My day yesterday

Rochelle Rochelle

Senior Member
So a few days ago I felt my toms sounded terrible and needed a retuning. I also decided to finally replace the reso heads which were the original ones. I received the package of heads yesterday and set out to replace and tune. That took about an hour. I'm terrible at tuning and still don't think they sound right.

Then before I put them back, I decided to yet again try and get things setup better for my small stature (5'3"). I have my toms on a stand instead of mounted on the bass drum. I messed around with the placement, height, tilt, etc for quite a while never getting it any better than it was. I also repositioned the ride since I was having trouble reaching the bell comfortably.

A few more hours in now I decide to put the toms back to where they were before. Given that I'm totally OCD/anal about things, I couldn't quite figure out how I had them before and tinkered for a while finally finding a picture to sort of guide me. I never quite got them back and that bugs me!

Now the ride was at a good position but it stuck out too far over the floor tom and I kept hitting it accidentally. So I had to reposition. I'm still not satisfied and I got in no practice yesterday. So much wasted time to OCD...

Today I finally sat down to practice and messed with the tom tuning again and still not to my liking. I just decided to deal with it so at least I could practice while my son is in preschool.

Ugh!
 

Jhostetler

Senior Member
Yep, those days happen. I currently only have one kit right now and it moves around so much that nothing is ever in exactly the same place twice. Sometimes it bugs me, sometimes I find a nice sweet spot. I'd say have fun with experimenting. Switch the toms around and play with the opposite hand leading. Switch the positions of your ride and crash. Once you've experimented long enough you should be able to find a good position for everything that you find comfortable with. It also helps with practicing technique and exploring new styles of playing so I don't get pigeon-holed into doing the same thing over and over. At least that's been my experience.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Have fun! Mix it up:)
 

Rochelle Rochelle

Senior Member
Yep, those days happen. I currently only have one kit right now and it moves around so much that nothing is ever in exactly the same place twice. Sometimes it bugs me, sometimes I find a nice sweet spot. I'd say have fun with experimenting. Switch the toms around and play with the opposite hand leading. Switch the positions of your ride and crash. Once you've experimented long enough you should be able to find a good position for everything that you find comfortable with. It also helps with practicing technique and exploring new styles of playing so I don't get pigeon-holed into doing the same thing over and over. At least that's been my experience.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Have fun! Mix it up:)
I'd love to do more experimenting but I get frustrated. I can't even move the couch without looking for the indentation in the carpet to know exactly where it was before.
 

philrudd

Senior Member
So a few days ago I felt my toms sounded terrible and needed a retuning. I also decided to finally replace the reso heads which were the original ones. I received the package of heads yesterday and set out to replace and tune. That took about an hour. I'm terrible at tuning and still don't think they sound right.

Then before I put them back, I decided to yet again try and get things setup better for my small stature (5'3"). I have my toms on a stand instead of mounted on the bass drum. I messed around with the placement, height, tilt, etc for quite a while never getting it any better than it was. I also repositioned the ride since I was having trouble reaching the bell comfortably.

A few more hours in now I decide to put the toms back to where they were before. Given that I'm totally OCD/anal about things, I couldn't quite figure out how I had them before and tinkered for a while finally finding a picture to sort of guide me. I never quite got them back and that bugs me!

Now the ride was at a good position but it stuck out too far over the floor tom and I kept hitting it accidentally. So I had to reposition. I'm still not satisfied and I got in no practice yesterday. So much wasted time to OCD...

Today I finally sat down to practice and messed with the tom tuning again and still not to my liking. I just decided to deal with it so at least I could practice while my son is in preschool.

Ugh!
How long you been playing? Early on, I was exactly as you were - positioning was crucial down to fractions-of-an-inch; anything more would result in missed hits, discomfort, and frustration.

This turned out to be highly detrimental. Being too sensitive to particular conditions is a real problem when it comes to practicality; just about every gig - hell, just about every rehearsal - is going to sound and feel different. Sometimes the floor shakes. Sometimes there's a gap in the stage, right where your pedal should go. Sometimes you're forced into a corner so tight you wish you had a cocktail kit.

Early on, these kinds of conditions really threw me for a loop. My playing would suffer, and it would be all the more frustrating when I'd play well at practice the next week. It becomes a real head game.

Now I've been playing for quite a while - near 30 years - and sometimes, I'm still amazed at how much less that stuff matters than it used to. Playing on someone else's kit used to fill me with trepidation; now, as long as the heights are somewhat comparable to my usual set-up, I can play just about any kit in any configuration. On any stage. With any sound system.

In fact, sometimes I'll purposely practice with one item removed from my kit - a floor tom, a ride cymbal - and force myself to play a set that way, just to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I'm not sure what changed, other than that experience made me more 'familiar with the unfamiliar'. If that's all it is, then just keep drumming, my friend.
 

Otto

Platinum Member
You just described how I learned to tune/position my drums!

..minus the little one in pre-school ; )
 

Rochelle Rochelle

Senior Member
How long you been playing? Early on, I was exactly as you were - positioning was crucial down to fractions-of-an-inch; anything more would result in missed hits, discomfort, and frustration.

This turned out to be highly detrimental. Being too sensitive to particular conditions is a real problem when it comes to practicality; just about every gig - hell, just about every rehearsal - is going to sound and feel different. Sometimes the floor shakes. Sometimes there's a gap in the stage, right where your pedal should go. Sometimes you're forced into a corner so tight you wish you had a cocktail kit.

Early on, these kinds of conditions really threw me for a loop. My playing would suffer, and it would be all the more frustrating when I'd play well at practice the next week. It becomes a real head game.

Now I've been playing for quite a while - near 30 years - and sometimes, I'm still amazed at how much less that stuff matters than it used to. Playing on someone else's kit used to fill me with trepidation; now, as long as the heights are somewhat comparable to my usual set-up, I can play just about any kit in any configuration. On any stage. With any sound system.

In fact, sometimes I'll purposely practice with one item removed from my kit - a floor tom, a ride cymbal - and force myself to play a set that way, just to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I'm not sure what changed, other than that experience made me more 'familiar with the unfamiliar'. If that's all it is, then just keep drumming, my friend.
I am still a beginner so you give me hope that it can get better!
 

jmeirhofer

Senior Member
I'd love to do more experimenting but I get frustrated. I can't even move the couch without looking for the indentation in the carpet to know exactly where it was before.
Glad that I am not the only one that does this. Drives my wife nuts.
 

philrudd

Senior Member
I am still a beginner so you give me hope that it can get better!
If that's the case, try not to worry about it...it definitely gets better and easier. Your muscles will become trained after a while and that's where facility comes in.

Most important thing: be patient! Things progress faster when you're not trying to rush them...as paradoxical as that sounds.
 

Daisy

Senior Member
I can't even move the couch without looking for the indentation in the carpet to know exactly where it was before.
That's just common sense. Avoids making yet another indentation in the carpet. Well, I thought it was common sense but perhaps I'm more OCD than I realised.

As for positioning, I agree with philrudd (and I've only been playing for 10 years). If my rack toms weren't exactly right, I would hit the rims constantly. I don't know when/how it happened, but their exact position isn't a problem now. I've played shared kits at gigs - the first time I was terrified, but it turned out not to be a problem at all (that was after 5 years playing).
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
If you move the couch around enough, the carpet gets so many indentations
in it, that it's all flat. Then you can put the couch anywhere - LOL

At home, I like everything set up in its unchanging position.
When I was playing gigs, it was like philrudd says - nothing was ever exactly
the same, but you adjust to whatever the conditions are.
 

edvia

Senior Member
I can't help you with positioning, but I can provide a few pointers on the tuning. First step is to set each drum you want to tune on a carpeted floor, since that will make the overtones much more prominent (and hence easier to tune by ear).

With the drum on the floor, tap the head next to each tension rod (about 1-1.5 inches away from the rim) and listen for any pitch discrepancies. Then adjust as needed until you get the same pitch all the way around. Do this for both the top and bottom heads, so you have even tension all the way around on both. Once you've done this, it's easy to tune each head up or down by small increments until you get to the desired pitch/tone. And always tune from the opposite lugs, for example the 6 o' clock lug then the 12 o' clock lug, rather than side-by-side around the perimeter.

BTW I tend to favor the bottom head being about the same pitch or slightly higher than the top head, but different people prefer different tunings, so experiment and find what works best for you.

Good luck!
 

Rochelle Rochelle

Senior Member
I can't help you with positioning, but I can provide a few pointers on the tuning. First step is to set each drum you want to tune on a carpeted floor, since that will make the overtones much more prominent (and hence easier to tune by ear).

With the drum on the floor, tap the head next to each tension rod (about 1-1.5 inches away from the rim) and listen for any pitch discrepancies. Then adjust as needed until you get the same pitch all the way around. Do this for both the top and bottom heads, so you have even tension all the way around on both. Once you've done this, it's easy to tune each head up or down by small increments until you get to the desired pitch/tone. And always tune from the opposite lugs, for example the 6 o' clock lug then the 12 o' clock lug, rather than side-by-side around the perimeter.

BTW I tend to favor the bottom head being about the same pitch or slightly higher than the top head, but different people prefer different tunings, so experiment and find what works best for you.

Good luck!
Thanks! I'm just going to have to get trying until I find what I like. I do have a Drumdial so when I know what I like I should be able to get close to that in the future.
 

brady

Platinum Member
I can claim one small victory over OCD in that I don't fret about where every piece of my son's toys are when I put them away.
I hear you. No kids, but I do tend to fuss about where things are quite often. Even if I'm not going to use it soon. It really is a struggle to overcome these tendencies sometimes, isn't it?

Anyway, about the kit setup... I used to be the same too; right down to taking a photo of my kit before I moved so I could set it up the same. Over time, I've discovered that isn't necessary at all.

One tip I hear a long time ago regarding setting up the kit was to grab your sticks, sit on your throne, and close your eyes. Hit the imaginary snare drum in front of you; center your snare on the stick tip. Same goes for the toms, cymbals, etc. Reach out without looking to play your ride, put your ride there...

I know height-wise, setting up a kit can be a challenge sometimes. I tower over you by a whole inch and I've never felt completely comfortable with a 22" bass drum. My normal kit has a 20" bass which helps to bring everything in nice and close.

Also, I'm guessing by your avatar that you are left-handed. (Me too.) Not that it matters ergonomically, but do you have your kit set up as a lefty or righty? I've tried playing set up lefty but never could manage it as I am "right-footed". A righty set up work best for me, plus it allows me to sit on other kits without switching everything around.
 

Rochelle Rochelle

Senior Member
Thanks for the tips! When I get better and want to purchase a new kit I will seriously look at a 20" bass drum as I agree it could help a lot. I do have my kit setup in the lefty configuration. My right hand and foot are very weak so it's the only way to go.
 
G

Ghostnote

Guest
+1 on tuning your toms on a carpeted floor. That takes one head out of the equation so all you can hear is the head you are tapping/tuning. If I'm just tweaking a batter head to get it back in tune then I leave the drums on their stands. If I'm starting from scratch/re-reading then I put the drums on a carpeted floor.

Another tuning tip that I find helps immensely is seating/pressing down on the head as you are tuning it. That's the other reason I tune my drums on the floor. When I put on a new head I start out by getting all the tension screws finger tight, then I give each screw a half turn with a drum key. At this point you could tap the head near each lug and start to get a pitch at each point. If youre not getting pitch yet, give each lug another quarter turn. Tap the head at each lug and get all the pitches evened out. Keep in mind, if you raise the tension at one lug, you just increased the tension at the lug across from it too, so keep tapping at the lugs across from each other as you are adjusting the tension at different lugs to get all the pitches the same. Now- using the palm of your hand, push down quite forcefully on the center of the head a few times. You're not trying to put your hand through the head, but you can put your weight into it. You're going to hear some creaking and cracking, but don't worry, that's normal. I usually go around and give the head the same CPR treatment with my palm near each lug too, just to make sure that all parts of the head are seating. After you have done this, tap the head at each lug again. You will notice that the pitch dropped and at some lugs you might not get a pitch at all anymore. That's how much a new drumhead will stretch. Tension up the lower pitched lugs until you have them all at the same pitch again. I keep doing this until I get to the point that I can lean on the head and it doesn't change pitch at any of the lugs anymore, then you know your head is seated. Doing this takes more time, but your drums will stay in tune a lot longer. It also takes a lot of gremlins out of the tuning procedure. A guitar player would never change a string without stretching it out or it would drop in pitch as soon as he started to play. Drum heads are no different.

Another thing to watch for is when you are getting your tension rods finger tight, get a bird's eye view of the drum and look at the gap between the bearing edge and the rim. If you use clear heads you can actually see the gap between the outside edge of the shell and the rim. This gap should be even all the way round. You might start out with all your tension rods finger tight, but if the gap is nonexistent on one side and huge on the other side then the rim and/or head is not centered on the drum and you are starting out with a rim that is pulled further down on one side than the other. This will lead to all kinds of problems and you might have a hard time hearing discernable pitches near each lug or get weird overtones issues which make it hard to get the drum in tune with itself. Evans 360 heads pretty much eliminate this issue, but I don't like Evans heads, so if you use Remo or Aquarian heads then it's a good idea to give this a quick check.

Also, when adjusting pitches at each lug, do so in small increments. Don't increase the pitch at one lug with a quarter turn of a drum key. Especially when you are getting close to having the drum in tune, those last few adjustments of tension screws might only be 1/32nd or 1/64th of a turn to get the pitch exactly right. As far as your Drum Dial- once you have your drums where you want them, then it can give you a ballpark tension to shoot for next time, but you will never get even pitches at each lug using one of those things. A Drumbot is a much better gadget for that kind of thing.
 
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Spreggy

Silver Member
Here's an interesting, and crazy fast, tuning method that I stumbled upon that is pretty effective:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISdMNKb-hjc

For arranging your stuff, a current trend is the less tom tilt the better, but hey do what works for you. I like to use the blindfold test so to speak, I'll close my eyes and reach for the drum or cymbal in a natural relaxed posture, and check to see if that puts the stick in the middle of the head. Then angle so the stick is as close to parallel with the head without causing unintended rim shots.

Good luck!
 

Rochelle Rochelle

Senior Member
Here's an interesting, and crazy fast, tuning method that I stumbled upon that is pretty effective:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISdMNKb-hjc

For arranging your stuff, a current trend is the less tom tilt the better, but hey do what works for you. I like to use the blindfold test so to speak, I'll close my eyes and reach for the drum or cymbal in a natural relaxed posture, and check to see if that puts the stick in the middle of the head. Then angle so the stick is as close to parallel with the head without causing unintended rim shots.

Good luck!
Interesting video, and by the comments people seem to like the method. I'll have to try it.
 

Friedmett

Senior Member
It seems every drummer has a different way for tuning and as long as it works for them it's cool.

Setup?

I think that on some subconscious level I knew how my setup should be. Just like the Tama Granstar Costum Lars Ulrich played in the Seattle 1989 video.

At first attempt for the 9 pcs. setup I had the toms to low but by second time some years later it came together rather quickly and I got used to it so felt like home for playing it.

My ears were developed as a guitar player for 10 years so I had some knowledge but with the number of drums I got a Tama tension watch to see if it could help me.

I tried the samples and took it from there. Then asked myself if it was sounding good. Then wrote the settings down for the future. That was a 30 minute workout.

When it comes to new heads they need to be stretched just like a guitar string.

So with the tension watch tune to desired tension.

Then put your hands on it and press it.

Now retune to pitch.

Repeat process until the skin stays at pitch.

That is one of the places where a meter works great.

I find my kit rarely needed to be tuned up by using a meter and can spend the time playing.

I also prefer the heads to have the same note.
 
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