Drum Tuning Relationship

CherryClassic

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I made a statement in another thread about Fiberskyn and Calftone heads and it got me to thinking about how we tune a set of drums in relationship from one drum to the other. I play mostly low volume gigs and Classic/Traditional Country music.

My theory on tuning a set: I feel the bass drum and snare are the rhythm makers along with the hi-hat and toms are the music makers. I tune my snare as a snare. I like it with a high tone but not to a chock but snappy sounding. Center of the snare is dead or almost dead, the closer you get to the rim it gets a little ringy, which gives me control over the sound of the drum. The reso head is much higher than the batter head about a 5th apart. I like the Coated Ambassador and Ambassador Snare side type heads.

The bass drum tuned to a nice low quick tone, not a fully open sound. Again the reso head is higher than the batter side. I like the tone of the bass to blend well with the bass player but quick enough for dancers to hear the down beat. I also have a small port for mic'ing and a small towel touching the batter head. Tuning a bass drum to a point that I have control of tone duration with the pedal depending on the style of the song. I also like the PS3 type of heads on the bass drum which helps control the tone.

My toms are tuned musically in relationship with each other. I like an open long medium tone, no muffling with both heads tune the same. This works great when using microphones. Without mic's, I tend to tune them a little higher, the lower tones seam to get lost in the band also depending on the room. I normally use Coated batter heads and Clear heads on the reso side.

I realize everyone has their own likes and dislikes of tuning. I'd like to hear from others on your theory of tuning and type of music your playing, so chime in please.

sherm
 

notINtheband

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I made a statement in another thread about Fiberskyn and Calftone heads and it got me to thinking about how we tune a set of drums in relationship from one drum to the other. I play mostly low volume gigs and Classic/Traditional Country music.

My theory on tuning a set: I feel the bass drum and snare are the rhythm makers along with the hi-hat and toms are the music makers. I tune my snare as a snare. I like it with a high tone but not to a chock but snappy sounding. Center of the snare is dead or almost dead, the closer you get to the rim it gets a little ringy, which gives me control over the sound of the drum. The reso head is much higher than the batter head about a 5th apart. I like the Coated Ambassador and Ambassador Snare side type heads.

The bass drum tuned to a nice low quick tone, not a fully open sound. Again the reso head is higher than the batter side. I like the tone of the bass to blend well with the bass player but quick enough for dancers to hear the down beat. I also have a small port for mic'ing and a small towel touching the batter head. Tuning a bass drum to a point that I have control of tone duration with the pedal depending on the style of the song. I also like the PS3 type of heads on the bass drum which helps control the tone.

My toms are tuned musically in relationship with each other. I like an open long medium tone, no muffling with both heads tune the same. This works great when using microphones. Without mic's, I tend to tune them a little higher, the lower tones seam to get lost in the band also depending on the room. I normally use Coated batter heads and Clear heads on the reso side.

I realize everyone has their own likes and dislikes of tuning. I'd like to hear from others on your theory of tuning and type of music your playing, so chime in please.

sherm
While it’s always an option to tune the tom heads the same across the kit, and let the shell size dictate the tone of each drum, I wasn’t happy with this in my own kits.
I won’t list out all the ways I’ve evolved in tuning over the years but it’s extensive. I too once tuned top and bottom the same for max resonance, but again didn’t care for the results live.
I went through a phase of tuning my batter higher than the reso. Lost its appeal over time.
About 2 years ago I was watching some endorsed player who was using my kit. The video shared his 3 tunings, high, medium, and low, and I fell head over heals for the low tuning he used.
Luckily for me he was using a tune-bot and shared all his tunings, top and bottom, for all the variations.
I took those tunings, applied them to my kit (same kit he was using) and Viola!
I’ve found what speaks to me.
Now I tune my toms to those intervals, (bottom is about a perfect 3rd higher than the top), and I’m good to go.
I’ve never gotten so many compliments on my drums sound, which is a nice bonus.
 
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Drumbumcrumb

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While it’s always an option to tune the tom heads the same across the kit, and let the shell size dictate the tone of each drum, I wasn’t happy with this in my own kits.
I won’t list out all the ways I’ve evolved in tuning over the years but it’s extensive. I too once tuned top and bottom the same for max resonance, but again didn’t care for the results live.
I went through a phase of tuning my batter higher than the reso. Lost its appeal over time.
About 2 years ago I was watching some endorsed player who was using my kit. The video shared his 3 tunings, high, medium, and low, and I fell head over heals for the low tuning he used.
Luckily for me he was using a tune-bot and shared all his tunings, top and bottom, for all the variations.
I took those tunings, applied them to my kit (same kit he was using) and Viola!
I’ve found what speaks to me.
Now I tune my toms to those intervals, (bottom is about a perfect 5th higher than the top), and I’m good to go.
I’ve never gotten so many compliments on my drums sound, which is a nice bonus.
Can we see the video?
 

Matched Gripper

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I made a statement in another thread about Fiberskyn and Calftone heads and it got me to thinking about how we tune a set of drums in relationship from one drum to the other. I play mostly low volume gigs and Classic/Traditional Country music.

My theory on tuning a set: I feel the bass drum and snare are the rhythm makers along with the hi-hat and toms are the music makers. I tune my snare as a snare. I like it with a high tone but not to a chock but snappy sounding. Center of the snare is dead or almost dead, the closer you get to the rim it gets a little ringy, which gives me control over the sound of the drum. The reso head is much higher than the batter head about a 5th apart. I like the Coated Ambassador and Ambassador Snare side type heads.

The bass drum tuned to a nice low quick tone, not a fully open sound. Again the reso head is higher than the batter side. I like the tone of the bass to blend well with the bass player but quick enough for dancers to hear the down beat. I also have a small port for mic'ing and a small towel touching the batter head. Tuning a bass drum to a point that I have control of tone duration with the pedal depending on the style of the song. I also like the PS3 type of heads on the bass drum which helps control the tone.

My toms are tuned musically in relationship with each other. I like an open long medium tone, no muffling with both heads tune the same. This works great when using microphones. Without mic's, I tend to tune them a little higher, the lower tones seam to get lost in the band also depending on the room. I normally use Coated batter heads and Clear heads on the reso side.

I realize everyone has their own likes and dislikes of tuning. I'd like to hear from others on your theory of tuning and type of music your playing, so chime in please.

sherm
Tuning toms is a never ending quest for that perfect sound that never quite seems to be achieved. My current approach to tuning toms is similar to that if tuning snares. Tighter resos give me a nice long tone with a slight pitch bend but not too much ring. I don’t try to ID the dominant pitch of any drum. I just make sure that the pitch matches at each lug. I currently have coated Aquarian Studio X’s on top and clear on the bottom. Love Studio X’s. They sound great and last forever. But, I am considering trying Fyberskins again.

Tuning bass drums is a little different for me. I start with a Superkick I on the batter side and currently have the factory Ludwig head (an analog of a PS3), on the front. I like a bass drum to have a long booming tone without harsh overtones. I tune it a bit tighter than most would tune it. I like the bass drum to be an extension of the last tom. I don’t care for the sound of dead bass drums in any genre. Tuning the front and back to the same tension gives me that effect with these pre-muffled heads.
 

Rock Salad

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My relationship tuning drums is much longer than my relationship playing them. I always found tuning drums super interesting and especially rewarding on the practice kits in the rental spaces we used to practice in.
The tuning relationship I am currently focusing on and haven't settled on a plan with is the relationship between snare and bass. I've been on a Klook, Jimmy Cobb kick lately. I love the way those guys can make the bass and snare sound like one, when they unison them, others do it too but they do it best I think
 

Matched Gripper

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While it’s always an option to tune the tom heads the same across the kit, and let the shell size dictate the tone of each drum, I wasn’t happy with this in my own kits.
I won’t list out all the ways I’ve evolved in tuning over the years but it’s extensive. I too once tuned top and bottom the same for max resonance, but again didn’t care for the results live.
I went through a phase of tuning my batter higher than the reso. Lost its appeal over time.
About 2 years ago I was watching some endorsed player who was using my kit. The video shared his 3 tunings, high, medium, and low, and I fell head over heals for the low tuning he used.
Luckily for me he was using a tune-bot and shared all his tunings, top and bottom, for all the variations.
I took those tunings, applied them to my kit (same kit he was using) and Viola!
I’ve found what speaks to me.
Now I tune my toms to those intervals, (bottom is about a perfect 5th higher than the top), and I’m good to go.
I’ve never gotten so many compliments on my drums sound, which is a nice bonus.
Wow! That seems like a huge difference between top and bottom heads. Your top heads must be really soft.
 

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Reknown UK drummer Jon Hiseman (contemporary of Ginger Baker, Mitch Mitchell, Keith Moon, John Bonham) normally used five toms and here's how he tuned them:

"I take the biggest tom-tom in my kit and tune both heads as low as they will go and still be under tension when I put my hand on it and push.

"I then take the bottom head of the next smaller drum and I tune the bottom head the same as the two heads on the lower drum. i then tune the top head a third up. Then I tune the bottom head of the next one to the batter head of the drum before it and then tune that batter head a third up.

"So the bottom head of each drum is tuned the same as the batter head of the drum below it and the batter head gets tuned a third up. I go all the way round the kit like that, and that gives me my tom-tom tuning. That gives me a perfect cadence. It's not a note; it's simply what the drums do." (Talking Drums, Vol 5, Number 2, Spring 1997, p 11)

Hiseman138.jpg


Jon Hiseman with his last kit, Gretsch USA Custom: 20x20 bass drum, 8x10,10x12,12x14,14x16f, 16x18f
 

Pat A Flafla

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Sometimes I've liked the sound of tuning the 12" tom an octave higher than the 16" floor tom.
 

Seb77

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I‘d say tune ach drum so it sounds good, then the pitch relations result from the sizes.
Bop 12-14-18 seems to work with 8-5-1 pitch relations, 8-5-2 would be a tighter bass.
13-16 would be mostly 5-1 as well, but a 22 to me, especially once ported/padded, doesn‘t have as clear a pitch.
It‘s all just rough approximations, I also like unclear, „detuned“ sounds now and then.
 

Lazmo

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Sometimes I've liked the sound of tuning the 12" tom an octave higher than the 16" floor tom.
Funny you say that… as I’ve recently gone to a 10” rack tom paired with a 16” floor tom… on both my kits… because when tuned to their respective initial sweet spots, they are pretty much an octave apart. I really like that I end up with a high tom and low tom, that are not trying to play a tune.

I know it is only a small sample size of just two kits setup like that… but I was put onto it, on here by someone, I’m sorry can’t recall who. Also I really loved Benny Grebs setup and sound which had that tom size arrangement… even though I reckon he’d sound good on a toy kit.
 


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