Making a case for the tune-bot

yammyfan

Senior Member
I posted this reply to someone in another thread but didn't want to hijack the conversation so I yanked it and gave it a thread of its own. I feel like I put too much thought into it to let it die completely. I have zero doubt that some of you wish that I would. 🤗

I am genuinely open to understanding. I don't look down on anybody who feels differently than me - not by a long shot. I acknowledge that it might come across as judgy in places (which might partially answer my own question) but I'll leave it as-is.

This is what I wrote:

"I try to be judicious about recommending the device and generally only do so when someone admits that they find tuning difficult. I've suggested that every drummer should own one - like a tuning key, but encountered substantial resistance to it. I think I at least partly understand why now."

Here's the judgy bit. The discriminating part of me says to pull it but I think there's some truth to it. I could probably rework it but I'm not that wise:

"It's certainly not the case for everyone but I suspect that there's a fair bit of ego protection going on. Maybe a bit of laziness and resistance to change too. All very human and understandable. I also imagine that there's a minority of people out there who won't buy one because they didn't discover it for themselves. Because it was somebody else's suggestion and fervent recommendation, they just won't use it."

Less controversially, I hope:

"I think it's noteworthy that we have no trouble recommending snare drums, cymbals and shell packs that others might like and those things can cost hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars but recommend a $99 device that is 100% guaranteed to improve the sound of any drum kit and that's where some folks draw the line. The barrier to entry here is not financial for the vast majority of drummers."

"Now, I'm making a huge assumption and that is that we agree that all other things being equal, a well-tuned drum kit sounds better than a poorly tuned one. By well tuned I mean lacking unpleasant and discordant overtones. I'm not talking about anything subjective here, I'm strictly talking about the things that we can all agree upon - the audible anomalies that would prompt a person to look for damaged bearing edges, cracked or out of round shells, and warped rims. The symptoms of those things can be mimicked by subpar tuning and that is what the Tune-Bot excels at ferreting out and correcting."

"We also would have to agree that we can unintentionally create discordant and unpleasant tones by failing to clear drum heads properly or by using odd intervals between batter and resonant heads. If that's a supposition that's hard to accept then my argument will fall on - pardon the pun - deaf ears."

"So, yeah. There's an inexpensive device available that doesn't demand or require you to change anything about your tuning preferences or the methods you use to tune your drums. All it does is take whatever you've done and clean it up. Trust, but verify, if you will. And if you are unsure about what you're doing, there are guides and aides available that when used in conjunction with the Tune-Bot, will deliver professional results every time. It's cheaper than a used cymbal or a new set of heads and not much bigger than a hi-hat clutch. It's smaller and lighter than a deck of cards and won't take up much room in your stick bag."

So, there you have it. A bit clumsy perhaps but it conveys my thoughts reasonably accurately. There's not much in it for me - I don't own stock in the company and I'm hardly the first person to jump on the bandwagon so I get no credit for the idea either. I guess I'm just really interested in how a good idea (like seatbelts) encounters resistance in the first place.

Thanks for indulging me.
 

calan

Silver Member
It's a wonderful device. No gimmic! I read all the instructions, saw the tutorials, and I've been enjoying it for years now. My only caveat......Wish there was an AC adapter along with battery power.
USB rechargeable would be ideal.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I guess I'm just really interested in how a good idea (like seatbelts) encounters resistance in the first place.

I don't own a TuneBot, but see no reason for anyone who wants one to get it. I see this argument come up often:

"A TuneBot wont teach you how to use your ears to tune"

Whether or not this is true would be up to the user would it not? If one listens to the head as well as looking at the display it should teach you. But if you only look at the display it probably wont help.
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
It's a wonderful device. No gimmic! I read all the instructions, saw the tutorials, and I've been enjoying it for years now. My only caveat......Wish there was an AC adapter along with battery power.
I have one that doesn't need an adapter for power: It's call the Drum Dial.

I have no issue with tuning help, as I am by no means an expert in doing so. I use my Drum Dial to set the initial tuning, then use my ear for the rest of it.
I'm sure the Tune Bot does the same thing for the same reasons, so a thread about such devices is a good one.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
As known by many here, I don't use tuning devices. I have my reasons, but my general philosophy on tuning is that players should approach it in the manner they see fit. If that involves devices, excellent. If it doesn't, fabulous. Do whatever it takes, in accordance with your goals and resources, to get your drums to speak the way you want them to. The ultimate aim of tuning is drumming, not tuning for tuning's sake. Prosperity begins with the proper placement of priorities.

But, @yammyfan, I'm ongoingly impressed by your Tune-Bot fervor, and I hope it lingers. It rivals my Pearl loyalty. That's nothing to brush aside.
 
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larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Tune bots could be the best thing for drums since RIMS

I don't care if a person needs help tuning or not. I do care what their drums sound like. Definitely a hole that's been filled with the Tunebot

The only thing Tunebots don't address is how parallel the head sits, all 360 degrees of it, in relation to the bearing edge.

In other words, Tunebot doesn't address a "cocked" head. Not that they really can, I'm not downing them. I am however pointing out that they don't/can't address that. That's up to the tuning person. I find this to be really important, having the head sitting perfectly even on the shell...all the way around. I am not saying that the drum...when tuned with a Tunebot....that the head is always cocked, I'm not. All I'm saying is a cocked head won't sound as good as a non-cocked head, and it is a consideration I've NEVER seen discussed here, Tunebot, Drum Dial, or not.

I believe it's possible for the tunebot to say a drum is tuned perfectly...with the head cocked. I could be wrong about that. I will always shoot for a non-cocked head when tuning, and I think everyone else should take that into consideration too.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
I don't own a TuneBot, but see no reason for anyone who wants one to get it. I see this argument come up often:

"A TuneBot wont teach you how to use your ears to tune"

Whether or not this is true would be up to the user would it not? If one listens to the head as well as looking at the display it should teach you. But if you only look at the display it probably wont help.
Good point. The purpose of the Tune-Bot, however, is not to teach you how to tune. It is designed to check your work.

If you're satisfied with "good enough" then you may not care that much about improving your work. You would have to be really interested in improving your results in order to want to check. I'm not suggesting that you don't care, it's just one possibility.

If one is interested in obtaining a set result and not really concerned with "good-better-best" then I agree, there's probably not much need to check.

I hope that makes sense. I confuse myself sometimes. :giggle:
 
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MG1127

Well-known member
I've owned the same one for nearly a decade now

I've found it very useful in certain situations

1. On tour changing heads in the back of a noisy venue when I couldn't hear the tone of the drum

2. When I've found that really sweet spot and get drums sounding exactly as I like them to sound I can throw it on and document the setting.

3. As a collector of vintage drums I encounter some dogs that just don't want to speak... it comes in handy here as well

fantastic device

I hear the updated version is better ... but I've had mine since 2012 and it's just fine

I've actually never once changed the batteries yet
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
But, @yammyfan, I'm ongoingly impressed by your Tune-Bot fervor, and I hope it lingers. It rivals my Pearl loyalty. That's nothing to brush aside.
Thanks, and I mean that sincerely.

If I'm honest, I don't have that much to contribute around here. Sure, I love my Renowns and my DWs and my Zildjians and can talk them up all day long but at the end of the day, I'm just expressing my preference.

On the other hand, this Tune-Bot evangelism is a genuine opportunity to make things better for drummers. There's no way of using one properly and not getting excellent results.

How many drum products are out there that we can recommend to one another that are virtually guaranteed to satisfy? Not that many, it seems to me. Certainly not for $99.

If I can get even one more person using one then I have made a contribution. Hopefully that justifies the fervor and the inevitable annoyance of other members that comes along with it. 🤗
 
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Lefty Phillips

Well-known member
First I've heard of Tune-Bot. I'll add to a long list of music-related things to buy.

I have the Drum Dial, and it makes seating and stretching heads quick and easy, but I enjoy fiddling with the tuning keys to see what happens after. I get sounds I like better that way.

Tune-Bot might be extra useful in the recording studio, where it is sometimes helpful to tune the toms (and sometimes, the snare).
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
First I've heard of Tune-Bot. I'll add to a long list of music-related things to buy.

I have the Drum Dial, and it makes seating and stretching heads quick and easy, but I enjoy fiddling with the tuning keys to see what happens after. I get sounds I like better that way.

Tune-Bot might be extra useful in the recording studio, where it is sometimes helpful to tune the toms (and sometimes, the snare).

A bit about the device:


If you want to hear how effective the device is in real-world usage, check out any of DCPs videos from the past couple of years. This Ludwig shoot-out illustrates the kind of results you can get. Note how consistent the tuning is between the various kits. Imagine being able to replicate your favourite tunings between head swaps, or experiment with alternate tunings knowing you could return to square one with ease?

 

Fred D

Pioneer Member
The only thing Tunebots don't address is how parallel the head sits, all 360 degrees of it, in relation to the bearing edge.
But a ruler will. Once I get a head on and finger tight I'll put on a half turn per lug. Then use a ruler to level the head. I just measure from the the top of the head to the top of the hoop. This isn't for turning the drum. It's just to level the head. Once leveled I'll use the tune bot to bring it up to tension. Snare side heads really need to be leveled. One of the main reasons for excessive snare buzz.
 

calan

Silver Member
I have one that doesn't need an adapter for power: It's call the Drum Dial.

I have no issue with tuning help, as I am by no means an expert in doing so. I use my Drum Dial to set the initial tuning, then use my ear for the rest of it.
I'm sure the Tune Bot does the same thing for the same reasons, so a thread about such devices is a good one.
For the sake of discussion, I'll offer that the drumdial is an inferior device.

I don't find that it gives accurate or repeatable measurements. Even dialing every lug to the same value doesn't even ensure that the head is actually in tune with itself, or even within a useful margin of error.
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
For the sake of discussion, I'll offer that the drumdial is an inferior device.

I don't find that it gives accurate or repeatable measurements. Even dialing every lug to the same value doesn't even ensure that the head is actually in tune with itself, or even within a useful margin of error.
You're 100% right. I find I have to lift it up & down no fewer than 3 times to get an average on the same spot. That's why I only use it to "get in the ballpark" of where I want the tension to be. My ear needs to be the one that does the work, otherwise I'll be too dependent on a device to do something I should be able to do without it. ;)
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
Tune Bot more like Tune Wow, please tell us more!

DCP is well known for its reviews and they've been using a tune-bot for a while now. Check out some of their videos and then imagine being able to tune your drums to sound like these. Pretty amazing capability for 99 bucks.

 

dboomer

Senior Member
Since we don’t have a recognized standard for defining a “tuned drum” no one can really say. How much salt you wanna put on your baked potato is up to you. But we have invented teaspoons and tablespoons as a way to measure whatever that amount is.

If you use your ears to tune a drum to your liking then good for you. A Tunebot (and similar) will simply measure where you are and give you a number so that you can quickly get there again. You can also use these numbers to tune like someone else’s kit if you want.
 

Fred D

Pioneer Member
I had a drum dial and the tune bot has a ton of features that the drum dial doesn't. The drum dial is OK but the tune bot is vastly superior.

YMMV
 
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