Does anyone else find birch drums hard to tune?

az drum pro

Member
Hi all. I have 3 sets right now and one is maple, one is Philippine Mahogany, and one is Birch. They all sound good but it seems with the birch set I can never get rid of snare buzz no matter how I tune the snare or toms and it drives me crazy. I have no problem getting great sounds from the Maple set and the Mahogany set without any snare buzz at all. I might mention here I'm using a 4" cast bronze snare 14" with whichever set I have set up at the time. Also it seems the birch has to be tinkered with a lot more often to keep them half in tune versus the other two sets. Is this common with birch shells and is there something you birch players figured out to tame these drums and get them sounding really good without the snare buzz? Thanks comrades.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I'm pretty sure the ply layup / wood species has almost nothing to do with snare buzz. Are all three kits the same aside from wood species?
 

Superman

Gold Member
I have 2 maple, 1 maple/walnut and 1 birch. I don't find any issues tuning my birch kit at all. Have you had this issue with other snare drums, or just that one snare you use?
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
It almost certainly has nothing to do with the wood, and everything to do with the hoops, tension rods and lugs that are not holding your heads in tune.

As for the snare buzz, you have something on the birch kit tuned very close to one of the snare heads and it's causing the vibration. Try detuning the lugs on the bottom head nearest the snare bed slightly, or uptuning them slightly.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Nope.

Check your hoops. If they bind to the head, replace them. You should not be able to pick up the head with an unattached hoop. A drum will never tune right with binding hoops. Check both hoops.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Never had problems, but you do have to expect a different sound character from birch than say maple. To my ear, Birch is a good deal "brighter" or "sharper" and I know some folks don't really dig that and try to tune their birch kits to sound like big maple or something...
 

JosephDAqui

Silver Member
My birch kit is very easy to tune. Probably the easiest of all my kits.
Totally agree with Tommy_D on this one. Me and my tune-bot have always had success on all my birch kits - I keep em' dialed in to certain frequencies based on the tune-bot calculator, staying within -1 or -2 from max resonance.

I'm not an expert with snare tunings but I think it's worth checking the pitch of your snare head (try 400 Hz) and the tension and type of snares you use (stock vs. boutique). David Garibaldi had some good advice that I follow: "if your snare sounds like a tom when you hit it lightly, they're too tight", and I use puresounds. Just my 2 pesos.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
My birch set doesn't really even need to be too much in tune to sound good. There's so many overtones if I try to get it perfect, the diminishing returns are not worth the effort.

I suspect you have a 10" tom tuned sympathetically to your snare, or you have your birch set in a part of the room where frequency build up is causing the snare to vibrate more than the other sets.

I've had a few little issues setting up when recording, where I set the drums up in a place that resonates the snare. Tuning, or getting rid of the 10" is always my fix.

Otherwise, I pay no attention to snare buzz.
 

az drum pro

Member
Thanks for all the responses. Maybe it's something to do with hoops not seating right or sticking to the heads. The birch rack toms (12 and 13, no 10) have suspension mounts that only hang the toms from 2 lugs and it seems those are the ones that start giving me the snare buzz after I get it tuned mostly out. It will start again within a day or two and I'm wondering if those mounts may be the reason they go out so fast. My other 2 sets which are the same sizes on the rack toms have suspension mounts too but they hang them on 4 lugs. Any thoughts on that? I'll look into the other things suggested here tomorrow but the mount thing did cross my mind. Thanks again all.
 
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