Struggling with the floor tom

One1

Well-known member
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.
no the other lugs do not come into play when you are turning equally from a center point. You are shifting the tension focus from the outer ring to the center. Once the wrinkles go away all lugs are equal, simple physics. Explanation of why starts at 9:00. The drum is tuned to the lowest possible tune in correlation to the shell. Hitting the sweet spot. Go up or down from there.
 
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One1

Well-known 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.
bass drum is slightly different


as is the snare

 

yammyfan

Senior Member
I find any method that relies on smoothing wrinkles to be hit-or-miss. Smoothing wrinkles is no guarantee that tension is evenly distributed between tension rods - far from it.

Truly - no offense intended as I probably rely on technology too much (e.g. the Tune-Bot) but these old-school tuning discussions make me think of the conversations that horse and buggy guys had back in the 1920's when the automobile was well on its way to global domination.

Are there still a lot of guitar players out there who scoff at electronic tuners and insist that tuning using harmonics is the way to go? Somehow I doubt it.

Not trying to be a dick here. I'm just surprised that "stop guessing!!" isn't the default response - yet. :unsure:
 

One1

Well-known member
I find any method that relies on smoothing wrinkles to be hit-or-miss. Smoothing wrinkles is no guarantee that tension is evenly distributed between tension rods - far from it.

Truly - no offense intended as I probably rely on technology too much (e.g. the Tune-Bot) but these old-school tuning discussions make me think of the conversations that horse and buggy guys had back in the 1920's when the automobile was well on its way to global domination.

Are there still a lot of guitar players out there who scoff at electronic tuners and insist that tuning using harmonics is the way to go? Somehow I doubt it.

Not trying to be a dick here. I'm just surprised that "stop guessing!!" isn't the default response - yet. :unsure:
so here’s the thing, I don’t know my butt from a hole in the ground when it comes to tuning a floor tom, but I’ve been in the sound field for 25 years. I have owned both car and home audio store chains. I have used RTA’s (real time analyzers) along with several different types of tuning and analytic devices to set up rooms. I’ve watched oscilloscopes dance while tuning third octave graphic equalizers to the point that it’s absolutely anal. So when it comes to finding the right sound that part is something I’m actually very good at and what you have to realize is that you can never let the ends overshoot the means. The part that you’re going to get on tuning the last umpteenth degree with a machine is not usually going to matter in terms of perception to your ears and let’s face it we have people here that are in recording studios but most of the people probably aren’t they're just playing gigs. This close enough method is not half assed it’s simply doing what is necessary to be done for what you need. It will set you up quick and get you rolling. A lot of people tend to be obsessive over things and make life hard on them selves unnecessarily and I don’t think that playing for your local neighborhood kids in your basement or doing gigs at the local bar needs a tune bot. So if this method works then it works. Anything beyond that to average Joe is a placebo effect.

i’ve had customers pay $500 for me to drop mics in the center of the room, play pink noise, and tune the room before I put their stereo in it and they swear they can tell the difference but I promise you they can’t. They're just watching McGyver in their underwear.
 
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mrfingers

Senior Member
Wow! Whatever happened to tuning to”Here comes the bride”? I thought that was almost standard intervals.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
so here’s the thing, I don’t know my butt from a hole in the ground when it comes to tuning a floor tom, but I’ve been in the sound field for 25 years. I have owned both car and home audio store chains. I have used RTA’s (real time analyzers) along with several different types of tuning and analytic devices to set up rooms. I’ve watched oscilloscopes dance while tuning third octave graphic equalizers to the point that it’s absolutely anal. So when it comes to finding the right sound that part is something I’m actually very good at and what you have to realize is that you can never let the ends overshoot the means. The part that you’re going to get on tuning the last umpteenth degree with a machine is not usually going to matter in terms of perception to your ears and let’s face it we have people here that are in recording studios but most of the people probably aren’t there just playing gigs. This close enough method is not half assed it’s simply doing what is necessary to be done for what you need. It will set you up quick and get you rolling. A lot of people tend to be obsessive over things and make life hard on them selves unnecessarily and I don’t think that playing for your local neighborhood kids in your basement or doing gigs at the local bar needs a tune bot. So if this method works then it works. Anything beyond that to average Joe is a placebo effect.
Fair enough. I totally understand what you're saying.

I have the advantage of having spent time on both sides of the equation. I've been tuning drums since 1982 and have spent countless hours at it. That's why I'm so bullish on the Tune-Bot. It's a game changer like the transistor or the automobile was.

Nobody needs a Tune-Bot in the same way that a guitar player doesn't need an electronic tuner. Stringed instruments can be tuned using harmonics, with good results. But I have never met a guitar player who didn't use an electronic tuner. Like, zero. I think that they'd think I was nuts if I advocated for not using one.

All I'm saying is that if you had a Tune-Bot, you'd get that floor tom singing in less than ten minutes, and your whole kit would sound like Simon Phillips tuned it himself.

Better still, he would only charge 70 bucks to do it. I'd take that deal every day and twice on Sundays.
 

One1

Well-known member
I’m gonna see if I can kill two birds with one stone because I just jumped on marketplace and grab the 13 inch with the hydraulic head and both of them are something that I’ve been interested in. Just from thumping it on the way back to the house I think that hydraulic head is probably what I’m going to go with for the 16 inch and I’ll be happy. So I got my answer on whether or not I would like the hydraulic and I also picked up a larger tom to put in the middle of those two so for 40 bucks I couldn’t really go wrong.
 

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All I'm saying is that if you had a Tune-Bot, you'd get that floor tom singing in less than ten minutes, and your whole kit would sound like Simon Phillips tuned it himself.
which model do you have? i see there's a 'gig' and 'studio' model. i am interested in buying one.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
which model do you have? i see there's a 'gig' and 'studio' model. i am interested in buying one.
Good call!

Mine is older than either of those two but I'd say that the Gig model is good enough for most users. The 'filter' function is the essential function as it ignores overtones and focuses on the frequency you're trying to tune to.

Example: you're tuning a six lug tom and five of the six read "220 Hz" but the last one one reads "348 Hz". You tap one of the other lugs so that it displays 220 again, hit the Filter button and go back to the wonky one. Now when you tap it again, the Tune-Bot will ignore the overtones and focus on the range a few Hz +/- either side of 220. You might discover that this particular lug actually reads "217 Hz" which is why it was throwing the tuner off. Just bring it up to 220 and presto - all six lugs are tuned identically. Turn the filter off and you're ready for the next drum or head.

There are tons of YouTube reviews of the device. Like anything, it takes a (very) little time to get used to using one but once you get the hang of it, tuning will never be the same again. Your drums will always sound great and you can experiment at will without fear of not being able to go back to where you started. Plenty of professionals post their settings online so if you want to make your kit sound like Dennis Chambers' for example, just use his settings and Bob's your Uncle :)
 

One1

Well-known member
I like the idea of it and I am going to buy one I just don’t want it to be my crutch. I love tech. It’s been most of my career in the industry.

In the meantime I really like the size of this Tom that I just picked up and the only real complaint Is that it doesn’t have the yess system like the rest of mine. Good size though.
 

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yammyfan

Senior Member
I like the idea of it and I am going to buy one I just don’t want it to be my crutch. I love tech. It’s been most of my career in the industry.

In the meantime I really like the size of this Tom that I just picked up and they only real complaint Is that it doesn’t have the yess system like the rest of mine. Good size though.
I think that a lot of players feel that way.

Tuning is a bit of an art and nobody wants to take the art out of it. Really, all it does it take the guesswork away. There's still plenty of room for self-expression in the amount of resonance you want, intervals between heads and individual drums etc.

And yes, finding that 13" was a good thing. You're probably going to need the ball clamp with the long hex rod for that drum but they're not hard to find. You could always put in on a snare stand for a one-up-one-down configuration along with the 16" floor tom (y)
 

One1

Well-known member
It mounted fine to what I have I just am a little annoyed it’s not the yess system. Can’t complain for the money though. I’m gonna run by the store and pick up a simple clamp mount and attach it to my 700 series hardware on my crash.
 

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One1

Well-known member
I’ve been working with my g2’s and i think I’m actually happy with them for now. If you compare the first vid to now it’s a lot better for all the toms. I had detuned the 10” slightly before, which i turned back up slightly (1/4 turn). The 12” has never been right, but close. Now i think it’s closer to right. Even the 16” isn’t making me cringe anymore. They all are still off, but I’m finally in the ballpark.

 
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harryconway

Platinum Member
Also I’ve looked into that idea of the snare stand for that Tom and I actually like that better it’s definitely a lot more solid
Since you're using the 13" in a floor tom position, you could always put legs on it. My Yamaha Manu Katche Jr. kit came with a 13x12 floor tom .... and it kills.
 

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opentune

Platinum Member
Nobody needs a Tune-Bot in the same way that a guitar player doesn't need an electronic tuner. Stringed instruments can be tuned using harmonics, with good results. But I have never met a guitar player who didn't use an electronic tuner. Like, zero. I think that they'd think I was nuts if I advocated for not using one.
Ouch, bringing guitarists into a good discussion about tone amongst drummers.
 
no the other lugs do not come into play when you are turning equally from a center point. You are shifting the tension focus from the outer ring to the center. Once the wrinkles go away all lugs are equal, simple physics. Explanation of why starts at 9:00. The drum is tuned to the lowest possible tune in correlation to the shell. Hitting the sweet spot. Go up or down from there.
I've just tried that method on a 12" tom. I applied a fair bit of pressure to the center of the head. After turning just two rods, there were no visible wrinkles at all five rods and the sound was awful.
I don't think I understand you but if the "tension focus" was only in the center, the wrinkles wouldn't disappear by pulling the drum hoop towards the shell, no?
Personally, I don't care about tuning toms to specific notes and getting perfectly even tuning ("over thinking"?). But I'll stick with the old fashioned way of tuning in a star shape and not flexing the hoop too much - I've experienced how tuning one rod too much before continuing with the others can make it very hard to tune the whole head, so I'll do 90° to 180° at most. It always works and it's not any slower.
 

One1

Well-known member
I’m gonna go with the 5,400 people that did it and responded to that video “you’re doing it wrong”.

None the less, who cares how you do it, long as your way works for you.
 
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