Any tips for tuning 12 and 13 toms?

prplx

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Had many many kits, just bought a 12-13 for the first time. When I played 2 up so far it was always 10-12. I tend to tune on the pretty low and fat side, reso a third higher then the batter. My problem is, at low tuning, the 12 and 13 sound too close to each other, almost the same pitch. Then if I tune the 12 up to the interval I like, the 12 sounds choked to me.

Any advice or tunebot # appreciated (though I generally tune by ear).
 

Seb77

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You named it, it sounds choked to you - but this is just because you're not used to higher tunings. Listen to guys like Simon Phillips and get accustomed to the higher range.
As for tuning, start with bothe heads tensioned evenly. If you like a wider spread, maybe use thinner heads (top or bottom , or both) on the 12".

That's a 12" he hits first thing in the video, then a 13":
 

prplx

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I mean I love Simon Philips, he is a great drummer, but that is really not the sound I am after myself. Works for him, but not for the type of musique I am playing.

That behind said it's always good to remond ourselves that the kit sounds differently in front.
 

Tmcfour

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Let the size of the drum dictate the tuning. A bigger srum tuned higher will sound lower than a smaller drum tuned higher... or even medium. It may sound a little zen none sense but let the drum be what it is if that makes sense. If the 13 sounds great then tune the 12 a little higher than you might usually be acustomed to. My Gretsch 12" sings at the tuning I have it which is like a mid tension where as my Tama 13" is at a higher tension because when I tune it lower it doesn't sing the way I want it to (not on the same kit btw). Floors are similar my Gretsch 14" sounds great at mid tuning but the 16" is tension more (although it has a lower note than the 14) my Tama 16 floor sings when tuned lower but chokes in the high range.
 

dsop

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if I tune the 12 up to the interval I like, the 12 sounds choked to me.
What interval do you like? I tend to go for something around a minor third. I like my 12" tensioned pretty high, even higher than Simon. I find you get a very musical tone that way, and you can play at ppp dynamics and still get tone.
 

Tornado

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Maybe on the 12, tune top and bottom to the same note instead of an interval. That usually results in a longer sustain.
 

rhythmace

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Took my 12" and 13" Big Rs to a tuning seminar at the Percussion Center. The 13" would not come alive unless the heads were the same tension. Ace
 

Old Drummer

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I had 12" and 13" toms for many years and quickly ended up only setting one of them up. They're too close in size to be both worth it, IMO. Of course, this doesn't answer your question and I'm sure that they can be tuned differently enough. I just personally didn't fool with it.
 

Targalx

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If I run a 12" and 13" together (rarely), I'll tune them in thirds from each other. I usually run either a 12" and 14" or a 13" and 16", in which cases, I'll tune them in fifths from each other. I don't get them exact piano-note perfect, but close enough to "George, George, George of the Jungle" to make it work! ("Watch out for that tree!")

 

Seb77

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I mean I love Simon Philips, he is a great drummer, but that is really not the sound I am after myself. Works for him, but not for the type of music I am playing.

That said it's always good to remind ourselves that the kit sounds differently in front.
OK, definitely not a sound for every style and drummer.
Maybe it's about the mount? Some tom mounts don't let the drum decay as long at higher tunings. Try holding it by your hand to see what it's capable of. Agree that even tuning top and bottom usually produces the longest decay.

It's been a long time since I used 12" and 13" together. To me it might make more sense using it as part of 12, 13, 14, 16 , for a tom "scale" effect. The gap between 13" and 16" is fine with two toms, but combined with such a similar drum as 12", it's arbitrary. I think back when this setup was introduced, most drum companies didn't have a 14" rack tom. They just built 13/16 as well as 12/14 kits, and put the drums together they had.
 

SteveB

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You might try keeping the 12" batter at a slightly higher pitch...a 3rd above the 13 maybe and use the bottom head to raise the sound of the shell even more. I use Ambassadors all the way around and they can certainly be tuned to sound fat. If you switch out the 12" bottom with a Diplomat you will need to tighten it more to sustain a tone at all, and that might give the illusion of a higher pitched drum at any distance...all this while keeping the 13" toward the bottom of its range and the heads tuned to the same note. If the floor tom is a 16" and is kept low you should be all set.

I will offer that in most cases (practically all) you'll need the drums suspended on RIMS or something similar. It will give you much more to work with. If you tension them the same you might get about one whole step difference so you have to trick the drums a little to give them more spread.
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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Part of it is also realizing that you’re never going to achieve a wide spread between those sizes. And that’s okay. I have several kits with this setup. One of my favorite combinations.
 

prplx

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After playing with it some more, I think the solution is to crank the reso a bit higher then I am use to on the 12". Seems to be working. Thanks all for the input!
 

prplx

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It's been a long time since I used 12" and 13" together. To me it might make more sense using it as part of 12, 13, 14, 16 , for a tom "scale" effect. The gap between 13" and 16" is fine with two toms, but combined with such a similar drum as 12", it's arbitrary. I think back when this setup was introduced, most drum companies didn't have a 14" rack tom. They just built 13/16 as well as 12/14 kits, and put the drums together they had.
Current set up is 12-13-15.
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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You named it, it sounds choked to you - but this is just because you're not used to higher tunings. Listen to guys like Simon Phillips and get accustomed to the higher range.
As for tuning, start with bothe heads tensioned evenly. If you like a wider spread, maybe use thinner heads (top or bottom , or both) on the 12".

That's a 12" he hits first thing in the video, then a 13":
His drums sound awesome. I think the Tamas have a wide range, and do well when tuned up.
 

rhythmace

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Since drums are not able to produce notes, just pitches, does it really always matter that much about the interval? Maybe the ears just needs a discernible difference? I don't mean to minimize reasons to have good intervals though.
P.S. Before anyone want to argue the "note" thing, one of our member gave the scientific reason a drum produces a pitch and not a note.
"None of the modal frequencies are integral multiples of a fundamental."
 

Seb77

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Current set up is 12-13-15.
From my theory of sizes resp. pitches, this should sound great at a major triad tuning (5-3-1). Perfect 5th between 12 and 15, with the 13 right in the middle.
15" ft is the only other tom I might get. Some jazz drummers have used 12-13-14, but that's awfully close.
 

SteveB

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Since drums are not able to produce notes, just pitches, does it really always matter that much about the interval? Maybe the ears just needs a discernible difference? I don't mean to minimize reasons to have good intervals though.
P.S. Before anyone want to argue the "note" thing, one of our member gave the scientific reason a drum produces a pitch and not a note.
"None of the modal frequencies are integral multiples of a fundamental."
Ace,

A note and a pitch are one and the same. I agree with you in that all that matters is making it sound like you have 2 drums up there...otherwise what is the point of bringing both to a gig.

Drums produce a chord, if you want to get right down to it. The pitch of the heads and the tone of the reverberation within the shell based on those head pitches; the heads will always be a lower note than what the drum itself produces, usually by a minor 3rd.....and I have no reason why that is except that my ears keep proving it to me over and over again. I don't fight with the drums...I pick the sizes I like and play around with what is in the middle. The sizes are real important to me, personally.
 

Elvis

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Had many many kits, just bought a 12-13 for the first time. When I played 2 up so far it was always 10-12. I tend to tune on the pretty low and fat side, reso a third higher then the batter. My problem is, at low tuning, the 12 and 13 sound too close to each other, almost the same pitch. Then if I tune the 12 up to the interval I like, the 12 sounds choked to me.

Any advice or tunebot # appreciated (though I generally tune by ear).
I got past this many years ago.
Tune each tom, individiually, until you get each one sounding exactly like how you want it to.
Don't tune as a comparison to the other tom, instead, tune each tom to itself.
Once you get both toms sounding good to your ears, play them and accept the fact that there probably won't be a whole lot of differential in the sound of the toms played together.
They're not too different in size, why would you expect them to play as if there's a greater size differential than there is.
If you're looking for that same differential that you're used to in past kits, but with larger toms, you might wanna trade the 13 for a mounted 14.
12/14 will play closer to the sound differential that you're used to with 10/12, than 12/13 would.

Elvis
 
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