Found the secret to tuning drums!

someguy01

Well-known member
We'll have to agree to disagree on your first point. I have a Drum Dial and a Torque Key and they aren't even in the same league as the Tune-Bot. As everybody knows, even tension around a drum head does not equal even pitches. Again, I think there's little debate about that.

View attachment 99904

As for your second point; the Tune-Bot doesn't do the work for you (sorry BonsaiMagpie! 😁) You still have to know how to tune. The Tune-Bot just takes the guesswork out of it. Your ears can be fooled. The Tune-Bot cannot.


That's good to hear. The app is better than nothing and certainly better than guessing. Did you set out to hit a specific pitch for each lug and nailed it 39/40 times or did you ballpark everything and then check your work afterwards? At any rate - your hearing is exceptionally good! (y)
I ballparked it all and checked my work against the app afterwards. I wanted to see how good I was on my own.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
We'll have to agree to disagree on your first point. I have a Drum Dial and a Torque Key and they aren't even in the same league as the Tune-Bot. As everybody knows, even tension around a drum head does not equal even pitches. Again, I think there's little debate about that.
Look I'm not going to get into a minutiae discussion with you on how tuning works. You wanna use a tool fine. Not everyone does. Not everyone needs it either. Sorry to pee in your cheerios, but so is life. Let it go already.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
You can tune a piano but you can't tune a fish- or a drum. So the tunebot and drum dial are canned tuna. You often tune the reso and batter heads to different pitches, and then wood tone, head tone-all produce the final sound and pitch of sound -and neither measure the final pitch. There are iPhone apps that do but really that is only as good a mic frequency sensitivity ranges. It's what you hear is satisfying. Some of the combinations of pitches the Tunebot calculator suggest didn't sound to hot to me-I think it's a limitation of drum tuning range of my kit-but I tried all of them. I finally played to songs and went with what blended with the stuff I'm playing.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Wow I wonder if I can be a deaf drum tuner (that's "deaf" not "daft")-do I have to join a union? I'm not completely deaf-yet-but surely will be. I shouldn't exploit a handicap but I think all the most famous drummers would pick a deaf drum tuner over your average Joe tuner-cause drummers got humanity. But anyways I can't be discriminated against if I"m deaf-so maybe I should join the union. Does it pay well? Any pro drum tuners here in the forum? Do you use a drum dial, tune bot, pitch apps or your own ears. If so that info would be handy to argue my case if ever discriminated against.
 

calan

Silver Member
The Tune Bot has great value as a tuning device, but the real strength is an ear training device. Knowing what an actual in tune drum is supposed to sound like is a great reference, especially those of us who can have a hard time picking out the fundamental.
 

tfgretsch

Junior Member
We'll have to agree to disagree on your first point. I have a Drum Dial and a Torque Key and they aren't even in the same league as the Tune-Bot. As everybody knows, even tension around a drum head does not equal even pitches. Again, I think there's little debate about that.

View attachment 99904

As for your second point; the Tune-Bot doesn't do the work for you (sorry BonsaiMagpie! 😁) You still have to know how to tune. The Tune-Bot just takes the guesswork out of it. Your ears can be fooled. The Tune-Bot cannot.


That's good to hear. The app is better than nothing and certainly better than guessing. Did you set out to hit a specific pitch for each lug and nailed it 39/40 times or did you ballpark everything and then check your work afterwards? At any rate - your hearing is exceptionally good! (y)
Just curious ,can you check calibration of the tune bot ,after using it for a while ,to see if its still on the money ?
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
Just curious ,can you check calibration of the tune bot ,after using it for a while ,to see if its still on the money ?
Great question, but I don't know the answer. It's a solid state device so I imagine its precision is pretty unwavering. I guess you could run a test tone through a speaker to see how it measures up.

On that note - that's an unconventional way that I use my Tune-Bot. If I hear a drum kit on YouTube whose tuning I particularly like I just hold my device a few inches from my speakers and let it record the fundamental note of each drum. I've got a pretty beefy system in my studio so it renders drum sounds really well. To date I've replicated Carter McLean's, Mark Shulman's and a whole bunch of other artist's tunings. It's just one more thing I love about the device.
 

tfgretsch

Junior Member
Great question, but I don't know the answer. It's a solid state device so I imagine its precision is pretty unwavering. I guess you could run a test tone through a speaker to see how it measures up.

On that note - that's an unconventional way that I use my Tune-Bot. If I hear a drum kit on YouTube whose tuning I particularly like I just hold my device a few inches from my speakers and let it record the fundamental note of each drum. I've got a pretty beefy system in my studio so it renders drum sounds really well. To date I've replicated Carter McLean's, Mark Shulman's and a whole bunch of other artist's tunings. It's just one more thing I love about the device.
ok thanks
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I use an Evans torque key to tune my drums. I bought batter and reso for 4 toms, took off the old, put on and tuned the new is about 30 minutes. I don't see that happening with an electronic device, but then again, my answer has been the same for all 15 threads on this subject.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I remember when Im used to play piano as a hobby as a youngster and my Mom said that piano doesn't sound very good. I agreed. She paid for a tuner , and the next day, she called back and asked for his colleague to come out for a re-tune. I could tell it was off. Tapping on six or eight lugs to see if they match is not a big deal
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
I use an Evans torque key to tune my drums. I bought batter and reso for 4 toms, took off the old, put on and tuned the new is about 30 minutes. I don't see that happening with an electronic device, but then again, my answer has been the same for all 15 threads on this subject.
I remember when Im used to play piano as a hobby as a youngster and my Mom said that piano doesn't sound very good. I agreed. She paid for a tuner , and the next day, she called back and asked for his colleague to come out for a re-tune. I could tell it was off. Tapping on six or eight lugs to see if they match is not a big deal
I certainly don't mean to be dismissive of anybody's particular tuning method. If you're happy with how your kit sounds at the end of the day, that's all that really matters. You made the point earlier that all that finesse is lost amongst screaming guitars and whatnot. It was a good point.
 

J-W

Well-known member
When I was a teen I spent eight and a half years traveling through different climates, altitudes and various sized rooms taking heads off of drums and putting them back on for no reason other than to tune them again and all I had with me was a pair of needle-nose pliers. I can now do batters and resos for 8 toms, 2 bass drums and 2 snares in 15 minutes with just my fingers, backstage while the opening act is still on and I don't even need to tap at each lug; I can just see when they're in tune and can feel what frequency they are at. I even tested this process with a spectrum analyzer.
So I don't know why anyone would even need to own a tuning key. But hey, I guess if you don't know how to tune drums..........or don't have needle-nose pliers on hand.
 

JohnRick

Member
I picked up the iDrumpro tuner app because I had enough credit to not actually pay for it. It's not a bad app at all, allows reso, batter, individual lug, and note tuning. After tuning how I was taught (taps around each lug) I fired up the app and it happily showed me that on all of my toms, 1 lug (out of 40) was off by a 1/2 turn. The app also showed me that my frequencies are also perfectly stepped. Glad I didn't waste any money on any other gadget.
I assume you mean Rob Toulsons "iDrumtune Pro", and not the other app "DrumtunePro"? The latter has a fancy interface, but Toulson's app is far better. Have used it for many years, and the RTF functionality, separating f0 and f1 is making a major difference. The only thing I use.

That said I have obviously ditched Drum Dial, Evans key, measuring the height around the rim and so forth.
 

drummingbulldog

Well-known member
For what it's worth, I have found that most guys who argue about tuning & tunebots cannot get a decent tone from their drums without one. Tuning drums largely depends on the diameters of the drums and how many voices you have. I have found if you start high or low & go up or down accordingly it's easier to find each drums sweet spot. The pitch doesn't matter as much as the quality of sound each shell produces. You will find on some drums the ballpark where your 8x12 sounds best may differ from a 9x12. Sometimes a lug may not be perfect & you leave a little wrinkle but on that drum it works. There are really no absolutes. All I know is that I have 6 kits and they all differ in size of pieces but I can generally dial one in after about 10 minutes. I tune to the room I'm playing in.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
For what it's worth, I have found that most guys who argue about tuning & tunebots cannot get a decent tone from their drums without one.
I'm not disputing your experience but are you claiming that you've actually spent time with these struggling drummers and witnessed this firsthand?
Exactly how did you arrive at this conclusion?
 

Bozozoid

Well-known member
Bottom/reso gets tensioned to where I think any given drum sounds best (at its lowest yet still resonant) then the pinstripe gets tuned as close as possible to the reso and I'm good to go.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
Bottom/reso gets tensioned to where I think any given drum sounds best (at its lowest yet still resonant) then the pinstripe gets tuned as close as possible to the reso and I'm good to go.
I've experimented with all kinds of batter/resonant head combinations and like you, I'm really gravitating towards tuning both heads to the same pitch. It's hard to go wrong that way and easy enough to add muffling if needed. (y)
 
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