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keppy

13" tom tuning problems

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I've read the tuning bible, and countless other how-tos, but I can't seem to get my 13" tom to stop ringing. I know I can use Moon Gel or studio rings, but the point is...I've cranked it as far as it can go and it still rings like crazy. I haven't even gotten to fine tuning it.

 

Also, I don't have the rim for the reso side of the drum, but this shouldn't affect it too much, should it? I know drummers that have only one head on their drums and they sound fine.

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I am using an Evans G2 coated on the top, and on the bottom...oh wait, I don't have a bottom! :(

 

I looked over the lugs and tension rods, I don't see any rusting or anything. I also wiped them off before tuning. I made a muffle ring from the old head, and it sounds alright, I was just wondering why I can't even seem to stop it from ringing. In the tuning bible, it says to tighten the head until its distortion free? Does excessive ringing count as distortion?

 

I am pretty new to tuning, so I suppose I'll just have to work on it?

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Comparing a singled headed drum with a doubled headed drum is like apples and oranges; they are not the same and they sound differently.

 

If you have a 12-inch and 13-inch Tom Toms, plus a 16-inch Floor Tom, you may be experiencing a common issue with the 13 inch Tom. That issue is that it's hard to tune the 13-inch where it sounds good, yet still fits between the 12-inch and 16-inch Toms pitch wise. It's this situation that makes me hate 13-inch Toms ... and there are numerous drummers (including professionals like myself) who really dispise this set-up.

 

Regardless of what your set-up is, you've got to get the Toms outfitted with the same drumheads top and bottom. If you are using different brands or models between the drums, you are going to get different sounds.

 

You probably feel like you have to crank the drumhead tension because you are dealing with one drumhead, a batter head, and no resonant drumhead.

 

The most popular way (not the only way mind you) to tune the Tom Toms is to have the resonant head (bottom) tuned higher than that batter head (top). With this tuning, the resonant head gets more of the pitch you desire, while the batter head gives you the feel and rebound. Both heads act together and influence on another, so it's not like one has a role that the other doesn't ... but definitely, depending on how you tune, the role between a batter and resonant head are different.

 

My immediate suggetion ... get another 13-inch rim for the Tom and get a resonant head on there. Also, any time you have tuning problems, the best way to resolve it is to start over. Release all the tension in the drumhead ... loosening it all the way and start from the beginning. The ring you are talking about is more than likely the sustain and slow decay, rather than a nasty ring from an out of tune head ... at least based on the fact that you keep cracking the tension higher and higher. Dampening the drum will reduce the sustain and mutes many of the higher frequencies that make up the drums over all sound.

 

I don't know if my explanation will be any better for you, but you can read my article entitled Drumset Tuning Concepts ... it may help or it may not.

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I think you need to define what you mean my ringing. You know that drums are resonate, they are supposed to 'ring'. It's not supposed to thud like a pillow.

 

Also, the 'ring' you hear doesn't really carry. Twenty feet away you won't really hear it.

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Originally posted by gcdrummer

I think you need to define what you mean my ringing. You know that drums are resonate, they are supposed to 'ring'. It's not supposed to thud like a pillow.


Also, the 'ring' you hear doesn't really carry. Twenty feet away you won't really hear it.

 

This is part of the problem...I'm not quite sure how much ring is acceptable/desirable.

 

Thanks for the post drummercafe. I have the 13" and a 14" floor tom. I am using G2 coated on both batters.

 

I suppose it's about gaining some experience in tuning.

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Well, the 13-inch and 14-inch can be just as much of a pain. The "one inch" difference is where the problem can arise.

 

I'm not suggesting that you can't get a great sound out of a kit when the Toms are one inch diameter differences ... but with many kits it can be an issue ... and many drummers just don't like it. If you've got a high quality kit, I'm sure the issue is reduced, but I haven't been a fan of my 13-inch within my YAMAHA Recording Custom kit ... but that's when I'm using 10, 12, 13, 14, 16 inch Toms. If I go with 10, 13, 16 or just 13, 16 Toms, I can tune the drums where they sound good within the intervals I desire.

 

We can't hear you 13-inch Tom Tom, so it is difficult to actually define what you are hearing. Some people call the sustaining sound the "ring", while others refer to the overtones or upper partials of the drum's frequency the "ring".

 

The sustain of the drum and even the upper frequencies is what gives the drum it's projection and presence. When you are closed in within a small practice room, the "ring" regardless of what definition you use, can be too much. But when you take the drums out to a larger room or play a live gig, that "ring" can be a huge asset.

 

I would recommend taking the drum to a local drum shop, or call a professional drum instructor and let them have a look at it. The best way to learn is to experiment and consider the opinions of those who have a lot of experience with tuning drums.

 

If you want to post an MP3 of the Tom in question, I'm sure we could help you get a little closer to finding a solution. Hang in there and don't get frustrated ... we all have had to learn this stuff at some point.

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As drummercafe said I have always found it very hard to tune 13" drums between 12" & 14" drums. Try tuning the 12 and 14 and leave the 13 out of the mix and see what happens. This may give you a better handle on where the 13 can fit in. I learned from a very good friend of mine that I always looked up too (and let me tell ya he could play his ass off) told me he always ordered drumkits in even sizes. This was back in the late 80's he told me this and from then on that has always been my configuration.

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Just want to clarify that this is a problem with modern drums. Vintage drums with their different construction and rounded bearing edges have a much wider tuning range. When 5 piece kits were offerred in the early '60's, they had two 12 inch rack toms. In the late '60's, the 12/13/16 kit was offered.

 

To put this in perspective, this is just what was in the manufactureror's catalog. The Drum Center near Detroit in the '60s would sort drums by wrap in large stacks. Drums were sold by the piece. Buyers would then select any size and number of drums that they wanted from a stack.

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Originally posted by arexjay

I say throw it away. 13 inchers suck.

 

Or toss the 12".

 

It's not the 13" drum's fault in itself, it's the 12,13,16 configuration. My first kit had those sizes and I had a helluva time tuning the kit as a whole. The 13" always ended up sounding either sour or sharp. I felt like I was compromising my 13" drum for the rest of the kit.

 

I threw up my hands in disgust and bought a fusion kit which is much easier to tune. Some guys have luck tuning standard sizes but I sure didn't.

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