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Tips & Techniques:DRUMS - tuning toms for pitch bend - a formula

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A few months ago I picked up the DTS tuning system ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYxBNrq8Idc ), which turns out to be pretty useful for quickly auditioning different head tension combinations. One of the things it's really good at is rapidly dialing in pitch bend on a tom. By sweeping through resonant head tensions while striking the batter, you can clearly hear the bend effect come into and out focus as you move through the zone in which it naturally occurs.

Curious, I began taking DrumDial measurements as I swept through tension ranges, top and bottom. What I've found is that true, deep pitch bend only occurs at one very specific combination of batter and resonant tensions. Those DrumDial measurements are as follows:

two-ply batter over single-ply reso: 75 over 68
single-ply batter over single-ply reso: 70 over 65

Not only that, but I've since tested these numbers on a fairly wide variety of toms, from a 10" DW birch fusion tom with G2s, to a huge 18" Ludwig classic maple floor tom with Hydraulics, and remarkably, they worked every time. The only variable, as noted above, is head selection: two-ply batters require the higher tension numbers to get in the zone.

I have to say, it's pretty cool to quickly tune a tom one head at a time, 75 over 68, flip it back right side up, hit it, and instantly hear pitch bend on the first strike. I tuned a friend's kit in a matter of minutes using this method and they were blown away by how good it sounded.

Note that tuning this way also moots the issue of pitching a set of toms. Since head tension is the same for each drum, pitch dispersion across the set is entirely relative to drum size. This is a great way to avoid selecting wildly incompatible pitches that wouldn't mesh as a group.

I'm curious if anyone with a DrumDial can duplicate any of this on their kit, with whatever heads they've currently got installed.

Thanks!

Created by atari800, 26th October 2008 at 06:44 AM
Last edited by mw, 27th March 2012 at 03:05 PM
Last comment by Jules on 3rd December 2008 at 01:09 AM
4 Comments, 14,121 Views



(4) Comments for: DRUMS - tuning toms for pitch bend - a formula Page Tools Search this Page
Old 29th November 2008
  #1
Gear maniac
 
mistervenable's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by atari800 View Post
All-

A few months ago I picked up the DTS tuning system ( YouTube - DTS "One-Touch Drum Tuning System" ), which turns out to be pretty useful for quickly auditioning different head tension combinations. One of the things it's really good at is rapidly dialing in pitch bend on a tom. By sweeping through resonant head tensions while striking the batter, you can clearly hear the bend effect come into and out focus as you move through the zone in which it naturally occurs.

Curious, I began taking DrumDial measurements as I swept through tension ranges, top and bottom. What I've found is that true, deep pitch bend only occurs at one very specific combination of batter and resonant tensions. Those DrumDial measurements are as follows:

two-ply batter over single-ply reso: 75 over 68
single-ply batter over single-ply reso: 70 over 65

Not only that, but I've since tested these numbers on a fairly wide variety of toms, from a 10" DW birch fusion tom with G2s, to a huge 18" Ludwig classic maple floor tom with Hydraulics, and remarkably, they worked every time. The only variable, as noted above, is head selection: two-ply batters require the higher tension numbers to get in the zone.

I have to say, it's pretty cool to quickly tune a tom one head at a time, 75 over 68, flip it back right side up, hit it, and instantly hear pitch bend on the first strike. I tuned a friend's kit in a matter of minutes using this method and they were blown away by how good it sounded.

Note that tuning this way also moots the issue of pitching a set of toms. Since head tension is the same for each drum, pitch dispersion across the set is entirely relative to drum size. This is a great way to avoid selecting wildly incompatible pitches that wouldn't mesh as a group.

I'm curious if anyone with a DrumDial can duplicate any of this on their kit, with whatever heads they've currently got installed.

Thanks!
I'll give it a shot on Monday.... rock and roll!
Old 30th November 2008
  #2
Gear nut
 
atari800's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Cool. Here are a couple samples.

The big toms are a $3,000 Ludwig classic maple Zep Set, 14", 16", and 18" with coated emperors on top and coated ambassadors on the bottom. The smaller toms are from a $400 Ludwig Accent CS silver sparkle kit -- 12", 13", 16" power toms, made of mystery wood ("select veneers") and with the stock mystery heads ("Made by Remo in China").

Close mics are Sennheiser e604s with a pair of Beyer M160s on overheads. A little eq to subtract a few db at 500hz and a little compression. Izotope Ozone on the two bus, -3 on the loudness maximizer. That's it.

Good tuning really equalizes the kits to an embarrassing degree. Not only that, but the cheap toms don't sustain as long as the maples, and so require no gating to shape the tail. Go figure.
Attached Files

toms-14-16-18.mp3 (117.4 KB, 2354 views)

toms-12-13-16.mp3 (113.3 KB, 2147 views)

Old 3rd December 2008
  #3
Lives for gear
 
EstateMatt's Avatar
 

wow... those are some bad ass tom sounds.
Old 3rd December 2008
  #4
I like the way this is going so I have copied it into the Tips & Techniques section..

Thanks
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