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  #1  
Old 03-29-2008, 09:05 PM
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TamaDrummer101 TamaDrummer101 is offline
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Default Tuning Help

Hey guys, first post for me here.

Ok, I've been into drumming for years now and just this last october, I bought a sweet Tama Imperialstar kit with a set of Zildjians. Everything starter and all.

Just yesterday, I got this kickass deal on a full set of Aquarian Power-thin reso and batter heads, snare, bass, 12 13 16 toms. the whole enchilada. now that i have these, i need to know how to tune them!

does anyone have any sweet advice for me on how to really fine tune my floor tom? i have a 16 and really want to get a deep sound outta this thing.

Thanks!
TD101
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  #2  
Old 03-29-2008, 09:24 PM
Big_Philly
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Default Re: Tuning Help

Use the search function, you'll find tons of information on this subject. The most important link: the tuning bible.
Other than that there's a thread in the drum technique section on snare tuning, one on tom tuning and one on bass tuning.
My method of tuning toms, by the way, is to put the batter head on first and tune that up until you get a nice, even tone out of it. Make sure tension is even all over the drum head. Then put on the resonant head and tune that up until you get a nice, even tone (unless you like pitch bends of course). This way you'll get a very natural sound out of your drum.
I crank the snare drum up really tight, especially the resonant head. Loosen the screws that surround your snare butt and strainer a little to reduce snare buzzing when you hit the toms or bass.

Personally I don't really care that much but most people on here will appreciate if you do a search first on a particular subject you're interested in rather than starting a new thread, this keeps things clean.
Welcome to the forums! I hope you'll learn as much as I did from them.

Last edited by Big_Philly; 03-29-2008 at 09:40 PM.
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  #3  
Old 04-13-2008, 10:15 AM
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veggo32 veggo32 is offline
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Default Re: Tuning Help

Welcome to the forum....the trick is to always use two drum keys when you tune, I underestimated this tip at first but life is a lot easier now.
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  #4  
Old 05-21-2008, 06:55 PM
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Vintagedrummer Vintagedrummer is offline
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Default Re: Tuning Help

Take the time to buy a Drum Dial. This gizmo will save you a ton of time and frustration. It is not a replacement for a good ear but it will tension your head equally. Then you just tweak using your ear to get the sound you want.

Peace
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  #5  
Old 05-24-2008, 11:44 PM
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Default Re: Tuning Help

when i tune my floor tom, i do tuen the bottom head first. be sure to use the cross pattern technique too. i tune the reso side high, and the batter side 2 quarter turns after i finger tighten them as tight as they go.
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  #6  
Old 05-25-2008, 05:53 AM
Old Doc Yak Old Doc Yak is offline
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Default Re: Tuning Help

Try www.aquariandrumheads.com. They might have some tuning tips on the site. Good luck.
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  #7  
Old 05-27-2008, 08:35 PM
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Default Re: Tuning Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintagedrummer View Post
Take the time to buy a Drum Dial. This gizmo will save you a ton of time and frustration. It is not a replacement for a good ear but it will tension your head equally. Then you just tweak using your ear to get the sound you want.
If you can "tweak using your ear to get the sound you want" you have no need of a drum dial, other than to replicate a previous tuning quickly without having to reinvent it from scratch every time you rehead the kit.

That's its best use, in fact. I accomplish the same thing with a $15 pitch pipe, and in less time.

Most n00bs would be better off taking the $60 and spending it on a couple of lessons from a drum teacher who can tune. The DD gives you a rough tuning which, as you say, needs to be fine-tuned by ear anyway. Since you have to finish with your ears, why not start with them?

The OP can get started by checking out some of Bob Gatzen's videos. Go to the Evans website, click on "media library" and search on "Bob Gatzen." Or go here for his YouTube videos. Much to learn, there, and most of it spot-on.
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  #8  
Old 05-27-2008, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: Tuning Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by drumtechdad View Post
Most n00bs would be better off taking the $60 and spending it on a couple of lessons from a drum teacher who can tune. The DD gives you a rough tuning which, as you say, needs to be fine-tuned by ear anyway. Since you have to finish with your ears, why not start with them?


I used to agree, until my Drum Dial showed up in the mail a couple days ago. As a tool it's indispensable for learning what's going on. You can see what a difference in head tension between batter and resonant does, and from there that will train your ear. The Drum Dial also makes tuning a very quick procedure, and since you can literally dial your heads back to a tuning you like, you'll have more confidence to experiment with different tunings.

I'm not new to tuning drums, been playing for a long time, and I've tuned drums ranging from snares to tympani, and I'm sold on this little gadget. A side benefit of cutting down tuning time, and being able to do so fairly quietly, is that your significant other is much less likely to kill you. How can you put a price on that? :-)

-Ryan
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  #9  
Old 05-27-2008, 10:38 PM
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Steady Freddy Steady Freddy is offline
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Default Re: Tuning Help

Drum Dials are a great tool. Once you work with one you'll wonder how you got by without it.

Guitarists use chromatic tuners. Now we have a tool to aid in tuning drums. Maybe it's not for everyone, but most should find it very useful.
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  #10  
Old 05-28-2008, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: Tuning Help

Well, I'm not trying to be obnoxious here, but . . . ;-)

It is not "indispensible." It can be useful for getting a rough tuning. If it were "indispensible" no one would have been able to tune their drums before the DD came out.

Quote:
You can see what a difference in head tension between batter and resonant does, and from there that will train your ear.
No need for a drum dial for that. Tune the reso and batter to the same pitch and then gradually increase tension on the reso in 1/8-1/4 turn increments. Strike the drum at each stop. Much faster than the DD.

Quote:
The Drum Dial also makes tuning a very quick procedure
Not in my experience. You can spend all day trying to figure out how to remedy a high DD reading with a tension rod that's nearly falling-out loose. Screw that.

Quote:
since you can literally dial your heads back to a tuning you like, you'll have more confidence to experiment with different tunings.
Again, perhaps useful, but not necessary if you can hear a pitch.

Quote:
A side benefit of cutting down tuning time, and being able to do so fairly quietly, is that your significant other is much less likely to kill you. How can you put a price on that? :-)
This is actually one place where a DD shines--you can roughly tune a drum backstage while another band is playing. Excellent! As for your SO, well . . . ;-)

Quote:
Guitarists use chromatic tuners. Now we have a tool to aid in tuning drums.
Electronic tuners can help you tune a guitar to perfection; however, a DD can only get you in the ballpark. Still no remedy for drummers.

I think the DD is a great thing for drummers who have never played a melodic instrument and thus are completely at sea when trying to compare pitches. The DD will get them a rough tuning with a bit of time. (One does need to learn to work around the occasional weird readings as mentioned before.)

But--and here's my only problem with the DD--it only gets you close. I've never heard a drum tuned to "perfection" with a DD that didn't need a fine-tuning touchup by ear. And I've applied the DD (yes, I own one) to a demonstrably perfectly tuned drum and have it give various readings across the head.

So my point remains: if you need your ears to touch up the DD's tuning, why not start with them? Spending $60 on a DD will get you consistently rough tunings. Spending $60 on a couple of lessons from someone who can tune will be an investment that will pay off for the rest of your life.

There's nothing wrong with anyone who really needs the DD because they have had no ear training. For them, fine, have at it and have fun. I'm glad there's something that helps them get close. But after over forty years in the business I don't know anyone who can tune by ear who uses the DD instead.

And I worry about n00bs who may view it as a panacea.

Cheers!
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  #11  
Old 05-28-2008, 06:45 PM
mikei mikei is offline
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Default Re: Tuning Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steady Freddy View Post
Drum Dials are a great tool. Once you work with one you'll wonder how you got by without it.

Guitarists use chromatic tuners. Now we have a tool to aid in tuning drums. Maybe it's not for everyone, but most should find it very useful.
The drum dial is the single best investment I have made. The one and only thing I have not bought and then sold or traded.

I can tune my drums in minutes and have them singing.

It is amazing.
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