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Old 11-17-2011, 10:27 AM
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Davo-London Davo-London is offline
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Default 18" kick drum batter heads


If you watch Bob Gatzen's kick drum tuning video on youtube, he tries to get the lowest pitch possible on the batter head but mentions that 18" kick drums can be tuned to a pitch. Other videos talk about 18" kick being different.

Last night I used Bob's technique to change over to a Aquarian Super Kick 2 head on my Tama Silverstars. I noticed that as soon as you give the extra 1/4 turn at the end you get a pitched note. I kinda like it and have no problem with that as it's quite musical and the sound fits with the rest of the bebop kit.

Does anyone with an 18" kick have similar or different experience to this?

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Old 11-17-2011, 05:34 PM
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8Mile 8Mile is offline
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Default Re: 18" kick drum batter heads

Count me among those who likes to hear a higher-pitched 18" kick in small-group jazz. I own a 12/14/18 kit and I have pitched up even the stock reso and batter head (which is the equivalent of a PS3 to good effect. My benchmark for a pitched 18" kick sound is Tony Williams' work on Miles Davis Filles de Kilimanjaro. The whole kit sounds so musical in that setting. The bass drum is punchy enough but it's tuned in such a way that it's a perfect complement to the rest of the set.

I attended a clinic by jazz great Ralph Peterson and he was describing how Ron Carter liked drummers to tune their drums to higher pitches to avoid stepping on his bass lines. Peterson sat behind the kit they set up for him at the drum shop and said Carter would want the kick drum tuned to the pitch the floor tom was at and the rack tom tuned to the pitch of the floor tom.
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Old 11-17-2011, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: 18" kick drum batter heads

I watched John Good's tuning video last sunday. Retuned my drums and now all of them sound - yeah, just awesome. The rack tom is a little "too" high pitched, but that's more because the room I'm in. Pretty bad acoustics, it's our old library.

But for kick I started from the "just above wrinkle"-point and then tune it to my liking. Right know it's pretty low. Booooom! My jazzy Gretsch just explodes like a cannon. Can't wait for my Byzances to arrive!
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:27 PM
Doctor Dirt
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Default Re: 18" kick drum batter heads

I used an Eames Finetone 6ply 16x18 for many years mostly for Blues gigs but I played everything from low profile jazz to rock gigs with it. First off the drum is a superior shell to any other 18" I've ever heard and you need a great sound before you engage a mic.
I used a power stroke 3 untill the Aq. super kick 1 became avalible. I either had a regulator or an emad reso up front. I do use the best low end producer mic akg D112 it still out performs any of the kick mics for basic bar/club applications.
An 18" can cover anything unless the backline NOISE is to the point that the drum might need to be in a kick drum monitor. If I can't hear my instrument I'm not happy and since I pay the players that just doesn't happen anymore hahahaha!!!

The Super Kick is the best to me, that doesn't mean the PS 3 is bad its not! The super kick doesn't smoother the resonants as much as the PS 3 does.
My approach to tuning and appreciating an "open" sound is different from many people on this forum. I was taught to tune the drum to its self, then you get the real honest sounds of your drum set. You can also tell how good the drums are in association to themselves.
For jazz gigs I never had a musician question my tuning ........ever!! Ron Carter can't tune my drums just as I won't tune his bass. I understand that the bass drum doesn't need to be in the open E string tone, in fact the G on the E string is to low also. So you tune the shells to themselves then consider "concert C" and adjust.
Theres something to be said for bringing the right gear to the appropriate gig but my lil Eames covered it and did it easily!!! Sold that kit (16x18/14x14/9x10/ Gretsch Broadcaster snare 5x14) to a jazz drummer once the Blues gigs dried up in Florida.
years back a clear or coated Emperior did the job nicely but I had to tune to get the bottom movin' today you get bottom from these heads and you still have beater response, how nice is that??? Doc
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