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Dead Tom - what to do

Bobby

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So I have a 72 Ludwig player I use for light blues and jazz gigs. 18 and 20 bds, 12 and 14 toms. The 12 Tom has always given me trouble. It has a very small tuning range. If I don't get it just right, it's sounds choked and lifeless with no resonance. The drum has a RIMS mount with a Yamaha bracket. The other drums are awesome. I recently had the 18, 12, 14 re-edged hoping that would help. It opened up the bass and floor Tom, 12 is still bad. It tried other hoops thinking maybe they were bent, nothing, many head combinations, the wrap isn't too thick', heads spin freely. I hate to part with this kit. It's a player grade, has great mojo and the other drums sound great. Any ideas of what it could be? Is it just a dog?
 

avedisschwinn

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That is frustrating - I have had experiences like that, although in my case I think I also was psyching myself out. The one concrete suggestion I could make is that most drummers like all their toms to have the same head combination. I have found that doesn't always work. Plus, the same "make and model" head can vary in coating thickness. A lightly coated 14" Ambassador on a floor tom, and a more heavily coated 12" on a mounted tom will be really hard to get to match up.

You might want to experiment with a couple more heads. Don't worry about brand or model, it's fine to have an Evans or Aquarian on one drum and a Remo on another. (or a Remo batter with an Evans reso) Try using a heavier or lighter head on either the batter or the resonant side. (I think a dead reso head can cause a lot more trouble that we think)

I'm not a great drum tech - sometimes in dealing with a drum with a narrow tuning range I just need to get it into it's very narrow sweet spot, play it a day or two, and then very slowly move it in a different direction - even a 16th of a turn in either direction, then pressing hard on the head to re-seat it, and then play it some more. With a kit as cool as yours, it is definitely worth some more fiddling - good luck!
 

EvEnStEvEn

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I've had similar problems with certain 12" toms and the only thing I can recommend other than what you've already tried is, move the tom up to the highest point on the L-arm of your mounting post, because when the tom bracket is shoved down to the low position on the L-arm it can cause choking. It's a last resort solution but it might help.
 

fun2drum

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It sounds like you've tried just about everything with the tom, short of trying different heads. Have you tried hitting the tom without the RIMS mount attached at all, just holding it up with your fingers under the top hoop lip? If it sounds better that way then your problem could be somewhere in the mounting system and not in the drum or heads.
 

esooy

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EvEnStEvEn said:
I've had similar problems with certain 12" toms and the only thing I can recommend other than what you've already tried is, move the tom up to the highest point on the L-arm of your mounting post, because when the tom bracket is shoved down to the low position on the L-arm it can cause choking. It's a last resort solution but it might help.
Yes to this ^^^

I have found that toms sometimes like a certain spot on the L-arm, and it can vary according to the tuning of the tom, so it's not like there is one spot. What I would add to the above is to just try moving it in increments of 1/4" or so and see if it helps.
 

ConvertedLudwigPlayer

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How does it sound with just one head on the drum?

Try flipping the RIMS upside down and see how it sounds.

Make sure the RIMS gaskets are centered, and that the rubber is not worn / cut causing metal on metal contact.
 

gkrk

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Try putting the 12" on a snare stand.
 

retrosonic

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JM....heres something you can try if you havent already. I had the same issue.

Try a cheap, thin, lowly 60s/70s MIJ head off an old set on both top and bottom. See if that opens up the range for you. Sometimes you have to give the shell the exact head it wants to play with from a resonance perspective.
 

rondrums51

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Drums do that. I had a beautiful old Rogers kit with two 12" mounted toms. One of them sounded like a dead pillow--unless I tuned it way down low. Then, it opened up like a choir of angels.

It's just the nature of wood drums.
 

BennyK

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One of the reasons I recently got rid of my vintage gear and my last stinker in the bunch was a 12" 60's Ludwig . Rims mount, clear ambassador heads and it was ho-hum at best . Very narrow window of resonance and sustain .

I have a theory that the lugs on some of those were installed too close to the edge .

Who knows ? Hit and miss with some of those drums . The nice ones are really nice and the lousy ones stay that way .

Good luck .
 

Bobby

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Thanks for the suggestions. I haven't checked the RIMS mount. Maybe it's bent or the gaskets are worn. I'll also try a snare stand. Of course, other heads too. The floor TOM on this kit alone, is worth some extra effort. It's possibly the best 14x14 I've ever heard.
 

drummerjohn333

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If none of the suggestions above help, I wonder if there is some damage inside the shell - like the inner ply or something. That might explain a lack of resonance - while not being a visible clue.

Anyone reading this ever hear of such a possibility? I am just thinking outloud here.
 

Marc M

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Sounds like you have tried just about everything,I assume when you had the edges re done that the people that did the work would have checked to see if the drum was out of round? I have had good luck with putting the rims on the reso side lugs,I have also had it choke the drum more,worth a try though IMO.I have also had good results trying a stiffer heavier hoop on the batter side with the rims,sometimes a really light/thin/ flexy hoop will choke the drum,esp if the drum is heavy.


"I have a theory that the lugs on some of those were installed too close to the edge ."


Could be something to the above,once I wanted to change the t rods on my Eames bd,which was fitted with Ludwig Classic lugs,to key operated rods.I bought the new rods and a new batter kick and installed the new rods and heads,tightened the drum up real tight to seat them and left to go out of town.When I came back I went to tune down the heads and after I did the drum was dead as a door nail,no resonance no depth and very little low end or volume.It was driving me nuts.I finally removed one of the new rods and saw that it was a good deal longer than the t rods I had on there before,and reasoned that the longer rods were jamming or butting up the back end of the inside of the lug.I replaced the original t rods and all was well again,so you might check the length of the rods you are using on the 12" and how close the lugs are to the edge of the drum and compare that with the 14 floor tom to see if there is a major difference and if you could be having the same problem I was having.





Sometimes you just get a dead drum. If it were me and I really liked the rest of the kit I just might look for a replacement tom in the same finish.
 

xsabers

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Re: potential ply separation. Would stripping the shell of all hardware and then tapping the shell with a felt mallet reveal any invisible shell issues?
 

Cauldronics

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In my experience, the first thing to check is what Fun 2 Drum mentioned earlier - remove the RIMs mount and hit the tom while holding its hoop between your fingers. If it doesn't sound good or at least better that way, you know the mounting setup is affecting it for the worse. If you haven't tried this (doesn't look like you have), I think you're missing a crucial test.

If it sounds better without the mount, you might have to compromise a more user friendly mount for something that makes the drum sound better. I've done this many times, not just to make a bad tom sound better, but also to make a good tom sound great. To me, it's worth it. Nothing's worse than moving around the kit and everything sounds good until you hear that one tom go CLONK.
 

stickinthemud

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Don't feel so all alone. I have similar problems with my 12" tom. Hardest of all my drums to tune. Just keep trying different tunings with slightly different notes on the the batter and resonant heads. When you get one that sounds decent, get out the Drum Dial (or TuneBot, what-have-you), and make note of the tunings.
 

Trev

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Hopefully the easiest alternative is playing around with different heads. I just put a Remo Coated Ambassador Powerstroke on my 60s Ludwig 14x14" floor in place of a standard Ambassador, just to see if it improved the tone, and what a difference that made! I know your floor isn't the problem, but before you go ripping things to pieces or re-cutting bearing edges etc, check out as many head possibilities as you can, within budget of course. But failing that, I agree with checking the mount as Fun 2 Drum and Cauldronics have mentioned. Otherwise you might have to face the fact that the drum is just a lost cause. But never lose hope! I always say things can be fixed. :)
 


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