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  1. Neel

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    Default Tuning drums to notes/intervals

    Do any of you guys tune your drums to specific tones or intervals? If so, what types of setups/notes/intervals do you guys do?

    I'm thinking about trying it on my new set, but it seems like it would take a long time to get just right.

  2. Your trauma sponge

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    G-minor chord, 2nd inversion.

    16" floor tom to a low D, 13" rack tom to a G, 12" rack tom to a Bb. Takes a little while (right now I'm actually screwed up, the 12 is on a B-natural), but the end result is beautiful.

    I don't know about you guys, but when there's any dissonance between my toms it bugs me.

    When I go 10/12/14/16 it's going to be a D-minor chord entirely. D-F-A-D from lowest to highest.
    Burn my body when I'm bloody dead.
    I don't want to be found with any of you.
    I won't be found with any of you.


    My SONOR FORCE 3007s.

  3. Registered User

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    Despite the DW marketing departments efforts to convince us all otherwise... you're not actually tuning your drum to a definite pitch (Bb G C# etc). You can tune your drums so that the pitches are a relative distance apart, and thus sound like a scale, even though they aren't.

    Think of it this way: If your bass drum is tuned to a B, you wouldn't be able to play your kick drum in any song with a Bb chord, because it would clash with the bass player. We'd all have to have Bozzio kits to keep from hitting "wrong notes" during a song, or Heaven forbid the heat of stage lights drops your snare drum a half step and makes it sound flat/off key like a bad singer.
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  4. Your trauma sponge

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    It's difficult, but you can tune the heads of the drums to definite pitches, and this is where you can start working along. There's a thread in the University subsection that discusses how the various tom sizes seem to change between what notes you tune the heads to versus the end note of the drum itself.

    Any claim that toms cannot be tuned to definite pitches is just plain ludicrous. They produce a pitch, thus the pitch can be selected and tuned to. Drums aren't some magical instrument that precludes them from tuning. I've sat with a pitch pipe and my kit and gotten them all where I wanted them.

    Think of it this way. If you tune your kit so there's a major 4th between the floor and first rack tom and then a minor third between the first rack tom and the 2nd, that's a chord. It is in a key. It's going to match SOMETHING. Maybe it won't be where you intended it to be (it's an F# chord and not Eb), but it is producing pitches and they can be made to match other pitches.
    Burn my body when I'm bloody dead.
    I don't want to be found with any of you.
    I won't be found with any of you.


    My SONOR FORCE 3007s.

  5. Registered User

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    I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this.

    If a drum set was tuned to definite pitches, it would be subject to the same harmonic restrictions as any other instrument in the ensemble, and you would have to refrain from playing certain drums during all or part of certain songs to prevent dissonant clashes. If you were able to tune a snare drum to "middle C", you would not be able to play your snare with any chord with a C# in it, i.e.F# major, A major, etc. If you did, it would sound like bad drunken karaoke, but it doesn't because your middle C snare drum isn't actually middle C.

    Tuning a series of drums to indefinite pitches that are relatively distant from each other creates a scale-like effect but that does not equal definite pitch. Your ears fool your brain into hearing something that isn't there in the same way an optical illusion fools your brain into seeing something that isn't there.
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  6. Breakin Space Laws

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    I tune to pitches. Been for many years now. It's as easy as having a pitch-pipe and matching pitch next to lugs. Every drumhead has a tuning range as do each shell on a drumkit. Pitch tuning is the only way to truely have perfectly tuned drums. I can tune a 5-7 piece kit in under 30 minutes, batter n reso, in perfect 4ths from low tunings to high tunings. Pitch recognition and lots of tuning drumheads had made it second nature to me.

    I tune my toms as so ... in perfect 4ths to same pitch on both heads for what I feel is the best sound overall.

    Specific-Pitch tuned@lugs /-----\ Overall-Pitch heard when mounted

    12x8 = G# /-----\ B
    14X10 = D# /-----\ F#
    16X16 = B /-----\ C#

    I keep my snares tuned different ... G# to C# on batter -- G#-A# on reso
    Bass drums = A to A# batter / G to G# reso ..

  7. Neel

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mdrums View Post
    I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this.

    If a drum set was tuned to definite pitches, it would be subject to the same harmonic restrictions as any other instrument in the ensemble, and you would have to refrain from playing certain drums during all or part of certain songs to prevent dissonant clashes. If you were able to tune a snare drum to "middle C", you would not be able to play your snare with any chord with a C# in it, i.e.F# major, A major, etc. If you did, it would sound like bad drunken karaoke, but it doesn't because your middle C snare drum isn't actually middle C.

    Tuning a series of drums to indefinite pitches that are relatively distant from each other creates a scale-like effect but that does not equal definite pitch. Your ears fool your brain into hearing something that isn't there in the same way an optical illusion fools your brain into seeing something that isn't there.
    While I think that very complex overtones might prevent a drum from sounding as spot-on as a xylophone or marimba, I do believe that a general pitch can be reached by fine-tuning a drum. Again, the tone is very complex, but it's primary frequency has to lie somewhere. I would probably also concede that this might not be the case for a bass drum, or at least not in such a way that the note is easy to discern.

  8. Breakin Space Laws

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mdrums View Post
    I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this.

    If a drum set was tuned to definite pitches, it would be subject to the same harmonic restrictions as any other instrument in the ensemble, and you would have to refrain from playing certain drums during all or part of certain songs to prevent dissonant clashes. If you were able to tune a snare drum to "middle C", you would not be able to play your snare with any chord with a C# in it, i.e.F# major, A major, etc. If you did, it would sound like bad drunken karaoke, but it doesn't because your middle C snare drum isn't actually middle C.

    Tuning a series of drums to indefinite pitches that are relatively distant from each other creates a scale-like effect but that does not equal definite pitch. Your ears fool your brain into hearing something that isn't there in the same way an optical illusion fools your brain into seeing something that isn't there.

    Myself and thousands of OTHERS must be WRONG?

    To tune a drum .. the PITCH at each lug on a drumhead HAVE to MATCH for a drumhead to be in TUNE with itself. Those "pings" you hear next to a lug are ACTUAL PITCHES that you can match up to a pitch pipe,keyboard or guitar.

  9. Registered User

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    Quote Originally Posted by BadAstronaut View Post
    Bass drums = A to A# batter / G to G# reso ..
    All I'm asking is this...

    If your drum is tuned to A and your bass player plays an Ab does it sound out of tune? Does it clash harmonically the way it would if the bass and keyboards played notes 1/2 step apart? If your drum is truly an A, then the answer must be yes, is it? And if so, do you choose not to play the bass drum in any song with an Ab in it to avoid that clash? If the drum is truly an A, then the same rules of harmony that apply to other instruments must also apply to your drums. I'm totally open to being proven wrong on this.
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  10. Registered User

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    Quote Originally Posted by BadAstronaut View Post
    Myself and thousands of OTHERS must be WRONG?
    Millions of people once believed the earth was flat, doctors used to tout the health benefits of cigarettes on national TV... so yes, large groups of people can be wrong about something.

    As I said, I acknowledge the possibility that I may be the one in the wrong about this... but you'll have to prove it to me first.
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  11. Breakin Space Laws

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mdrums View Post
    All I'm asking is this...

    If your drum is tuned to A and your bass player plays an Ab does it sound out of tune? Does it clash harmonically the way it would if the bass and keyboards played notes 1/2 step apart? If your drum is truly an A, then the answer must be yes, is it? And if so, do you choose not to play the bass drum in any song with an Ab in it to avoid that clash? If the drum is truly an A, then the same rules of harmony that apply to other instruments must also apply to your drums. I'm totally open to being proven wrong on this.
    Why bother? You don't get it at all. I'm gonna make this so simple to understand and put in lamens terms of what the "average drummer" can understand in terms of slang tuning words.

    To put it in 'Lamens-Terms' .. G-G# on bass reso which is a PS3 is Lowest posiible pitch that head makes which equals just above wrinkle -JAW- basically, give or take.

    A-A# on batter of bass is 1 pitch higher than Lowest possible pitch and is basically a quarter turn or so just above wrinkle give or take. This tuning gives me a DEEP LOW HEARTBEAT chest thumper with nice attack and punch.

    It's not complicated .. on every head next to each lug a "pitch" is heard. Those pitches can be matched to any pitch device with precision. You match every "pitch" till all the same which equals EVEN tuning unlike drumdials and torque keys.

    The tuning sequence I showed for my toms are in 'lamens-terms' a "Low-med" tuning .. not too loose .. not too tight.

  12. Breakin Space Laws

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mdrums View Post
    Millions of people once believed the earth was flat, doctors used to tout the health benefits of cigarettes on national TV... so yes, large groups of people can be wrong about something.

    As I said, I acknowledge the possibility that I may be the one in the wrong about this... but you'll have to prove it to me first.
    We aren't wrong .. you are with no actual knowledge or experience with pitch tuning.

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