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  #1  
Old 03-18-2007, 01:31 AM
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Default Drum Dial's

What's the consensus on the use of Drum Dial's as a Head Tuning aid? Do you use one? If so is there a particular make that's preferred? Thanks for your response.

TA
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Old 03-18-2007, 01:35 AM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

I personally do not use one because I prefer to hone my tuning skills by just doing it by ear. I thought about getting a dial but for the money....I would rather just keep getting better at tuning. That does not mean it wont be the right thing for you though.
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Old 03-18-2007, 01:46 AM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

Mapex589,

I wish I had some Drum Tuning skills to hone. I'm having the same dilema relative to the price. I'm kind of like Adrian Monk, everything has to be exact, it's a sickness. The idea of a gauge, if it truly works, is intriguing. On the other hand your desire to improve your innate skills presents a valid counter.
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Old 03-18-2007, 01:52 AM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

You should check out www.videodrumlessons.com . Click on the "Resources" tab then click the "Free Video Tuning Tutorials" and watch all the vidoes. This site really helped get me started with tuning by ear. Check it out I hope it helps you.
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Old 03-18-2007, 02:01 AM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

negativeattitude,

So Drum Dial is an actual make? Is it metric or standard? Your comment about the dial being a visual check on the ear makes sense. Thanks.
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Old 03-18-2007, 02:02 AM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

Mapex589,

Thanks for the link, I'll check that out.
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Old 03-18-2007, 02:31 AM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

\When Im playing live, if I know that my snarehead is tensioned at around '90', then If I ever break the head I can get a new one on quick and get it to the same tension as the last head quickly and accurately.

Tuning I ALWAYS do by ear, as I dont believe the drumdials are effective as a tuner.
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Old 03-18-2007, 04:45 AM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

DamoSyzygy,

So what I understand is that tuning should always be a function of the ear. A Drum Dial is useful as a visual check and restore point. Makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 03-18-2007, 05:01 AM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

I'd like one for quick tune ups but other than that its the old fashioned way for me!
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Old 03-18-2007, 05:15 AM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

Quote:
Originally Posted by drummerchick435 View Post
I'd like one for quick tune ups but other than that its the old fashioned way for me!
The Old Fashioned Way.... Do you use one key or two?
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  #11  
Old 03-18-2007, 05:23 AM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

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Originally Posted by negativeattitude View Post
Yeh, Drum Dial is the name. I think it's distributed through Big Bang Dist. Same as Ahead sticks and stuff. I think they're about 50-60 bucks at GC. It gives readings in increments of 1/100ths of an inch (so it's standard), but like I said it really doesn't matter (standard or metric you're only looking for a consistant reading). Tama's dial is made in Japan I think. so it gives metric increments.
I ordered a Drum Dial by Ahead about 45 minutes ago. I think the consensus is clear that tuning should always be by ear. I do like the idea as you posted earlier of using the Drum Dial as a visual check, and as DamoSyzygy mentioned a restore point. Great tips and input. Thanks.
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  #12  
Old 03-18-2007, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...ead.php?t=6996
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  #13  
Old 03-18-2007, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

I have one.
Don't know how I ever did without it. I mean, I know how to tune, but after a while, unless you really have a lot of time on your hands, it can become tedious.
I like to change heads a lot, just to experiment with different sounds, and if I had to tune "by ear" as the purists say, I'd be spending a great part of my waking hours down in the basement "tuning".
The Drumdial gets you in the basic range of good sound, quickly, and accurately.
What it does that is possibly the most important thing, is tension the heads "evenly" all around. From there, yes, I do tune by ear, but the time saved is immeasurable.
To all the drum and tuning "purists" out there (and believe me, this Drumdial has been slammed many many times by them), try something: Throw away your TV remote control, and do it the "old fashioned" way, by getting up off your couch and walking over to the TV set.
See how tedious this becomes when you want to "surf" the channels.
It's called "progress" folks!
This Drumdial, like most things today, was designed to make it easier, especially for beginning drummers, to get a decent sound from their kit, and start to enjoy playing quicker.
I know personally that I don't enjoy playing when the kit sounds like crap.
Hey, for all the people that like to spend hours tuning, great!, have fun. I do it too sometimes. I know how to tune, been doing it for 35 years!
But don't slam something that's making drum tuning a LOT less tedious, and that will actually ASSIST in the understanding of good drum sound.
Cheers
Phil
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  #14  
Old 03-18-2007, 06:38 PM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

Quote:
Originally Posted by larlev View Post
Thanks for the archived link. I guess you could see where I would be going next with questions on settings.
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  #15  
Old 03-18-2007, 06:43 PM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mapex589 View Post
You should check out www.videodrumlessons.com . Click on the "Resources" tab then click the "Free Video Tuning Tutorials" and watch all the vidoes. This site really helped get me started with tuning by ear. Check it out I hope it helps you.
I viewed the Tuning Tutorials this morning, very helpful. Thanks again for the link.
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Old 03-18-2007, 07:01 PM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

[quote=wooltonboy;288831]I have one.
What it does that is possibly the most important thing, is tension the heads "evenly" all around. From there, yes, I do tune by ear, but the time saved is immeasurable.

Tuning the heads evenly and saving time, I'm all about that!
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Old 03-18-2007, 07:06 PM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

Quote:
Originally Posted by wooltonboy View Post
I have one.
Don't know how I ever did without it. I mean, I know how to tune, but after a while, unless you really have a lot of time on your hands, it can become tedious.
I like to change heads a lot, just to experiment with different sounds, and if I had to tune "by ear" as the purists say, I'd be spending a great part of my waking hours down in the basement "tuning".
The Drumdial gets you in the basic range of good sound, quickly, and accurately.
What it does that is possibly the most important thing, is tension the heads "evenly" all around. From there, yes, I do tune by ear, but the time saved is immeasurable.
To all the drum and tuning "purists" out there (and believe me, this Drumdial has been slammed many many times by them), try something: Throw away your TV remote control, and do it the "old fashioned" way, by getting up off your couch and walking over to the TV set.
See how tedious this becomes when you want to "surf" the channels.
It's called "progress" folks!
This Drumdial, like most things today, was designed to make it easier, especially for beginning drummers, to get a decent sound from their kit, and start to enjoy playing quicker.
I know personally that I don't enjoy playing when the kit sounds like crap.
Hey, for all the people that like to spend hours tuning, great!, have fun. I do it too sometimes. I know how to tune, been doing it for 35 years!
But don't slam something that's making drum tuning a LOT less tedious, and that will actually ASSIST in the understanding of good drum sound.
Cheers
Phil
I agree. I use a Drum Dial to quickly get me in a given tuning range and to compare that to other ranges. But I still must use my ear to get the sound just right. The Drum Dial just makes that process much faster. By using the Dial, I have actually refined my ear tuning skills, as I can now associate a certain sound with a certain tension.

In theory, if each point on the drum head were at equal tension, that would mean your drums are in tune, but in reality, it doesn't work like that. Drum sound is a subjective thing and ultimately, a subjective instrument like the ear has to make the final judgment call. The Dial just delivers you to that point very quickly.
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Old 03-20-2007, 09:24 PM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThroneAmbition View Post
What's the consensus on the use of Drum Dial's as a Head Tuning aid? Do you use one? If so is there a particular make that's preferred? Thanks for your response.

TA
I personally don't use a drum dial for this reason. It's not precise enough for me. Sometimes, the tension on one lug and a tension on another may be different, even though they are at the same pitch. If you try to match them with the drum dial, you'll throw off the tuning, which could create weird overtones. I have a very precise method of tuning my drums and it's very quick and works every time. A drum dial just doesn't work for me, but it may for you. Experiment and see what YOU like, good luck.
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Old 03-20-2007, 10:41 PM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

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Originally Posted by cdrums21 View Post
Sometimes, the tension on one lug and a tension on another may be different, even though they are at the same pitch. If you try to match them with the drum dial, you'll throw off the tuning, which could create weird overtones. I have a very precise method of tuning my drums and it's very quick and works every time. A drum dial just doesn't work for me, but it may for you. Experiment and see what YOU like, good luck.
I don't get it, that's exactly the point of the drum dial isn't it? It test the head tension not the tension of the lug, which is what you are want.

Also, what is your method?
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Old 03-20-2007, 11:27 PM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mapex589 View Post
You should check out www.videodrumlessons.com . Click on the "Resources" tab then click the "Free Video Tuning Tutorials" and watch all the vidoes. This site really helped get me started with tuning by ear. Check it out I hope it helps you.

That tutorial is excellent and should be made a Sticky IMHO. That is the best explanation I have seen yet on tuning toms.


With the Drumdial Drum Tuner, timpani, snare drums, rack toms, and bass drums are all easily tuned without even hitting the drumhead. DrumDial measures tympanic pressure, not tension-rod torque. As a drummer you'll appreciate how easily and accurately you can tune your drums with the Drumdial Drum Tuner.
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Last edited by GRUNTERSDAD; 04-01-2007 at 03:46 PM.
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  #21  
Old 03-21-2007, 03:40 AM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

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Originally Posted by Legacyrik View Post
I don't get it, that's exactly the point of the drum dial isn't it? It test the head tension not the tension of the lug, which is what you are want.

Also, what is your method?
No, a drum dial will tell you how tight the lug is tensioned. You can go around and get the same tension on each lug on a drum, but the head won't necessarily be in tune. If you tap the head with your finger about 2 inches in from the rim in front of a lug, each point on the head in front of the lugs should be the same pitch. That means the head is in tune with itself. Usually, to get that pitch to match all the way around, the lugs are tensioned differently. A drum dial will only get you so far, then you have to use your ears to match the pitch at each lug. Do you see what I mean?

As far as my method, I tune my drums to notes using a pitch pipe and I tune them in musical intervals. With a pitch pipe, unwanted overtones are gone and I know exactly where my drums are to be every time, making tuning quick and easy. It works for me.
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  #22  
Old 03-21-2007, 04:34 AM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

Quote:
To all the drum and tuning "purists" out there (and believe me, this Drumdial has been slammed many many times by them), try something: Throw away your TV remote control, and do it the "old fashioned" way, by getting up off your couch and walking over to the TV set.
See how tedious this becomes when you want to "surf" the channels.
It's called "progress" folks!
Not its not called progress because the Drumdial does not 'progress' or improve the art of tuning. It measures tension. Youre trying to compare apples and oranges.

Your analogy of the TV remote is not even the same argument, because both the tv remote and the buttons on the tv have the same function. A drumdial and an ear perform two different functions. A drumdial cannot measure tuning, just as an ear cannot determine tension.

It has nothing to do with being a purist. There are tons of ways to tune a drum, and all involve listening. Yes, the drumdial can quickly bring a head up to tension, but that wont tune it for you. out of tune drums can give off some horrible tones, even if each of the lugs appear to be the same tension. Of course, this is most obvious when you deal with thinner heads.
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  #23  
Old 03-21-2007, 05:41 AM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

Of those who have posted that seem to not like the drum dial.....

my question is....just how many of you have actually tried it?????
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Old 03-21-2007, 06:31 AM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

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Originally Posted by cdrums21 View Post
No, a drum dial will tell you how tight the lug is tensioned. You can go around and get the same tension on each lug on a drum, but the head won't necessarily be in tune.

Actually, the Drum Dial doesn't measure lug tension - it measures the tension of the drum head at a given point. That's an important distinction because, due to minute differences in the shell shape, bearing edge, head thickness and rim, each tuning bolt may have to be screwed in more or less to attain the same head tension at the same distance from each bolt. Even if you have the exact same head tension in front of each bolt, that's still not enough.

That's why the Drum Dial will only get you so far - maybe 90 percent of the way to a correctly tuned head, but the human ear must be used to take you the rest of the way.
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Old 03-22-2007, 12:59 AM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

The Drum Dial is down-right awesome. It allows me to do what I love - playing great sounding drums - faster than ever. Plus, it has actually led me to do more experimenting with tuning by ear, since I'm no longer afraid I won't be able to get "that sound" back.

Highly recommend if you have the extra cash.
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Old 03-25-2007, 07:32 AM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

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Originally Posted by Deathmetalconga View Post
Actually, the Drum Dial doesn't measure lug tension - it measures the tension of the drum head at a given point. That's an important distinction because, due to minute differences in the shell shape, bearing edge, head thickness and rim, each tuning bolt may have to be screwed in more or less to attain the same head tension at the same distance from each bolt. Even if you have the exact same head tension in front of each bolt, that's still not enough.

That's why the Drum Dial will only get you so far - maybe 90 percent of the way to a correctly tuned head, but the human ear must be used to take you the rest of the way.
This is exactly correct. The Drum Dial measures head tension as opposed to the Tama counterpart which, as I understand it, is basically a torque wrench and measures lug tension. Although neither of these are exact as tuning the lugs by ear, the Drum Dial is far superior in getting in the ballpark of where you want to be while maintaining a round sound. While using a tuning aide may get you along to having a decent sound more quickly, there is no substitute for using your ear as long as you know what a good drum sound is.
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Old 03-25-2007, 04:35 PM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThroneAmbition View Post
What's the consensus on the use of Drum Dial's as a Head Tuning aid? Do you use one? If so is there a particular make that's preferred? Thanks for your response.

TA
I received my Drum Dial a couple of days ago. I've been experimenting with it and so far, at this early stage, here's what seems to work best for me:

I tune the head using two lug keys at opposing lugs making half turns of equal torque around the entire drum. I continue this process until I am close to where I like the sound.

At this point I use the Drum Dial to fine tune the tension at each lug. For me it is a combination of lug torque and head tension. The tension readings will vary somewhat from lug to lug as will the torque in making the tension adjustments. I think both are important so I try to maintain a balance ultimately yielding to the desired sound.
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Old 03-25-2007, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

Here's a question for those who use the Drum Dial. Do you take a tension reading in the center of the drum head as well as at each lug? Do you think that is a useful measurement? It seems to me that, that would be of value in that we strike the head in the center portion of the drum when playing.

I know in efforts to maintain a balance between lug torque and head tension that the individual tension readings at each lug will vary slightly as will the torque. Perhaps the tension in the center of the drum would be a better gauge as a target setting for tuning to a desired sound.
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  #29  
Old 03-25-2007, 06:38 PM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

I think the Drum Dial is a great tool.
Especially when replacing a set of heads. I dont know that its meant to necessarily be a true "tuning" tool. It allows you to set the drums up to a good generic starting point, and allows you to set the head tension even. Thats when the "tuning by ear" part comes in.

First time I used one, was after replacing all the batter and resonant heads on my Tamas. I thought the drums sounded good before. With the drum dial, I was able to get a very good starting point to the final tuning process. Thats not to say that you use it as directed and your drums will sound the best they can. The final tweaks are left up to you and your ear, or what you want them to sound like. In a perfect world, perfect bearing edges, perfect tension rods, lugs, shells, not to mention ear....maybe the drum dial isnt necessary. But it sure gives you a good level playing field to set up the final tuning.
At least thats what I think....

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  #30  
Old 03-30-2007, 12:44 AM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

The drum dial is quite precise, especially when using it to change timpani heads. If anyone here has ever played timpani in an orchestra, you know the need for the drum being in tune. The drum dial allows replacing old timpani heads to be very quick, and a LOT less tedious. Just find the bottom pitch of each specific drum - get yourself in the ballpark range - and wham. After the first head change, just have to lowest pitch written down in the measurements on the dial.
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  #31  
Old 04-01-2007, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

With the Drumdial Drum Tuner, timpani, snare drums, rack toms, and bass drums are all easily tuned without even hitting the drumhead. DrumDial measures tympanic pressure, not tension-rod torque. As a drummer you'll appreciate how easily and accurately you can tune your drums with the Drumdial Drum Tuner.

From their posting in Musicians Friend
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  #32  
Old 04-17-2007, 06:08 PM
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Default Re: Drum Dial's

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Originally Posted by cdrums21 View Post
No, a drum dial will tell you how tight the lug is tensioned. You can go around and get the same tension on each lug on a drum, but the head won't necessarily be in tune. If you tap the head with your finger about 2 inches in from the rim in front of a lug, each point on the head in front of the lugs should be the same pitch. That means the head is in tune with itself. Usually, to get that pitch to match all the way around, the lugs are tensioned differently. A drum dial will only get you so far, then you have to use your ears to match the pitch at each lug. Do you see what I mean?

.
This is absolutely wrong. It measures head tension not lug. Just got one the other day. it's the stuff!
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