Another drum tuning thread

Auspicious

Well-known member
Hello I finished my tuning session and I would like to get some feedback about the pitch of these drums. I tried to tune with a melody and to find the best resonance for each of these drums by ear, the logs were equalized with the Tune-Bot except for the bass drum.

Snare I think I have a C on top and the resonant head is a bit higher then the top head.

Hi-Tom & Floor toms both heads are equal.

Bass drum - The front head is tighter then the batter head.

In this sample video:
- It's not a quality microphone, but somewhat the pitch is there still.
- I tried to tune with a melody.

All right first sample!

 

cbphoto

Gold Member
All right first sample!
The snare is too low. Tighten reso head 1/4 turn each lug, batter head 1/2 turn each lug.
ToM is too high. Loosen batter head 1/2 turn each lug.
Floor tom is close but could go lower.
My earbuds didn’t reveal much about the bass drum.

my 2¢
 

Auspicious

Well-known member
The snare is too low. Tighten reso head 1/4 turn each lug, batter head 1/2 turn each lug.
ToM is too high. Loosen batter head 1/2 turn each lug.
Floor tom is close but could go lower.
My earbuds didn’t reveal much about the bass drum.

my 2¢
Ahh that's a very interesting feedback, thanks Cbphoto. I will try your suggestion tomorrow with pleasure!
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
Overall I agree with cbphoto. But if you're going for a jazz sound the tom is about right. I personally prefer a deeper tone - I would loosen the top head a bit and leave the bottom head there.
Floor tom OK but I'd loosen the top a little bit too.
Snare could be tighter - will have a quicker, brighter sound.
 

Auspicious

Well-known member
Ok!

I can't wait to try that tonight! The Hi tom, I find it a bit stiff and chocked. I don't understand yet how you guys can tell to move then resonant heads just like that, I am not there yet.

Should I say tom or tom-toms?
 

Auspicious

Well-known member
The snare is too low. Tighten reso head 1/4 turn each lug, batter head 1/2 turn each lug.
ToM is too high. Loosen batter head 1/2 turn each lug.
Floor tom is close but could go lower.
My earbuds didn’t reveal much about the bass drum.

my 2¢
Overall I agree with cbphoto. But if you're going for a jazz sound the tom is about right. I personally prefer a deeper tone - I would loosen the top head a bit and leave the bottom head there.
Floor tom OK but I'd loosen the top a little bit too.
Snare could be tighter - will have a quicker, brighter sound.

Ok I did the changes but for the hi-tom 1/2 turn lower was putting the head out of minimum tension literally, I had to lower it of a bit less then 1/4 of inches per lugs and equalized all of them with the tune-bot.

The snare I gave it 1/2 top and around 1/4 under without problem, I am amazed by the snare and that new G1 head, the rebound is fantastic.

The lower tom.. it's the same story, the range to lower it was narrow, I was able to lower the top head a bit..

I have the following notes now, at least I can save the results like a video game. ((;
G2 Floor
C2 High
F3 Snare

It's already 20:38, I'll have a practice on that drum right now and record a new video after for analyze of the new tones.
 

Auspicious

Well-known member
22:00.. now the practice was good but difficult.. all the concentration was consumed from the job today. I tried to practice the 2 first tracks from Caravan - In The Land Of Grey And Pink

I love that album.. complicated but I'll be able to follow nicely one day. (The actual tuning of my drum was NOT right for Caravan but I had to follow my mood for the music tonight, came up to be something else then Jazz)
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
For comparison - when I’m playing rock on my Catalina Jazz kit, the 14 floor tom produces a low E. That’s with a coated Emperor on top and coated Ambassador reso. The low E is essentially the note the bottom head makes on its own.
Note: I had to add softer rubber feet to get them drum to resonate this low, but it sounds huge.

For other styles I bring the drum up a few notes. For jazz it goes way up.
 

Auspicious

Well-known member
For comparison - when I’m playing rock on my Catalina Jazz kit, the 14 floor tom produces a low E. That’s with a coated Emperor on top and coated Ambassador reso. The low E is essentially the note the bottom head makes on its own.
Note: I had to add softer rubber feet to get them drum to resonate this low, but it sounds huge.

For other styles I bring the drum up a few notes. For jazz it goes way up.
I was not aware the note came from the bottom head really, I still need to experiment a lot. I listened to some videos and the heads are too low, the notes are almost OK between the 2 toms following the latest modifications but I want to get it higher.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I was not aware the note came from the bottom head really, I still need to experiment a lot. I listened to some videos and the heads are too low, the notes are almost OK between the 2 toms following the latest modifications but I want to get it higher.
Not always the case. Concert toms, roto toms, and rocket toms dont have bottom heads. The note is a combination of how the two heads work together.

Try this: Tune your batter to the pitch/note you want. Now tune your reso for the body you want the drum to have. High and boingy, tune it up. Low and thuddy, tune it down.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
Try this: Tune your batter to the pitch/note you want. Now tune your reso for the body you want the drum to have. High and boingy, tune it up. Low and thuddy, tune it down.
Interesting - I find the exact opposite! Maybe its because I tune the reso higher than the batter? For me the reso gives the note, batter provides the feel of the stick sinking into the head and the rebound. Now I'm intrigued! I'm going to do some experimenting.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Interesting - I find the exact opposite! Maybe its because I tune the reso higher than the batter? For me the reso gives the note, batter provides the feel of the stick sinking into the head and the rebound. Now I'm intrigued! I'm going to do some experimenting.
An old jazz guy told me this like 25 years ago or so. I like it because I get better stick response with a tighter batter than a tighter reso. All things being equal, it doesnt matter which head is tuned higher.
 

TMe

Senior Member
So I have a bop kit, at least it was sold as Catalina club jazz and I bought it to get a jazz sound.
I'm no expert, but I did go on a tuning bender recently. Here's what I found.

Don't think about tuning a drum like tuning a guitar. The notes you're tuning to when using a Tunebot are simply reference points, like the settings on a drum dial. The goal is to find a sound you like, not a particular note.

For a high-pitched, Jazz sound, you might want to try a minor third between the batter and reso, with the batter head tuned higher. That can sound a little odd from behind the kit, but if you go out and front while someone else plays the kit, it sounds great.

For a small kit, find where each tom sounds best - on its own - and don't deviate from that too much. For example, you don't want your rack tom cranked tight and your floor tom loose and floppy because you're trying to force a perfect fifth between them.

For the snare, all bets are off. It seems every snare is different, and every drummer has a different idea about how it should sound. (I found that changing the snare wires made a bigger difference than fussing over the tuning.)

To hear different tuning intervals and how they compare, check out videos by Kenny Sharrrets. He has videos on YouTube, but here's his site: http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/index.php?threads/another-drum-tuning-thread.171401/

In the end, most people won't hear much difference. The big difference is that if the kit sounds good to you, and feels good, it's easier for you to play well.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
With regard to the overall pitch/timbre of the drum that is a mostly correct statement. However if you have different heads top and bottom then all things are not equal.
I was referring to the heads being the same. For some reason there seem to be the idea that one side of the drum works significantly different than the other. I know different heads act differently, but the same idea still applys to top and bottom.
 

dboomer

Senior Member
Considering a single head ... essentially you have a fundamental pitch from the dead center and harmonics close to the edges. The first harmonic is mostly the only one audible, but there are a bunch more but very very weak. When you add a second head the two heads will resonate the same fundamental no matter that they are tuned individually differently (as long as you are anywhere within reason). The harmonics will however still ring out seperately so if you tune to different tensions top and bottom (assuming the same heads on both) you will create more harmonics (if different tensions) and fewer harmonics (if tuned the same). Head thickness is the basic determining factor in how long a head will sustain and this is where the so called bend down/up comes from. “More harmonics” should be thought of as bright/harsh.

“Clearing the head” is the process of getting the harmonics in tune with each other around the edges of the head so if they ring together they will sustain longer than if they are not cleared.

Put all that together with a small to almost no resonance of the drum shell and you get the tone of a drum. Some shells are stiff and don't vibrate much and some are thin are vibrate more. Remember this shell vibration is SUBTRACTING sound in huge percentage compared to adding to it. That’s way Mother Nature does things. Also the exact dimensions of a shell combined with the fundamental pitch contribute to the actions of the shell. Again, mostly subtraction.
 
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Auspicious

Well-known member
Interesting - I find the exact opposite! Maybe its because I tune the reso higher than the batter? For me the reso gives the note, batter provides the feel of the stick sinking into the head and the rebound. Now I'm intrigued! I'm going to do some experimenting.
An old jazz guy told me this like 25 years ago or so. I like it because I get better stick response with a tighter batter than a tighter reso. All things being equal, it doesnt matter which head is tuned higher.
Ok that's good to know, lately from my tune-bot thread, I cranked the resonant head quite high, around 389hz as I was suggested but the batter head is at maximum tension in my opinion, it can't go higher then that or there will be a loss of the sticking feeling on it, I think.

So the suggestion here would be to lower the tension of the reso a bit right? and see if I like the sound.

I will try it when I get my new tune-bot studio which can read the higher frequencies, I will set the resonant head at various tensions to pick what I like the most and try to listen to the result from the front of the drum like it was suggested by TMe.

***
One thing that is not 100% clear, which head is setting the note.. to me it seems like both heads can set the note but I think the batter has more influence then the resonant head... not 100% sure but..
 

Auspicious

Well-known member
@TMe
I'm no expert, but I did go on a tuning bender recently. Here's what I found.

Don't think about tuning a drum like tuning a guitar. The notes you're tuning to when using a Tunebot are simply reference points, like the settings on a drum dial. The goal is to find a sound you like, not a particular note. I agree.

For a high-pitched, Jazz sound, you might want to try a minor third between the batter and reso, with the batter head tuned higher. That can sound a little odd from behind the kit, but if you go out and front while someone else plays the kit, it sounds great. Ok that's an idea but I have to see if I prefer a drum with the resonant head tuned lower or higher then the batter, this will be the subject of my next tuning experimentation. From there, eventually, testing exactly a minor third between the 2 heads. Thanks for the idea.

For a small kit, find where each tom sounds best - on its own - and don't deviate from that too much. For example, you don't want your rack tom cranked tight and your floor tom loose and floppy because you're trying to force a perfect fifth between them. I undersand what you say, I found the best natural spot for my toms on my drum already. I had that issue of hi-tom too high while the floow tom too loose.. real as I write here, it happened. Eventually I lowered the snare in order to lower the toms a bit and it worked, I'll publish a video soon for analysis.

For the snare, all bets are off. It seems every snare is different, and every drummer has a different idea about how it should sound. (I found that changing the snare wires made a bigger difference than fussing over the tuning.) With my very highly tuned resonant head, I think it's influencing the cracking sound of the chains. I am not 100% sure I believe a super tight resonant head is the right thing for me now, to be tested.

To hear different tuning intervals and how they compare, check out videos by Kenny Sharrrets. He has videos on YouTube, but here's his site: http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/index.php?threads/another-drum-tuning-thread.171401/

In the end, most people won't hear much difference. The big difference is that if the kit sounds good to you, and feels good, it's easier for you to play well. Yeah!! :)

***
 

Phil A.

Junior Member
I roughly match the head pitches to this drummer's kit. My drums have never sounded better and doing this ensures fairly consistent results.

 
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