Tuning question (simple question, don't worry)

sillypilot

Junior Member
Is there a formula (or rule of thumb) for what pitch to tune each head to (when seeking the same pitch on the reso and batter) when you want a particular note for the fundamental of the drum when hit? I know it for minor thirds, and perfect 4th. But I'm struggling with the one for same pitch on both top and bottom.

Thank you!!
 
Last edited:

drumnut87

Well-known member
not really, having a tunebot helps gets you to your desired pitch. though from my 20+ years experience, having heads at a certain pitch doesnt always equal a tuning you're happy with. i dont tune any of my drums or heads to specific notes/pitches, and ive never had any complaints from any bands about the sound of my kits :)
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I'm in the same boat as above. I never tune to anything specific. The size of the drum and head I use mostly determine the objectively "best" tuning I go for. Looking more at characteristics of the note than a specific melodic note range. That is things like "fat, not too ringy, not boing-y" that kinda thing. Typically the way I avoid "bad" sounding tuning is to ensure the lug tensions are relatively close to one another while still sounding right... A tune bot or drum dial can assist with that part for sure.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Simple question, not so simple answer. Drums are still the wild west tuning-wise. The tunebot has helped a lot of guys. The formula is you experiment and make up your own formula. What YOU want the drum to sound like. Only you know that. If you aren't completely sure of that, then experimenting will quickly reveal what you go for and what you don't. I'd just use a 12" tom and go through all the possibilities to see what you prefer.

Your 3 main approaches are:

Batter and reso at the same tension
Batter lower than reso (3rd, 4th, 5th, apart are the main intervals people use. Octaves work too. Some don't go for specific intervals. Wild west).
Batter higher than reso.

And of course all the various tuning possibilities with each approach, high tuning, medium tuning and low tuning each way for starters.

You make the rules for your drums.

Me I like the reso higher than the batter, on all drums, but others don't because it doesn't fit their style. Cool.

Whatever trips your trap. But you have to put the time in to see what you like. It's work for sure. Fun, but still work.

Maybe get a tunebot to know exactly where you are tension-wise. That would save time in re-creating a sound that you dig.

Experiment on heads that you prefer that aren't dented if possible.
 
Last edited:

sillypilot

Junior Member
Thanks for the responses!! I don't think I worded my question correctly. What I'm looking for is "formula" which you use to tune a drum to a specific note when you tune both heads to the same pitch. For example if I want to turn a drum to A (second octave) I can use a perfect 4th an tune the reso to A (3rd octave) and the batter to E (3rd octave). If I want to use minor 3rd, I tune the reso to G# and the batter to F. So if I want to tune the drum to A, I can't figure out what pitch to tune both heads to if I want them at the same pitch.. that is what I'm looking for.
 

drumnut87

Well-known member
Thanks for the responses!! I don't think I worded my question correctly. What I'm looking for is "formula" which you use to tune a drum to a specific note when you tune both heads to the same pitch. For example if I want to turn a drum to A (second octave) I can use a perfect 4th an tune the reso to A (3rd octave) and the batter to E (3rd octave). If I want to use minor 3rd, I tune the reso to G# and the batter to F. So if I want to tune the drum to A, I can't figure out what pitch to tune both heads to if I want them at the same pitch.. that is what I'm looking for.
short answer is there isnt really a formula for it short of using a tunebot and a pitch tuner i dont think. if you go too deep into it you could spend hours fine tuning one drum to an exact pitchnote you wanted, but dont forget they may sound great in one room/corner/venue, then sound terrible in another due to room acoustics & resonance
 

dboomer

Senior Member
Is there a formula (or rule of thumb) for what pitch to tune each head to (when seeking the same pitch on the reso and batter) when you want a particular note for the fundamental of the drum when hit?
It doesn’t matter whether you tune each head to the same note or different notes. When you play the drum there will be a single fundamental. What changes is the harmonics on top of that fundamental.
 

Ghostin one

Senior Member
From the same page GetAgrippa posted, take the pitch in hertz of the fundamental you want, and tune both heads to a frequency 1.75 times higher than the fundamental. (It should be between 1.6 and 1.9 X higher)

Look where it says "maximum resonance" for equal pitched top and bottom heads:

 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
This
But each individual drum is a tad different. Both the same tension may or may not give wierd overtones once you zero in on the fundamental you are looking for.
It's Fun!
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
I know that when using a minor 3rd interval (reso higher than batter) the fundamental note should end up a semitone higher than the note of the reso head. So to determine what works for same-pitched heads, simply tune the drum to any random fundamental note and compare the reso note to the fundamental, then see if the result is repeatable at your desired fundamental note, which it should be.
 
Last edited:

moxman

Silver Member
Lots of good tips here.. Read the 'drum tuning bible' pinned link on top of main forum page. It explains in detail, finding the fundamental tone etc. Etc. I've tried tune bot like devices but prefer using my ears... Very fast and accurate. Like most i use a reso that is between a third to 4th higher than batter. And medium high tension. For overall pitch figure out what snare sound you are after.. Find a recorded sample of your favorite drummers snare and compare it to the sound of your drum..figure out the range to tune it in.. It will get you in the ball park..
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
I feel the people who ask stuff like this will benefit HUGE from a tunebot to get them in the range and learn. When someone asks tuning questions and people say "just do it by ear" it drives me nuts, because the OP clearly can't do it by ear yet. Chicken and egg situation.

The tunebot is a great tool and using 3rds and 4ths Really helps. They have a phone app and website to punch in the size of your drum, and your desired resonence, and if you want the batter higher, lower, or the same as the reso. bing bang boom.

Once you get all your drums tuned using that, (theres 100's of combinations) you can feel free to adjust it by ear as much as you want until you are confident doing it without.

I love my tunebot, it saves me a ton of time. I don't treat it as gospal, and will often adjust it after. but it gets me REALLY close REALLY fast. And people always complement how awesome my kit sounds.
 

dmacc_2

Well-known member
I feel the people who ask stuff like this will benefit HUGE from a tunebot to get them in the range and learn. When someone asks tuning questions and people say "just do it by ear" it drives me nuts, because the OP clearly can't do it by ear yet. Chicken and egg situation.

The tunebot is a great tool and using 3rds and 4ths Really helps. They have a phone app and website to punch in the size of your drum, and your desired resonence, and if you want the batter higher, lower, or the same as the reso. bing bang boom.

Once you get all your drums tuned using that, (theres 100's of combinations) you can feel free to adjust it by ear as much as you want until you are confident doing it without.

I love my tunebot, it saves me a ton of time. I don't treat it as gospal, and will often adjust it after. but it gets me REALLY close REALLY fast. And people always complement how awesome my kit sounds.
I agree with this totally. Tuned for years by ear / feel. After 45 years, my ears are shot so I now use the Tunebot Studio. Wish the tool was invented decades ago.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
I agree with this totally. Tuned for years by ear / feel. After 45 years, my ears are shot so I now use the Tunebot Studio. Wish the tool was invented decades ago.
100%. Been playing over 20 years. Quite confident with my tuning. Every time I buy new heads if I grab the TuneBot not only does it get me there faster, it also sometimes will make me try something I wasn't expecting. Plus it gets the intervals at a very good starting point.

I also think if you love your tuning, saving those settings or writing them down lets you get it bang on the next time.

Plus in the studio you can actually tune your drums every song or 2, and get them back to the EXACT point you started at. This is priceless as if you do an 8 hour session or record over a few days even your kit will sound different or go out of tune. Guitar players are ALWAYS tuning. It's for the same reason. This alone is a reason to learn how to use the Tunebot.

I say the last post because all the guys who say "Just tune it by ear" would have NO idea what to do if I handed them one. Sure, it's a tuner. but it took me many many head changes to actually get good and efficient with it. TBH I hated it for a while and couldn't seem to get it to work well, but practice has paid off and I love it now.
 

moxman

Silver Member
The thing that drives me nuts is that everytime you post something on this forum there's always one poster that gets their knickers in a twist because it doesn't align with their world view. Get over it. The only thing I said was .. the tunebot discussion was covered in previous tips.. but there is great value in knowing how and why you tune drums to get the sounds you are after.. and the drum bible as mentioned covered all that stuff.. it's not a chicken and egg thing - it's called 'learning'.. and the OP sounds like they have more than general knowledge of tuning.. I believe the original was request for a formula to quickly tune both heads to an 'A'.. you can debate why anyone would want to do that but.. the Tunebot is one method - and like you said it's not easy to figure out off the bat.. there are definite advantages to knowing both techniques. Like I said I have used both but prefer doing it the acoustic method.. I hope that doesn't drive you nuts! Lol..
 
Top