Advice for dialing in 'both' heads.

jimzo

Senior Member
I have been using coated Emperor's & Ambassador's for the past three years and I think I do a good job tuning these heads with a 26" kit.
I have a predetermined pitch that starts with my Snare and then to the single mounted Tom. Then down to both the floor Toms. I have been dialing in the all reso heads same as the batters. I have no issues or unwanted ringing and I do not use muffling with this (type) kit. This kit sounds and records exceptionally well.

For several months now I have been on a 22" Vistalite kit and use clear CS Black Dot and clear Ambassador combo. (This kit has the same size floor Toms and Snare as the 26" kit.)
Approaching the tuning in the same manner as done prior, I am thinking I am getting good results. Then, I start doubting and questioning if it really does sound as good as it can? Would it be that I am hearing more overtones ? ...more ringing?

So now knowing there are *differences in the thickness I think there is a different tympanic quality that happens between the two heads, that I need to understand. It is where the drum resonates when tuned and in tune.

I don't think I should approach with the same tuning concept, and now must think intervals. I have gathered that a minor third would be a good interval, but do not know why it would be. I would have guessed novice to be a Major third, for a type of harmony note. IDK

What now, would be the best way to approach dialing in a clear Black Dot and clear Ambassador combo? Thanks
_________________________________________________

*[The CS is constructed with 1-ply of 10-mil clear film,
and a 5-mil Top Black Dot.
The Ambassador Clear is constructed with 1-ply 10-mil clear film.]



*[ The Emperor Coated is constructed with 2-plies of 7-mil coated film,
and the Ambassador Coated is constructed with 1-ply 10-mil coated film.]
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
This is way geeky but here it is:

There is a phase relationship between the top and bottom head. They are either completely in phase, completely out of phase, or somewhere in the middle, assuming "cleared" heads. (cleared, meaning devoid of nasty O-Tones, singing the same pitch at each lug)

When you are completely in phase, generally speaking you will get the best tone. (Assuming cleared heads)

When you are completely out of phase, you will get the worst tone.

With varying degrees in between.

You said that you tune your drums the same top and bottom. As long as both heads are "cleared"...you are about as in phase as you are gonna get. I tune the reso an octave above the batter, I am also in phase, because it's the same note, just a different octave. That makes a difference what you hear at the throne.

To try and simplify it, if the batter head for instance remains at a constant tension, and you adjust the reso head up from a slack tuning, as you tighten the head, the drum will go in phase, then half in half out, and finally out of phase, then half in half out, then back to in phase, depending on the relationship of the tensions. So the drum will go through good zones and bad zones ie in phase and out of phase as you run through the different tensions. I think in terms of chords. You are trying to achieve a 2 note "chord" between the heads. (Or 2 notes of the same pitch)

You are blending 2 notes. The notes should be as pure as you can get them, meaning a "cleared head". Some notes support each other, other notes clash. Obviously you don't want the clash.

Say your reso is tuned to an A note. A 3rd, 4th, 5th or octave on the batter will complement the reso. The other notes...not as much, and some note relationships just sound bad. When that happens, your drum will sound hollow, and it will lose all of it's balls. Because it's out of phase. So the phase relationship is where you really fine tune your drums. The right phase relationship between heads, assuming 2 "cleared" heads will give you the bestest tone that drum can offer. After you get to that point, now you have to decide if the pitch is right for the rest of the kit, and re-adjust if needed. Nothing to it :)

FWIW if I have only two toms, I tune them an octave apart. If I have 3 toms, I tune the high tom to the root note,, a 4th below for the middle tom, then an octave below the root for the low tom. So it resolves. I much prefer my drum kit to be tuned so the notes resolve, as opposed to not resolving.

The song "Here Comes the Bride"...that's an example of a perfect 4th frequency relationship.

I'm guessing most people don't go to these lengths to tune, but I love the results.

IMO drums are the hardest instrument to tune perfectly.
 
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GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
This is way geeky but here it is:

There is a phase relationship between the top and bottom head. They are either completely in phase, completely out of phase, or somewhere in the middle, assuming "cleared" heads. (cleared, meaning devoid of nasty O-Tones, singing the same pitch at each lug)

When you are completely in phase, generally speaking you will get the best tone. (Assuming cleared heads)

When you are completely out of phase, you will get the worst tone.

With varying degrees in between.

You said that you tune your drums the same top and bottom. As long as both heads are "cleared"...you are about as in phase as you are gonna get. I tune the reso an octave above the batter, I am also in phase, because it's the same note, just a different octave. That makes a difference what you hear at the throne.

To try and simplify it, if the batter head for instance remains at a constant tension, and you adjust the reso head up from a slack tuning, as you tighten the head, the drum will go in phase, then half in half out, and finally out of phase, then half in half out, then back to in phase, depending on the relationship of the tensions. So the drum will go through good zones and bad zones ie in phase and out of phase as you run through the different tensions. I think in terms of chords. You are trying to achieve a 2 note "chord" between the heads. (Or 2 notes of the same pitch)

You are blending 2 notes. The notes should be as pure as you can get them, meaning a "cleared head". Some notes support each other, other notes clash. Obviously you don't want the clash.

Say your reso is tuned to an A note. A 3rd, 4th, 5th or octave on the batter will complement the reso. The other notes...not as much, and some note relationships just sound bad. When that happens, your drum will sound hollow, and it will lose all of it's balls. Because it's out of phase. So the phase relationship is where you really fine tune your drums. The right phase relationship between heads, assuming 2 "cleared" heads will give you the bestest tone that drum can offer. After you get to that point, now you have to decide if the pitch is right for the rest of the kit, and re-adjust if needed. Nothing to it :)

FWIW if I have only two toms, I tune them an octave apart. If I have 3 toms, I tune the high tom to the root note,, a 4th below for the middle tom, then an octave below the root for the low tom. So it resolves. I much prefer my drum kit to be tuned so the notes resolve, as opposed to not resolving.

The song "Here Comes the Bride"...that's an example of a perfect 4th frequency relationship.

I'm guessing most people don't go to these lengths to tune, but I love the results.

IMO drums are the hardest instrument to tune perfectly.
Great post Larry-very succinct. The reso head is most ignored yet has a huge impact on tone and pitch. A lot of kits come with thinner 7 mil ply reso and those have more overtones and less tone. Getting the heads seated and cleared is critical to eliminate overtones. Then also two 10 mil heads (even with the black dot) can be finicky to tune-2 ply batter heads seem easier and sound more EQ'd. I've read if both heads cleared and tuned to same pitch you get most tone and sustain-then while you alter the difference between batter and reso you can decrease it to varying degrees. I'd agree but the reso contributes hugely to pitch too. My old Pearl vision kit was based on Reference with varying thickness and just altered it with varying amounts of birch and basswood (rather than mahogany, maple, etc0. The thick floor toms made it easy to tune compared to the thin shelled Pearl Decade maple floor tom I have now I discovered. This tom has so much tone and had too many overtones when I first tuned it. What I discovered is it just way more sensitive to tuning and once I got both batter and reso to desired pitch I'd tighten reso and loosen my batter to get same pitch but a little less tone (since they have so much). Sounds great now but in my basement I use gel to tone it down-on carpet sounds great open no gel. How many toms do you have the Tune-bot site offers a nice little chart for tuning. Now I don't own a tune bot just using the reference but I use a drum dial so all lugs tuned.
 

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moxman

Silver Member
I tune the reso heads a 3rd to a 5th higher than the batter.. I find you get a cleaner, punchier sound when playing around the toms - less muddiness and bleeding into each other. On toms, if the reso is higher the decay tends to bend up a bit and has a nice punchy sound - when the reso is lower, the decay tends to bend down for that deep 'thooom' sound' Matched pitches do really ring out; a bit too much for me... It all depends on the sound you are after.

I've never tried the reso an octave higher.. or heard what that sounds like. Interesting! I'll have to give it a try..

Oh yeah and for tom intervals I use 'twinkle twinkle little star' Lol..
 
D

drumming sort of person

Guest
I always use Ambassadors top and bottom, so I can get away with having both heads at the same pitch. Sometimes I have the bottom head a tiny bit sharp.

When you have heads of differing weight, you may want to try and get both heads up to the same tension instead of the same pitch. In that case, a thinner head will be higher pitched at the same tension as a thicker head. For a Black Dot over an Ambassador, try having the bottom (thinner) head a minor or major third higher in pitch.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txSxNhEVzmg
 

DaleClark

Senior Member
I use coated ambassadors on both sides. I first tune the bottom head (no head on top) to where I get the sweet spot with longest sustain. Once there, I install top head and do the same and tune to sweet spot longest sustain. Every drum has a sweet spot. Once all drums are in place I can fine tune the top heads a little from there. In most cases both heads are fairly equal in tone or top is slightly higher. I always tune to the drums sweet spot vs tuning high, low etc.
My method gets me i the ball park of "my dog has fleas" with 4 toms.

I tune snare drum (snares off) to he next highest pitch above my high tom. Just like tuning for 5 toms instead of 4. When I turn snares on...everything sounds just right. I like a ringy snare drum.

Bass drum generally falls to a note between my two floor toms. My bass drum is more of a big band tuning with some ring.
 
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EricT43

Senior Member
My tunings for various tom configurations:
12/14 toms - A/E (perfect 4th, like Here Comes The Bride)
12/16 toms - A/D (perfect 5th, like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star).
If I add the 10, it's a D in both cases, a perfect 4th above the 12. With the 16 floor tom, that gives me root-fifth-octave, like Larry does. It sounds good.
When I use all the toms 8/10/12/14/16, I tune the 8 a perfect fourth up again, so a G. But I need a bigger interval between the 14 and 16, so I tune the 16 down to C. That gives me a major 4th between the 16 and 14, so the interval doesn't match the others, but C is about the lowest I can tune my floor tom and still get a recognizable tone out of it.

I tune my 22 kick to a D, and my snare is usually tuned to a G or G#. I try to have the snare tuned to a note that no other drums are tuned to, to avoid snare buzz.

Edit: Forgot to mention that these days, I tune the reso head a minor 3rd above the batter. This gives me a little pitch bend on the toms and cuts down the resonance a bit.
 
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