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  1. Registered User

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    So this means when Terry Bozzio, who I consider to be the Grand Master of drum note tuning, tunes a head to, let's say a 'C#' and marks it as such, you mean he's actually tuned his top and bottom heads to an 'A# instead of the 'C#' he's got marked? I find that VERY hard to believe.

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl62
    So this means when Terry Bozzio, who I consider to be the Grand Master of drum note tuning, tunes a head to, let's say a 'C#' and marks it as such, you mean he's actually tuned his top and bottom heads to an 'A# instead of the 'C#' he's got marked? I find that VERY hard to believe.
    What ever happened to relaxing and agreeing not to agree? Hmmm...

    Ah...now I remember you from the last time we were arguing about this. I remember you bringing up Terry Bozzio then too. Terry Bozzio is awesome, but I personally can't comment on how he goes about tuning his drums. Why don't you ask him? I actually went to his web site to do so (www.terrybozzio.com), but unfortunately, couldn't find any contact info. I thought that you might believe it if you heard from HIM.

    But never mind that. I know what I hear when I tune my drums and it works for me every time.

    In fact, since this new thread got started last week, no less than THREE members of this forum have PM'd me, thanking me for explaining how I tune and "how much I've helped and inspired them". I'm not trying to break my arm patting myself on the back, I just want to point out to you that YOU seem to be the only one who thinks it's BS (just like the last time BTW). But like YOU said, THEIR ears are off.

    I can respect the drummers who don't bother tuning to pitches and that's fine, but I haven't heard from ANYONE (besides you) who disputes what I've posted.

    I also find it interesting that you totally ignored my previous post:
    "You seem to think that tuning a TWO-HEADED drum is the same as tuning up a guitar string. It doesn't work that way. You also seem to be ignoring the fact that other people on this forum have experienced the same thing. Oh, but their ears are "off", right? Maybe YOU can't hear the difference in pitch, as opposed to tone?"

    Well, as long as we're both happy with the sound of our drums.
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  3. Drum addict

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl62
    So a 10" batter head tuned to a 'C#' + the resonant head also tuned to a 'C#', and resonating at a 'C#', put together = an 'E' note?!?! That's absolutely absurd! Oh BTW, I did the little experiment like you suggested and I took off the bottom head of my 'E' tuned tom and what did I get? An 'E' tuned batter head without all the "ping" frequencies of the resonant head. It was still an 'E', just a less 'high end' sounding 'E', that's all. After 4 years of piano, college ear training, 20+ years of tuning my drums to a piano each and every time, along with piano tuning the toms of hundreds of students over the course of 18 years of teaching, I don't think my ears are all that shabby.
    I'm really not sure WHAT you are hearing. Clearly the overall tone of the drum changes when you simply mute the bottom head. Are you telling us you can't hear that?

    I'm baffled...
    Last edited by jpcdrummer; 01-04-2008 at 03:42 PM.
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  4. I'm not Lebowski; I'm the dude

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpcdrummer
    I really not sure WHAT you are hearing. Clearly the overall tone of the drum changes when you simply mute the bottom head. Are you telling us you can't hear that?

    I'm baffled...
    No. He's saying that if he wants his 10" tom, for example, to sound like an E when it's mounted, he tunes both the batter and reso heads to E and that even when he removes one of the heads, say the reso for example, the drum stays at E when back on the stand.

    This has not been the case for me ever. In my experience, whenever I remove a head, the PITCH of the drum drops a bit. It's not just the tone losing higher frequenices. That's why I believe there's a certain relationship between the two heads on a drum that affects its pitch. Again, tuning a two-headed drum is not like tuning a guitar string.

    When I mute one of the heads, I gently rest a finger in the center of the opposite head (the head I'm trying to tune) and with my other hand, I tap around 1" from each lug with a drum stick. I shoot for 3 notes below what I want the drum to sound like when it's mounted. Forget about the octive - I'm only concerned about the actual note. This is why it's helpful if you're comfortable huming octives of notes, etc. Otherwise, you would need something like a piano, etc. Using our 10" tom example, I shoot for C# from lug to lug. I then tune the other head exactly the same (I tune both heads equal). When I put the drum back on it's stand, my ears hear an E.
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  5. Drum addict

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    Quote Originally Posted by veggyboy
    No. He's saying that if he wants his 10" tom, for example, to sound like an E when it's mounted, he tunes both the batter and reso heads to E and that even when he removes one of the heads, say the reso for example, the drum stays at E when back on the stand.

    This has not been the case for me ever. In my experience, whenever I remove a head, the PITCH of the drum drops a bit. It's not just the tone losing higher frequenices. That's why I believe there's a certain relationship between the two heads on a drum that affects its pitch. Again, tuning a two-headed drum is not like tuning a guitar string.

    When I mute one of the heads, I gently rest a finger in the center of the opposite head (the head I'm trying to tune) and with my other hand, I tap around 1" from each lug with a drum stick. I shoot for 3 notes below what I want the drum to sound like when it's mounted. Forget about the octive - I'm only concerned about the actual note. This is why it's helpful if you're comfortable huming octives of notes, etc. Otherwise, you would need something like a piano, etc. Using our 10" tom example, I shoot for C# from lug to lug. I then tune the other head exactly the same (I tune both heads equal). When I put the drum back on it's stand, my ears hear an E.
    I must admit veg that I've never actually used your method. I'm fairly lazy and my method works for me. But I believe what you say and that it would work based on my experience.

    And veggy never steers us wrong!
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  6. Registered User

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    hi this is my first post on the forum! finally i'm beginning to understand the different pitches, my drums have sounded horrible for ages!
    how would i tune my 12x10, 13x11, and 16x16 as above.
    on the 12 ive got a reso at Bb? and batter at A but its really hard to determine the overall pitch, already sound a lot better.
    i also discovered that with sertain pitches on certain drums, when i had my metronome set with the note i wanted, if you hold it about a cm above the head, with the other head muffled, the drum will sing back very slightly.
    any suggestions on how i can get a nice musical tone to my kit?

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    rep.. thanks mate
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  8. Author of "Drum Tuning"

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    Well, you seem to be willing to think deeply about drums and how they develop their sound. There are some things I'd like to discuss with you.

    Tuning and tonal relationship of the heads

    Above all: your ear is the most important tool, when it comes to tuning.

    Other than that, to me there are two really important principles in drum tuning.

    1. Each head has to be in tune with itself (equal tension at each rod).
    2. The tonal difference between the batter and the resonant head does matter.

    to 1.: There are only very few reasons for not obeying rule 1. Snare buzzing is the only one i can think of right now.

    to 2.: Both heads oscillate after one of them was hit. Both produce a basic pitch and a row of overtones. The sonic waves emitted by both heads interfere. Tonal difference between the basic pitches heads causes interference of the two different tonal spectra of the two heads. Some of the overtones will be reduced, others amplified by the interference.
    Changing the pitch of a head will cause a different row of overtones, which interferes differently with the other heads emmitance. The result is that a change of the tonal relationship between the heads will change the sound character of the drum.

    I use this to make my drums more resonant, punchy, lively, warm, open or whatever I need just by rising or dropping the pitch of one or both heads.

    Now: What does tuning a drum to a certain note mean, when you tune both heads to different notes? Doesn't it produce an inherent harmony of the two fundamental pitches of the heads?


    Overtones

    Well, at first let's define how a head vibrates and what muffling is.
    A drumhead is an oscillating circular membrane. By physical laws it produces more than just a fundamental note, it produces overtones. The row of overtones by a membrane is not harmonic, not like the overtone row of a string. See this pic:

    Vibrational Modes of a circular membrane (m,n):



    The formula for the vibrational modes is actually m or n null of the Bessel-function:



    with sigma=mass density, T=tension, pi=3.1415926535897932384626433832795, F(m,n)=multiplication factor regarding the null at that point (sorry, I'm not a native english speaker, see picture above)

    You can see, that the row of overtones is not harmonic other than that of a string. Harmonic means, that the frequencies of the overtones are whole-numbered multiplicates of the base frequency (fn=c/L*n) with c=constant depending on weight, tension and flexibility of the string; L=length;n=whole number.

    What does that mean for the interaction with other instruments?

    Regardless from if you like to tune to certain notes or not, it is good to keep an eye on the intervals between the drums. They can make a drumset sound thinner of more full bodied.

    Muffling

    To me, muffling is everything that is attached to a single ply of mylar to take away some of those overtones. This happens by causing friction, which converts part of the oscillating energy into warmth instead of sonic waves. That means even a standard coating, which takes away some of the high frequency overtones, is a muffling device. Also a second ply is muffling the overtone spectrum by causing friction between both plys while vibrating. Everything else that works in the same direction is also a muffling device, like built in o-rings, aluminium-rings, oil filled between plys......plus mobile devices like moongel pads, o-rings, duct tape w/o towels, cloth.....

    There are the heavily muffled heads like PS3/4 or hydraulics, which give a boxy, 70s-like completely dead sound. Some like that kind of sound. So why should they buy head with more overtones and muffle it by hand?

    There are bassdrum heads which are extremely pre-muffled like EMAD or EQ2/3/4 and PS3/4.

    When it comes to rock/pop.... bassdrums, those heads avoid a lot of work trying out the correct muffling for the sound most drummers want. A second benefit is, that they take away unwanted overtones while minimizing the loss of energy (physical). That means they are more effective than pillows.

    To become more practical, you might want to listen to a sound sample I recorded of my kit. No EQ-ing nor effecting was done, just mics and drums: http://media.putfile.com/Sound-Sample-Drums-unprocessed

    What heads do you think were used and which drums where muffled?

    Tuning Tools: The Drum Dial
    What does the dial really tell us?


    It consists of a dial gage and a puck. The dial gage is an instrument for measuring very small distances or roughness of hard surfaces during production processes in the industy.
    It uses a certain meauring force to keep conact to the surface while moving across.
    The idea of a drum dial is, that this measuring force will cause bending of the drumhead related to the parameters of head tension and measuring force. The bending results in mesuring a cange of the drum dial's indication, which is considerd to be predictably related to the bending and respectively the tension of the head.

    This is not always true. Tension is only one parameter of the head influencing the dial indication, sigma(=mass density=>head thickness) is another, the bearing edge is the third.
    The head thickness is not always evenly distributed. The bearing edges are not always even. Both phenomenons will cause a difference in the dial indication although the tension could be even.

    Another thing is, that the measuring force of a dial is not critical regarding it's original application. As for the drum dial it is critical. Friction in the dial can be an issue, but the results of two different drum dials measuring the same drum will most likely be different, because the force will not be exactly the same.
    This is why you can not replicate another drum dial's values from a different drum on your drum and exspect the same result. There is no relevance of the value you read other than in comparison to the values you read next to the other lugs on the same drum.

    Although a dial can help evening out the head tension if everything else is OK, by no means it can release you from the work of findig the tuning you need for your drum to get the sound you want. In other words, you will have to do the research yourself.



    There are thoughts about the fundamental pitch (note) of a drum, that I'd like to discuss with you.

    My 2cents about fundamental pitches:

    The fundamental pitch of a shell is primarily a function of mass (weight) and rigidity of the shell.
    More weight lowers the pitch, more rigididity rises the fundamental pitch.

    Unfortunately there are three of them, you can experience.
    1. bare shell
    2. shell with hardware (lugs)
    3. shell with head

    Once you found out the fundamental pitch of a bare shell (1.) and the mount the lugs, the pitch will drop significantly(2.). This is because there is mass added to the shell without making the shell more rigid.

    When the head(s) is(are) mounted (3.), the shell is stabilized by the head. It becomes more rigid. Why?
    As an example imageine a tin opened at one side. The open side is much softer than the closed side, which is rigid.

    If a force from the outside is applied to a hollow cylinder, the shape of the lateral cut will be deformated from round to oval. The diameter becomes bigger orthogonally to the applied force.
    If there is something applied to the open side orthogonally to the direction of the force, the shell becomes more rigid in this direction.
    So a head will stabilize the shell regarding all foces applied form the side, because it conquers any deformation from round to oval.

    The result is a much higher fundamental pitch in relation to a bare shell.

    It's even more complicated, because flexibility of the head material is also relevant. The less flexible (=>thicker and tensioned) the head is, the more rigidity is added.
    That means:
    - an Emperor rises the pitch more than a Diplomat
    - the fundamental pitch rises with the head tension.

    Now, you might probably think this is all theory. But there is a report of a scientific research done by Eric J. Macaulay. He focused on the impact the shape an position bearing edges have on the sound of a drum. But besides that, you can see those things I stated in his paper.
    See this link: http://online.physics.uiuc.edu/cour...Final_Paper.pdf

    Well.... discuss,

    Nils
    Last edited by nils; 04-22-2008 at 10:55 AM.
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  9. Registered User

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    a lil snippet of knowledge u might not have known at the time...

    the pressure on a snare drum skin by the hoop at typical tensions is equivalent to 1/3 to 1/2 a ton.

    thats like just over a 1/4 of a typical cars weight bearing down on the hoop... took me a lot of man hours to find that out!

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  10. Author of "Drum Tuning"

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    Thank you for your input. Half a ton is a lot. Is it the batter that you are talking about? The snare reso is so thin, it should apply less pressure to the shell.

    Nils
    Believe me, it is "BASSDRUM", not "BASEDRUM".
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  11. Registered User

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    typically relatively tight snare batter tensions equate to around half a ton. resonant sides are less, but load to head tension curves are an s-shaped curve, so although the tensions may be less the virtual load on the hoop is less but not by much.
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  12. Registered User

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    i have a few Questions and concerns here.

    i recently acquired a set of VMX maples in sizes 8, 10, 12 toms, 14 floor, 14 snare, 20 kick drum. i'm not concerned bout the kick drum or snare, its the tom's i'm having trouble with and the floor tom.

    my style of playing is ussually heavy metal to hard/soft rock. so i would like to have my toms more on the lower end of the scale.

    what should i be tuning my batter/resonator heads to for the 8, 10, 12, 14?

    also i have noticed that once i do have the drum tuned (for example) and put it on the mount, the actual mount seems to change the tuning of the drum!! so that sucks...any way around this?

    and just tonight i went and purchased evans drum batter heads, they sound alot better than the stock heads that were on there.... but would it make that much of a difference if i had the stock reso's on? or should i change them as well to evans? i'm short on cash remember that though lol.

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