Struggling with the floor tom

One1

Well-known member
I like my high toms, the 12” is coming around.... the 10” sound fine to me. In a perfect world I’d have a 14” to fill the gap between the 12 and 16, but I haven’t bought one yet. This makes it hard to tune the 16” because there is such an obvious drop between the two.

initially I was trying to tune the floor up to take up the huge difference but it made the floor sound bad.


So after that didn’t work I re-tuned the 16” to where i like it, really low thumper.


It may be a bit low now, but I’ve been using videos as reference to make sure it’s not still too tight and it sounds similar to here at 5:00 using exactly my heads.


So I’d like to gather your knowledge on the subject by either referencing videos that aren’t too overtuned and mic’d so that I can’t hear it naturally, or by showing me your floor tom video (preferably because cell phones raw audio is helpful).

of course I’m going to set the drum how I like it, but I’m genuinely looking for some sound references to see what the ballpark is on this. Not having a 14” is making it hard for me to make a smooth step down Reference on where this should be. (Side note: i damaged my 10 ring and ordered a new set and moongel too that will be here monday so this is best i can do tonight, sorry).
 
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GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
10 higher, 12 as it is, floor tom like the first video. Second video floor tom is way to loose. You are very close. Save the tunebot money and keep using your ear. You are doing fine. Test the sound at each lug with the butt end of the stick, tap gently and get them all the same pitch.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
How valuable is your time? You can mess with the kit for days and still not be satisfied with how it sounds. Even if you luck out and find a tuning you like you're going to have to go all through it again the next time you change heads.

Your drums will detune within a couple of hours of playing anyway. It's a never ending battle.

Get the darn Tune-Bot and see what it's like to have a kit that sounds professionally tuned in minutes, not hours. It won't stunt your development in any way as using it teaches you how to tune properly. It simply takes the guesswork out of it.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
I don't see the lack of a 14 as a problem. A wide interval between 12 and 16 sounds great to me.

Tune-bot - even if you don't actually use one, their tuning guide/app is really good. Not just for fundamental notes but also for getting the levels of resonance and attack you like.
 
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harryconway

Platinum Member
When it’s tuned higher it sounds like a trash can.
Might wanna try a different batter head on the floor tom. If you're using a G2, maybe switch to a G1 on the floor. Also, at a higher pitch ..... it may be more noticeable that your floor tom is choking. Pearl air suspension feet can give some floor toms a lot more resonance.

Something I've noticed, is by flipping the floor tom 180 degrees (reso. end becomes batter) .... you sometimes get a different characteristic out of the drum.
 

One1

Well-known member
How valuable is your time?
as long as it takes to learn what it should sound like. I can tune the upper toms close to what i like in under 2 minutes because i know what its range should be and what I like. The same cannot be said for the 16”.

I’ve used Rob Brown’s tuning guide and I agree with his principles. Especially the lack of complicated tuning and relying on machines. I just don’t like the 16” when I’m done. Worse, i genuinely don’t know what this particular drum and head should sound like. If i get it in the range I’ll gladly go from there. This set sounds totally different from my Exports which had remo heads and I haven’t had them in so long I don’t have a reference point.

 

harryconway

Platinum Member
I just don’t like the 16” when I’m done. Worse, i genuinely don’t know what this particular drum and head should sound like. If i get it in the range I’ll gladly go from there.
Another thing is your ear might be fighting .... the spacing of the 10, 12, 16. I mean, there's nothing "wrong" with 10, 12, 16 ..... if that's your cup of tea.
Here's a SCA with larger rack toms ..... and you might just like bigger drums.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
10/12/16 is my favourite tom combination, by far. I purposely leave my 14"ft off the set unless I simply have to have it..

On a five piece kit, I tune the Tom's and snare (strainer off) to the intervals in the trumpet call To The Races. Done.

GeeDeeEmm
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Don't get hung up on the gap between the 10/12 and the 16. Just tune the 16 to where it sounds best to you. Toms don't have to be tuned to a specific interval to sound good. (unless you have a huge array of toms like 8/10/12/13/14/16) Then it would be necessary to get smoother intervals.

Both videos you posted sound good in their own way.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
To my ears the dampening rings are killing tone on your drums, especially with an Evans G2 head. 10 can be higher, 12 is ok and 16 should be the growl of your kit, a little lower than 1st vid. When you hit the 16, everybody looks to see what was that.
If you recorded your drums a couple meters away, you will see all those tones up close that maybe you don't care for sound awesome.
 

One1

Well-known member
Might wanna try a different batter head on the floor tom. If you're using a G2, maybe switch to a G1 on the floor. Also, at a higher pitch ..... it may be more noticeable that your floor tom is choking. Pearl air suspension feet can give some floor toms a lot more resonance.

Something I've noticed, is by flipping the floor tom 180 degrees (reso. end becomes batter) .... you sometimes get a different characteristic out of the drum.
i’ve been listening to evans heads tonight and I’ve determined it’s just the way the g2 genera sound. In the larger heads i just don’t like the g2. At the point of attack they make a sound that blends nice on higher toms. but on the larger heads i can still hear that sound in the attack. I’m running EMAD2 and EQ3 Resonant heads on my kick and love the sound it makes.


I’ll have to see what’s available in 16”. I’m already leaning towards the hydraulic mostly, and sorta the emad since i already have one and like it.....but I’m hearing the same attack smack issue in the emad on the 16”.


that video proved to me the genera g2 was the sound I didn’t like. It’s the head. There’s a sound RIGHT when you hit it that just doesn’t work on the larger heads like on the small ones. It literally sounds like you’re hitting a trash can. Really, being honest I’m choosing the least of the evils. I don’t feel like evans has a handle on the 16” tom. For everything else I’m in love with their stuff..... though I am tossing my snare power center reverse dot for an HD DRY For the exact same reason. There’s a little “bell ring” right as you hit the power center reverse that is not present in the HD DRY.
 
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harryconway

Platinum Member
i’ve been listening to evans heads tonight and I’ve determined it’s just the way the g2 genera sound. In the larger heads i just don’t like the g2.

I’ll have to see what’s available in 16”. I’m already leaning towards the hydraulic mostly, and sorta the emad since i already have one and like it.....but I’m hearing the same attack smack issue in the emad on the 16”.

that video proved to me the genera g2 was the sound I didn’t like. It’s the head. There’s a sound RIGHT when you hit it that just doesn’t work on the larger heads like on the small ones. It literally sounds like you’re hitting a trash can. Really, being honest I’m choosing the least of the evils. I don’t feel like evans has a handle on the 16” tom. For everything else I’m in love with their stuff..... though I am tossing my snare power center reverse dot for an HD DRY For the exact same reason. There’s a little “bell ring” right as you hit the power center reverse that is not present in the HD DRY.
I'm with you on the EMAD. Bass drum, yes. Floor tom, not so much. If the Hydraulic is a "lesser of two evils" .... maybe try the EC2. It's a bit fuller than the Hydraulic. Then again ..... there's always Remo. The Pinstripe is "comparable" to the EC2. Another option. The Remo Powerstroke3. I've been running Powerstroke3's on my toms, on 2 of my kits. A single ply head with a built on richie ring. So in your video, if that's a G2 (2 ply) with a richie ring ..... maybe a G1 (single ply) with a richie ring will get you there.

+1 on the HD Dry. One of my favorite snare heads. I have that on 2 of my snares.
 
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GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I'd keep fiddling with the interaction in tuning between reso and batter head. My 16 in tom only has 6 lugs so seems extraordinarily sensitive to tuning. Just tiny 1/8 turn can make a huge difference in fine tuning and the interaction between two heads seems more an issue. I had a fit with overtones, too boomy, too wet, too dead, etc then suddenly they sing and the heavens open up and Angels come down to listen to you groove. LOL. A lot of people ignore how important the reso head. If new heads there seems some break in period where they settle in and tune easier too. They can be wacky at first-you wonder is the head dead, is your own head dead, all the usual suspects LOL
 
I haven't tried this method yet. Lots of positive comments on youtube but I wonder about this approach - here's the quick summary:
- finger tight
- press palm into head to see wrinkles
- tighten one rod until the wrinkles disappear (he does about 2 full turns which seems like a lot - I normally tune in 90° or 180° steps)
- continue with other rod in any order, not necessarily "star-shaped" order
Doesn't this method stretch the heads too much in one direction? Are wrinkles really the thing to look out for when the neighboring rods also have a huge influence on the tension? I don't see how this leads to even tunings across all rods, especially when you use a rigid die cast hoop.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I thought the same thing Swiss I've never tried that method either and only would try it with bass drum if that. Does give me a good idea for a drum book like those "_______________ for Idiots" series so "Drum tuning for Idiots". The first page will be the short answer-buy a drum dial, a tune-bot, a pitch app, and take all the guess out of it" Or " read the rest of the book explaining other methods LOL.
 

EricT43

Senior Member
I will +1 the suggestion to get a Tune-Bot. But I agree with other posters, that your 10" seems too low. If you have a good ear for pitch, or if you do get a Tune-Bot, I like to tune 10/12/16 in a "power-chord" interval relationship - the 12" a fifth higher than the FT, and the 10" an octave higher. So, D-A-D, for example. I think it sounds great that way.
 
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