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Digital drum turners

DrummBumm89

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Are digital drum turners worth the time and money or is tuning by ear just as good.
Nothing supplements a good ear but they do help. A Tunebot can get mot people over that fine-tuning hump and help the final few percent.
If someone doesn't know the basics it is not going to be incredibly easy.
If you are struggling with tuning and have a local drum shop feel free to take the drums in and inquire. We tuned numerous customer kits per week in my shop days.

Tunebots can create some consistency which I enjoy.
I have a little log of what numbers I have for each drum prior to changing heads so I can get them right back to that tension if I like.

The other hidden benefit I don't think is talked about enough is quick tuning before gigs. If you are on a multi-band bill, you can't sit side stage and beat the hell out of your drums to see what's in pitch coming out of a car/van/bus. You can easily tap the lug area with a stick and see if the tunings are off.

I don't use them on bass drums and bottom snare heads, likely due to the frequency extremes.
 
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I no longer gig so my drums stay set up in the basement. IMHO learning about drums, tuning, ETC. Is very important, and getting the best sound out of my drums is also as important,, (even though no one will ever hear how great they sound) I appreciate the help.
Thank you
 
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I am a newer member and appreciate all the post to read. I am definitely able to get a better information to draw my conclusions on what I can't live without. (Drum wise)
I've come full circle!! Started playing drums as a young man in my parents basement, now semi-retired, I am building a drum empire in my basement.
Thanks All
 

drums1225

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Plenty of people say tuning devices are unnecessary and, of course, we drum set players got along fine without them for a century.
I tuned by ear and feel for over 40 years quite successfully, but initially became curious about the Drum Dial, eventually snagging one for $10 on Craigslist. It helps with achieving even tension (which is only one part of tuning) but if I didn't know how to tune in the first place, it wouldn't have helped much. I later picked up a Tune Bot Studio.

There are a few things that electronic tuners do very well.
  1. If you know little to nothing about tuning, you can follow directions/guidelines/presets and use a Tune Bot to get your drums sounding good.
  2. If your drums sound great and you want to get them back to that same sound when you replace heads, the Tune Bot is very helpful. (This is my main use of the Tune Bot)
  3. If you want to tune to actual notes, the Tune Bot is very helpful. (I generally don't care to commit to specific notes)
These are great tools, but to be honest, using them has caused me to become a bit too analytical in my tuning. Now I almost have too much information! I never knew nor cared which notes my drums were tuned to, the frequencies at each lug, nor the intervals between the batter and reso. I know I always tuned the resos higher, but how much higher? Couldn't tell ya. My ear told me which intervals I wanted to hear between my toms.

It takes me longer to tune (from scratch) now, and having to commit to certain notes, frequencies, or intervals (between drums and/or between batter and reso) is sometimes a bit more specific than I want to be. I went from the ART end of the tuning spectrum to the SCIENCE end. I still have to find a happy medium, but I do not regret buying the Tune Bot.
 

GeneZ

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What if we find out that when getting each lug tension exactly the same, it loses that certain unique character of the individual drummer's sound and feel? Ending up with mass produced generic sound?

Many drummers I loved their sound long before these inventions were created.
 

Rusty Knorr

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I have used the DrumtunePro app for years and think it’s a fantastic tool. Sure you old dogs think you can tune by ear, but I’ve been playing for 40+ years and still think this an amazing resource that takes far less time than “messing around till it sounds good”. I tune melodically to specific intervals and the kit sounds musical and beautiful, working as one instrument rather than a bunch of drums stacked up together. Sure, I can tune without it. But why would I when I can be more accurate with it? Guitar players tune by ear…when they don’t have access to a tuner! And when an engineer tells you one of your drums is clashing pitch wise with the song, at the price of studio time you had better be able to get it where it needs to be fast! Pro players use the tools they have available. I say give it a try, and you may be shocked by the difference in the sound of your drums, I know I was. This tuner will stay in my toolbox as long as I carry a phone!
 

CherryClassic

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Tuning any instrument has been frustrating to me all of my life. If we had tuners back in the day at 6 years old, I'd probably be a steel guitar player today. Tuning has always been a hassle with drums also but I did get buy. I bought a dial tension tuner when they came out but still had issues with my ears but when I bought the Tune Bot it was like moving into a new world. Frequency tuning just works the best as it does for other instruments. It also helps to control resonance; one head tighter than the other shortens resonance. I like tuning both heads the same for maximum resonance. To each his own!!!

With a tuner, you'll have to find a frequency you like the best and it will help you keep it that way and fast. The more you use it the more you'll like it. Just like anything else, it takes practice.

sherm
 

Tony_H

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I broke down and bought a TuneBot after 30+ years. I figured if my guitar/bass players could step on a button and tune quickly without others in their respective communities bashing them for "not doing it by ear", it was good enough for me too....LOL

But seriously though, even if you don't play outside of your home. The TuneBot is a pretty good tool to have. You can find a tuning for each drum that you like (either by ear or with the TuneBot), and then save those settings on the device. From there you can experiment with different tunings and keep a record of the stuff you like and dislike as well all with a way to repeat those results with relatively close accuracy.

For me personally, I found a sound that I really like through experimenting (using the TuneBot) and can quickly get all drums tuned up very quickly when I arrive to the venue. Our sound tech is able to keep more consistent settings for each drum which helps him dial in for the specific venue much easier. (This doesn't apply to your situation, but may help others reading this)
 

JimmyM

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What if we find out that when getting each lug tension exactly the same, it loses that certain unique character of the individual drummer's sound and feel? Ending up with mass produced generic sound?

Many drummers I loved their sound long before these inventions were created.
Good luck getting each lug exactly in tune, but while I think “generic” won’t happen, I can hear that it never sounds perfect anyway, and this is why I never rely on it 100%. Always use your ears.
 

trynberg

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The Tune-Bot is fantastic for quickly and consistently getting your drums back to a tuning you like. It's also very helpful for allowing experimenting, such as quickly trying how a tom sounds with the resonant head tuned certain intervals above the batter.

I find it's also very helpful for getting all of your toms to a proper interval between them. Sure, I could get there by ear, but it's much faster and consistent with the Tune-Bot.

I think a lot of the objections to such a tool are frankly people not using them correctly or thinking that using a Tune-Bot means only using some random tuning numbers found on the internet.
 

Rick

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Been using the Tune-Bot for several years now. I'd say pretty much what everyone else is saying here. It's a great tool. You still need your ears to find what you like, but the TB helps you document your result and be able to reproduce that result quicker and more accurately. There is a bit of a learning curve in using it because it does give false readings (picking up the wrong overtone) sometimes. You learn to recognize when it's doing that. I also find it helpful to put a small moon gel in the center of the drum head while tuning (cuts out some of the overtones and helps the Tune-bot) and I use a Vic Firth stick with a felt tip (pretty much useless for anything other than tuning) to do my tapping around the head at each lug. It's worked well for me. I actually think it takes me longer to tune with the Tune-bot (versus ears only) because I try to get each lug within 1/2 hz of each other. The result is worth it to me. But if you're willing to have a little more tolerance like 1 or 2 hz, it doesn't take as much time.
 

rsmittee

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As others have said, the Tune-bot is great for consistency and speed, and reproducing a favorite tuning across drums or after head changes. I find one of my favorite things about the tune-bot is it eliminates the frustration of that one drum or even that one lug that you just can't seem to dial in by ear. I had a hard time with the 302 hoops when I first got the RN2's, and the tune-bot definitely made my life easier. I can dial in all my drums pretty quickly and easily now. Like any tool, a tuner has applications that make my life easier. I can get by without a microwave too, but I prefer not to.
 

GeneZ

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Good luck getting each lug exactly in tune, but while I think “generic” won’t happen, I can hear that it never sounds perfect anyway, and this is why I never rely on it 100%. Always use your ears.
I used to love the sound I was getting..... Many drummers I listened to could not get a handle on tuning. Inventions make them better off.

In reality ... each drum's tuning will effect the sound of the other drums in the set. I am not sure how many can sense that when tuning.
 
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Back in the day (70's-80's) I had a Tama Imperialstar set with Evans hydraulic heads, dead ringers, and no bottom head, so any tuning was for pitch more than anything. Fortunately we had a good sound man.
Since then I have gotten a good handle on (what I call) proper tuning but always think I can make it better. Anyway, the Tune-bot is on order.
Thanks everyone for the input, it was a great help.
Rex
 

No.15

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I found the tune bot a little frustrating at first. Once I really started using it seriously I will say I really like it. More for the consistency it gives me in tuning and less for the tuning a drum to a certain note. One of the best "gimmick" drum devices I have purchased in my short career.
 

Tony_H

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I found the tune bot a little frustrating at first. Once I really started using it seriously I will say I really like it. More for the consistency it gives me in tuning and less for the tuning a drum to a certain note. One of the best "gimmick" drum devices I have purchased in my short career.
It's probably not for everyone, but I would hardly call it a gimmick....lol.

Drummers seem to be the only musicians that carry a stigma when they use any type of device to assist them in tuning. So I can see how tools like a TuneBot or DrumDial would be marginalized by people.
 

No.15

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It's probably not for everyone, but I would hardly call it a gimmick....lol.

Drummers seem to be the only musicians that carry a stigma when they use any type of device to assist them in tuning. So I can see how tools like a TuneBot or DrumDial would be marginalized by people.
Yeah that's why I used quotes. When I was researching it before purchasing a lot of the naysayers were calling it a gimmick or blasting people for not being able to tune by ear.
 

Tony_H

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Yeah that's why I used quotes. When I was researching it before purchasing a lot of the naysayers were calling it a gimmick or blasting people for not being able to tune by ear.
Yeah sorry, I sorta got that after I responded...lol.

But I do agree, the first couple times using it really do feel like it may be "gimmicky". After a couple uses, and realizing that each drum has it's own little nuances (head size, amount of lugs, which lugs affect others the most) it has become the most efficient tool I have found to use to keep a consistent sound from show to show.
 

Rockin' Billy

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I feel pretty comfortable tuning by ear, but often thought about getting a Tune-Bot Studio for fun so to speak.

My concern is if I get it and use it, I strive for ‘perfect’…am I going to make myself crazy trying for ‘perfect’(making the tunings match) using it?
 


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