Detune that snare drum

Captain Bash

Silver Member
In contrast to the current trends in obtaining perfect tension/tuning I generally prefer to slightly detune the lugs at around 7 o’clock in order to elicit a slightly fatter (harmonically complex) snare sound. This approach is far from new but current trends and products (dial tune) seem to suggest a perfect tension sounds best. So who-else swims against the tide and what are your preferences.
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
I think Benny Greb has a youtube video where he detunes the 3 lugs closest to him to quickly get a fat sound. He does like two full turns down on them too. Sounded like it works when I viewed it. It's mostly for when you're mid-set and need a different snare sound for a particular song. I've never used a tune bot thingy or anything of the sort. I'm kind of old skool.
 

Frank

Gold Member
Interesting. I have never heard of this. Will try it.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
I saw a video years ago (can’t find it now) where the player loosened the three lugs nearest him to the point that there was no resonance. His drum had triple-flange hoops. It produced a satisfying sound, lower in pitch without overtones. At the end he stated he didn’t know if it worked with die-cast hoops.

I’d rather maintain equal tension, whether low or high, to acquire a sound I want and not risk adverse effects on my gear. Plus, I’m also very satisfied with the sounds available to me with what I have, so I don’t search for new techniques.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Not a fan for myself. I don't mind hearing it, but I don't like playing a half loose drum. I spent many hundreds of hours learning how to tune drums evenly.

If I want a low sound I adjust all 10 lugs a little bit down, instead of 3 lugs flappy loose and the rest of the lugs tuned normally

Or I'll bring an already tuned 2nd snare
 

Fritz Frigursson

Senior Member
have to say it works sometimes for me, but i have to keep retuning those lugs because they keep coming undone. like every 8 minutes or so i have to do a half turn on them.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I have, on rare occasion, detuned a single lug to achieve a quick (and easily reversible) tonal adjustment, but my norm is to tune all lugs evenly. The idea of one lug remaining drastically out of synch with the others doesn't sit well with me. My mind thrives on symmetry.
 
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I don't do it on purpose but I might know what you're talking about. Sometimes I check the tuning, find one or two outliers, adjust them and then wonder if it was an actual improvement or if I liked it better before.
A/B-ing is kind of hard, though, because it takes a minute to change the tuning and then the other setting is gone. So it might either be mostly psychological or an actual effect.
 

Frank

Gold Member
Not a fan for myself. I don't mind hearing it, but I don't like playing a half loose drum. I spent many hundreds of hours learning how to tune drums evenly.

If I want a low sound I adjust all 10 lugs a little bit down, instead of 3 lugs flappy loose and the rest of the lugs tuned normally

Or I'll bring an already tuned 2nd snare

If that's what this is about, then I agree with you. I figured we were talking about a small enough detune to cause a slight variance - without it being drastic and floppy.
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
I like them kinda even. Like an old time country blues guitar or a hand hammered cymbal. Close enough is close enough. Detuning one lug is great for switching the sound up for a song or two, but affects the stability of the whole deal. Throwing weight on a snare with a wallet or o ring will lower the sound quick and fairly stable too.
Detuning one lug is how my ears learned to embrace close enough tunings. Drum set is pure "color tones" harmony-wise, what the heck do I want with a pitch? It's not a glockenspiel
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
If that's what this is about, then I agree with you. I figured we were talking about a small enough detune to cause a slight variance - without it being drastic and floppy.
And I agree with you that 1 lug slightly detuned doesn't affect the feel as much

A few lugs pretty loose is what I was referring to. If this is about 1 lug slightly detuned, then I missed the premise.

Still, I tune evenly no matter what.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
And I agree with you that 1 lug slightly detuned doesn't affect the feel as much

A few lugs pretty loose is what I was referring to. If this is about 1 lug slightly detuned, then I missed the premise.

Still, I tune evenly no matter what.
Larry, to be fair my original post (premise) was a little vague, I myself just drop the tension on one lug by one turn only (8 lug metal drum with a lot of snare sound). I don’t do it to decrease overtones I do it so my backbeat (what I would describe as soft rim shots) are totally slightly lower pitch than those directed at the centre. I treat my toms and kick differently everything even all round.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Larry, to be fair my original post (premise) was a little vague, I myself just drop the tension on one lug by one turn only (8 lug metal drum with a lot of snare sound). I don’t do it to decrease overtones I do it so my backbeat (what I would describe as soft rim shots) are totally slightly lower pitch than those directed at the centre. I treat my toms and kick differently everything even all round.
Plus sometimes it's easy for me to read into posts things that aren't really there. I'm guessing that most of the people who detune only do so by one lug or 2 at the most, so my example was a little extreme.

I think a drum gives it's best with cleared heads, but there's no right or wrong across the board, just right and not right for us as individuals.

Wonky clashing vibrations resulting from uneven head tensions...not right for me lol. The big fat snare drum ring as mentioned does that detuned sound better to my ear than actual detuning. Plus it's easy on easy off, and more consistent sounding. Not trying to get you to do one thing or the other, just stating my thoughts on the matter. Using 2 differently tuned snare drums is another option

That's what's great about playing an instrument, the individuality that naturally arises. With drums, you don't really need to tune ha ha. That's insane! I'm pretty anal about tuning, I can do it quickly at this point, and I can always exercise my other options. Which I never do. But it's at my disposal so I got that going for me lol
 

s1212z

Well-known member
I believe Gadd's tech mentioned has used detuned or abnormal tunings quite often because he like have different tone locations or sound sources on the snare for different songs. This is more of the art of the backbeat that Steve can craft to serve the music and all the creative ways to many sounds out of a single instrument. But if you want your even tuning so your singles sounds even, it's a different intent.

A consistent tip I learned long ago was to tune the reso lugs nearest to the snare wires a bit higher. I feel it helps the 'snap' without choking which I've been able to use on a variety of snares with some success. For batter, will typically keep even unless I want something particular, like if I'm hitting off center or want a particular overtone (or just sounds 'good' detuned), really depends on what the music is dictating to explore this rather forcing a specific tuning every time that I want. So definitely subscribe Steve's servitude approach here, whatever necessary plus it's inspiring to different options part of the art of the instrument.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
I do really bad things to the bottom head of my snare drum lol. I've tuned up or down the lugs on each side of the wires quite a bit maybe close to extreme. It's not good on the hoops but hey it's my drum so I can do what I want.
 

Iristone

Well-known member
I heard Simon Phillips detunes one of the lugs on his toms too. Personally I generally prefer even tension within one head (but I keep an interval between each head and that gives me the harmonics I want). I'm afraid that detuning one lug might give sone inharmonicity if not done rightly.
 
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