Tuning 13x9 3-ply Ludwig

patrickwitherow

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Hello everyone! I've got my 60's Ludwig kit sounding great. The bass and floor tom were pretty easy to tune up and are wide open except for a felt strip on the reso bass head. I like the big, boomy, resonance sound. I'm having a little trouble on the 13" tom though. When I tune the top/bottom heads with the tom on my lap and tap with my finger it sounds nice and warm with a long note. When I put it on the rail mount arm and hit it with a drumstick it sounds like I have a layer of duct tape on both heads. I had the tom sounding great, and I wanted to experiment a little and now I can't find my way back. Right now I'm running what the drum came with: Coated Emperor batter and Coated Ambassador Vintage reso - both are 2-ply heads.

Could the reso head being 2-ply cause the drum to sound dead? Or is there a 'right' way to tune these 3-ply drums to get me in the right direction?
The floor tom also has a coated Emperor batter, but has a coated Diplomat reso head and it sounds big, nice and round.

Thanks for any help!

**Thanks everybody for the help! I was able to get the tone, sound and 'feel' I had in my head. A coated Ambassador batter a along with a coated Ambassador reso head seemed to brighten the drum up and give it some life back. At first I had a hard time getting it tuned up - it was either too high for what I like, or too low and flubby sounding. I'm not sure what happened, but after letting it sit overnight, it seemed to 'season' itself. It sounds great now! I'm also using a snare stand to mount the tom now as well (dw 6300 flush base) - so that may have helped as well. I will still use the rail mount at times, as I much prefer that to a snare stand. While I was at it, I replaced the kick batter head with a coated Emperor and added a felt strip to it. Still sounds big and boomy, but has something extra to it. Thanks again!**
 
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Seb77

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If you like how the drum sounds in your hand with the 2-ply bottom head, you don't need to change it. (I would use a plain Ambassador or Diplomat on the bottom).
If the drum then sounds choked mounted, the mount is the culprit. I don't know if there is a way to set up/tune a drum to sound better on a rigid mount (I doubt it). Better think of a way to mount the drum differently so it can vibrate (more) freely.
 

wflkurt

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Sometimes the rail mount can make the tom sound dead. I know that happens a little on a few of my super classic sets. Mine is not enough to be a problem so I have never messed with it. Maybe someone else has a decent idea for a fix? Rims mounts work but the look odd on a vintage set IMO.
 

nylontip

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I had a similar issue. The mount was the culprit. I use a RIMS type mount and it fixed it, but before that, I used a clear Ambassador (or clear G1 Evans) and it opened up a little more. I tighten the bototm head higher for more projection and tone as well.
 

bob

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i used a rim mount too , it looked likeshit too big and bulky , it did work though , then came along the inde mount , and it's about the same size as the ludwig mount , and does the same thing as a rims mount
 

patrickwitherow

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I had a similar issue. The mount was the culprit. I use a RIMS type mount and it fixed it, but before that, I used a clear Ambassador (or clear G1 Evans) and it opened up a little more. I tighten the bototm head higher for more projection and tone as well.
Thank you! How did people get these drums sounding great back in the 60's before RIMS, etc?
 

drumphils

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Pick up a 1/2” thick piece of styrofoam from a crafts store or Home Depot etc.
Remove the mount and cut a backing plate and replace. It will compress enough to not be visible but give just enough even cushion and flex to solve the choking.

Phil
 

shuffle

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If you dont change the mount,try tuning the 13 with both heads at same tension,mount it then tweet from there.
If it doesnt work,the Inde mount will open the sucker up!
 

patrickwitherow

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Well, I'm glad to see it's probably not the shell or the bearing edges, but the mount. I ordered a snare stand to use as a tom mount that should be coming in this week. I've heard as long as I don't tighten the basket up it should keep the sound open as well. I'll try this then move on to an inde mount if needed. I do like using the rail mount - except having to use a wrench everytime I take the tom off.
 

patrickwitherow

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Pick up a 1/2” thick piece of styrofoam from a crafts store or Home Depot etc.
Remove the mount and cut a backing plate and replace. It will compress enough to not be visible but give just enough even cushion and flex to solve the choking.

Phil
So basically put the piece of foam between the shell and the mount? I may try this!
 

nylontip

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Actually, single ply heads. Remember, when you're behind the kit, the drums will sound louder and more ring with single heads, but the sound in front of the kit is what counts.
I got to see Todd Sucherman's kit backstage a few years ago and he used clear ambassador's on top. Wide open sound. He's got one of the best sounding kits I've ever heard. Very melodic too.
I realize they're a Pearl kit, but the tuning and head choices he makes are fantastic. He has a good understanding of sound and gets the most out of the kit. The Pearl Opti-Mounts help too.
I use those those on my Ludwigs too. (a little "East meets West") which gives me a good sound live without any mics. So I can get the sound of a Ludwig, with the benefit of functional and reliable hardware.
 
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patrickwitherow

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Actually, single ply heads. Remember, when you're behind the kit, the drums will sound louder and more ring with single heads, but the sound in front of the kit is what counts.
I got see Todd Sucherman's kit backstage a few years ago and he used clear ambassador's on top. Wide open sound. He's got one of the best sounding kits I've ever heard. Very melodic too.
I realize they're a Pearl kit, but the tuning and head choices he makes are fantastic. He has a good understanding of sound and gets the most out of the kit. The Pearl Opti-Mounts help too.
I use those those on my Ludwigs too. (a little "East meets West") which gives me a good sound live without any mics. So I can get the sound of a Ludwig, with the benefit of functional and reliable hardware.
Thank you for the helpful tips. Are you running clear ambassadors on your Ludwig toms?
 

nylontip

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I'm glad to see it's probably not the shell or the bearing edges,
You can check them too. Take heads off and place the drum on flat surface (granite/glass) see if their flat. Also are the heads hard to put on the shell? This is a common issue whith older Ludwig wrapped shells. That could reduce some resonance.
 

patrickwitherow

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You can check them too. Take heads off and place the drum on flat surface (granite/glass) see if their flat. Also are the heads hard to put on the shell? This is a common issue whith older Ludwig wrapped shells. That could reduce some resonance.
Heads are a tad tight - but I'm not having to pry them off or anything.
 

Iristone

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It may depend... on my 12" the mount has never been a problem. OTOH, my rail consolette is a rigid more modern design, so it may absorb less of the vibration.
 

D. B. Cooper

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Don't forget that the Inde mount require no new holes or modifications. Which would seem like a preferable solution to caring around another snare stand all of the time.

I've personally never had much luck with 2 ply resos but I know some people have.
I'd go with a clear ambassador reso. Though the coated Diplomat suggestion has me intrigued.
 

nylontip

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Thank you for the helpful tips. Are you running clear ambassadors on your Ludwig toms?
No, I use Evans coated G2 on top and Evans G1 clear on the reso side. I like the thinner coating on the Evans. They sound wonderful on Ludwigs. (But so do most heads, they're just great sounding drums)
 

D. B. Cooper

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Actually, single ply heads. Remember, when you're behind the kit, the drums will sound louder and more ring with single heads, but the sound in front of the kit is what counts.
I got see Todd Sucherman's kit backstage a few years ago and he used clear ambassador's on top. Wide open sound. He's got one of the best sounding kits I've ever heard. Very melodic too.
I realize they're a Pearl kit, but the tuning and head choices he makes are fantastic. He has a good understanding of sound and gets the most out of the kit. The Pearl Opti-Mounts help too.
I use those those on my Ludwigs too. (a little "East meets West") which gives me a good sound live without any mics. So I can get the sound of a Ludwig, with the benefit of functional and reliable hardware.
What were the heads he used?
 


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