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How to tune a 26" kick LOW
Old 1st March 2020
  #1
Here for the gear
How to tune a 26" kick LOW

My drummer has bought a set with a 26" kickdrum. I adviced him against doing it but he went for it anyways -_-
Now, the thing I hate about that kick, is that It has a very high pitch.
Moreover, its sound was quite loose/lacking definition, so we removed the resonant head (we cut a HUGE hole)
Yesterday I made a test with the mics I bought (I used a D112), and I am really annoyed by that high pitch.
Please I'm looking for any advice on how to achieve a lower pitch with a 26". Which heads (I ordered an EMAD2 Clear for now, let's see if it helps...), resonant YES/NO and in case, which one, etc...
The ideal would be to sell this set obviously but I'm afraid it's not feasible. The problem is the recording for now, but sooner or later we will have to play live, so I prefer not to "cheat" with the EQ but having the drums actually tuned LOW.
Please HELP!!
Old 1st March 2020
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
The BEST sound I ever recorded with a 26" had both head on, a small pillow on the inside with a Beyer M88 lying on it. There may have been an outside mic too, I don't remember. The pillow provide a bit of control of the resonance and highs.

Here it is
Old 6th March 2020
  #3
Gear Nut
I really like my 26" BD. Is it the right size for everything? Nope. I have and use other sizes. But the 26 has its own thing happening and I think it's really cool. Tons of bass, volume and a big billowy feel.

For Rock, I tune both heads to D (~73.4 Hz.) The drum is big enough that I could go a little lower.

Res has a port. Sometimes I put a little pillow in there but usually it's just wide open and I tend to play less complicated bass drum parts with that drum. Heads are Powerstroke P3 IIRC. A port that is too large will not have much body/sustain/tone. I did play it with an unported head for a while but that was too much sustain for me (in general.)

The high pitch remark is curious. I guess you will have to figure out where that is coming from.

There are some BD heads with built in padding which suck out the highs -- not my tone but if you want a deeper tone and less highs it is something to consider after trying various tunings and port sizes.
Old 6th March 2020
  #4
Gear Guru
 

A lot of the people I see with the really big kick drum like that are not only using felt strips, they are often using wide felt strips - or two strips. Something to try.

I used to have a 26" orchestral bass drum. Not calling it a "kick" because it did not have spurs. And also because I only ever played it with mallets. In any case, I never had a problem getting a large drum to be low. Isn't that what the physics of drum size is about?

Quote:
the thing I hate about that kick, is that It has a very high pitch.
are you saying the 26" drum itself has a very high pitch? That seems counter-intuitive to me.

are you saying your drummer has tuned it very high? Ask him to tune it lower. Should be a natural for such a large drum.

are you saying it has to be tuned high to get some rebound?

Your drummer may have tension requirements that are based on playability - the head needs to be tight enough to get some rebound. Maybe the drummer's footpedal could be adjusted to have more 'spring' from the pedal and depend less on tight heads? In any case the reso head could be tuned low which is quite defining. And it does not need playability.

One thing to try is two-ply heads, which tend to produce a lower pitch at the same tension.

Is the "high" pitch" that bothers you an excess of "click" sound? Maybe a softer beater - like those fake "lambswool" things - would help that. Or maybe a harder beater like a solid wood beater would get you punchier results.

Your problem seems to be the opposite of anything that I have personally experienced with large drums, so all I can suggest is different stuff to "try". There are guys out there who play 26" kick and some of them sound great, so there has to be a way. Experiment.

ps- EQ is not "cheating"

sample replacement - now that's "cheating"!

Also as I was saying in another thread, I have seen a trend lately that even in small clubs where they are not really "reinforcing" the drums, many bands will still put a mic just on the kick, crank up the bass EQ, and then they bring it in just enough to fill out the sound, but not so much that you notice hey they are miking up the kick.

Last edited by joeq; 6th March 2020 at 09:23 AM..
Old 7th March 2020
  #5
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by eigentone1 View Post
I really like my 26" BD. Is it the right size for everything? Nope. I have and use other sizes. But the 26 has its own thing happening and I think it's really cool. Tons of bass, volume and a big billowy feel.

For Rock, I tune both heads to D (~73.4 Hz.) The drum is big enough that I could go a little lower.

Res has a port. Sometimes I put a little pillow in there but usually it's just wide open and I tend to play less complicated bass drum parts with that drum. Heads are Powerstroke P3 IIRC. A port that is too large will not have much body/sustain/tone. I did play it with an unported head for a while but that was too much sustain for me (in general.)

The high pitch remark is curious. I guess you will have to figure out where that is coming from.

There are some BD heads with built in padding which suck out the highs -- not my tone but if you want a deeper tone and less highs it is something to consider after trying various tunings and port sizes.
The high pitch seemed totally counter-intuitive to me as well. But every 26" I tried sounded a lot less bassy than 22"s. Not sure about the physics behind that, although I have a theory about it...
I ordered an EMAD 2 Clear, let's see if it sounds better.
Old 7th March 2020
  #6
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
A lot of the people I see with the really big kick drum like that are not only using felt strips, they are often using wide felt strips - or two strips. Something to try.

I used to have a 26" orchestral bass drum. Not calling it a "kick" because it did not have spurs. And also because I only ever played it with mallets. In any case, I never had a problem getting a large drum to be low. Isn't that what the physics of drum size is about?



are you saying the 26" drum itself has a very high pitch? That seems counter-intuitive to me.

are you saying your drummer has tuned it very high? Ask him to tune it lower. Should be a natural for such a large drum.

are you saying it has to be tuned high to get some rebound?

Your drummer may have tension requirements that are based on playability - the head needs to be tight enough to get some rebound. Maybe the drummer's footpedal could be adjusted to have more 'spring' from the pedal and depend less on tight heads? In any case the reso head could be tuned low which is quite defining. And it does not need playability.

One thing to try is two-ply heads, which tend to produce a lower pitch at the same tension.

Is the "high" pitch" that bothers you an excess of "click" sound? Maybe a softer beater - like those fake "lambswool" things - would help that. Or maybe a harder beater like a solid wood beater would get you punchier results.

Your problem seems to be the opposite of anything that I have personally experienced with large drums, so all I can suggest is different stuff to "try". There are guys out there who play 26" kick and some of them sound great, so there has to be a way. Experiment.

ps- EQ is not "cheating"

sample replacement - now that's "cheating"!

Also as I was saying in another thread, I have seen a trend lately that even in small clubs where they are not really "reinforcing" the drums, many bands will still put a mic just on the kick, crank up the bass EQ, and then they bring it in just enough to fill out the sound, but not so much that you notice hey they are miking up the kick.
As I said above, totally counter-intuitive... I agree with you. Honestly this thing baffled me and I understand It totally seems against logic, but I have found it consistent with all sets I tried (in shops...). So IMO there must be actually some reason behind that.
Old 7th March 2020
  #7
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post

ps- EQ is not "cheating"

sample replacement - now that's "cheating"!
I only mean, "heavily altering" what you hear "live"
I don't want a solution that ONLY works in the studio, I want the drums to sound right as-it-is, and only then slight adjustments with EQ are totally fine! IMO
Old 7th March 2020
  #8
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oZZma View Post
I only mean, "heavily altering" what you hear "live"
I don't want a solution that ONLY works in the studio, I want the drums to sound right as-it-is, and only then slight adjustments with EQ are totally fine! IMO

Ok I see what you mean.

To get back to the pitch of the drum, there is just something weird about having a 26" drums sound "high". Where are you? Are you in a small room? Maybe the sound just has no room to develop? Maybe you are sitting in a node that is canceling out the fundamental? . How does the drum sound if you take it to a bigger space? Or even move it to different locations in the room you are in?


You could just keep tuning the heads lower and lower until they start to wrinkle. IMO, it has to get low at some point.
Old 12th March 2020
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Dr. Mordo's Avatar
 

I bet you are tuning it too loose, so the fundamental is too low to register. Crank it up. I have plyed a 26 for over 10 years now, and I crank it. Even cranked, the fundamental is around 40-50 hz.
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