LM402 tuning driving me crazy

Fritz Frigursson

Senior Member
I have a 2020 model Ludwig LM402 and the first thing I did when I got it was switch out the heads for Control Sound Coated batter and Diplomat reso to save the stock heads. They didn’t sound very good so I messed with tuning and everything and in the end I just put the default heads back on. It sounded great for around 1 hour in the studio and then went back to sounding bad. Now it just has a really annoying overtone that I’m ABSOLUTELY sure is coming from the snare wires. So I tried cranking up the reso head. It just killed the snare sensitivity but the annoying sound almost completely went away. Since I want sensitivity in my snare I tried taking the reso head and wires off and started again, this time with a lower tuning. Nope, this time I had a sensitive snare but with excessive overtones and snare buzz. I tried messing with the strainer, I tried messing with the wires, I changed heads two times, I checked the hoops for warping, checked the bearing edges and nothing is out of the ordinary. I just have a really really annoying snare wire “overtone” that just kills the mood every time I try playing on it. I paid 700 euros for that and I was really excited but now I just play on the house snare which is a Yamaha Dave Weckl maple snare. It has exactly the right amount of snare sensitivity and the overtones are absolutely controllable by moongel. I tried moongel on the Supra, it just sounds like a muted snare. No snare buzz, no character. I tried the batter side tuning, no difference.

Is it really this hard to get a good sound out of my Supra or am I thinking this wrong?
 

roncadillac

Member
Is this your first Ludwig drum? If no, disregard everything below. If yes...

I recently purchased my first ever Ludwig drums and tuning them was an absolute nightmare. My preferred Evans heads did not fit the hoops and while I was able to tune the stock heads to sound decent, they never stayed that way. Long story short, I had to change out all the hoops to get them to even be functional and had to change out all the tension rods to then get them to even hold tune. Ive been playing 20 years and have owned probably that many different kits and not once did I ever have this problem (and I buy cheap drums lol) with any other kit besides the Ludwig. I get the LM402 is a higher end model of theirs BUT from what I understand they make their hoops in house and I've heard this come up from their whole portfolio.
 

TJK

Well-known member
Hm, they are a finicky drum; please try replacing the plastic straps with proper cord or the fabric straps. If you like your snares a little tight the plastic straps choke the fxck out of the drum. Imho sometimes over tightening the snare side will choke the drum as well. I really love my supra with 42,s tuned like Bonham.

Before doing all of this please loosen up the snares with the strainer on until they no longer make a sound. Then very gradually tighten the knob with the strainer on until the wires make sound and keep going very slowly until you find a sound. Turn one lug on the top up or down until you find the sound that you like. That’s what I do on any snare.

Have you laid the drum without heads on a flat table top and checked if it has snare beds on bottom and flat on top?
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Something is wrong if you can't get a perfect sound out of a Supra. It sounds to me like the snares themselves could have some imperfections that cause it to ride off the head too far? Look VERY closely at the end plates on the snares. If the solder is even 1mm higher than it should be, it could push the snares away from the head.

If you can't locate the problem, hopefully you can contact Ludwig or the place you bought it from. They should resolve the issue quickly. That is totally unacceptable. Keep us posted.
 
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TJK

Well-known member
Something is wrong if you can't get a perfect sound out of a Supra. It sounds to me like the snares themselves could have some imperfections that cause it to ride off the head too far? Look VERY closely at the end plates on the snares. If the solder is even 1mm higher than it should be, it could push the snares away from the head.

If you can't locate the problem, hopefully you can contact Ludwig or the place you bought it from. They should resolve the issue quickly. That is totally unacceptable. Keep us posted.

Good points and also make sure that the wires are centered well; that will make it wonky too
 

Fritz Frigursson

Senior Member
Hm, they are a finicky drum; please try replacing the plastic straps with proper cord or the fabric straps. If you like your snares a little tight the plastic straps choke the fxck out of the drum. Imho sometimes over tightening the snare side will choke the drum as well. I really love my supra with 42,s tuned like Bonham.

Before doing all of this please loosen up the snares with the strainer on until they no longer make a sound. Then very gradually tighten the knob with the strainer on until the wires make sound and keep going very slowly until you find a sound. Turn one lug on the top up or down until you find the sound that you like. That’s what I do on any snare.

Have you laid the drum without heads on a flat table top and checked if it has snare beds on bottom and flat on top?
I would have noticed the upside down badge lol

also I’ll try changing out the snare wires with some puresounds with strings, maybe that might change the sound for the better.
 
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Fritz Frigursson

Senior Member
Ridiculous that you have to do all of this to a new high end drum.
exactly. I sold my e kit, paid 100 dollars and bought this snare. For 700 bucks and the image/heritage this should be perfect out of the box but something’s just not quite right. I doubt I got a faulty snare, maybe the plastic of the snare wires is choking the reso head. I can already see dents where the wires touched the head.
 

CYP47

Member
exactly. I sold my e kit, paid 100 dollars and bought this snare. For 700 bucks and the image/heritage this should be perfect out of the box but something’s just not quite right. I doubt I got a faulty snare, maybe the plastic of the snare wires is choking the reso head. I can already see dents where the wires touched the head.
I wish you the best of luck. I can just imagine your frustration.
 

TJK

Well-known member
Try the reverse dot with the standard snare side. The diplomat may be too thin for louder hitters if that’s what you play like. Personally I think the stock top head is average at best. I was in the same situation as you when I got a new 402, I hated it. Put a coated emperor, 42s with strings snugged up just to take the rattle out and bam there it was, I also have the built in muffler which I love. Tighten up till it just touches the head
 

Fritz Frigursson

Senior Member
Try the reverse dot with the standard snare side. The diplomat may be too thin for louder hitters if that’s what you play like. Personally I think the stock top head is average at best. I was in the same situation as you when I got a new 402, I hated it. Put a coated emperor, 42s with strings snugged up just to take the rattle out and bam there it was, I also have the built in muffler which I love. Tighten up till it just touches the head
Thanks for the advice. I’ll try CS coated on Weathermaster. I’ll make sure to pick up some new wires with fabric or strings.
 
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larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The rims are super important. Next time you have the rims off... Take a rim and place it over the head on the drumshell. Now without touching the head at all, gently pick the rim up with 2 hands.

The rim should not hold onto the head. If the rim holds onto the head in mid-air...the drum will never tune right with that rim. Do that to both rims, with the respective drum head that you would use with that rim. If the rim grips the head in mid air, the rim is either bent, or the head is too big for the rim. Try a different brand head in the rim and find out if the rim grips that. If your head falls out of both rims...the problem lies elsewhere. You have to make sure it's not the rims that are the source of your problem before you go looking elsewhere.
 
The rims are super important. Next time you have the rims off... Take a rim and place it over the head on the drumshell. Now without touching the head at all, gently pick the rim up with 2 hands.

The rim should not hold onto the head. If the rim holds onto the head in mid-air...the drum will never tune right with that rim. Do that to both rims, with the respective drum head that you would use with that rim. If the rim grips the head in mid air, the rim is either bent, or the head is too big for the rim. Try a different brand head in the rim and find out if the rim grips that. If your head falls out of both rims...the problem lies elsewhere. You have to make sure it's not the rims that are the source of your problem before you go looking elsewhere.
This is an excellent, and simple, test to check for the roundness of the rims in lieu of measuring 180 degrees across the rim with a tape measure. Someone mentioned Ludwig makes their own rims, but I believe they are standard Gibraltar 2.3mm rims that Ludwig imports in bulk...same deep scalloped shape between the tension rod holes, and rather average shine on the chrome plating. They need to up their game in that area, as I've noticed for over ten years now. Then again, around 5-6 years ago, I bought several Pearl rims, that, had a more lustrous finish, but were out of round none the less.
 

roncadillac

Member
The rims are super important. Next time you have the rims off... Take a rim and place it over the head on the drumshell. Now without touching the head at all, gently pick the rim up with 2 hands.

The rim should not hold onto the head. If the rim holds onto the head in mid-air...the drum will never tune right with that rim. Do that to both rims, with the respective drum head that you would use with that rim. If the rim grips the head in mid air, the rim is either bent, or the head is too big for the rim. Try a different brand head in the rim and find out if the rim grips that. If your head falls out of both rims...the problem lies elsewhere. You have to make sure it's not the rims that are the source of your problem before you go looking elsewhere.
Thank you! This is the exact issue I had and thus why I replaced the hoops I spoke of.

This is an excellent, and simple, test to check for the roundness of the rims in lieu of measuring 180 degrees across the rim with a tape measure. Someone mentioned Ludwig makes their own rims, but I believe they are standard Gibraltar 2.3mm rims that Ludwig imports in bulk...same deep scalloped shape between the tension rod holes, and rather average shine on the chrome plating. They need to up their game in that area, as I've noticed for over ten years now. Then again, around 5-6 years ago, I bought several Pearl rims, that, had a more lustrous finish, but were out of round none the less.
That was me, that statement very well may be exclusive to the 1.6mm hoops and not the 2.3mm hoops, the 1.6ers have a noticeably different profile anyway and seem to be the ones most commonly mentioned in relation to this issue. I ended up buying Gibraltar 2.3mm hoops which totally solved it but I had the 1.6mm stock hoops. I'm not super familiar with these models but I believe you can select the lugs and rims, correct? I'm not sure if they offer 1.6mm for these but it is a safe assumption they are 2.3mm (if not die cast of course).
 
To the best of my knowledge, Ludwig started using 2.3mm rims in the mid to late-1970's or so. Not sure if 1.6mm rims are an option these days.
 

TJK

Well-known member
Running over to take the heads off my snare right now!😂

Never crossed my mind to check the roundness of the head vs the rim; always worried about the shell. Great tip
 
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Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I'm still trying to wrap my head around what may be going wrong. I've owned and played a lot of Ludwig snares, and in my experience they're just about the most forgiving, easy to get along with snares I've played.

Do the wires lay flat when placed on a table? Have you tried the wires from one of your other snares on the Supra?

Your head choices are pretty standard so if there's nothing structurally wrong with the drum it narrows down the source of the problems to just three things; snare wires, tuning choices, or it could be your expectations vs. how a Supra actually sounds.
 

Fritz Frigursson

Senior Member
I'm still trying to wrap my head around what may be going wrong. I've owned and played a lot of Ludwig snares, and in my experience they're just about the most forgiving, easy to get along with snares I've played.

Do the wires lay flat when placed on a table? Have you tried the wires from one of your other snares on the Supra?

Your head choices are pretty standard so if there's nothing structurally wrong with the drum it narrows down the source of the problems to just three things; snare wires, tuning choices, or it could be your expectations vs. how a Supra actually sounds.
Well I can tell you it does NOT sound like the Supra in YouTube videos and recordings. I have had a lot of success tuning other snares (like the Dave Weckl signature I mentioned before) but this one is just bugging me. I might just return it and get a Yamaha snare instead.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
Well, NO snare sounds like videos and recordings. Comparing a metal shell drum to a wooden shell drum also doesn't really help.

I mentioned expectations because I don't know what your experience is with metal snares, and I don't know if the expectation is for a super dry, crisp "thwack" with absolutely no shell ringing or if you've owned/played other metal snares with similar heads and know what to expect from a metal shell snare sound in real life.

As far as sensitivity goes a Diplomat snare side, tuned up to about A440, is about as good as it'll get. Assuming there is nothing wrong with the snare wires (nothing bent or twisted, centered on the head) that should really take care of the bottom head. I've used ribbon, cord, and plastic straps and while I've found some work better than others on certain drums, none are a dramatic difference in the range of making a good drum go completely bad.
The pitch relationship between the top and bottom head could lead to some extra wire buzz and I'd focus on adjusting only the batter head to try to sort that out. I'd also make sure the batter head is perfectly in tune with itself. If there's an out of place overtone in the head (most easily heard with the snares off) that dissonant overtone could be what is making the snares buzz when they're on.

Any chance you could post up a recording of the drum? Snare drums have SO many variables it's hard to troubleshoot them from a distance working with just words to describe what's wrong.
 
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