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Do you know how to tune a drum kit?

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  • Do you know how to tune a drum kit?

    Unfortunately in my experience, not all drummers know how to properly tune their own kits, and it's impossible to get a great drum sound if the kit isn't well-tuned. So knowing how to tune a drum kit can be a very useful skill for anyone who wants to record bands.

    If you don't know how to do it, here's a link to an article by Bobby Owsinski with some useful drum tuning tips that you may find helpful.

    And if you have any useful tips of your own, or things to watch out for, please share!





    **********

    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

    - George Carlin

    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

  • #2
    I do, but what I would spend hours doing I don't any more.

    Bought a Drum Dial about 2 decades ago.

    _____________________________________
    Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

    Join Date: Aug 2001
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Mikeo View Post
      I do, but what I would spend hours doing I don't any more.

      Bought a Drum Dial about 2 decades ago.
      I have a drum dial too and while it helps, it doesn't really nail it for me - I find I still have to fine-tune it manually, without the dial.

      **********

      "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

      - George Carlin

      "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

      - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

      "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

      - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

      Comment


      • #4
        I found the Drum Di a huge help when I had no experience tuning; when a drum is really out of whack, it's difficult to interpret what will fix it until you've done it for a while. Otherwise, I was better off slacking all the lugs and starting over. Also, Drum Dial readings are objective, so they are a much better way to communicate tunings than stuff like "I get my top head really tight, and the snare head really super extra tight."

        These days it mostly just sits, but I did break it out tuning the resonant heads when I installed Quietstrokes. I found the ideal tunings were so low, it's extremely difficult to get everything matched up.
        Tauntr.com - Adding Insult to Everything!Neck Pocket Cavern Surveyor for the Rhythm in Jump. Dancing Close to You club!"In all fairness, Les Pauls have a switch position labeled "Rhythm", while Strats do not, because they are lead guitars for lead guitarists." -Flatspotter

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        • #5
          The Rhythm Tech Protorq is also a useful tool IMO...

          http://www.rhythmtech.com/products/a...es/RT7350.html

          The main issue with it is that it measures the lug tension as opposed to the head tension like the Drum Dial does... but it does help get things into the ballpark.

          **********

          "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

          - George Carlin

          "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

          - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

          "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

          - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

          Comment


          • #6
            Conceptually, I prefer measuring head tension. The head is what you hear, and lug tension is affected by lubrication, debris, galling, and/or damage. People seem to like them well enough though.
            Tauntr.com - Adding Insult to Everything!Neck Pocket Cavern Surveyor for the Rhythm in Jump. Dancing Close to You club!"In all fairness, Les Pauls have a switch position labeled "Rhythm", while Strats do not, because they are lead guitars for lead guitarists." -Flatspotter

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            • #7
              yes sir... a drum key, drum sticks help, and a quiet environment so i can hear... its worked without complaint for about 50 years now...
              Originally posted by isaac42;n32240445

              Voltan is correct.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe View Post
                The Rhythm Tech Protorq is also a useful tool IMO...

                http://www.rhythmtech.com/products/a...es/RT7350.html

                The main issue with it is that it measures the lug tension as opposed to the head tension like the Drum Dial does... but it does help get things into the ballpark.

                I have one of those too. Between the Drum Dial and the Rhythm Tech key, I can get where I need to me.

                The drum dial is down to 59 bucks new, I paid more for mine when the first came out almost 20 years ago.

                There's nothing worse than listen to me tune up a Rickenbacker 12 string from a dead start, other than listen to me tune up a set of drums from a dead start.


                Both are handy as well as a decent ear.


                Saw this online too.

                Last edited by Mikeo; 03-16-2018, 06:56 PM.
                _____________________________________
                Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

                Join Date: Aug 2001
                Location: N. Adams, MA USA
                Posts as of Jan 10th 2013: 82,617

                Comment


                • #9
                  That certainly is a fast way to swap heads and get the lugs all to the same general tension - and get a really nasty ring!

                  You'd obviously have to fine tune it from there, but again, it does look like it would take some of the tedium out of the process of replacing heads.

                  Thanks for posting that Mikeo!
                  **********

                  "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                  - George Carlin

                  "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                  - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                  "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                  - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe View Post
                    That certainly is a fast way to swap heads and get the lugs all to the same general tension - and get a really nasty ring!

                    You'd obviously have to fine tune it from there, but again, it does look like it would take some of the tedium out of the process of replacing heads.

                    Thanks for posting that Mikeo!
                    49.99 at Sweetwater , MF/GC, or Amazon

                    https://www.musiciansfriend.com/acce...acement-system

                    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...SAAEgKj6_D_BwE

                    https://www.amazon.com/Tru-Tuner-TT0...ords=tru+tuner
                    _____________________________________
                    Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

                    Join Date: Aug 2001
                    Location: N. Adams, MA USA
                    Posts as of Jan 10th 2013: 82,617

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I may just have to give one a try... do you own one?
                      **********

                      "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                      - George Carlin

                      "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                      - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                      "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                      - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It has been a long time since I've done it (1970's). But the web article is pretty much what I was taught. Tighten the head like you do an engine cylinder head in a cross pattern. Top, bottom, 3 o'clock, 9 o'clock etc. Do this until the head is fairly tight. Then hit the head about an inch from each lug tune and fine them each till they all sound the same. At that point you strike the center and tighten 1/4 or 1/2 turns in the same pattern as before until it feels and sounds 'right' to you, periodically recheck sound near the lugs. The first time I ever did this was on my first drum set, I ripped a head. Expensive for a 15 year old!
                        Last edited by kbeaumont; 03-22-2018, 08:15 AM.

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