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  #1  
Old 10-17-2009, 04:42 AM
cfrew's Avatar
cfrew cfrew is offline
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Default torque drum keys

Sup.

I wanted to know your guys's input on torque drum keys, such as the evans torque and the rhythm tech drum key. I really want to buy one because my tuning isn't all that great and it usually takes me a while to get my drums tuned to where I really want them. From what i've heard, the torque keys can really make the difference in tuning due to their ability in make every single lug at exactly the same torque, but I've also heard that they aren't worth the money because of the preperation and confusion behind them.

Please feel free to share your thoughts or experiences on torque keys because I really want to know if they make a difference or just frustrate people.
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  #2  
Old 10-17-2009, 03:44 PM
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drumtechdad drumtechdad is offline
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Default Re: torque drum keys

Quote:
Originally Posted by cfrew View Post
Sup.

I wanted to know your guys's input on torque drum keys, such as the evans torque and the rhythm tech drum key. I really want to buy one because my tuning isn't all that great and it usually takes me a while to get my drums tuned to where I really want them. From what i've heard, the torque keys can really make the difference in tuning due to their ability in make every single lug at exactly the same torque, but I've also heard that they aren't worth the money because of the preperation and confusion behind them.

Please feel free to share your thoughts or experiences on torque keys because I really want to know if they make a difference or just frustrate people.
The theory behind the torque keys is that equal "tightness" is applied to each tension rod. But this is only true if all your tension rods have equal friction. In the real world--unless you have a high-end kit and it is rather new--tension rods don't have the same amount of friction.

But tuning is accomplished by listening to the results of tightening and loosening tension rods, not by how much tightness a gadget tells you.

If you want help in developing your tuning skills I recommend taking a lesson or two from a drum teacher who can tune. Musicians learn to tune their instruments, and drummers ought not be any different.

Many find these vids helpful if they're new at tuning:

Tuning toms

Tuning snares

Tuning bass drums

Why reso heads are important

Reducing snare buzz part 1 and part 2.
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:29 PM
audiotech
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Default Re: torque drum keys

I've been tuning drums for many, many years using just a key, sticks and my ears. Last year about this time I bought my Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute kit and for some reason found that I could not get my fingers around the tension rods to be able to finger tighten them to the rims of my drums. I fought with this a couple of months and then decided to get an Evans Torque Key, I believe they're called. With this key set on a very low torque, I'm now able to get the rods tightened just enough to have them rest on the rims of my drums. After this, I tune like I would normally tune any set of drums. When my dad started teaching me how to play drums, the first lessons were tuning and maintenance of the kit. I was eight when I started and I can still remember tuning his kit then he would mis-adjust just a couple of the tension rods and I would again have to get them in tune to his specifications. This would go on and on until I got it right. Back in those days my dad would use actual calf skin heads, hence the term you hear "skins". These heads were very prone to stretching, so after every show or lesson for that matter, the "skins" would be un-tensioned until the next use of the drums. Luckily his kit just consisted of 4 drums.

There is no substitute for being able to tune by ear. Do as drumtechdad suggested and have someone with this ability teach you. If he's worth his salt, he'll be able to teach you exactly what to listen for and how to achieve the sound you want. A lot of drummers, even those with experience, but in most cases without, will end up muffling, deadening, actually killing all the resonance and sustain on every drum because of the odd sounding overtones or harmonics they're hearing caused by not having the ability to correctly tune their kit.

Tuning your kit is an integral part of your craft, you gotta work on it. You'll be very glad when you hear howt your drums are capable of sounding.

Dennis
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  #4  
Old 10-18-2009, 11:54 PM
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volvoguy volvoguy is offline
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Default Re: torque drum keys

Get a DrumDial. Better tool for the job, and you'll actually learn something as you use it. A torque key isn't going to give you the information you need.

-Ryan
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  #5  
Old 10-28-2009, 03:10 PM
jazzkidding jazzkidding is offline
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Default Re: torque drum keys

I use the Evans torque key to tension the heads to near the tuning I want, then I finish off by ear.
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  #6  
Old 11-01-2009, 05:05 PM
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TTNW TTNW is offline
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Default Re: torque drum keys

I have one of these. I bought it a long time ago and as I got better with tuning I realized it isn't very helpful in fine tuning. It utilizes a tensioned ball and cup detent that has a small dial with numbered settings. The idea being that the tighter you set the tension the more torque necessary before the ball will break free of the detent. At looser settings there is more inaccuracy in the consistency of the tension from turn/break to turn/break. At higher tensions, I found that it is more consistent.

I tune by sound and feel now.

The Evan Torque Key does have some good uses though. I have a 14x5 maple snare that I like to keep tuned tight. I also have a 10x6 popcorn and a couple of piccolo toms that I keep very tight as well. When I replace these heads, it's very convenient to use the Torque key at a higher tension to establish a nice tight and even setting of the new head. When I go to fine tune the drums, I'm very confident that all the tension rods are at equal tension before I start making my , or larger turns with a normal tuning key.

Of course this will work on all the tom toms and bass drums but I never have them tuned high enough for the torque key to give me the same feeling of confidence that at a looser tension on the Torque key it is accurate. I think it probably was when it was brand new but by the nature of the design I think there becomes uneven wear on the ball and cup detent. Now that I think about it you could overtighten a tom tom head and then loosen it evenly so the Evans Torque Key is useful in establishing an even overall starting point.

Another reason I stopped using it in general tuning was that on my snares, the snare beds dip to varying degrees from drum to drum. On almost all of my snares, I don't have the 4 tension rods that are nearest the snare beds set the same as the others. Another drummer pointed out to me that sometimes this is the reason that you can get an annoying ring from the reso head. I'm not so sure about that but I do go for a consistent tone from tapping the head near each rod and sometimes that means that the rods near the snare bed are set differently.

It's not really an expensive item, so if you find it an advantage in being able to establish even tension when putting on new heads, you may want to pick one up
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