Tom tuning problem

ivegottadisorder

Junior Member
Hey guys

When I was in school, I used the school's drumset for quite a few different things from choir to jazz band. This set had one of the most amazing sounds that ive ever heard in my life. It was a pearl set with Protone heads on it and the under-head muffling system that used a plastic ring with foam in it. These toms were so fat sounding and had amazing rebound off of the heads due to the tight tension of the heads.

My question is how can I recreate that low fat sound without losing the tight head tension?
 

Ian Ballard

Silver Member
Hey guys

When I was in school, I used the school's drumset for quite a few different things from choir to jazz band. This set had one of the most amazing sounds that ive ever heard in my life. It was a pearl set with Protone heads on it and the under-head muffling system that used a plastic ring with foam in it. These toms were so fat sounding and had amazing rebound off of the heads due to the tight tension of the heads.

My question is how can I recreate that low fat sound without losing the tight head tension?
This sort of question is really hard to field for a few reasons:

First of all, we don't really know how YOU define "fat". We don't know what the set actually sounded like you are trying to replicate or what kind of kit you have now which might clue us in to what might be needed to replicate the Pearl set. Heck, there are umpteen gazillion kinds of Pearl kits too!

There's another aspect as well. The room you perform in, has a HUUUUGE role in what the kit's acoustics will exhibit. One room will make a given drumset a flat sound, while another might give the kit a bigger, more open sound.

There's little likelihood you'll ever be satisfied in replicating that kit, without major experimentation, spending some bucks on various heads and trying different rooms for reference. Toms generally have a "choked" tone when they are tuned high, but when you muffle them, it gets rid of the ring. That's all. The illusion of "low and fat" probably had to do with serious muffling, which is what it appears they were. Just tune your drums to a reasonable high tuning (so it still has some sustain and body) and try various muffling techniques... duct tape, moon gel, muffle rings, etc... and combinations.
 

Daphfz

Senior Member
Hey guys

This set had one of the most amazing sounds that ive ever heard in my life. It was a pearl set with Protone heads on it and the under-head muffling system that used a plastic ring with foam in it.
My bass drums have these foam mufflers in them, they are made by many companies, but mine are Remo's. In reply to your question, maybe try slightly loosening the reso head, the batter will still be tight.
 

Nodiggie

Gold Member
were the toms concert toms without a bottom head?

This was a very popular sound in the 80's. Dead ringers with bottomless toms. Sound was cool. Not to say Dead Ringers are not popular any more, I just don't see them on kits that often any longer.
 
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ivegottadisorder

Junior Member
were the toms concert toms without a bottom head?

This was a very popular sound in the 80's. Dead ringers with bottomless toms. Sound was cool. Not to say Dead Ringers are not popular any more, I just don't see them on kits that often any longer.

Nah the toms had both heads on them... I believe the Pearl set was one of which from the early to mid 90's...


And as for the plastic rings, its exactly what they were. It seemed that the protone heads were thicker than 2 ply if that makes any sense. I dont know if Pearl makes the protone heads anymore though.
 

ivegottadisorder

Junior Member
I guess the sound im looking for would be described as focused and "tribal" sounding.


I can achieve this sound but I dont like the way the drums feel after tuning so low.
 

Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
I like a 'fat' sound on my toms, but like some have said here the tom sound is a combination of many things. Assuming you have a specific kit then you can make the biggest difference by (1) choice of heads and (2) tuning.

For heads a thicker two-ply head (on top) gives a fatter sound than a thin or single-ply head with a certain head tension. I like Remo Pinstripes (clear) on top with Clear Ambassadors on the bottom. These are widely available too.

Then for tuning I tune the bottom head a 3rd or 4th lower than the top. This gives a 'meaty' sound that I like with a little bit of pitch bend. (This is on a Pearl Masters MMX - thin shell maple).

This setup doesn't need any damping except maybe a tiny bit on a 14 inch tom or larger, depending on your taste.

For what it's worth that's what I use, after years of experimenting and advice :) maybe it's helpful...

Cheers.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Get a drum dial. It's the only way I know of where you can experiment with tuning, and when you find out where you like the sound of that drum, take tension readings and write them down. Yes you could develop your ear, and that's good too, but it makes it so much easier to dial in the sound with it. Then you can duplicate that tuning again and again.
 

oldrockdrummer

Senior Member
Get a drum dial. It's the only way I know of where you can experiment with tuning, and when you find out where you like the sound of that drum, take tension readings and write them down. Yes you could develop your ear, and that's good too, but it makes it so much easier to dial in the sound with it. Then you can duplicate that tuning again and again.
I agree drumdial is the greatest invention since toilet paper
 

ivegottadisorder

Junior Member
and let me tell you what... toilet paper was indeed a great one...


ill have to check it out.

Im not real sure about my batter heads yet though. I bought some EC2's because the drum tech at the music store swore by them so i figured id try them out....


To the lab i go!
 

Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
I usually just tune by ear. You get used to it after a while.

The other one tuning tip I have found useful is about the interval of the drums (the difference between the pitches of the individual drums). For 3 toms played from bottom to top they should sound roughly like 'in the mood' by Glenn Miller... it really works! (works out to about a 3rd or 4th between individual toms - there it is again...)
 
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