drum tuners

loki03xlh

Senior Member
Your ears are the best tuner. The drumdial will measure tension, which will only get you relatively close, but not in perfect tune. Tune-bot and smartphone apps like it can get you to the Hz.
 

DrummerCA35

Senior Member
I've tried the tama tension watch, but haven't had a lot of success with it.

I remember years ago buying an Arbiter drumkit, where you tune the head with ONE tension rod. I was hoping that would be the answer to my tuning woes. But the kit was a total disaster.
 

kallewille

Senior Member
I've owned the Tama version of the DrumDial and now have a TuneBot. I've had the most luck with the TuneBot. A lot of people complain about it but from much of what I've seen they're not using it correctly as far as I can tell. That doesn't mean it's a perfect tool. However, I do think it's the best tuning aid I've ever used. My ears aren't perfect, but there are times when it's clear it's mis-reading, even with the opposite head muted and the filter mode engaged. Having written all that, I've never had better sounding drums or more consistent tuning before, and at $100, not a bad tool to add to the arsenal. I haven't tried any of the smart phone apps. It's been so long since I've used a drum head tension measuring system, but I'd be tempted to try one again, but I'm happy with the TuneBot. My biggest gripe with it is with regards to bass drum tuning. I've yet to find a good way to clip it on the rim.

My two cents, for what it's worth.

Cheers.
 

Drum-El

Member
If you're not very good at being able to listen through all the random overtones to zero in on the actual rim note, the tune bot will dramatically help you learn how to tune by knowing what to listen for.

The tension watch / drum dial is good for getting a head seated evenly if you're having trouble with this aspect of tuning, but won't get the drum "in tune" just in the ballpark.

Both are good tools for different purposes. They can both be pretty educational as well.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
The drum dial is cooler because it's mechanical and like the tune-bot, it will get you close enough to use your ears.
The tune-bot will likely drive you just as nuts as not having one.

My drums have never needed to be in "perfect tune".
Close-enough has always been good for me, even in the studio.

I've only seen them on youtube, but the resotune drum tuner looks like the best of them all (other than your own ears).
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I use a drum dial to get new heads in even tension. I have tried simply tapping round the edge of the head, as advised, and listening to the tuning at each lug, but having done that to the best of my (limited) ability I am still not spot on.

With the drum dial I can whack on new heads, seat them properly, wind the tensions at each lug, up to my listed reading for each drum, and I am very, very close to my perfect sound. Probably the same as experienced "Ear" tuners, but much, much quicker for me.
 

Drum-El

Member
Drum tuning is one of those things that once you get it, you go "OHHHH!"

It's difficult for lots of drummer because it's like trying to tune just the A string on a guitar by strumming all 6 at once with the other 5 also out of tune. Learning which partial to listen to through all that nonsense can take time. Took me ten years of playing before that really sunk in. I believe that's why it's considered such a dark art.

The tune bot will definitely drive you crazy if you use it as instructed. If you hold it in your hand over the lug you're striking though, it's a really good ear training tool and seems to be pretty accurate.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
When I first began, I had trouble tuning. So every Monday I would force myself to re-tune my drums from scratch. It took a month or two and now I can tune them quickly by ear. I sometimes use a drum-tuning iPhone app to check my work. I also use it before I have drummers over that I want to impress with how nice my kit sounds. Forcing myself to tune the kit regularly even helped me develop a preference and understanding of the tuning range of my particular kit.

To put it in a curt manner: A musician should learn how to tune their own instrument without needing gadgets. It only takes a couple months if you do it once a week. Ready, set, go....
 

JosephDAqui

Silver Member
I've used the TuneBot for some time. In the beginning when I got it and after tuning batter and rezo the same Hz, something didn't sound right so I figured out a workflow to get things efficient and accurate:

1) Always turn it off between tuning each drum (i.e. going from 10" to 12")
2) Start with the rezo - put the drum on a table or carpet if sitting on the floor and put a towel under the batter to muffle.
3) Get the lugs close to your desired setting (i.e. 257 for a 10") and when one of the lugs reads that number, hit the 'Filter' button and use this for top and bottom if you want max resonance or change it when you flip it (using the calculator settings).
4) Do the same as #2 when you flip the drum so the rezo is muffled
5) Even though you are dealing with Hz settings, trust your ear first - don't be afraid to start over, check for bad heads, notched bearing edges or problem lugs.

I tune before each show and it takes me about 15 min. on the average for a 5 or 6pc set. I even tune the backline sets (like I will next weekend) and I usually get done in the same time.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
When I first began, I had trouble tuning. So every Monday I would force myself to re-tune my drums from scratch. It took a month or two and now I can tune them quickly by ear. I sometimes use a drum-tuning iPhone app to check my work. I also use it before I have drummers over that I want to impress with how nice my kit sounds. Forcing myself to tune the kit regularly even helped me develop a preference and understanding of the tuning range of my particular kit.

To put it in a curt manner: A musician should learn how to tune their own instrument without needing gadgets. It only takes a couple months if you do it once a week. Ready, set, go....


I get where you are coming from, but how many guitarists tune up without a digital tuner? How many pianists even tune there own instrument? Using cheap readily available technology to make a process much easier, especially in a noisy gig situation, seems sensible to me.
 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
When tuning drums nobody ever talks of the weather . Adjusting to the changing temperatures and humidities is something your drums do but drummers seldom do. I prefer ears over gadgets.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
[/B]

I get where you are coming from, but how many guitarists tune up without a digital tuner? How many pianists even tune there own instrument? Using cheap readily available technology to make a process much easier, especially in a noisy gig situation, seems sensible to me.
Indeed, though it does not excuse the musician for not knowing how to tune their instrument. How many guitarists "can't" tune up without a digital tuner? The answer is none, because they're not a guitarist if they can't. They're "Aspiring Guitarists". Pianos are different, as the full tuning requirements are not as trivial. Most pianists can true-up a single key that's out of pitch relative to the rest of the instrument. Tuning a whole piano that has sat for years takes a half a day and is often left to the pros.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that if you fancy yourself a drummer/guitarist/etc, you should be able to set-up, tune up, and break down your instrument.

Edit: Not to mince words or anything, but I just realized that the drumming world may be different in terms of vocabulary than the guitar world. The term "Guitarist" is typically reserved for those with some level of artistic/academic mastery of the instrument. Real guitarists often get miffed when guitar-players (people that can play the guitar, singer songwriters, 5-chord strummers, hobbyists, students) refer to themselves as guitarists. While I try not to get hung up about it, I do have a certain respect for real guitarists that have paid their dues, and do my best to refer to myself as a former/retired guitarist, or multi instrumentalist. Is the world of percussion the same?
 
Last edited:

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
Indeed, though it does not excuse the musician for not knowing how to tune their instrument. How many guitarists "can't" tune up without a digital tuner? The answer is none, because they're not a guitarist if they can't. They're "Aspiring Guitarists". Pianos are different, as the full tuning requirements are not as trivial. Most pianists can true-up a single key that's out of pitch relative to the rest of the instrument. Tuning a whole piano that has sat for years takes a half a day and is often left to the pros.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that if you fancy yourself a drummer/guitarist/etc, you should be able to set-up, tune up, and break down your instrument.
Couldn't agree more, try tuning up a neglected tone wheel organ.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Tune bots seem a bit silly to me. I don't know why you would need that... Maybe if you have a bit of tone-deafness when it comes to the sound, but if you can't listen to the pitch of one lug and match it with another, I think that's what we're talking about here, a bit of tone-deafness.

I do use the drum dial. In quiet environments, I'll just use it to get everything even, then do my own checking of the tone at each lug and "tune" it for real. In noisy environments, the drum dial gets me close enough that I can change a popped snare head in between sets in a noisy bar and be confident that it's "close enough".

Maybe the tune bot would be nice if I worried about "intervals" or tuning to specific notes, but I don't.
 

loki03xlh

Senior Member
I was interested in checking out the Tune-bot, but there was no way I'm going to throw down a hundo on it. Instead, I downloaded an app called iDrumTune. Only 4 bucks. I don't know if it was better or worse, but it is a lot cheaper.
 

sdedge

Senior Member
Well i use the tune-bot and i like it,.very handy
if i tune my kit first i always by ear when im happy il will measure the lugs with the tune bot and adjust them if necessary and put them in the memory of the tune bot.
And that works for me even with different Heads.
Because every drum kit has his overal sound were its sounds at its best [for you.]
The heads will chance the karakter of the kit[warmer,more attack,ect] ,but the tuning is overall the same .
So tuning for a gig/studio is done in a few minutes.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Indeed, though it does not excuse the musician for not knowing how to tune their instrument. How many guitarists "can't" tune up without a digital tuner? The answer is none, because they're not a guitarist if they can't. They're "Aspiring Guitarists". Pianos are different, as the full tuning requirements are not as trivial. Most pianists can true-up a single key that's out of pitch relative to the rest of the instrument. Tuning a whole piano that has sat for years takes a half a day and is often left to the pros.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that if you fancy yourself a drummer/guitarist/etc, you should be able to set-up, tune up, and break down your instrument.

Edit: Not to mince words or anything, but I just realized that the drumming world may be different in terms of vocabulary than the guitar world. The term "Guitarist" is typically reserved for those with some level of artistic/academic mastery of the instrument. Real guitarists often get miffed when guitar-players (people that can play the guitar, singer songwriters, 5-chord strummers, hobbyists, students) refer to themselves as guitarists. While I try not to get hung up about it, I do have a certain respect for real guitarists that have paid their dues, and do my best to refer to myself as a former/retired guitarist, or multi instrumentalist. Is the world of percussion the same?
I can and tune my own drums. I can also strip them down to components, clean, repair and rebuild. I also use a drum dial cos its quicker, for me.

So when do you stop being an "Aspiring" drummer or guitarist and become a "Real" musician? When you play a gig, when you record, or only when you are a full time pro?

If I see a band on stage entertaining an audience I don't care if they are three chord wonders or Royal College of Music graduates, they are musicians, to me anyway, and deserving of my respect, not sneering contempt because they are not what you would perceive as real musicians who have "paid there dues". Everyone starts paying as soon as they start playing.

Also, give a lot of experienced guitarists a guitar that is wildly out of tune and ask them to tune it to "Concert pitch" without a tuner and most would struggle. Its easy to get a guitar in tune with its self, so to speak.

Anyway, we were talking about drum tuning devices and are they a help. To me they are, it saves me time and guesswork, to you obviously not. Each to there own, I have no problem with that, but please don't disrespect other musicians cos they chose to use technology.
 
Last edited:

SpareRib

Senior Member
Don't piano tuners use a A440 hz tuning fork as reference to tune the A above middle C and then tune in intervals thereafter?

I like using a drum dial to seat and re-seat heads and then to guage even tension before fine tuning by ear. This is my preferred method.
 

Trexkit

Junior Member
Hemiboy - I bought a Drum Dial and it was the best $60 I ever spent. I've got a pretty good ear but wanted to tweak my tuning a little more. My kit never sounded so good. They're delicate so you can't be tossing it around after you're done with it. It will definitely help you fine tune.
 
Top