what notes do you tune to?

Discussion in 'rec.music.percussion' started by drummer, Aug 31, 2003.

  1. drummer

    drummer Guest

    i noticed that with my new set, the 12inch and 13inch are tuned to the
    same not... so i want to change that, i was just curious to see what
    notes, or at least how many semitones apart the drummers here tune to.

    thanks
  2. I was taught to, and usually tune my drums approximately a 3rd apart. On my
    older set, which had a 12", 13", 16" setup, i found that it was quite
    difficult to get them a 3rd apart without making one sound too high (choked)
    and one too low and flappy. On that set i used to just try and tune the
    drums where they sounded best, then tweak the tuning a little a bit up or
    down for as much separation between the two as possible.

    Recently i tried tuning using 4ths as an interval on my 10-12-14 setup, and
    i find it like it. Nice separation between the different drums and they
    sound quite melodic when playing pairs of toms together.

    Hope this helps,
    Jon

    "drummer" <imthemanbehindthedrums@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:e568ecfa.0308301859.379a3f1@posting.google.com...
    > i noticed that with my new set, the 12inch and 13inch are tuned to the
    > same not... so i want to change that, i was just curious to see what
    > notes, or at least how many semitones apart the drummers here tune to.
    >
    > thanks
  3. nick amoroso

    nick amoroso Guest

    >i noticed that with my new set, the 12inch and 13inch are tuned to the
    >same not... so i want to change that, i was just curious to see what
    >notes, or at least how many semitones apart the drummers here tune to.
    >
    >thanks


    my advice: don't worry about notes. tune each drum to where they resonate
    best. go here for some pointers on tuning:

    http://www.mikedrums.com/tuning/tuning.html

    peace,
    :nick amoroso:
    professional drums and instruction
    proud endorser of silver fox drumsticks
    -----
    "punching stuff rules" ~ dan radin
    "in your face, peart" ~ my tech
  4. Jonathan Khoo <jkhoo@nospamiinet.net.au> wrote:
    > I was taught to, and usually tune my drums approximately a 3rd apart. On my
    > older set, which had a 12", 13", 16" setup, i found that it was quite
    > difficult to get them a 3rd apart without making one sound too high (choked)
    > and one too low and flappy. On that set i used to just try and tune the
    > drums where they sounded best, then tweak the tuning a little a bit up or
    > down for as much separation between the two as possible.


    I have mine tuned that way. In fact I've got 10,12, 13, 16 and the
    10 and 16 are tuned an octave apart with the 12 and 13 forming
    the chord. (3rds.) It's a bit tricky because the 13" tom is really
    not quite the right size so it makes tuning sort of on the edge of
    things on some of the drums and you can't just tune to ANY note.
    You have to pick a starting note that falls within the range
    of the tom array. But Yeah, with reasonable drums (Hey, I used
    to tune my beater Sunlites this way) and with reasonable care it works
    well as a tuning scheme.

    > Recently i tried tuning using 4ths as an interval on my 10-12-14 setup, and
    > i find it like it. Nice separation between the different drums and they
    > sound quite melodic when playing pairs of toms together.


    And I very much agree with this too. I tune my smaller kit
    in 4ths (Note that the 10-12 above is also a 4th) and I LOVE
    the musicality it brings to the kit! It's hard to get 4ths
    on a 12-13-16 kit, but when you can, it rocks!

    That's me. Some drummers don't tune toms. They "tension" them.
    This probably means that they know nothing about notes, pitches
    or changes and don't care to learn. Buddy started this view.
    They just tune until they don't sound like shite and leave them
    there. Probably one of the bigest purveyors around of this school
    is Mike Portnoy. He said (and I quote) "I just sit at the drumset
    and give the toms a few whacks and I think 'That sounds powerful'
    and I leave it like that. I'm never going to be all anal like tapping
    at each lug [wrinkles nose]"

    Benj

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  5. > I have mine tuned that way. In fact I've got 10,12, 13, 16 and the
    > 10 and 16 are tuned an octave apart with the 12 and 13 forming
    > the chord. (3rds.) It's a bit tricky because the 13" tom is really
    > not quite the right size so it makes tuning sort of on the edge of
    > things on some of the drums and you can't just tune to ANY note.
    > You have to pick a starting note that falls within the range
    > of the tom array. But Yeah, with reasonable drums (Hey, I used
    > to tune my beater Sunlites this way) and with reasonable care it works
    > well as a tuning scheme.


    Interesting, Benj. Did you choose this setup on purpose, or did you add a 10
    to a 12, 13,16 configuration? Just wondering coz its one of the more unusual
    (to me) configurations. How do you begin tuning that set of toms? Would you
    begin with the 12-13 pair first? I usually start with the lowest tom and go
    up from there. On my last re-heading i went from the top to the bottom and
    by the last drum i found myself really running out of room in as far as how
    low the drum would go.

    > And I very much agree with this too. I tune my smaller kit
    > in 4ths (Note that the 10-12 above is also a 4th) and I LOVE
    > the musicality it brings to the kit! It's hard to get 4ths
    > on a 12-13-16 kit, but when you can, it rocks!


    Definitely, i'm loving this separation that 4ths give. And i think because i
    spent a little more time getting them to as close to perfect 4ths as i can
    with my current level of tuning skill, they sound and feel more musical than
    just drums which go boom. :) Or maybe it's me, i dunno. but it sure feels
    that way and i'm really liking it!

    > That's me. Some drummers don't tune toms. They "tension" them.
    > This probably means that they know nothing about notes, pitches
    > or changes and don't care to learn. Buddy started this view.
    > They just tune until they don't sound like shite and leave them
    > there. Probably one of the bigest purveyors around of this school
    > is Mike Portnoy. He said (and I quote) "I just sit at the drumset
    > and give the toms a few whacks and I think 'That sounds powerful'
    > and I leave it like that. I'm never going to be all anal like tapping
    > at each lug [wrinkles nose]"


    Doesn't Portnoy trigger all his drums anyway? Or is that a different "name"
    drummer in that genre that i'm thinking of? I'm thinking that if he triggers
    everything anyway, he wouldn't need proper tuning, no? In any case, it's a
    shame with that nice (but huge!) kit/s of his.

    Jon
  6. John P.

    John P. Guest

    "drummer" <imthemanbehindthedrums@hotmail.com> wrote in a message

    > i noticed that with my new set, the 12inch and 13inch are tuned to the
    > same not... so i want to change that, i was just curious to see what
    > notes, or at least how many semitones apart the drummers here tune to.


    Thirds... or somewhere thereabouts
  7. Jonathan Khoo <jkhoo@nospamiinet.net.au> wrote:

    > Interesting, Benj. Did you choose this setup on purpose, or did you add a 10
    > to a 12, 13,16 configuration? Just wondering coz its one of the more unusual
    > (to me) configurations. How do you begin tuning that set of toms? Would you
    > begin with the 12-13 pair first? I usually start with the lowest tom and go
    > up from there. On my last re-heading i went from the top to the bottom and
    > by the last drum i found myself really running out of room in as far as how
    > low the drum would go.


    Correct. It was a standard configuration and I added a 10. The originals
    were tuned in 3rds. and when I added the 10 I played around a bit
    and loved the 4th thing between the 10 and 12 and that created an octave
    to the low tom. A cool lick is 10-12 together then 12-16 together.
    Since I tune to actual notes it doesn't matter where I start. I just
    grab the bass and pluck the appropriate note for the drum in question
    and tune. Early on I did have to play around a bit with WHICH notes
    I was going to start with. As you note with these sizes you can easly
    run out of range either on the low drum or the 13 which is being
    sort of pushed up against the stops. I still can change the range
    sligthly to better fit rock keys (E) if necessary, but you can't
    move things a lot unless I would change some of the drum sizes.

    > Definitely, i'm loving this separation that 4ths give. And i think because i
    > spent a little more time getting them to as close to perfect 4ths as i can
    > with my current level of tuning skill, they sound and feel more musical than
    > just drums which go boom. :) Or maybe it's me, i dunno. but it sure feels
    > that way and i'm really liking it!


    Naw. Not just you. I can live with 3rds. but conga playing has really
    turned me on to the 4th thing. Yes. Much more musical!

    > Doesn't Portnoy trigger all his drums anyway? Or is that a different "name"
    > drummer in that genre that i'm thinking of? I'm thinking that if he triggers
    > everything anyway, he wouldn't need proper tuning, no? In any case, it's a
    > shame with that nice (but huge!) kit/s of his.


    He didn't when I saw him. I mean why have a bazzilion drums if you
    are going to trigger? He has a tech who tunes his kit anyway.
    He pretty much just sits down and plays. With his attitude it's
    prolly for the best! :) He seemed like a really nice guy
    and musically knowledgable so I was rather surprised at his
    attitude toward drum tuning.

    Benj

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  8. -MIKE-

    -MIKE- Guest

    >>i noticed that with my new set, the 12inch and 13inch are tuned to the
    >>same not... so i want to change that, i was just curious to see what
    >>notes, or at least how many semitones apart the drummers here tune to.
    >>
    >>thanks

    >
    > my advice: don't worry about notes. tune each drum to where they
    > resonate best. go here for some pointers on tuning:
    >
    > http://www.mikedrums.com/tuning/tuning.html
    >
    > peace,
    > :nick amoroso:
    >


    And while you're there, check out my very tine resume. :)


    -MIKE-

    --
    http://mikedrums.com
    mike@mikedrumsDOT.com
    ---remove "DOT" ^^^^ to reply
  9. TJ Hertz

    TJ Hertz Guest

    drummer wrote:
    > i noticed that with my new set, the 12inch and 13inch are tuned to the
    > same not... so i want to change that, i was just curious to see what
    > notes, or at least how many semitones apart the drummers here tune to.
    >
    > thanks


    With a 5-piece, I usually try for fourths, even with 12/13/16. With 2 toms,
    I tune to whatever sounds best. At the moment my drums are bottomed out to
    as low as they go while still singing; I'm playing a lot of rock these days.

    --
    TJ Hertz
    http://www.whatyourenot.com
  10. "nick amoroso" <soulbelly@aol.comICAL> wrote in message
    > my advice: don't worry about notes. tune each drum to where they

    resonate
    > best.


    I agree totally, Nick. What if the notes to which you tune your toms are
    out of key with the music you're playing (which will probably be the case,
    more often than not)? That's right, the "melodic" tuning theory goes right
    out the window. I don't intentionally tune to specific notes or intervals,
    but I think my ear naturally hears melodic intervals as being the "proper"
    intervals between my toms.

    CM
  11. drummer wrote:

    > notes, or at least how many semitones apart the drummers here tune to.


    For jazz I wish you could buy new drums (toms) without a definite pitch...
    How do you get a proper jazz tom sound, like old Gretsch drums that have a
    non-harmonic 'boing' sound that just blends in neutrally with the music...
    (e.g. Brian Blade still has that sound)

    Andreas
  12. Notes? What are notes? =)

    I tunes 'em so's they sound good. Rack, floor and bass.

    Geesh... this is what I get for sticking with a 4-piece only a few months
    after starting to play drums... =)

    --

    --
    Anthony Giampa; Imperiai2@cox.net
    "Pity makes me strong." -- Conan O'Brien


    "drummer" <imthemanbehindthedrums@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:e568ecfa.0308301859.379a3f1@posting.google.com...
    > i noticed that with my new set, the 12inch and 13inch are tuned to the
    > same not... so i want to change that, i was just curious to see what
    > notes, or at least how many semitones apart the drummers here tune to.
    >
    > thanks
  13. Chris Milillo <drums@bestweb.net> wrote:
    > "nick amoroso" <soulbelly@aol.comICAL> wrote in message
    >> my advice: don't worry about notes. tune each drum to where they

    > resonate
    >> best.


    > I agree totally, Nick. What if the notes to which you tune your toms are
    > out of key with the music you're playing (which will probably be the case,
    > more often than not)? That's right, the "melodic" tuning theory goes right
    > out the window. I don't intentionally tune to specific notes or intervals,
    > but I think my ear naturally hears melodic intervals as being the "proper"
    > intervals between my toms.


    What hasn't been said in all this is that one also has to consider
    just how "pure" the tone of your drums are. If your toms really
    ring to resonant notes, the intervals and tuning DOES matter.
    And yes, if you are out of tune with the key of the music it can
    sound like crap! This is one reason to tune to notes that in
    a general way fit the usual keys of the music your are playing.
    Tuning to a diminished chord is even better because it fits
    most things well. If you play congas (which are sharply melodic
    in the open tones) you get experience with all this.

    However, not ALL drums are melodic. The closer you get to that
    cardboard box sound the less the actual pitch of each drum
    matters. Ideal in some cases are drums that have a sort
    of generic sound that is sort of pitched, but general enough
    that it fits any key. It doesn't have to be totally covered
    in duct tape to get there either.

    The point is however, that if your toms are highly melodic
    resonant drums with tons of sustain, and you decide to just
    tune them so they "sound good" you'd better go sit in the audience
    and listen to the nasty mess you can make if they end
    up a minor second from the key. In those cases the choices
    are do a bit of tuning or get out the duct tape! :)

    However, I do agree that the ear can be pretty good in finding
    nice melodic tuning without doing a bunch of anal concentration
    like tuning to exact "notes".

    Benj
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  14. bjacoby@users.iwaynet.net wrote:

    > The point is however, that if your toms are highly melodic
    > resonant drums with tons of sustain, and you decide to just
    > tune them so they "sound good" you'd better go sit in the audience
    > and listen to the nasty mess you can make if they end
    > up a minor second from the key. In those cases the choices
    > are do a bit of tuning or get out the duct tape! :)
    >


    I've never seen a live performance and thought.. "Gee those
    drums are out of tune with the rest of the band." I suppose I
    agree with you in principle but I have never personally heard
    the phenomenon you describe in a live setting.

    Drummer at large
  15. morris

    morris Guest

    >
    > That's me. Some drummers don't tune toms. They "tension" them.
    > This probably means that they know nothing about notes, pitches
    > or changes and don't care to learn. Buddy started this view.
    > They just tune until they don't sound like shite and leave them
    > there.



    why do you presume this? there' are lot's of guy s who are fully
    aware of notes and changes who don't "choose" pitches.

    whatever....
    you're the NYC critic, right?

    nuff said......
  16. Dan Radin

    Dan Radin Guest

    I think each drum has one or more sweet spots. For example, Most Gretsch
    8x12s have a great low, fat tone at the bottom, and then two or three
    excellents spots way up high where they sound geat. They don't do the middle
    ground so well. Many 14" floor toms have this same scheme, but more 16"s
    don't really go high so well. I think that when you choose your drums for
    the gig/session/new kit purchase, you have to research what the sizes will
    impact in terms of tuning options. This even differs from brand to brand.
    Just because you liked the fatness of a Gretsch 14x14, buying a Fibes 14x14
    and expecting it to sound the same might not work out.

    So getting back to tuning, I think you have to get to know each of your
    drums, and then learn to tune to the sweet spots. If you've chosen your
    drums appropriately to what you want to hear, then you won't need to worry
    about intervals and contrived tunings. Just find the sweet spots and lock
    'em in.

    Obviously, this doesn't apply with prefab configurations, but it might work
    with the 13 and 16 of a 12/13/16 confugration. The 12 and 14 in most "jazz"
    kits usually work well, but may not go enough for use in louder rock
    situations. 12 and 16 or even 12 and 15 work better. 16 and 18 sound
    amazingly similar, but 15 and 16 are surprisingly dissimilar. This is the
    kind of stuff you should consider when purashing drums, because it's the
    cheif determinant of how well you'll like the tuning of the kit.
  17. morris <onedropper@earthlink.net> wrote:

    > why do you presume this? there' are lot's of guy s who are fully
    > aware of notes and changes who don't "choose" pitches.


    > whatever....
    > you're the NYC critic, right?


    > nuff said......



    Yeah, what you expect outta some hick? Actually the remark only
    appies to drums with prominent pitches. When you tune them down
    with duct tape and the those Remo plastic trays there are no
    pitches left to tune to. You know, the way you nooyourkers
    like them!
    (just kidding)

    Benj
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  18. Bob Wennerstrom <bobwenn@frontier.net> wrote:

    > I've never seen a live performance and thought.. "Gee those
    > drums are out of tune with the rest of the band." I suppose I
    > agree with you in principle but I have never personally heard
    > the phenomenon you describe in a live setting.


    I have. But to tell the truth, the phenomena is not real
    common. Even less common back before everyone got so much
    into RIMS, sustain and thin heads. But I've heard drum solos
    where the drums were actually out of tune with themselves!
    Now like everything in music that can sound like crap OR
    it can be taken advantage of as an "effect". I love the
    effect! So I've got a pair of bongos on my kit and I tune
    them to a major or minor second. (Bongos are normally tuned
    a 4th apart) When you hit them together it gives this great
    "chopsticks" or old-time car horn "effect". Cool.

    So like all in music there isn't a hard and fast rule. It just
    "depends". My experience is if you just listen carfully you
    can hear both the bad stuff and the good stuff as well as
    figure ways to turn the bad into good stuff. The ear is an
    amazing thing.

    Benj

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  19. DPercussions

    DPercussions Guest

    >Subject: Re: what notes do you tune to?
    >From: Andreas Moser spam@hotmail.com
    >Date: 8/31/03 5:52 AM Eastern Daylight Time
    >Message-id: <3F51C4D6.E28D24B4@hotmail.com>
    >
    >drummer wrote:
    >
    >> notes, or at least how many semitones apart the drummers here tune to.

    >
    >For jazz I wish you could buy new drums (toms) without a definite pitch...
    >How do you get a proper jazz tom sound, like old Gretsch drums that have a
    >non-harmonic 'boing' sound that just blends in neutrally with the music...
    >(e.g. Brian Blade still has that sound)
    >
    >Andreas


    Jazz toms are usually tuned up there with single ply open sustaining heads that
    give off a rather complex tom tonality rather than just a bottom note w/attack.
    That "boing" is probably the mid frequencies creating that transparency of
    sound.

    Darick

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