#1
*forgive me for 1)posting this twice or 2)posting this in a wrong forum. Im unsure as to where i would ask drum questions. which is why i posted this twice. once here and once in the pit*


can any drum pros give me a quick or even detailed explanation of the tuning of drum kits?

i always get the same thing when i ask, what are drums tuned to? they say, "depends"


but i really would like to know specifics. i understand everyone's kit is different and parts can be different and tuned differently. but can drums be tuned to a key? does it sound better when in the same key as the guitar? is it common for snares to be the same percussive note as the bass drum? are cymbols tuned to a note? what are common note intervals of the toms or other drums, on a 3 peice set?(bass, snare, 2 toms, and floor tom). are there drum tuners?

just throw me anything you might know about drums and tuning.
If you dont find theory interesting, then DONT study it. IF your TRULY serious about playing guitar(enjoying), then EVENTUALLY you WILL WANT to study it.
#2
im not sure about tuning so im posting to keep this on my posts page, hope u get some answers casue it would be something interestign for me to learn
#3
I wish I knew the answer to this question; I happen to have a kit that needs tuning very badly
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#5
There is a specific tuning method...but my drummer just kinda hits it until it sounds "right." He may just have a good ear for drum tuning, but eh.

Hey guys! I just started playing electric guitar should I get a Gabson Lay Pall or a Femdor Startokaster. I like the picks on the gabsons but i like how sweet femdors look. Beforre i get a gabson what company makes them?
#6
Quote by ChurchNSkate
There is a specific tuning method...but my drummer just kinda hits it until it sounds "right." He may just have a good ear for drum tuning, but eh.



Lol thats just asking for a drummer joke
#7
well you want it so that you can tap the head of the drum near each screw and its the same pitch for each, for toms you want the top head and bottom head to go "ding-dong" together like a doorbell.
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#8
i have no clue on how to tune drums...
my brother is jst started taking drum lessons, i could ask his teacher
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#9
You make the tension across the entire head of the drum the same. You tap it in circles until you find a spot that's lower or higher than the rest of the drum, and adjust the closest screw. When the tension across the entire head is even, it sounds far clearer and crisper.
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#11
Typically you don't need to tune to a specific note, but the difference drum pieces sound good when they are specific melodic intervals away from each other.
#12
1) Yes drums can be tuned to a key. Terry Bozzios kit has a range of two octaves (chromatic).

2) In theory yes, but nobody can really tell.

3) It is not common for the two to be tuned to the same note, because the dnare "drum" is not what produces the sound. It is the snapping of those little wires underneath.

4)Cymbals are tuned to a note, Terry bozzio has his cymbals arranged in A harmonic minor.

5)I don't know about a "common" interval but MY middle tom is a minor third above my floor tom, and my high tom is a perfect fourth above my floor tom. My snare drum is tight so I can roll well. My bass drum is an octave below my floor tom. It could be anything really.

6) There are no real drum "tuners" in the sense of guitar tuners, but you just tell by ear perfect fourth/fifth etc.
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#13
Quote by Manjinken
*forgive me for 1)posting this twice or 2)posting this in a wrong forum. Im unsure as to where i would ask drum questions. which is why i posted this twice. once here and once in the pit*


can any drum pros give me a quick or even detailed explanation of the tuning of drum kits?

i always get the same thing when i ask, what are drums tuned to? they say, "depends"


but i really would like to know specifics. i understand everyone's kit is different and parts can be different and tuned differently. but can drums be tuned to a key? does it sound better when in the same key as the guitar? is it common for snares to be the same percussive note as the bass drum? are cymbols tuned to a note? what are common note intervals of the toms or other drums, on a 3 peice set?(bass, snare, 2 toms, and floor tom). are there drum tuners?

just throw me anything you might know about drums and tuning.



Let me just start by saying that it's really insulting when people think drummers are stupid/lesser for just tuning to what sounds "right." If you ask me, theory and structure detracts from the creative portion of music to an extent, so it bothers me that drummers who have to use their ear, creative intuition, and their own technique get shat on by guitarists who follow techniques other guitarists have laid down before them, and likewise, theory. I'm not saying guitarists are any less of artists for doing so, in fact, I would love to play guitar someday...but to say a drummer is LESS of an artist because he uses creativity and artistic intuition in his work more commonly, isn't fair.

On to drum tuning:

On my kit, and this is my personal preference:

I tune every head on my toms 6 half turns. I then lower them an even amount of turns (if I lower my 13" batter head 3 turns, I lower my 16" floor tom batter head 3 turns as well on every lug). For resonant heads, I do the same thing, but independently from the batters (ie. If I lower my 13" and 16" toms batter heads 3 half turns, I don't necessarily do that for the resonant heads...I may lower them only 1 half turn or 2 half turns, but remember, I do it to both of them evenly - the batter and the reso's of each drum get even treatment depending on whether or not its a reso or batter). This keeps them in pitch with each other extremely well, and they stay in the same octave, one could say. This can just be done evenly until you get the sound you like. The reason it's a good idea to tighten them up a good amount before loosening, is cause when you get new drumheads, they need to be stretched a bit. A good thing to do is to tighten them up 6 half turns or so, and push in on the head as hard as you can, so when you finally get it tuned up, it doesn't lose its tuning after 5 minutes of playing (sort of like guitar strings ).


To answer your question a bit more thoroughly, yes you can tune drums to a note.

If you REALLY want to, here's my suggestion for tuning to notes.

Tune your resonant head to the higher 3rd or 5th of whatever you tune your batter head to. Always make sure it's higher, cause it creates a very nice dissonance between the 2 heads.

So, you tighten your resonant head up, and grab a tuner. Tune the head until the tuner reads, for arguments sake, G. Once the head is tuned perfectly to G, put the batter head on, and tune it up. Then use the tuner to tune it to either a 3rd, or 5th BELOW G. Tuning below the resonating 3rd or 5th creates a very even, nice sounding dissonance for the drum to resonate by. So in this case, you'd tune the batter head to either C (5th) or E-Flat (3rd). You'll hear absolutely no overtones, and only pure, simple tone from the drum when you do this properly.

Now onto my personal beliefs:

Just in my opinion, not putting anyone down:

There's no reason to tune them to notes. They are the instrument in the band that doesn't have to resonate with the rest of the instruments, and because when a drum is hit, there's anywhere from 5 to 15 tones generated, it'd be extremely hard to limit a drum to creating a few in-key tones all the time. If you can make your drums possess even tension, and a clean resonating sound, then there's nothing more you can do to make them sound good.

As far as tuning the bass drum and snare together, this is never done. Bass drums and snares are far too picky about their head tension, and in the same breath, too far away pitch wise (like 4 or 5 octaves even at the highest bass drum and lowest snare drum) to evenly tune them together. Typically on a snare, the snare-side head (or basically resonant head) is cranked and it's usually extremely tight, so every hit is articulated with the snare wires. The batter head on a snare is what controls the pitch. You typically crank the resonant head and forget about it, and then tune your batter depending. From experience, lowering the batter head creates a very fat, gunshot-like snare sound, and cranking it creates a high pitched, dry snare sound.


To answer your question about cymbals...they can't be tuned, they're just differently sized and machined pieces of bronze, copper, silver alloy that are manufactured at different thicknesses etc to have a certain sound. There are no notes they can be bought in key with, or so to speak, 'tuned to.' There are too many variations on cymbal material, size, shape, and overall composition for notes to even be factored in.

There really isn't a rule on intervals...it's more how you use the drums in relation to the intervals. Say for instance I did tons of tom-fills using 4 or 5 toms at a time, i'd more than likely have them tuned with very complimenting intervals between the toms...whereas if I have 1 or 2 toms in my whole kit, I may tune them individually because they have such different applications. It's very very personal, and individualistic. With me, I just like to be able to hit one and hit the next and notice how well they ring out together, which they always do.

There is no such thing as a drum tuner...but the closest thing is this thingy:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Tama-TW100-Tension-Watch?sku=440043

It's called the Tama Tension Watch. You place it at each lug on your drum, and it gives you a tension reading. The idea behind the thing is that it helps you tune your drums consistently each time, and very close to each other lug-wise. The main problem with this, is once you have one lug to a certain tension, and you tune another one, the lug you just tuned has a tension loss or gain depending on how you tune the lug after it...so it's sort of a failed idea. The best application is for when you have all your drums cranked and are tuning after owning them for a while...just to even the tension out every now and then, sort of how you have you periodically (or just about each time you play after a break or playing for a while) tune your guitar strings, drum heads need to be tuned up every now and then, and this thing can come in handy for that. It isn't very practical, but it's a neat little gizmo to have, I guess. I don't use it.
If you want lug to lug eveness, but don't want to invest in one, you can use a tuner (or in my case, ears) and tap lug to lug, in order to get them all to just be the same note, regardless of what note it even is. Just make sure they're all the same. That's really the general rule...make sure the head tension is even.

If you, or anyone has any questions about drums/gear (yes, gear in general), feel free to PM me, or hit me up on AIM. I don't mind spending time spreading some info at all


Hope this helps you out bud :]
:]
#14
ok well i understand you being the drummer you get to jerk off in your own world, but honestly i hate when people shun me for asking about drum tuning. because when my drummer come up with a melody i want to be able to not just play something thats the same rythem along to him, but i want to actually musically connect, as to create the best sound. and if i know the intervals between drums or even more so what the cymbols or heads can be tuned to, than i have alot more to work with. to produce a better sounding song.

kinda of like someone said the tool drummer tuned his kit to D. makes sense considering most of tool's songs are in D. they must have pretty magnificient sound unison between the drums and the rest of the band. I understand most people wouldnt notice the difference, but honestly im not asking about what normal people arent gonna notice. Im asking about better understanding my counterpart instrument, so i can work with him better.
If you dont find theory interesting, then DONT study it. IF your TRULY serious about playing guitar(enjoying), then EVENTUALLY you WILL WANT to study it.
#15
Quote by Manjinken
ok well i understand you being the drummer you get to jerk off in your own world, but honestly i hate when people shun me for asking about drum tuning. because when my drummer come up with a melody i want to be able to not just play something thats the same rythem along to him, but i want to actually musically connect, as to create the best sound. and if i know the intervals between drums or even more so what the cymbols or heads can be tuned to, than i have alot more to work with. to produce a better sounding song.

kinda of like someone said the tool drummer tuned his kit to D. makes sense considering most of tool's songs are in D. they must have pretty magnificient sound unison between the drums and the rest of the band. I understand most people wouldnt notice the difference, but honestly im not asking about what normal people arent gonna notice. Im asking about better understanding my counterpart instrument, so i can work with him better.



Wow...I can't believe I tried to help you out.

Sorry.


EDIT:: I answered every single question you asked in extreme detail?!?!?!

What the hell is your problem?
:]
Last edited by FrankTheDrummer at Mar 31, 2008,
#16
Quote by Manjinken
ok well i understand you being the drummer you get to jerk off in your own world, but honestly i hate when people shun me for asking about drum tuning. because when my drummer come up with a melody i want to be able to not just play something thats the same rythem along to him, but i want to actually musically connect, as to create the best sound. and if i know the intervals between drums or even more so what the cymbols or heads can be tuned to, than i have alot more to work with. to produce a better sounding song.

kinda of like someone said the tool drummer tuned his kit to D. makes sense considering most of tool's songs are in D. they must have pretty magnificient sound unison between the drums and the rest of the band. I understand most people wouldnt notice the difference, but honestly im not asking about what normal people arent gonna notice. Im asking about better understanding my counterpart instrument, so i can work with him better.


Wow dude, I thought his answer was really thorough. He answered everything you asked. He was really polite about it too.