How tight is your bass drum head?

dbc254

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This might've already been discussed ad museum for all I know, but I gotta ask. I was at a gig a couple weekends ago and the head of my 14x18 kick was too resonant. We'd been playing some "intimate" gigs where I was unmiked and needed the resonance. This gig I was being miked and it was causing some issues so I loosened the batter a bit to make the soundman happy. Midway thru the gig, I noticed things felt better with the head a little looser than I usually like it. Thought I'd ask those with more experience where they tend to tension their bass drum batter head. Keep in mind, I'm on a bop kit, which I by default gave it a cranking!
 

JDA

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yes the cranking of heads on already small dimension drums is kind of non-sense. the hi pitches are already in the shell no use over-doing it.
resonant heads like a little tension up (some sometimes (on say, a particular (cough 10x12) tom) like even)
 

TPC

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18” bass drum.

JAW. I like the feel/give, and I like the “sub-pitch” thud tone.
 

JDA

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I think I tension an 18 the way I have tension a 20, a 22, a 24 or any and every BD.
I'm one tension. (ha)
It's the drum shell that changes ; )

also can be the number of lugs that (cough, 6L snares) can "dictate" tension (as cough, 10L snares seem to like to do also )
moderation in everything an old guy Ben F. once told me..

gretsch drums never need tweaking once set
looser brands maybe do, but I've gigged them over decades in every room and in outdoors no room..
and others I knew with Gretsch felt same way
they don't budge for room acoustics at least not in any noticeable way that would take up your time.
Tight tolerance drums are like that.
Gretsch permatone- I think inadvertently meant beyond the heads- No Further Tensioning is Necessary does sum it up.
 
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Elvis

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This might've already been discussed ad museum for all I know, but I gotta ask. I was at a gig a couple weekends ago and the head of my 14x18 kick was too resonant. We'd been playing some "intimate" gigs where I was unmiked and needed the resonance. This gig I was being miked and it was causing some issues so I loosened the batter a bit to make the soundman happy. Midway thru the gig, I noticed things felt better with the head a little looser than I usually like it. Thought I'd ask those with more experience where they tend to tension their bass drum batter head. Keep in mind, I'm on a bop kit, which I by default gave it a cranking!
All of my drums are set to 1 1/2 turns.
 
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jptrickster

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Every room/setting has different acoustics. I find outside I tune them slightly higher pitch otherwise the sound just seems to vaporize ( monitors help) I’ll take that same drum inside to next gig and have to tune down a notch to get the same sound/feel. I adjusted to the setting. I even taken the reso head off once in awhile if need be to get the best sound or at least one that is palatable. It’s a work in progress.
 

Tama CW

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22: just above wrinkles
18: just before the point of choking.
20: couldn't figure them out and gave up
I hear you. I still can't get my 20 to cooperate with the rest of the jazz kit. But never had a problem with 18 or 22.
I do tend to tighten the 18 tighter on both sides vs. the 22. In fact, my 18 didn't "wake up" in resonance until I took both heads beyond the tension I thought was "normal" for a bass drum.
Now as a matter of course I tighten the reso's tighter than I ever had.....and vary the batters for the specific music genre.
 

varatrodder

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I tend to go medium on the batter and medium high on the reso. If I need to control sustain, I’ll drop the reso down below the batter.
 

CherryClassic

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I'm using a 16x18 bass at times, heads are tight enough for tone. I hate dead floppy sounding drums. It has a 4" port for two reasons. Most sound guys like ported drum heads and the second reason is with a port I can control resonance with a towel and my foot to an extent. Also, a PS3 type of head is a good start to controlling resonance and still retain tone.

Some say, just past the wrinkle, I didn't have any wrinkles (the bass drum that is). LOL Bass drums are unusual in a way. When installing a new head I've noticed as the head just begins to get tighter and as it generates a tone, the tone gets lower to a point then higher as it gets tighter. Does that make sense? Maybe I just need to go to bed. LOL Good night all!!!

OH, one more thing; one head tighter than the other also helps shorten the duration of resonance; normally the reso head is tighter.

sherm
 
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Browny

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Tighter than JAW. Gotta get a bit of time out of it. Reckon the 26” has a bit more tension than the 22” which can be closer to JAW, but still has to sing a little and move some air.

Also varies drum to drum, the shells/edges may have a range they’d like to be set to. My Slingerlands are a touch oversized (I wish they made 26” Classic Fit heads) and tend to find the drum needs a bit more tension to really get the heads to seat/tune evenly and have the drum really respond.

My Yamaha can go lower, that 22” can get really low and slappy if need be.
 

Seb77

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My 18“ is tuned for a postbop sound, very tight, hardly any muffling. With the 22“it depends whether I am mic‘ed or not. Unmic‘ed I like a tighter unported sound but with premuffled heads. Mic‘ed it‘s the typical ported/padded sound, which is not as impressive acoustically but works for the mic.
 

stuart s

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Any size bass drum is always finger tight with just a pinch more. It's the sound I like. It's a bass drum. I don't want it to sound like a tom.
"It takes a second to say goodbye, oh, oh , oh....."
 

Iristone

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Quite tight, like a big floor tom (I tune my toms medium to medium-low). Then I use pre-muffled heads or felt strip muffling, and a port hole, to control the sustain and differentiate it from my floor tom.
Personally I don't like a long, rumbling droning low note from my bass drum. It would give the bassist and soundperson a hard time. Some soundpeople actively tune for that sound; that's why I always bring some dampening equipment just in case.
 

CaptainCrunch

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Tighter than JAW. Gotta get a bit of time out of it. Reckon the 26” has a bit more tension than the 22” which can be closer to JAW, but still has to sing a little and move some air.

Also varies drum to drum, the shells/edges may have a range they’d like to be set to. My Slingerlands are a touch oversized (I wish they made 26” Classic Fit heads) and tend to find the drum needs a bit more tension to really get the heads to seat/tune evenly and have the drum really respond.

My Yamaha can go lower, that 22” can get really low and slappy if need be.
Remo generally will do unusual orders if you ask nice and it’s possible. True custom orders require whining.

But if not, Aquarian American Vintage has 26” as a normal size.
 

Iristone

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Remo generally will do unusual orders if you ask nice and it’s possible. True custom orders require whining.

But if not, Aquarian American Vintage has 26” as a normal size.
Evans 360 heads have slightly larger flesh hoops too. I have a Gretsch snare that couldn't really tune up with a Remo head but works fine with an Evans one (and new tensioning screws).
 

CaptainCrunch

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Evans 360 heads have slightly larger flesh hoops too. I have a Gretsch snare that couldn't really tune up with a Remo head but works fine with an Evans one (and new tensioning screws).
I have never had good luck with Evans, besides that occasional ancient Hydraulic you find on a bass drum that's so juuuuuust right, you never even retune it. Out-of-the-box, they just go from "slack" to "banjo" on me too quick. It's a shame, since they're usually the most affordable.
 

Iristone

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I have never had good luck with Evans, besides that occasional ancient Hydraulic you find on a bass drum that's so juuuuuust right, you never even retune it. Out-of-the-box, they just go from "slack" to "banjo" on me too quick. It's a shame, since they're usually the most affordable.
Curious that where I live, Evans seems to be the most expensive out of the big 3 companies (Remo, Evans, Aquarian). Could be dealer upcharge? Still I've got to use them, since they tune up the best on my drums, and the UV1's are very durable.
 


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