Drum Tuning Bible

JimmyM

Platinum Member
Good question and the answer is yes, I have and I do.

My DW kit is configured as a 4-piece at the moment and the rack and floor toms are a 5th apart which just happens to work really well for a two tom configuration. The batter and resonant heads are a also 5th apart and the drums sound fantastic like that.

My Renowns, on the other hand, are configured as a 5-piece and the toms are a 4th apart. Coincidentally, the heads are also a 4th apart but that's a relatively new thing for me as I generally tune heads a 5th apart regardless of the intervals between toms. In this case I wanted to try something different and used 4ths. I'm glad I did because the kit sounds better than ever, and that is saying a lot.
Which is the higher tuned head? The reso?
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
Sweet! I don't know how much music theory you've got under your belt, but 4ths and 5ths are where it's at. I'm not doing resonator heads on my kit, but I like your approach. There's a reason that 4ths and 5ths are referred to as "perfect".

Just to clarify, when you say "4-piece" and "5-piece", does that include your snare, or do you have 3 or 4 toms and a kick going on?
Thanks!

I count the snare so yes, two or three toms, depending on my mood, when referring to 4 or 5 piece configurations. I have four toms (two rack, two floor) for my 'good' kits but rarely set them all up.
 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
I wish I had bottom heads on both my toms, but I do have one on my 13" rack. Last night I tried tuning to 5ths, and tonight I'm going to try tuning to 4ths. Was not overly wowed by 5ths. The heads are throwing some strange harmonics. I know they get eaten up and can be muted out, but I need to find the right interval and I'm not there yet.
 

force3005

Silver Member
I wish I had bottom heads on both my toms, but I do have one on my 13" rack. Last night I tried tuning to 5ths, and tonight I'm going to try tuning to 4ths. Was not overly wowed by 5ths. The heads are throwing some strange harmonics. I know they get eaten up and can be muted out, but I need to find the right interval and I'm not there yet.
 

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JimmyM

Platinum Member
So now I'm thinking I just should have put a coated Ambassador on the tops to go with the clears on the bottom. The 4th tuning is better, but I still don't like hearing that batter head throwing E-related frequencies while the reso head is throwing A related frequencies. Again, I know it gets eaten up in a mix but I still don't dig it. I've got Pinstripes as batters solely because my 16" tom came with a Pinstripe and the 13" had a horrible Gretsch head. I was reading that you can tune both heads to the same note if both heads are the same thickness and ply.

Putting nickels before dollars...that's what I did. I guess some of us aren't meant for the fancy space age heads.
 

Drumdame

Silver Member
Hi guys,

I have been reading this and other forums for a few months now. After a lengthy illness and time away from drumming due to life getting in the way (or more to the point, near death getting in the way of living) and have finally taken my pearl reference and mapex black panther out of their luggage and started setting up after a seven year absence from playing. The tune bot has really caught my eye and after getting one iv also decided to try Evans skins for the first time. I'm replacing all skins with g2 coated on the batter and g1 coated on the reso. But iv received the gift of clear resos too. I have 8" 10" 12" rag toms and a 14" floor Tom. The snare is the gold hardware black wooden premium black panther series. I know the first reference drums were an issue for tuning for some people but I love them and mine have about 4 days playing on them before I went away from drumming for the last few years. Up until then I was a two hours a day kinda guy.

I'm just wondering if anyone can lead me towards info that might serve as a guide/templet to tuning pitches using the tune bot on a reference and black panther . Iv tuned them to ear and love the sound of the coated resos( I know this isn't a norm) but it's a lovely warm tone with a reduction on overtones and sustain. Which I like but I'm not married to, it was just for the hell of it. For fun and experimenting il be changing heads around to finally get to play with the drums.

Thanks in advance and it's amazing to see how much drumming has changed while iv been ill. Any suggestions will be tried and messed around with as I love playing with tuning in general. I must about the snare is the issue I don't know if it's developed problems while the years rolled by but tuning it isn't going as planned or maybe I'm just out of practice. I'd just love to hear what sounds those of you that have similar kits have developed as I'm in a rush to catch up and start getting back to a regular session on the chair

Thanks mike
Mike,

So glad to hear that you're well and back on the Forum. Stay in the Grove, keep on drummin', and drum until your heart is content!

Drummer_D
 

MrPitt

New Member
Evening all (and morning to my friends across the pond) I recently bought a Tama Soundworks 14x8 Kapur Snare, and I just want some advice about tuning, I was told that the snare side should be Timbale tight (is this still the case with deeper snares) and I guess the batter side, tightened to my liking, the skins are just the stock ones, so an Evans g1 batter and a Evans 300 hazy. Any advice appreciated. Thanks :)
 

Kim Barti

Member
This is my go to snare.94 6.5 hammered bronze..no gaskets no frills.
 

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JimmyM

Platinum Member
I tune the bottom head around a semitone higher than the batter head..always works for me.
That’s my MO too. After experimenting with every possible combination, I read that was what Keith Moon did, I tried it, and it worked.
 

Drumdame

Silver Member
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Totigerus

Active Member
Can someone re-post the tuning bible link because it's currently broken 🙁
 

Sausagetoad

Active Member
Whenever I see a snare drum in a drum shop and it has plastic strips attaching the snare wires I know that the manufacturer doesn't really understand much about the product they are making or they just don't care and use the cheapest, easiest material they can find. Convenient for them and actually, convenient for me - I make drums and they make my customers.

One of the questions I get asked quite often has to do with snare wires not completely disengaging. "When I throw the wires off and hit the drum the wires are still slapping back.".

Plastic attachments act as springs. They never completely relax and so the wires are never fully released from the bottom head. It takes very little energy input to make the wires bounce upward and create that snare slapback. Apart from that, plastic strips have absolutely no flex. You want some flex to allow the snare set to move.

And while we are on the subject - stay away from that dam blue steel cable that Pures__t includes with their wires. That stuff acts like a cheese cutter on your edges and will eventually wear through the snare side head and chew into the snare bed. It is Purecrap and I have no idea why they still use that.

The best solution is 5/8" grosgrain (pronounced grow grain) polyester ribbon. You can find this almost anywhere - on ebay or at Michael's crafts etc. It costs about $3 for a roll that will last you years. It has some flex and it is exceptionally durable.
The best snare cord is 100 pound test braided squid line, which is akin to what Ludwig used on their snare drums in the 70's. It's also commonly used in Venetian blinds to raise and lower them. All one needs to do is cut a couple 6-inch pieces of cord off their Venetian blinds and voila! The finest snare cord around.
 
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Elvis

Silver Member
The best snare cord is 100 pound test braided squid line, which is akin to what Ludwig used on their snare drums in the 70's. It's also commonly used in Venetian blinds to raise and lower them. All one needs to do is cut a couple 6-inch pieces of cord off their Venetian blinds and voila! The finest snare cord around.
...and then that night, your dad is like, "What the hell happened to the blinds?" 😁
 
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