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  1. Registered User

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    VisionVLX, or anyone else for that matter... see if you can give me an answer to this one...

    Say I like the feel and tone of a drum when the reso is tuned to a higher pitch than the batter, but I wanna shoot for an overall pitch for the drum to match the key of a song...

    How would I go about trying to achieve these two goals? Which head would have more of an impact, if any, on the overall pitch?

    I'm guessing that to have these two criteria met, it may end up something like this: (for example a 10" tom)

    Desired overall pitch: D
    Reso head: high F
    Batter head: Bb on the octave below the F

    Would these tunings kinda meet in the middle to give me somewhere near my D? I hope I'm making sense.....

  2. I'm not Lebowski; I'm the dude

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    Quote Originally Posted by VisionVLX
    It's commonly said that the ideal interval between toms should be a P4 (ie C-F), as this eliminates potential interference between drums. Special consideration is given to the interval between snare and relative toms, as a certain tom that causes a loud buzz from the snare can be quite annoying.

    Another reason why the P4 is ideal is because it is the strongest proggresion in music. It is what we call the circle of fiths..I-IV-vii*-ii-vi-iii-V-I. In other words, our ears enjoy hearing one going to the other very much. There is a reason why 90% of mainstream songs end V-I

    I keep this in mind when tune drum to drum, however, I don't pay too much attention between reso and batter absolute pitch. I find a general looser or tigher approach is sufficient.

    And if you have any theory questions, feel free to PM me. I was unfortunate enough to be a music major, haha.
    It really depends on how many toms are involved.

    In general, the more toms you have, the less interval between each drum because you'll either end up with your highest tom sounding like a tea kettle, or your lowest one flapping out.
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  3. Deputy Grand Poobah

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    You can, and I did for a while, tune to absolute pitches, but I found it kind of useless to do so. The drum should be able to play any pitch as you tune to it. It has to do with the shells, as DW has pointed out. It is a gimmick to an extent...but I digress...

    Most instruments utilize what is called the overtone series. This is more in brass instruments, but I have it in mind when I tune my kit.

    I usually tune a set of toms starting with either the middle or the lowest drum. As soon as it has a relatively round sound, I tune the others from there usually in 4ths (VisionVLX is spot on about this). The resos are ALWAYS tighter than the tops (usually a 4th, but can fluctuate). The reason for this is projection. A tighter reso helps the drum to project.

    Snare is usually a 2nd or a third above the highest tom, unless its a 10" or higher. Then it goes in between in pitch. Bass drum, pitch-wise is not important. Feel is more important when bass drum tuning is concerned.

    Music Theory is best learned with a piano. It makes it easier to see the intervals, chords, and to better associate what you're hearing with the visual aspect. Some of the best drummers of our day happen to know a few other instruments, and apply what they've learned musically to the drums. It's a great relationship.

    Plus, I always love the look on guitarists, bassists, and keyboardists faces when I tell them "Yeah, the G7b9 chord goes great right there"... "try it in A right there, I think the color of that key is better in this part"..

    Good luck!

  4. I'm not Lebowski; I'm the dude

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    Quote Originally Posted by drummaman1
    You can, and I did for a while, tune to absolute pitches, but I found it kind of useless to do so. The drum should be able to play any pitch as you tune to it...
    I notice that whenever the subject of "tuning to pitches" gets brought up on this forum, people (the naysayers! ) immediately assume it means you can, for example, ONLY tune a 12" tom to B, or whatever.

    Of course, every drum has a certain range it can be tuned within - from really bright, cutting and explosive to dark, deep and mellow and everything in between for that drum.

    The point of tuning to pitches is for those drummers who want to duplicate a certain tuning scheme from head change to head change, without having to start from scratch on each drum - tuning, hitting, tuning, hitting, etc. If you already know what pitch to tune each head to (or what the tension is for those who use the Drum Dial), you will get there much faster and to EXACTLY how they were tuned before. I like to tune my snares and bass drums to around G-A and then tune my toms around that, so for me, this is very useful.

    The only reason I stumbled open this was because I finally got to the point where I liked how my Tamas sounded (many years ago) at a given tuning and thought it would make sense if I could just figure out what pitch each drum was tuned to, I should be able to tune them that way again. I then figured out that tuning each head to that pitch WILL NOT give you that pitch for the drum as a whole. Strange, but true.

    I also started doing this after hearing various drumming videos of my favorite drummers (like Weckl, Simon Phillips and Greg Bissonette), whose drums I think sound very melodic. So, for example, I ended up being able to tune my 8", 10", 12" and 14" toms and 14x3.5 brass pic to sound like Weckl's drums on his first instructional video - very dark, cutting, wet and musical.

    IMO, this is very useful, especially for drummers who are just starting out. They can find out what they like and what to do to get their drums to sound that way, without having to think, "gee, how does so-in-so get his kit to sound like that?", or even just basic things like how to tune a drum. I don't know how many of these types of threads I've seen on this forum.

    I can guarentee that NO drummer can retune their drums BY EAR EXACTLY how they were before a head change. Not unless they have a perfect memory and perfect pitch.
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  5. Export User

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    Nice to see a good discussion going, although most of em are critics
    Maybe some information on how we tune toms and snares to pitch so we could help others out, and compare/share ideas.

    I do have the Bob Gatzen dvd, that one really inspired me for the tonal tuning but it's somewhat dated. On the Evans website he gives some tips using EC2 heads, so there must be a newer video floating around there somewhere?

    The whole tuning in 4th's thing seems interessting, I might try that. I found that tuning the resonant side on my 10" tom higher gave a more distorted sound so I tuned it back down and even. Might fool around with it again tomorrow.
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  6. Export User

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    Bob Gatzen - Tonal Tuning
    From the Evans website

    Tonal Tuning - Part 1
    Tonal Tuning - Part 2
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  7. I'm not Lebowski; I'm the dude

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    Quote Originally Posted by KaaGeej
    ...I found that tuning the resonant side on my 10" tom higher gave a more distorted sound so I tuned it back down and even. Might fool around with it again tomorrow.
    Tuning the bottom head of any drum SLIGHTLY higher than the batter, will bring more presence to the top of the drum and a meaty feel (I used to tune this way for years and it sounds great), but if you tune it too tightly, you will start to get funky pitch bends that might not have any practical use.

    I currently tune both heads the same. To my ears, my drums sound truer and have more resonance.
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  8. a man. a plan. a canal. panama

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    As much as this is really awesome, I find it easier to just feel it. What I mean is, after tuning many adrum, drummers typically get a feel for the overall tension on the head in relation to the lug they're tuning and the other lugs. So while pitch and note tuning is a great idea, I find it easier for myself (I have tried pitch tuning before), to just feel the overall tension, and I always get an amazing tuning job out of my drums. Nice post though, have some rep.
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  9. Registered User

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    I simply go by the tuning that Terry Bozzio used on his "Melodic Drumming and the Ostinato" videos which sounds absolutely incredible! I've tried many other types of tuning (3rd's, every other black key, etc.) but for some reason, I keep coming back to this one. Now I've made this my permanent tuning. The pitches are, 16"-C#, 14"-F#, 12"-B, 10"-E, 8"-A, 8" single-headed-D, 8" single-headed-G. All in 4ths. I keep the tops and the bottoms the same pitch so then that way I only have one 'note' coming from my drum instead of two. These sound VERY musical and melodic! My toms now sound like one big "xylophone". As far as the time it takes to tune, once you know your exact pitches, it gets easier every time. I can tune all 7 toms, tops and bottoms, in less than a half hour no problem! When it comes to tuning though, every person is different in this regard. Try different tunings and see which one works best for you. Good luck.
    Last edited by carl62; 12-29-2007 at 01:28 PM.

  10. I'm not Lebowski; I'm the dude

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl62
    ...The pitches are, 16"-C#, 14"-F#, 12"-B, 10"-E, 8"-A, 8"...All in 4ths. I keep the tops and the bottoms the same pitch...
    We're twins!

    This is exactly how I have both of my kits tuned right now and have actually been using this scheme for a few years now. Bass drums and snares to G. My kits sound great. Not too tight or loose; very melodic

    Prior to this, I used
    8"=E, 10"=B, 12"=F#, 14"=C# - very early Weckl sounding toms

    10"=E, 12"=C#, 13"=A#, 14"=G, 16"=E - another great rock tuning. Very wide-open and explosive.
    For sale!: 13" Zildjian A Mastersound top/New Beat bot -
    22" Zildjian A Flat ride -
    22" Zildjian Z Heavy Power ride -
    12" Zildjian Z splash -
    PM me for pricing!

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  11. Registered User

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    Quote Originally Posted by veggyboy
    We're twins!

    This is exactly how I have both of my kits tuned right now and have actually been using this scheme for a few years now.
    I absolutely swear by this tuning! This is the most melodic my toms have ever sounded, and trust me when I tell you that I've tried and recorded with MANY types of tuning. This is the tuning that my students hear my toms at and they all love it and want the same. This is now officially my "standard" tuning for 10", 12", and 14". If you have a 12", 13" and 16", tune them the same as the 12", 14" and 16". Again, all 4ths with the 16" starting at a C# (or if your lowest is the 14", then an F#). Happy tuning.

  12. Registered User

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    Quote Originally Posted by veggyboy
    It really depends on how many toms are involved.

    In general, the more toms you have, the less interval between each drum because you'll either end up with your highest tom sounding like a tea kettle, or your lowest one flapping out.
    Yes, exactly. But considering you have a fairly "normal" setup, P4s work great.

    And as to your other question KG, assuming it hasn't already been answered..
    the batter head dictates pitch much more so than the reso. In saying this I don't intend to say that the batter should be the bulk of your worries, because the reso head is just as important.

    And also, don't get too caught up in trying to force drums into certain pitch ranges. The diameter of the drum will dictate alot of the pitch, so tuning toms should be pretty much the same across the board. Don't sacrifice a chocked drum sound for ideal intervals. At the end of the day, it's just about what sounds good, not what looks good on paper.
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