purchased is fairly low quality. If you're going to buy one, do not purchase the one I did. That said, it gets my toms really really close, really really fast. Not perfect, but all that was needed was a quick touch-up on one or two lugs. It was really nifty to be able to click up or down a notch to quickly experiment with reso-head tension mismatching.

Does anyone else use one of these? I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.
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Old 05-03-2014, 07:05 AM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Torq Keys (Tensioning)

In theory, they work. The reality is, a sticky rod will give a false reading of higher tension.

Ultimately, you should tune by ear, not by spec.

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Old 05-03-2014, 06:00 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Torq Keys (Tensioning)

Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
In theory, they work. The reality is, a sticky rod will give a false reading of higher tension.
Indeed. I found that there were a few scenarios where the key failed to perform well, two of which match your assessment.

The first was that I had a lug with a lot of static friction. The key mitigated this fairly well as it hammers a bit every time it trips, which free'd up the lug on subsequent turns.

The second was a lug that appeared to have debris on it (Dried beer/coffee/sport drink?). In this case, the key failed completely. In it's defense, it failed well enough that I noticed that something was wrong and removed/cleaned/lubricated the lug.

The third was that the key was completely unreliable at its lower tension settings, which would make it completely useless for those individuals that prefer low tom tunings. In my case, it was completely useless for the bass drum heads even though I do not consider myself someone who tunes them abnormally or unreasonably low. I do not know if this is a general failing of drum torque keys, or simply a failing of the low quality key which I purchased.
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Old 05-04-2014, 02:33 AM
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Pocket-full-of-gold Pocket-full-of-gold is offline
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Default Re: Torq Keys (Tensioning)

Tried one out years ago. I honestly thought it was useless and never bothered with one again.

A well tuned drum requires even tension across the head. Unfortunately there is not necessarily the same correlation between tension of the head and the torque of the tuning rod from rod to rod. For mine, the torque wrench seems to read the unimportant factor whilst ignoring the all important aspect of tuning......the head tension. It assumes that even torque = even tension and due to many factors, that just ain't always the case. If you must use a tuning device, get one that reads the head tension. It'll serve you far better in the long run.

Personally speaking, I really have no use for any of these devices. When they invent a tuning device that can do the job for me, I'll be all over it. Until then I'll just continue to use my ears like I always have.
What's the best cape for running away from a gig?

Last edited by Pocket-full-of-gold; 05-04-2014 at 03:30 AM.
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