Tuning Higher During the Gig....

ambientgreg

Senior Member
If there's already a thread on this,forgive me. BUT, I have a tendency to want to tune my snare gradually higher and higher during the gig. Not every gig, but many. It goes something like this:
I check the tuning as I set up before the first set,and most times It's fine. Into the first song or two I can tell if I need to adjust or not, tune if needed (snare only, I'm talkin) and move on. BUt some nights It's like I'm chasing my own tail. I'll start at one pitch,then higher ,higher,and once more higher until it's obvious to my ear, AND forearm, I've gone too far. So then maybe on break I'll check the bottom head to see if that's what's bugging me.

Like I said, alot of nights it's fine but some nights I can't get it to feel good like I want it,and I just keep tuning up or down to see where the sweet spot is for the room,or the weather, or my mood, whatever. To add Murphy's law into it, on these type of nights usually by the very end of the last set I've stumbled onto some awesome sounding tuning arrived at by random.

I would appreciate any input at all ... I can't be the only one who does this.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I usually retune my drums before soundcheck to make sure none of them are detuning or going flabby, but I don't keep messing with them once they're there.

Since you're going higher, maybe you're looking for a crack that you can't quite hear onstage...? Try tuning your snare side head up a touch higher than your batter. Just as this gives your toms body, it creates resonance in your snare, too. Sometimes a snare can seems to lose some qualities of its sound when played live due to the elevated volume, the room, etc.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I very seldom have to either tune or retune my snare.
I check it for feel and loose tension rods before a gig and I am good to go.
I sometimes adjust the strainer while playing for a different sound.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Are you tuning higher so that you can hear the snare as the bands volume goes up in the typical volume tug of war. Most bands want to get louder as the night goes on. Don't no why but it happens
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
If there's already a thread on this,forgive me. BUT, I have a tendency to want to tune my snare gradually higher and higher during the gig. Not every gig, but many. It goes something like this:
I check the tuning as I set up before the first set,and most times It's fine. Into the first song or two I can tell if I need to adjust or not, tune if needed (snare only, I'm talkin) and move on. BUt some nights It's like I'm chasing my own tail. I'll start at one pitch,then higher ,higher,and once more higher until it's obvious to my ear, AND forearm, I've gone too far. So then maybe on break I'll check the bottom head to see if that's what's bugging me.

Like I said, alot of nights it's fine but some nights I can't get it to feel good like I want it,and I just keep tuning up or down to see where the sweet spot is for the room,or the weather, or my mood, whatever. To add Murphy's law into it, on these type of nights usually by the very end of the last set I've stumbled onto some awesome sounding tuning arrived at by random.

I would appreciate any input at all ... I can't be the only one who does this.
I used to do this because the band would keep getting louder and I wanted to be able to project over them until I actually heard somebody else do the same thing and hated it because the drums now cracked right through and was a little unbearable. Then I learned that I control the band by how I play. If I keep cranking up to get louder, the band keeps doing it too, and you're in this vicious cycle. So now, I stay down and the band stays down too. It's more important to keep the patrons happy and able to talk than it is to reign over the volume of the band ;)
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
This sounds like you should try tightening your snare reso. Mine is really tight, a little before stretching starts. Tight resos....I really advocate that. It makes all drums sound better IMO.
 

oldrockdrummer

Senior Member
I tune my reso head at 80 and batter at 90 with the snares not too tight as to choke the drum i never go over 85 reso 95 batter these are drum dial settings. the things that mess with you are; the room fills up with people and changes the acoustics, the band gets louder, you get hearing fatigue. these all change the way you hear the snare from behind the kit but it doesn't change the tone of the drum out front unless you constantly change the tuning. you just have to trust the fact that if it sounded good at the beginning of the night it sounds just as good at the end, just maybe not to you.
 

ambientgreg

Senior Member
To give a bit more info: My general tuning is snare side a bit less than timbale tight,snares have good breath, and the top somewhere between fatback and guitar center tight ,if that makes sense. In other words, a almost torqued bottom and a slightly tighter than medium top.

I should perhaps just be more aware and ask myself "why do I want to touch the tuning"? right when I get the urge on a gig,and go from there.... but any other input is definitely welcome
and appreciated.
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
I had a gig just last night where because I was not close-mic'd, I turned up all the batter heads for some more brightness, articulation and projection. The good part was that the balance of my instrument couldn't get destroyed in the mix!
 

wsabol

Gold Member
Every once and a while I had this problem at gigs. I wanted a fat studio sound, but my snare always sounded mushy gushy -- not the way I heard it in my head.

I kept my reso head really cranked, pretty much choked. But for my last gig, I loosened my snare side head a bit so it resonated better, and cranked my batter head. Now my snare sounds awesome. My batter is cranked to the point of choking (I could still go more).. that coupled with the looser reso, retained that fat sound I wanted, but I had articulation and crack that I just couldn't get with my previous tuning.
 

ambientgreg

Senior Member
I'm beginning to think maybe I should just tune once before the first set and then put my drum key away and out of reach the rest of the night and see how that works ..haha.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
I just switch to a different snare ;-)

Seriously, the band I play with does this transition over the evening from traditional blues to funk. So I start the night with one snare set up low and fat and somewhere along the line I go to something crisper, tighter and louder. I kind of have a collection of snares that go from pretty thuddy and wet to high tight church sounds, so I can usually find a couple to bridge the evening depending on the size and volume of the gig.

But I agree with the folks out there about it sounding different out front. Yesterday I took my Acrolite out to a jam. I'd been talking to the house drummer about softer drums for small gigs and he had mentioned thinking about an Acrolite for that particular room. He was usually using a 6 1/2 maple Ludwig for it but wasn't completely satisfied. This guy is a local session ace and instructor and has everything from a Dunnett Titanium to old vintage wood things. After playing his kit as is earlier, at the end of the night he had me go back up with the Acrolite. On that stage, while playing it, it sounded really low and wet. I was reminded of the highly damped things Steve Jordan plays on his Groove is Here video. I had one moongel which I took off but left the internal damper softly engaged (mainly because I forgot it was there). Then he went up and played it, an apparently put the moongel back on. Out front in the room, there was much more crunch and a more balanced sound. Higher pitched and more present than it sounded while playing it. The balance in that room was just about right. As a highly experienced pro, he recognized the difference between what he was hearing above it and what it sounded like out front and how to translate. And he didn't feel the need to crank it up because he knew what was going into the room, even though I invited him to do whatever he thought would make it sound better.

When people feel the need to cut though, they typically go for brighter and higher pitch. It separates from the cacophony on stage more. But out in front, it often just sounds piercing and annoying. The secret is arrangement. Having the parts worked out so that each instrument and part has a place and they aren't fighting each other. This is why the truly pro bands sound different.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I run into that phenomenon from time to time, though it happens as least as often in our practice room. If I'm not feeling the drum's charms, I usually start at the tension rods closest to me to see if any have worked themselves loose. If that doesn't fix it, I turn it over and snug up the reso head.

For how I like to hear my snare (which is similar to you by what I gather), a slightly loose or uneven reso is pretty noticeable and usually an easy fix. But there's a point where a reso can get too tight and the snare starts to lose some of its body and begins to sound harsh. I've pulled out enough hair by just cranking the batter ever tighter without checking the reso.
 
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