Your thoughts on a Drum Dial

JDA

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I've discovered (re-discovered) and having thought about it....you actually have more (and better imo) choice without the use of a dial.

Dial locks you in. By hand and tensioning evenly (2 keys opposite each other) opens sound doors not always -----"found on the dial" - or in dialing to a number.

Sometimes dial is useful- after the tensioning- after the fact- or for occasional curiosity sake.
But in actuality I find -Dial-only- tuning limited and limiting.

I prefer even hand tuning; recheck with a dial if you need to. Usually don't.
(you find out you're spot on) Trust experience.

Dial- I know it's hard to understand...limits. Dial is limiting imo.
You're (instincts, experience, accuracy) are better than the 99.95$ dial.
may be surprised but , the "dial" or "dial-only way" "misses" or "skips" over a lot.

of perfectly even-points (and sounds) you can arrive at by-hand.
unbeknownst looking into the dial

Dial like training wheels on a bicycle
boxes you in.
When young it's for your safety.

Later on with age and experience
you learn to fly (without..
You have infinitely more shades, colors and options
 
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audiochurch

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love it! use one for general tuning range at home, then tweak at the gig.

it helps alot when you use locking plastic washers and arent able to tune in the room beforehand(wedding, anniversary, ceremony, etc). i’malways already in a decent tuning right out of the drum cases.
 

jptrickster

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Same. Puts it. right where I want where I want it easily and quickly . It’s a breeze to tweak from there. It’s a good tool to have in the box.
 

Houndog

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I like one of my kits at 70 on batters , I always have a lug or two that is completely loose and still reads 70-75 ...WTF ?
 

m_anderson

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Never used one. Never will. Been tuning my drums by ear for 45 years. I know what they should sound like and how to get them there.
 

CSR

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I like one of my kits at 70 on batters , I always have a lug or two that is completely loose and still reads 70-75 ...WTF ?

I just had this happen on a vintage Slingerland set. I rotated the head, rotated the hoop with no change. The hoop seems flat, as does the bearing edge. Finally, I gave up and added additional key turns on that loose tension rod until the head sounded good. I think the Drumdisl works best on a new, mint drum, but has some limitations on a vintage drum.
 

Mcjnic

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It’s funny, I’ve been hitting for well over fifty years. Tuned by feel and ear. This year ... less than two months ago ... I picked up a DD. It blew my mind.

I was struggling with the tensioning of the new Noble & Cooley Horizon kit. The Delrin inserts were driving me crazy. It had no feel as they always feel tight. I just could not get a sound I liked. For those that are unaware, the Delrin inserts cause the tension rod to feel tight right at the beginning of tensioning. There is no finger tight. It does loosen a bit over time, but there’s a breaking in period of about a year to deal with and it will never get to a point of finger tight. I used the key to approximate the same distance to the washer as best I could ... a poor method but the best I could come up with.

So I ordered up the DD.
Unreal results. I trusted the numbers and the drums sound incredible. I ran the same tension on top and bottom and they sing.
In all my life, I’ve never had an issue tensioning a drum like I had with this new kit. I’ve always just trusted the tried and true ear and feel method. But that failed with this kit. The small investment for the DD paid huge dividends in my case.
I love the thing.
 

bellbrass

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I just had this happen on a vintage Slingerland set. I rotated the head, rotated the hoop with no change. The hoop seems flat, as does the bearing edge. Finally, I gave up and added additional key turns on that loose tension rod until the head sounded good. I think the Drumdisl works best on a new, mint drum, but has some limitations on a vintage drum.
When I've had this happen, it's always because an adjacent lug is higher or lower than the desired settings. If you have triple-flanged hoops, especially cheap or older ones, it's worse...the tension has to be close to perfect on all of the lugs in order to avoid this issue. Those 1.6mm triple-flanged hoops are notorious for this; that's why I went back to 2.3mm. With die-cast, it's less of an issue....but harder to get them all the same.
 

MaskingApathy

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I've been using the DD since I started playing drums in middle school. As a beginner it was super helpful to get a decent sound from my drums and over time I figured out where they sounded best and where I preferred them. So now when I change heads I'll use the DD to get close to my preferred range then fine tune by ear (listening to each lug etc). And as others have mentioned before it's very helpful when tuning at an event where you need to be quiet before the gig. I don't feel it limits me at all because over the years I have experimented high, low, all over the numbers on the dial and through that I've come to my preferred settings. The DD is now just a tool to help me get to those settings faster.
 

backtodrum

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Drum Dials have their place simply as a time saver. I've used one for years, to get heads close and then fine tune by ear... its much faster for me than to sit a tap each rod point and tune by ear.
 

drumsforme

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Use the Drum Dial religiously, but also go back and check for pitch accuracy by ear on each lug. My drums come out sounding great,
 

Houndog

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I just had this happen on a vintage Slingerland set. I rotated the head, rotated the hoop with no change. The hoop seems flat, as does the bearing edge. Finally, I gave up and added additional key turns on that loose tension rod until the head sounded good. I think the Drumdisl works best on a new, mint drum, but has some limitations on a vintage drum.
Im having it happen on my 96 Fibes as well .
 

cashmanbashman

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That's a great idea about using 2 drum keys, I'm gonna try that the next time I tune. I never thought of that. I love my drum dial! Before I had a drum dial, I could never figure out a starting point for tuning.
Finger tighten the lugs and then push down in the center of the head with moderate pressure which will cause edge ripples. Tighten the lugs until the ripples are just barely removed all around and you will be real close. I have a drum dial now and I still do this to start. It works for me anyhow.
 

lrod1707

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Finger tighten the lugs and then push down in the center of the head with moderate pressure which will cause edge ripples. Tighten the lugs until the ripples are just barely removed all around and you will be real close. I have a drum dial now and I still do this to start. It works for me anyhow.
Cool! I'll try that next time.
 

JDA

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2 drum keys are where it's at even on a five lug tom..; )
...bass drum with T-rods
2-across.

cut's time in 1/2 too
 

RyanR

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When I've had this happen, it's always because an adjacent lug is higher or lower than the desired settings.
Totally agree. An adjacent or two adjacents can take up the slack for another rod. Sometimes the problem is on the other side of the head.

One thing that the DD really taught me is how important it is to tune "up" to a pitch and not "down". The head gets hung up on the bearing edge when coming from a higher pitch. Really helps to loosen the head a smidgen more than needed, press down with the palm of your hand in the middle of the head, and then tune up.

-Ryan
 

RyanR

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I've discovered (re-discovered) and having thought about it....you actually have more (and better imo) choice without the use of a dial.

Dial locks you in. By hand and tensioning evenly (2 keys opposite each other) opens sound doors not always -----"found on the dial" - or in dialing to a number.

Sometimes dial is useful- after the tensioning- after the fact- or for occasional curiosity sake.
But in actuality I find -Dial-only- tuning limited and limiting.
What you're describing is what I call the "restaurant phenomenon": I know this dish is good, I get it all the time, why try something else?

I think it's a really valid point. I have a BreakBeats kit where the band practices, and I've not put the DD on that kit at all. It's fun. It's got sizes and head types (clear?? The humanity!) I simply don't normally use. A lot of experimentation.

That said, *after* the experimentation, I find myself zeroing in on specific tunings. This is where a DD is handy. Once you find that sound, you can catalog it, and get back to it.

One other thing the DD has taught me: Despite names like Weather Master and Weather King, drums with plastic heads are still surprisingly susceptible to weather. Really curious.

-Ryan
 
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Bandit

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Drum dials are great to get you close and be able to log tensions for later.
 


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