Tuning intervals for brighter sounding toms?

cdrums21

Gold Member
I put a finger on the center of the (cleared and tuned to the pitch I like) batter head while the drum is on the floor and tap near a tension rod to hear the harmonic tone
This is a little perplexing to me as well.....so when I listen to the pitch in front of each tension rod when I’m tuning a drum, I don’t listen for a harmonic tone....just a clear pitch that I try to get to match all the way around. No harmonics involved. A harmonic frequency is related to the pitch, but not the actual pitch itself. I’ll flip the drum over and do the same to the resonant head. Currently, my resonant heads are close to a full step above the batter, maybe a little sharp or flat here and there.
So, if Larry is doing the same thing that I do and maybe labeling the pitch he is hearing as a harmonic when it’s actually just the pitch at the tension rod, then his head would indeed be an octave higher in pitch.
Sorry to hijack the thread, just wanted to try to clarify if Larry’s reso tuning really is an octave higher than the batter.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
This is a little perplexing to me as well.....so when I listen to the pitch in front of each tension rod when I’m tuning a drum, I don’t listen for a harmonic tone....just a clear pitch that I try to get to match all the way around. No harmonics involved. A harmonic frequency is related to the pitch, but not the actual pitch itself. I’ll flip the drum over and do the same to the resonant head. Currently, my resonant heads are close to a full step above the batter, maybe a little sharp or flat here and there.
So, if Larry is doing the same thing that I do and maybe labeling the pitch he is hearing as a harmonic when it’s actually just the pitch at the tension rod, then his head would indeed be an octave higher in pitch.
Sorry to hijack the thread, just wanted to try to clarify if Larry’s reso tuning really is an octave higher than the batter.
This is one of those times where a Tune-Bot would clear things right up for us.

If anyone reading this has a Tune-Bot, a Drum Dial, a 12" tom and clear Ambassadors, they could figure it right out. lol
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
tuning all your toms brighter and higher pitched will definitely cut and carry any music and especially un-miced. You may not like it so higher pitched behind the kit but record and give it a listen. I always took Larry "a full octave" higher reso a figure of speech that it's much brighter and carries the drums final pitch? Anyways seems many of us prefer the tighter reso head rather than balanced heads. I tried all of the combinations-with drum dial and iDrum pitch app-and choosing the reso head to be higher pitched and carry the final pitch worked and sounded best when I tried it. You can get the feel of the batter head just right and to your liking and then tighten the heck out the reso for a higher tuning pitch (I thought it would sound bad at highest tunings I tried and the reso would likely choke out-but it sounded fine on my Pearl Decades. I tuned my 10 and 13 in toms ridiculously high just to see. I was surprised they had that range for an inexpensive kit-surprised the heck out of me. I just assumed the worse. Man a weird feeling of Deja Vu and I've relayed this exact post before. You ever do that?
 
Last edited:

WallyY

Platinum Member
Lower tunings will have a lesser amount of tones between the edge and the center.
Higher tunings will be more discerning of reflective tones that make it sound brighter.
The interval difference of low tuned drums like two floor toms is less noticeable than the interval difference of higher tuned toms. Lower tones with wider intervals work better for low tuning.
If toms are a fourth apart in fundamental, but there are two floor toms a fifth apart, it can sound perfectly cohesive because our ears don't differentiate lower tones as well.
It works because drums are indefinite pitched.
 

Paul Blood

Junior Member
Lower tones with wider intervals work better for low tuning.
If toms are a fourth apart in fundamental, but there are two floor toms a fifth apart, it can sound perfectly cohesive because our ears don't differentiate lower tones as well.
It works because drums are indefinite pitched.
I'm playing around with a 10, 12, 13 rack toms and a 14' and 16' floor tom. I do find it a bit hard to get a good interval between the two floor toms, but oddly, I the 12 and 13 have a nice discernible interval between them. I guess I need to fiddle around more.....
 

EricT43

Senior Member
For a 12/14 setup for non-jazz stuff, I like to tune them to A#/D# fundamentals (perfect 5th), with the reso a minor third above the batter.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
I love having the reso a 4th higher but even tuning is a better choice when 5 or 6 toms are in play. I like them tuned high as well which makes fitting the snare in without excessive rattle and buzz quite difficult
 

TMe

Senior Member
Since your drums are 2" apart in diameter, a perfect fourth interval between your 12" and 14" tom should work well and land you in the sweet spot range of notes for each drum. From experience, I would say your 12" tom would sound great with the batter head tuned to about a G (196 hz), bottom head about a minor third higher B flat (233 hz.) The 14" tom would be about a D (146 hz.) with bottom head at F (174 hz.) Try those pitches and see if that doesn't get you close. I'd be curious to know. Good luck!
Thanks for the advice. I ended up going a semi-tone lower for the tom and a semi-tone higher for the floor, but used the same minor third intervals between the heads. That really did the trick.

Sorry for the slow response. I got busy at work, then got sick for a few weeks with regular influenza. That was no fun at all. I gotta say, the flu was bad enough. Now I really don't want covid-19.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
check your bearing edges as well. If they are rounded, intentionally, that is to provide a warmer sound. sharper edges would help.
 

TMe

Senior Member
check your bearing edges as well. If they are rounded, intentionally, that is to provide a warmer sound. sharper edges would help.
My drums do have rounded edges. That was great when I wanted a beefy "thud" from the drums. Now that I'm going for a brighter sound, the round edges aren't so great. Following the advice of cdrums21, simply moving them to higher pitches and using minor thirds between the batters and reso's really helped.
 
Last edited:

Beats Mode

New member
This is one of those times where a Tune-Bot would clear things right up for us.

If anyone reading this has a Tune-Bot, a Drum Dial, a 12" tom and clear Ambassadors, they could figure it right out. lol
I just did a tune-bot to drum dial comparison on a 12" tom with a clear emperor over a clear ambassador using Larryace's drum dial settings.

Batter tensioned to 75 at each lug = 200 hz on the tune-bot or a 3rd octave G.

Reso tensioned to 83 at each lug = 315 hz or a 4th octave D#.

So indeed Larryace is tuning his heads with an octave of separation.

The fundamental note of the tom after doing the tuning was 145 or a 3rd octave D, btw.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
I just did a tune-bot to drum dial comparison on a 12" tom with a clear emperor over a clear ambassador using Larryace's drum dial settings.

Batter tensioned to 75 at each lug = 200 hz on the tune-bot or a 3rd octave G.

Reso tensioned to 83 at each lug = 315 hz or a 4th octave D#.

So indeed Larryace is tuning his heads with an octave of separation.

The fundamental note of the tom after doing the tuning was 145 or a 3rd octave D, btw.
No necessarily but its plausible. It depends on which harmonic The tunbot is focusing on. A G to D# is a minor sixth. Its a larger than usual interval but is not a full octave.
 

Beats Mode

New member
No necessarily but its plausible. It depends on which harmonic The tunbot is focusing on. A G to D# is a minor sixth. Its a larger than usual interval but is not a full octave.
Yeah sorry, I suck at music theory. The separation between the batter and resonant head is 8 semi-tones, which I misstated as an octave.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Yeah sorry, I suck at music theory. The separation between the batter and resonant head is 8 semi-tones, which I misstated as an octave.
Thanks for the work on that! I believe Larry uses Ambassadors top and bottom, so the Drum Dial number for the batter head will likely give a different pitch than with the Emperor. Still, I appreciate the time, and it's pretty informative!

Edit - if I recall, a thicker (therefore stiffer) head like an Emperor will gives a lower pitch at a given drum dial number than a thinner head will. Therefore, it's likely that there is an even smaller interval between Uncle Larry's batter and reso than this test shows. That's IF I'm remembering drum dial info correctly.
 
Last edited:

Beats Mode

New member
Thanks for the work on that! I believe Larry uses Ambassadors top and bottom, so the Drum Dial number for the batter head will likely give a different pitch than with the Emperor. Still, I appreciate the time, and it's pretty informative!

Edit - if I recall, a thicker (therefore stiffer) head like an Emperor will gives a lower pitch at a given drum dial number than a thinner head will. Therefore, it's likely that there is an even smaller interval between Uncle Larry's batter and reso than this test shows. That's IF I'm remembering drum dial info correctly.
You're right.

I swapped the Emperor for a clear G1. With each lug tensioned to 75 on the Drum Dial, the reading on the Tune_bot went from 200 hz to 222 hz, in other words, it went from a 3rd octave G with the Emperor to a 3rd octave A with the G1, an increase of two semi-tones. So changing to the thinner, single-ply head decreased the interval between the batter and reso from eight semi-tones to six.

The overall fundamental of the drum went from 145 hz, or a 3rd octave D, to 156 hz, which is a 3rd octave D#.
 
Top